05 Nov 2010

Episode 94: Keeping the Faith

Walnuts in the dyepot. Yet more pumpkin on the stove. An enourmous box of Briar Rose Fiber has arrived and, not a moment too soon; a really wonderful new book has helped me learn to make the most of fabulous hand-dyed yarn. Also, I’m prowling the countryside, and thinking deep thoughts about land. Because “that’s the only thing that matters, Katie Scarlet.”

If you knit with hand-dyed yarn, and buy only one knitting book this year…

Now available for pre-order on Amazon. US | UK

If you live in the UK you can listen to my many opinions live, from 1:15 – 2:00pm on Friday, 12 Novermber, orhere, after the fact.

This week’s Audible pick is And Did Those Feet: Walking through 200 years of British and Irish History written by Charlie Conelly, narrated by David Thorpe.

I also mentioned Watching the English, by Kate Fox, the definitive work on that elusive quality known as “Englishness”.

Buy the book on Amazon US | UK

The lovely autumn leaf in the header is from Holiday Doodles, this month’s free font from Outside-the-Line.com. PS: You should totally use Yultide Doodles to make Christmas cards this year. Just saying.

William B Irvine writes about his modern day quest to become a Stoic here, and here and here.

His book is available on Amazon.US | UK.

Please let me see your shining face (or image of your choice) with a Globally Recognized Avatar.

KniTunes were provided by, used with the permission of and written by Billy Bragg.

  • Blake’s Jerusalem
  • I Keep Faith
  • A New England (performed by Kirsty MacColl)



  1. Patti wrote:

    This is a test to see if my knitting wombat gravatar worked.

    Of course, I loved the podcast. I, too, have a dream house that plays around in my brain and I wonder why, if we can design knitting, can’t we just build a house. Isn’t it just all a case of “measure twice, cut once”? I mean, I do that in quilting all the time.

    If my Gravatar works, this is a special design made for me which I just love to pieces. And if it doesn’t work, you can just pretend you see a knitting wombat…until I get it to work.

    Posted on 11.5.10 ·
  2. Sanya wrote:

    Thank you for another relaxed afternoon!

    Posted on 11.5.10 ·
  3. Felix wrote:

    I *LOVE* the Billy Bragg version of Jerusalem… and I am downloading the audio book ‘and did those feet’ right now on your reccommendation!

    I too love the land, and find it a major inspiration for knitting in particular.

    Posted on 11.5.10 ·
  4. Wyn Jones wrote:

    I haven’t listened yet, but the new episode is on the MP3. I spent the evening roasting pumpkins and seeds. And creating images on Gravatar. (My “Breast Cancer Fairy” costume, and my motorcycle.)

    I happened to be reading the hard cover of ‘Mr. Whicher” when you mentioned it last week. Now I have to go find the other books…

    Posted on 11.6.10 ·
  5. Brenda,
    You’ve inspired and encouraged me. I’ve even started my own podcast. Thank You for everything!

    Posted on 11.6.10 ·
  6. Mara wrote:

    Ok then is my gravatar working? I think it’s really clever how all these programs talk to each other – but a little scary as well.

    I know how you feel about not being able to dye at the moment. I’ve been itching to for a few weeks…. but there are just to many other projects I need to finish first 🙁

    Posted on 11.6.10 ·
  7. carolyn robbin wrote:

    I am SO glad you’re back. I completely understand your stance on the perfectionism thing and how it bogs us down and we end up frozen. My opinion to you is….just do it….you have the ability to soothe and inspire with your storytelling ability, your voice and your content. Even if you cut the music and just spoke for, say, 15 mins. a week, that would be WONDERFUL!!! Keep going! You are the goddess of poscasts, the founding mother!! I miss you!

    Posted on 11.6.10 ·
  8. kmkat wrote:

    Thanks for the link to the gravatar site. I have been wondering how people got their personal image on every comment on every blog — now I can be one of the kewl kids, too.

    Posted on 11.6.10 ·
  9. I grabbed WAtching the English from my public library…all the way out hre in San Francisco…cant wait to start reading it!

    Posted on 11.6.10 ·
  10. Dawna wrote:

    It is so great to have you back! I have missed you so! Can’t wait to find out how you’ll inspire me next.


    Posted on 11.6.10 ·
  11. Lydia wrote:

    I am so happy you are back. I have very much missed your wonderful podcast which I enjoy so much. I think I also love listening in part because even after 30 years of living over here in Western Australia I still long for my homeland – hiraeth – I understand this very well. So, listening to you talk about your experiences over there – walks, dyeing, Tintagel, Billy Bragg – is a special treat. Thank you Brenda and I am off to listen to ‘And Did Those Feet’. You might also like the ‘Caught By The River’ blog which has a great mix of books, music, fishing, 60’s magazines, and so on….

    Posted on 11.7.10 ·
  12. Devon wrote:

    My kitty just batted the computer as if to say, “This is in my way of getting on your lap!”

    I tried out the Gravar thing, but my picture might look too small. We’ll see how it goes.

    I love, as always, how honest you are in your podcast. And I love coming on walks in the woods with you. Thanks for another lovely podcast.

    Posted on 11.7.10 ·
  13. Irene wrote:

    Hello Brenda
    I checked Itunes, and my heart lifted to see that you had a new podcast. An hour to knit, and your podcast to listen to-What luck! I too enjoy your honest and poetic view of the world. I have my own home which I did not build, but you inspire me to make a difference in the view that is framed through the window. Thank you so much for helping me remember that so much is possible, with vision.

    Posted on 11.7.10 ·
  14. By the way, I am thrilled that you’re back and online again. I’ve been following you on twitter, hoping that you’d be back. While I did unsubscribe for a little while, it was only because my computer developed many multiple personalities and needed to be put down. I’ve always kept your episodes on my external hardrive.
    My husband listens, as I meantioned before, and encourages me to keep up the podcast and the knitting. I often wonder why he puts up with a bedroom filled with yarn, roving, needles and hooks, and a couple hundred books, mostly on knitting and recovery. Thanks again for everything you do.
    Louise B
    Worthington, MN

    Posted on 11.7.10 ·
  15. Robyn wrote:

    This is a test also to see if the gravatar works as well as to comment on your podcast this week.

    It seems interesting that we have such yearnings to go back to our roots – that of being in touch with the land and the wonderful bounty it provides us (including the desire to build). I know many folks like us and the core of the yearning remains the same – must be some kind of genetic imprint that time and culture has not erased. It has led me to seek out and learn all kinds of survival techniques including being able to grow and learn the process to feed and clothe myself and my family. Whenever someone comments about my being a renaissance woman (because I am accomplished in art, music, math, science, medicine, and textiles) I just respond with how I will be prepared to take to the hills and still survive no matter what happens. Hmmmmmmm another genetic imprint????

    Posted on 11.7.10 ·
  16. Thanks, Brenda. As always, enjoyed your wonderful words and outlooks on life and living. My undergraduate degree is in architecture and your section on keeping the faith hit home (pun intended)…and sounded really familiar to my own musings.

    FYI, sadly “And did These Feet” in not available to a US Audible audience…licencing stuff. Oh, well. Will have too look for it next time I get across the Atlantic…hope it is still in print when I do.

    Keep on filling our lives with your voice.

    Atlanta, GA USA

    Posted on 11.7.10 ·
  17. liza wrote:

    I rather enjoyed your piece about the landscape, future dreams and, yet, trying to enjoy the space for what it presently is. It is such fun when new spaces open up in what seems like a world we know so well. Also, I’m inspired to think about stoicism in an entirely new light. Marching off to look up Irvine’s book now. Thanks!

    Posted on 11.8.10 ·
  18. Mioshee wrote:

    Thanks for another great episode Brenda!

    Posted on 11.8.10 ·
  19. Cheryl S. wrote:

    Thanks for your wonderful podcast, Brenda! I’m so glad you’re back – I really missed listening to it.

    Posted on 11.8.10 ·
  20. Bells wrote:

    Thanks for the Billy/Kirsty fest on this week’s show Brenda. I really needed that. Jerusalem is as wonderful as ever. Haven’t played it for a long time. Great show!

    Posted on 11.8.10 ·
  21. Margie wrote:

    You must keep the faith! I too dreamed of building my own house. I dreamed and planed for years. The dream came true! I designed and built it, and you can too. Just keep looking for a way.

    Posted on 11.9.10 ·
  22. I’m so glad you like us best. Sarah

    Posted on 11.9.10 ·
  23. janice wrote:

    Brenda I’m so glad you are back – in whatever form you choose to present to usw. I am grateful that you share yourself, time and love of all things fibery. . My pod has been acting up and sometimes it’s plays a little fast than I would like – but not to miss an episode – I listen anyway, and in fact while I am out walking the dog the increased talking make us toddle a long a little faster! I just want you to know you sound great at any speed!

    Posted on 11.9.10 ·
  24. Eleanor (undeadgoat) wrote:

    And Did Those Feet is not only not available at my public or university libraries, according to WorldCat Harvard is the only place in the US that has one. Darn you, talking up books that aren’t available here! (I say this in the full knowledge that the problem is often the other way around for really important things like craft books, but I was so excited to read that book as soon as I possibly could!)

    P.S. Sorted by proximity to me: Harvard, Vancouver Public Library, National Library of Ireland. Because it’s so much easier for me to get a book from Dublin than from London?

    Posted on 11.9.10 ·
  25. SallyT wrote:

    Your podcast came at a very good time for me. I spent this past Sunday pining away about the dream house I may or may not ever build. The urge to create the perfect nest is very strong n me and I’m struggling to decide at what cost the dream should be fulfilled. I’m trying to maintain some balance so your thoughts on the subject were timely and greatly appreciated. I’m so glad you are back podcasting. I knew you always liked us best.

    I’ve got to get back to knitting. I have Thanksgiving as well as Christmas knitting to complete. The avatar will have to wait.

    Posted on 11.9.10 ·
  26. Nancy wrote:

    BBC radio programs are usually available to those of us living outside of the UK. It’s only the television iPlayer that is restricted to UK viewers. I’m looking forward to hearing you on the radio, and happy to hear you podcasting again!

    Posted on 11.9.10 ·
  27. Jean W wrote:

    I’m so glad to have you back in my life….thank you for the time you spend to bring ME so much pleasure. The sound of your voice, the way you speak about your craft(s), the fact that I feel more “normal” (?) insofar as I tend ALWAYS to look at a house and wonder what it would be like to live there and look at a storefront and ponder if it would meet my needs (should I ever “need” a storefront someday!).

    (Now, if I could just figure out how to add my Gravitar to this post…the one that I went and created….oy….)

    Posted on 11.10.10 ·
  28. Jean W wrote:

    WHOA!! It did it automatically….that is AMAZING!!

    Posted on 11.10.10 ·
  29. ansley wrote:

    An iphone app is all well and good, but what about the app for android?
    Thanks for another great cast & the info about the book!

    Posted on 11.10.10 ·
  30. Nadia wrote:

    Yay just found your podcast! I had heard about your podcast and happily I logged on to your podcasts on itunes and noticed that you had a few fresh podcasts. Right now I listen to them while at my desk, but I can’t wait to do so while curled up with a cup of tea and slice of cake and my knitting,

    thanks for a great podcast 🙂

    Posted on 11.10.10 ·
  31. Jude wrote:

    I’m so happy you are back!!! I’m not one to write comments to podcasters, but I am trying to stop lurking and send love to my favorites!! SO Love Love Love!! I’m still catching up on all your new episodes but so far I really like the new format. I don’t think you need some grand plan, I just love hearing your thoughts, opinions and your tales of knitting (and other) – both good and bad. I’m a faithful listener. And I’m glad you are all healed up. I have not listened to this exact episode yet. I’ll comment on it specifically after I’ve listened. Thanks for the wonderful work you do producing all your show!!

    Posted on 11.10.10 ·
  32. LoriAngela wrote:

    I guess I’m a stoic by your definition. I work in palliative care, so I guess I feel the taste of the loss of dreams. Casting on a sweater is an act of faith. I go next week to collect an unfinished one from a dear knitting “uncle” who didn’t make it to the cast off.

    Posted on 11.10.10 ·
  33. Kristi ~ ArtseA wrote:

    Can I say how thankful I am that your still podcasting!?… I am! I even have my mother hooked now to listening and knitting =) funny tho I started listening in 07′ … And I learned to knit last fall =) and listening today to the last two podcasts while knitting socks was wonderful today! I moved to the us virgin islands this week so needless to say I got distracted and behind on things… I can soooo identify with the house and land thoughts, funny thing is that I live on a boat. Which is awesome but I am a former land dweller who had her first set of dishes at 15yrs old and took a college course on interior decorating… Not very useful on a boat =)
    So anyway, I’m rambling. Thanks for podcasting, please know your appreciated.

    Posted on 11.11.10 ·
  34. Laritza wrote:

    Delighted to have you back. I listened to the three new episodes today. I heard when you said many people had unsubscribed over the Summer. Well…iTunes unsubscribed me and WOULD NOT let me subscribe again no matter what I did. I have the RSS in Google Reader and that is how I knew you had new podcasts on. ITunes v11 let me subscribe again with no problem. I wonder if that happened to other people. Over the Summer ITunes had several update releases and finally V11 came on. Just thought you would like to know that. Again, fun to have you back!

    Posted on 11.11.10 ·
  35. AnnDS wrote:

    Brenda! What an episode! I think it just became my favorite.

    As soon as you said “And Did Those Feet,” I thought, “I wonder if she knows where that phrase is from?” And then you mentioned the William Blake poem. And then you mentioned the song. And THEN you PLAYED ONLY MY FAVORITE VERSION OF THAT SONG! (next in line is the one they play in the background in “Chariots of Fire”). I don’t know why, but that song gets me in so many ways.

    Loved this episode. Love the goosebumpy-teary feeling I get any time I listen to a Billy Bragg song or, for that matter, the lovely voice of the greatly missed Kirsty MacColl. I’d never heard her version of “A New England,” only Billy’s.

    Thank you for such a wonderful ‘trip’ to your neighborhood.

    AnnDS (not on the right computer to put up a Gravatar, but I am AnnDS on Ravelry).

    Posted on 11.12.10 ·
  36. Helga - Stokesvegas wrote:

    Just added a gravatar so hopefully I did it right and it shows up here. The essays of William B Irvine really speak to me and I’m definitely going to read the book, thanks for sharing it with us. Love that you are back on a weekly basis 🙂

    Posted on 11.13.10 ·
  37. So loved this episode and am finding the shorter ones a lot easier to access and more intimate. When I started listening to this episode, I wondered where you were going with your rambles. Couldn’t believe the subject was so intune with what we are going through as a family at the moment – desperately trying to move, but waiting for all kinds of other people to enable us to access finance.
    Thanks for reminding me that to hold the dream is more important.
    So good to have you back… Shani

    Posted on 11.14.10 ·
  38. Felix wrote:

    I downloaded ‘And did those feet’ and have been really enjoying listening to it whilst knitting in the mornings!

    Posted on 11.18.10 ·
  39. I love that the podcasts just keep coming. Before I would see one appear in my iTunes and I’d save it for a day I needed an extra push to go out and exercise. Now I can enjoy them on my commute. I love it.

    There were so many tempting books mentioned that I felt like I was listening to Craftlit! Thanks for another great show.

    Posted on 11.19.10 ·
  40. Sam wrote:

    Testing the gravatar thing…

    Posted on 11.19.10 ·
  41. Sandy wrote:

    This is the first reference I’ve seen or heard to the Lorna Miser book, which I promptly ordered from Amazon. It arrived yesterday. Thank you, thank you! I’ve only thumbed through it as of yet, but I am really impressed with its scope. Lots to learn from this book!

    I am so enjoying your return to podcasting. Keep ’em coming!!!

    Posted on 11.19.10 ·
  42. geeksdoitbetter wrote:

    gravatar, activate!

    Posted on 11.19.10 ·
  43. Audrey wrote:

    It’s funny how sometimes things in life collide. I am a bit late listening to your podcasts and today, like you did in this episode, I walked my dog and contemplated my surroundings and dreamed of the dream country house my boyfriend and I will move to in two weeks while enjoying the cold air and bright sunshine. When I came home, I sat down with my iPod, the beautiful purple wool/llama scarf I am knitting and a cup of tea. I am having a pretty darn good Sunday so far. Thank you Brenda for sharing your mind and heart with us. The world is a better place because you knit in it 🙂

    Posted on 11.21.10 ·
  44. Annetta wrote:

    Just testing to see if the Gravatar works…

    And to let you know how disappointed I was to come home after Best Holiday in Years and I’d missed your radio appearance. But you are here on my Mac, so it’s not too bad, really.

    Have a wonderful day Brenda,


    Posted on 11.23.10 ·
  45. Aileen O wrote:

    I say hold on to your dream … you’re right, you never know what goals will materialize unless you hold/dream them =)

    Posted on 12.20.10 ·
  46. I’ve only just recently discovered your podcast and am working my way through all of them one by one on my work commute. Am really enjoying them and decided to comment on this episode because thanks to you, I heard about the Lorna Miser book which I got a copy of and lightbulbs are going off in my brain which is full of excitement about all the possibilities for finally doing something with my stash of variegated yarns that I can actually live with.

    Posted on 12.8.11 ·
  47. ConnieGail wrote:

    Oh Brenda, In 1995 Dave started our house that became and is our home. The saying “Fools build houses for wisemen to live in” IS SO TRUE. You are so wise by the time you finish a house without a Phd to start with. Dave had trouble even using a wooden toothpick after two years of building while we lived in the construction with 2 teenagers. By the way Dave has built a Yurt that I still have to make the felt for but it has a parachute for a cover that gives us a big green Mushroom for the Summer fairs. Love you dearly ConnieGail

    Posted on 1.5.12 ·

Comments are closed.