23 Nov 2006

Episode 42: Home For the Holiday

This week Chicago writer, Franklin Habit offers his (always) unique perspective on holiday coping strategies. I wax poetic (again) about the fabulous Clapotis (see image), by Kate Gilbert. I am clearly not smart enough to get on with the Felted Clogs pattern from Fiber Trends. Knit a Hug for Hope, or your favorite needy tree. Don’t miss Interweave’s Holiday Craft Patterns, and if you’d like to read the text of the Gnu Free Documentation Licence you can do so here. Or get the jump on next week by reading the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Comercial Licence here. (There will be a test.) Huge thanks, as always, to Dave. You can follow the progress of the Dink Dolls here. And don’t miss We’re Almost There, the new podcast from Marty, and Dame Candle Company’s own candle-maker extraordinaire, Wendy. Warning – it’s rated R, (for rockin’)!



  1. Asrana wrote:

    HURRAY! Thank you soooo much, have been waiting for this πŸ™‚

    I’d ask if you passed the test, but I’m trusting you’ll have said so in the podcast!

    Posted on 11.23.06 ·
  2. India wrote:

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Posted on 11.23.06 ·
  3. Lois wrote:

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Posted on 11.24.06 ·
  4. Meg wrote:

    As you know from my repeated whining last year … there is no getting on with those felted clogs … that pattern is a pain.
    love ya!!!

    Posted on 11.24.06 ·
  5. whew, I feel I’ve been absolved of knitting idiocy… I thought it was me. I love the LOOK of the FT clogs… but the counting the markers—- Somehow, I can knit lace, but not those CLOGS!

    If Brenda can’t do it… then I’m over it.

    Posted on 11.24.06 ·
  6. Denise wrote:

    Excellent podcast, I had no problems with the audio this week.

    I knit a Clapotis a while ago, in a dark blue acrylic, and I love it. You should definitely do one.

    Posted on 11.24.06 ·
  7. sarah wrote:

    I love the podcasts but… I haven’t listened to this one yet. Such strength of mind, to be able to delay listening to Franklin πŸ™‚ I’m working my way through your back catalogue while working on vector art maps and wishing I was knitting during the week or, if I’m lucky, spinning on Sunday. Listening to your thoughts while sitting in front of the computer and spinning my beginners’ inconsistent yarn will be one of my memories when I wear the hat I plan to knit from said inconsistent yarn.
    Thank you.

    ps. I haven’t knit Clapotis either. Yet.

    Posted on 11.24.06 ·
  8. Sara in WI wrote:

    Loved this week’s podcast! (It IS Friday….will you be doing another one for my Favorite Friday listening activity?) I, too, love the Clapotis and just about all of Kate Gilbert’s designs. I’m so happy that you and Tonya are comfortably settled in your newly refreshed abode. Knit and enjoy!
    Hugs from Wisconsin!

    Posted on 11.24.06 ·
  9. Hilda wrote:

    Hi Brenda,

    Loved this podcast, After feeling jealous helous jealous that you live in the UK, I am this time feeling very lucky to live in Hollywood, CA, where brown sheep is almost as readily available as Red Heart is across the country.
    Yes, I won’t dare try clogs just for the reason of fear of making matching sizes! Otherwise, I love felting and will try most anything else.
    Thanks for another excellent podcast and thanks to Amy as CreativeMomPodcast for recommending your blog to me last week, I’m readily catching up on old blogs all week long.

    Posted on 11.24.06 ·
  10. Megan wrote:

    Hey Brenda:

    I’m one of those odd people who have worked through all the back podcasts – yes, everyone of them! Just finished this morning. I love what you do and how you do it. SO enjoyable to listen to while knitting. My only request – more Franklin!

    Thanks from deepest darkest Texas.

    Posted on 11.24.06 ·
  11. Carol wrote:

    Hi Brenda

    Thank you for another great podcast.

    Carol in Michigan

    Posted on 11.24.06 ·
  12. Julia wrote:

    Another wonderful podcast, Brenda. These seem to come when I need them most. I wish that we could roll up a little Thanksgiving and mail it to you. There is something very comforting about tradition. I hope Wales brings you new traditions to enjoy.

    Happy Holidays!

    Posted on 11.25.06 ·
  13. may wrote:

    Hi Brenda,

    Wonderful podcast as always! I hope I’m just imagining it, but you sounded a little bogged down by the home improvement or holiday activities? Hope all is well! Thank you for your wonderful work.

    Posted on 11.25.06 ·
  14. kmkat wrote:

    I am in the midst of knitting my first pair of felted clogs. The soles are truly a PITA, requiring constant counting, but the uppers have a kind of rhythm, interrupted by only the occasional Row of Countng Hell. That said, it made me feel immensely better to hear you talk about the difficulty and having to frog all the way back to the beginning because you couldn’t find your place in the pattern. Me too.

    Love the podcast. Happy late November that isn’t really Thanksgiving.

    Posted on 11.25.06 ·
  15. siscat wrote:

    Hi Brenda, I do listen to your podcast!!!
    Happy Thanksgiving, wish I could send you a piece of mince meat pie via email.
    Love you,

    Posted on 11.25.06 ·
  16. Christy wrote:

    Thanks for sharing your Thanksgiving essay. Your Snow Day podcast from last year is my favorite episode. I just listened to it again this week.

    Thanks for sharing so much of yourself with us!

    Posted on 11.25.06 ·
  17. Marti wrote:

    I am SO glad to hear of your FT clog woes! As a non-lace, advanced novice knitter, I thought it was me. And I had sworn off ever trying lace or other more difficult things, because hey – I couldn’t even do these simple clog things!

    So know I know it’s NOT just me, and maybe there are other patterns out there that I can figure out a little more easily… perhaps (dare I say it?)… lace.

    Posted on 11.25.06 ·
  18. Thanks for the awesome show!! Be on the lookout for a package the next couple weeks. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for mentioning our podcast!!!

    Hugs and bunnies,


    Posted on 11.26.06 ·
  19. Erika wrote:

    Thanks for the Treesweater shout out, now I REALLY feel famous! πŸ˜€

    I listened with interest to the licensing discussion, by the way. I publish my blog under the CC Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 license, myself.

    Posted on 11.26.06 ·
  20. Joanna wrote:

    Another great podcast!

    If you need an excuse to knit another clapotis, try doing seed stitch on those not-dropped stockinette columns. I’m doing my third one this way now, and it’s looking great.

    Posted on 11.26.06 ·
  21. Maryjo wrote:

    Brenda — I am way behind on listening to your podcasts — still in September. But I had a quick chuckle when you said “let me know where you are” — I’m an American in Astana, Kazakhstan where it is already -15Celcius or so! I really enjoy your podcasts and still have the entire “Age of Innocence” on my IPod — your reading was wonderful! Right now I’m knitting some socks by Irie of IrieKnits podcast and loving the yarn — Blue Moon Fiber Arts. So … I’m quite a few time zones east of you! Maryjo

    Posted on 11.26.06 ·
  22. Sarah wrote:

    Am saving this for later as I’m a latecomer to the Cast On world – currently on Episode 6 and just really enjoying listening. Thank you so much for this great podcast, I’m learning so much. At current rate of listening to two episodes a day I’ll soon be caught up!

    Posted on 11.26.06 ·
  23. Wonderful show, Brenda. Your essay was lovely. I like the notion of all your Knit Sibs moving in to your life and home. I think you and Dave definitely chose the best caption. I thought it was terribly clever.

    Posted on 11.26.06 ·
  24. Katia wrote:

    I am so glad about the winner of the caption contest. I SO hoped that you choose the one you have chosen, it is just brilliant!

    To match the picture perfectely, the caption should come with a german translation, e.g.: “Hast du kalt, zieh’ einen Pullover an. Dafür sind sie da.”

    Posted on 11.27.06 ·
  25. Franklin wrote:

    Another lovely show, m’dear. Thank you for letting me be part of it.

    Listen, I know it’s way too late but I just came up with a caption for the doll photograph.

    “I’m afraid you’ve misunderstood, Madam. We asked if you might have any TIPS for foreign visitors.”

    Get it? Get it?


    Posted on 11.27.06 ·
  26. Kate A. wrote:

    I almost fell off my chair listening to you talk about the felted clogs – I had *just* gone through the little debate in my head about whether I could work on mine while I listened to your podcast, and decided of course that that would just mean I’d have to frog it all later, so I worked on a sock instead. I’m on my fifth or sixth Galeskas footwear pattern (two or three sets of clogs, I can’t even remember, plus two of the ballet slippers and one of the moccasins from her book, but they’re all designed in the same way and have the same soles). I had to frog the very first one I made countless times, but then I figured it out, and now I’m fine with it (though the boredom is likely to drive me out of my mind…hence the variation of ballet/moccasin/clog uppers). I can’t stand to be glued to a pattern either, and frankly refuse to do it. Knitting according to a pattern is not fun, and I knit because it’s fun, so why bother, you know? But before I gave up on that first clog, I realized it really is like lace — especially like the kind of lace that’s so complex on such thin needles that you can’t really see the pattern while you’re doing it, because that’s really the issue with the clog soles – it’s hard to see where the shaping is in all that garter stitch. So what do we do when we knit lace? We follow charts, first, not lines of instructions (writing lace instructions that way is, after all, now considered lunacy…why should it be okay for the clogs?). Second, we try to learn asap the rhythm of the shaping, and what each stitch shape looks like on the needle and in the fabric – YOs, decrs, etc – so we can tell where we are and where we need to be without constant reference to the chart. So, the way I finally got that first clog to work was to make a chart in excel that actually gave a visual of where the shaping should fall on each row. I’d love to send it to you, but – alas!! – it was lost forever when my laptop got stolen. )And yes, that chart was the most painful loss of all the unbacked-up documents that were there…) Anyway, even without the chart, I finally did that pattern so many times that I got a feel for it, and I haven’t made a mistake since the very first clog! – honestly! (Well, I might have made a few, but I always catch them right away, which in my mind doesn’t count as a mistake) Instead of say, “k1, M1, k26, M1, k1, M1, k26, M1, k1,” I read that as “add one stitch on each end and one either side of the center stitch (which is pinned). How easy is that? There are only two or three short rows in the whole pattern that just run right by the center stitch and therefore need to be counted, and those are between wraps, so I just knit along past the wrap for “a while” until it looks close, then count from the wrap (which is easy to find) and knit or tink the few stitches needed to make it right. Nothing can induce me to count every stitch as I make it. Once you think about it in terms of the shape you need and how to get there instead of those horrible insane lines of instructions, it really is an incredibly balanced, rational, and proportional pattern.

    I believe what I’m saying, in short, is to translate those standard instructions in your head using Elizabeth Zimmermann’s voice (and attitude!) and all of a sudden…it’s easy. πŸ™‚ Of course, I still can’t quite do it while listening to Cast-On – I get too involved and stop paying attention to the knitting at all! – but I can do it while watching re-runs of Sopranos no problem.

    Doesn’t make it any less *dull* the tenth time around, though. It’s a horrible irony that the thing I like best about that pattern – the sturdiest slipper sole in the world – is the same thing that makes me hate knitting it. Like it isn’t bad enough to have to knit the same thing twice, now you have to knit the same sole FOUR times??! Let me know if you come up with a way to make that easier…

    Posted on 11.28.06 ·
  27. Emily wrote:

    I LOVE your podcast. Living in Belgium I’m quite yarn deprived and even more deprived of fellow knitters, so podcasts make me feel like among friends! Yours is one of the first ones I started listening to!

    I think you mentionned having a hard time getting Cascade and Brown Sheep in the UK. Have you tried GetKnitted? They have both yarns in a lot of colours (if you don’t find a colour they’ll order it for you), and they are based in the UK. I love buying from them as it saves me the customs I would have to pay when ordering in the US! πŸ˜€

    Keep it going! πŸ˜€


    Posted on 11.30.06 ·
  28. Sue wrote:

    I just read on Wendy’s blog that she might have to shut Dame Candle Company down. I ordered from her and her candles are so wonderful, I really hope this doesn’t happen. She responded to my emails promptly and helped me select scents that I ended up loving. I want to encourage listeners to order from her and to let others know about her great candles. Her candles smell heavenly and are beautiful. We really need to support these handmade, small companies like hers and it would be a sad loss for hers to shut down. If you can, please help.

    Posted on 12.1.06 ·
  29. Ana wrote:

    Hi Brenda,

    I was searching for other podcasts to listen to (while waiting for the next cast-on, of course) and I stumbled on the Wiggly Wigglers podcast out of the UK. It’s a quite funny and informative podcast about organic gardening, fuzzy bee bums, and hedgehog dillemmas. Thought you might like it.


    Posted on 12.1.06 ·
  30. Rebecca wrote:

    I love knitting worsted weight socks, and they come out so nice and warm. Besides, they go fast.

    I bought yarn to make Clapotis the other week because I’ve been wanting to have one too.

    Fun podcast as always!

    Posted on 12.1.06 ·
  31. Thank you for making this podcast every week. There are so many others that have fallen by the wayside, it’s not even funny. I have picked up David from Sticks and Strings and his is just lovely. He gives many “props” to you and I agree: you deserve it.
    Thank you again,

    Posted on 12.1.06 ·
  32. Margaret D'Arcy wrote:

    Hi Just came across your great site. You made my day. Have finally finished a pair of those darn clogs which were ripped out many times. I’m relieved to know it wasn’t just senility setting in. The finished product was worth it … I think.

    Posted on 12.11.06 ·
  33. Bells wrote:

    Hey Brenda are you ok? It’s Saturday morning in Australia and there’s no new Cast On! Hope you’re not still sick!

    Posted on 12.15.06 ·
  34. thorn wrote:

    catching up on the podcasts… i’m in the home stretch…

    i just adore your comments about the fiber trends felted clogs.

    my own experience with them sounds much like yours. i’ve knitted exactly one pair — of the child’s clogs — and look forward to many more, in the sizes of everyone i like. they are easy. they are quick. and as you pretty much said: when you’re knittin’ ’em — that’s what you’re doing. and nothing else. no reading, no watching tv. no listening to *anything* at the same time. — no freaking *sips of tea*! gaaa!! because a clog project is exactly and only several uninterruptable hours of unitasking. yet this annoys me hardly at all, because i got lucky on my first itty bitty monochrome go. so i know what’s required; i’ll just turn off the phone and hope the house doesn’t catch fire until i’m done. if only our clog recipients had a *clue* what a labor of love these fuzzy little guys are. (think: “lose one and die! slowly!”)

    the thing is, ‘the things’ work out to the *last dang stitch*. i adore the pattern, and get a warm fuzzy feeling just thinking that i was able to give beverly galeskas some of my money for both the adult’s and the children’s pattern. finishing that first pair was *such* a rush! i look forward to re-living it sometime. when i have about 4 hours of empty-bladder time…

    Posted on 3.9.07 ·
  35. Jeri wrote:

    I knit clogs like Kate. It’s really not so bad after the first pair or ten.

    The secret is to mark that center stitch and use it as a reference.

    Posted on 3.13.07 ·

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