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Episode 95: Tighty Aran Whities

by Brenda on November 11, 2010

In this episode, Granny Squares (my latest obsession) Granny Panties (should they be illegal?) and your grandmother’s knitting as Franklin Habit delivers advice from a poncho.

I’ll be discussing the Queen’s Facebook account, live, from 1:15 – 2:00pm on Friday, 12 Novermber. You can listen here, after the fact.

Knitted granny panties featured prominently in Project Runway’s Season 8 finale.

Then they showed up at Urban Outfitters.

Another attempt by the fashion industry to make grown women look ridiculous? Or Next Big (knitted) Thing?

The gay little autumn leaf in the header is from Holiday Doodles, this month’s free font from PS: You should totally use Yultide Doodles to make Christmas cards this year.

This week’s Audible recommendation is At Home: A Short History of Private Life, is written and read by Bill Bryson.

Check our Brother Amos at Space Cadet Creations; and maybe not the world’s longest scarf, but surely the grandest scaled scarf in all of North Wales.

I feasted on glorious images of (mostly) knitting at the oddly named Feitoamao Tumblr blog, where I discovered the video embedded above. I also found an amazing knitter of Icelandic sweaters, and conceptual artist Jarod Charzewski’s piece, Scarp – a Geology of North American Consumer Culture, and bookshelf porn. From there I stumbled upon a blog devoted to Granny Squares, and found a wonderful tutorial for a Granny Square I’d never seen before (which isn’t saying much, I’ve not seen that many), which further inspired me to learn more Granny Square crochet patterns. If you know of some beautiful ones, please share.

If you’re looking for a hard copy of last week’s Audible pick, it’s available from these Amazon sellers.

Special thanks to Franklin Habit, for his Advice from a Poncho.

KniTunes were provided by and used with the permission of:

1 MzTallulah November 11, 2010 at 7:09 pm

It’s not odd, it’s just “feito à mão”, Portuguese for “handmade” 🙂

2 Kelly November 11, 2010 at 7:21 pm

I was so pleasantly surprised to have an episode today. I researched my next project while listening. I did pause at 11 o’clock to remember my country’s fallen and veteran soldiers. I hope you are wearing your poppy today.

I think that Feitoamao probably means “made by hand” and my suspicion is that it might be Portuguese? But you probably already figured that out.

Sorry, no gravatar this time. I couldn’t decide on an image.

Lest we forget.

3 Sarah Jane November 11, 2010 at 7:25 pm

The Granny Panties look just like soakers for babies!!!! Surely that’s not what they are for!

4 Julie November 11, 2010 at 7:48 pm

I think it’s a fad alright!
Heaven help us!

5 Patti November 11, 2010 at 9:02 pm

I agree with Sarah Jane about the soakers comment. That design just deserves a huge *facepalm*!

I love Bill Bryson and haven’t read that title yet so I’ll be hunting it down shortly.

Also, today’s music selections were particularly lovely.

It’s a perfect day – windows are open to 70-something degree weather, listening to you and those songs, doing a bit of knitting. Now I think I’ll go to the park and feed the ducks…and knit…gloves, not underwear. Nope, not jumping on that crazy train.

6 Lee Bernstein November 12, 2010 at 12:23 am

Fun episode. I loved the poncho story.

7 Barb Thames November 12, 2010 at 4:36 pm

Hi Brenda, just wanted to say how much I’m enjoying having you back on the air (and testing out the gravatar).

8 erica November 12, 2010 at 7:17 pm

Those knitted tighty whiteys are WEIRD! The grey ones really do look like the models forgot to put their pants on & are walking around in their underwear, and the white ones do, indeed, look like Aran diapers. Strange….

9 erica November 12, 2010 at 7:34 pm

Extra comment to see if my gravatar is working….

10 erica November 12, 2010 at 7:36 pm

Grrr! NOW does it work?

11 Josie November 12, 2010 at 10:07 pm

omg you’re so rigtht about those Aran nappies! erk!!

Loved Franklin’s poncho story. Love all his stories and he’s got a lovely voice too! Why doesn’t the man have a podcast??

From Josie (who’s had a gravatar all along, natch)

12 Mara November 12, 2010 at 10:31 pm

Errrrrr ok in my not so humble opinion Tighty Aran Whities would definitely be worn…… along with a white coat in a padded room!

I mean why people why….. So many of us spend a lot of time trying to demonstrate that knitting isn’t all about those bright coloured ponchos and it’s a wonderful vibrant versatile craft, then things like this come along…..

Throws hands up in the air and heads off to find a friendly wall to bash my head against.

(p.s. I have no problem with the ponchos and don’t wish to offend any ponchos with my post….. There is a place for all apart from Tighty Aran Whities)

13 Wendy November 12, 2010 at 11:17 pm

Wow. If I hadn’t seen it for myself, I wouldn’t have believed it. Tighty Aran Whities indeed. Yikes.
Loved Franklin’s piece. It made me cry. And it made me miss my grandma. She crocheted, but before I was born. We had all kinds of things she had made but I never saw her doing any hand work. I don’t know why she stopped. And the song you played after his piece made me cry, too. 🙂

Wendy in CO

14 Kristi ~ ArtseA November 13, 2010 at 12:06 am

lol… Thank you for sharing the granny panties, way too funny. What was urban outfitters thinking!?…I really liked them before but I have suddenly lost some respect. Loved the poncho story, so true, without these so frequently made fun of items we would have lost something very special. I have been humbled by horridly colored acrylics. And I ask for your opinion, should I change my gravitar to something that shows my face more? Or does this reflect who I am enough? (pun intended) I’ve had it for a while, so I don’t care either way. What do ya think =)

15 Dianne November 13, 2010 at 12:49 am

Love the painting video….incredulous at the Aran panties!

16 Mel November 13, 2010 at 12:27 pm

I’ve had a gravatar for a few months now. I guess I never really pay much attention to when or where it shows up, though.

17 Elena. (theresmiling) November 13, 2010 at 2:54 pm

Brenda, it’s great to hear you again!

I love tumblr. My favourite tumblrs are:

18 Wanda November 13, 2010 at 4:15 pm

Am coming back to the podcast after a long absence. Checking in with my gravatar.

19 Kit Deepsky November 13, 2010 at 5:13 pm

Hi Brenda, I’m going through Cast-On in order; up to Episode 79! I’ve noticed that there’s a big jump in volume when you switch to a song or interview, which is a bit jarring after listening to your dulcet tones. Is there a way you can smooth out / regulate the audio volume through the show? (You may have done this already, as I believe these episodes are about 2 years old).

Love the show!

20 Megan Roberts November 13, 2010 at 9:25 pm

So glad to have reinstated my weekend ritual of listening to your podcast with a glass of wine and my knitting. 🙂 It’s so good for you to be back! Also let’s see if I can get an avatar thingy to work.

21 Cheekyredhead November 14, 2010 at 1:20 am

The Aran panties are just so wrong!

22 Geknitics November 14, 2010 at 2:44 am


I just wanted to thank you for the respite from the crazy that is my life this week thanks to too many deadlines at work. Listening to the podcast is like chatting with an old friend, and the tighty aran whities gave me a chuckle (though I agree they should be banned).


23 Devon November 14, 2010 at 4:15 am

I just love that I get to sit and knit and listen to your show at the end of the week.

I can’t imagine that the knitted diapers will catch on. I know I won’t be wearing them.

I enjoyed Franklin’s essay again. It has been a while since I last heard it. I am currently working through listening to your old shows. It is quite fun.

I don’t really understand tumblr. Maybe one day I’ll spend the time to figure it out. I love the bookshelf porn one. Just exquisite.

24 glittrgirl November 14, 2010 at 10:45 am

Hi Brenda

Great to hear you back!

Thanks for the new podcasts. They give me a great excuse to sit with a cup of tea and my knitting, to take a break and just knit and listen.


25 Lisa November 14, 2010 at 6:31 pm

Brenda, I couldn’t find you on the BBC program. 🙁 I didn’t have time to listen to the whole program, but I figured if you were on for 45 minutes, I could fast forward by bits and pieces and find you, but I couldn’t.

26 Emily H. November 14, 2010 at 6:42 pm

I present to you the greatest of all tumblrs:

Hungover Owls

Beautiful music this week!

27 Louise Benjamin November 14, 2010 at 9:56 pm

Granny panties, well, um er yeah… I now know what to knit for my former step-mother… It is the ultimate I dis-you gift…
Life is good, thanks for another great podcast!
Louise B
Worthington, MN

28 Diana KH November 14, 2010 at 10:35 pm

OK, the UA Aran grannies are awful. They really do look like diapers, especially in the back. I can;t imagine any designer ever thinking that cables on the bum of a grown person would ever be attractive. But, (heh) and I can’t believe I’m thinking this- but the Army of Knitters link someone posted above doesn’t look *too* bad. Like maybe if I had a pair of those, I could happily wear them under a long skirt in the early spring or late fall. That’s really the only instance I could think of where this type of garment would be useful.

And, I’m pretty sure that every time Franklin Habit appears on your show, my secret crush gets deeper. Love him.

29 CarolineF November 15, 2010 at 7:34 pm

OK I tried to do a gravatar – we’ll see if it takes!

I have seen those knitted – er – things before. Gotta search rosekimknits because she posted the original once. If I find it I’ll post back.

30 CarolineF November 15, 2010 at 7:42 pm

Found it. It was IN KNITTY. Yes.

And I think I fixed my gravatar?

31 Heather November 16, 2010 at 1:43 am

Just reading the comments about the Granny Whities, (haven’t listened to the show yet.)
My current collection features a pair of knitted shorts which are far from being “Granny”. If you have a nice bum and flat stomach they look very sexy, especially when teamed up with the matching stockings. If you have a saggy arse and beer belly do not attempt to wear them in public!!!
They are wonderfully warm and cozy under a dress – the perfect belly-warmers!
As with most new “fashion” items, the shorts are aimed at the young and the beautiful, who can wear just about anything and remain gorgeously hip. Not everyone who knits is middle-aged and chubby. There are plenty of knitting and crochet patterns already aimed at that demographic.
This comment is not aimed at anyone in particular, just a point of view from a fashion designer. We love to try new things to get us noticed and it seems with knitted shorts we did just that ;o)

Thanks Brenda – Love your podcast! Now I’m going to listen to this one.
Heather xxxx
P.S. Thanks very much to the person who left a comment with a link to my pattern – this one is now the most popular of the season ;o)

32 Marie November 16, 2010 at 4:17 pm

I just wanted to say that last year my little girl’s ballet classes were all wearing what I thought of as knitted short shorts over their leotards, which I actually thought was a good idea in the winter…

Not sure how I feel about wearing them as a grown up though…

33 Stephanie November 16, 2010 at 5:30 pm

Thank you so much for sharing the piece by Franklin Habit. It made me cry, just thinking of the incredibly bright turquoise and green crocheted afghan in my closet from my gran. Yes, it IS acrylic, and yes, it was made at my request in my teens. I think I’ll be washing and placing on my bed this evening…

34 Janice in GA November 16, 2010 at 9:47 pm

BTW, it was Douglas Adams who had the line about the deadlines, not PTerry.

35 Kelly November 17, 2010 at 1:10 am

I am so glad that you are back to podcasting regularly. I don’t care if its not a big production. I’m just so happy to be hearing your lovely voice, speaking about my favorite thing in the world on a more regular basis.

I subscribed to Audible after hearing your recommendation. I hadn’t even considered audiobooks up until that point. I absolutely love it, and continue to subscribe over a year later. There is something so decadent about being read to, isn’t there? I’m not sure where you get your audible recommendations or if you frequently get them from listeners but I have one for you. Its called “Its a Dirty Job” by Christopher Moore. Its narrated by Fisher Stevens and it is laugh out loud funny. I highly recommend this book. Thanks again for coming back. Can’t wait for the next episode.

36 Judith in Ottawa November 18, 2010 at 4:12 am

Just listened to this episode in the car this morning (Thank You!), and what do I spy this evening? This (with a swishing sarcastic VannaWhite wave of both hands):

Pink Paisley Granny Panties with bonus Polterwang!! I’m dying of, wait, it’s not envy…….

37 Knitterlisa November 18, 2010 at 5:14 am

I am so happy you’re back podcasting. I missed you. Thank you so much for sharing the Franklin Habit story again. I loved it!!

38 Darylynn November 18, 2010 at 11:28 am

My Favorite tumblr:
“Vintage pinups are the pinnacle of art. Robert Downey Jr is the pinnacle of sexy. It’s not rocket science.”

39 Krystofer November 19, 2010 at 12:43 am

those grannie panties are CRAZY…LOVE LOVE LOVE the closing song, and wanted to share this with you Miss Brenda…100 Single ladies take on Piccadilly Circus…

40 Krystofer November 19, 2010 at 12:44 am

forgot to put the link lol

41 Anonymous Knitter November 21, 2010 at 2:03 am

Those aran whities wouldn’t be bad if:
My arse was a size 0
My mind was a size 2
and my b**bs didn’t reach my knees.
Other than that it is a lovely piece of knitting.

42 Tina November 21, 2010 at 11:05 pm

Loved this episode Brenda! It’s so good to have you back 🙂

43 Anna November 22, 2010 at 1:25 am

Given that my own grandmother, the one who taught me to knit, passed away this year, Franklin’s essay was particularly poignant.

Thank you for another fun, well-produced podcast, Brenda. I love them. You rock.

44 Sam November 22, 2010 at 6:38 am

Gotta give the granny panties an, “ugh!” The aran version particularly reminds me of the woolly diaper covers I used on my babies years ago. 😉 A wonderful show – always a treat to hear you, and the addition of Franklin Habit is especially wonderful.

45 Magpie November 22, 2010 at 3:57 pm

Thank you so much for podcasting again! I’ve missed your voice and your adventures. 🙂 They totally look like diaper covers, but if you don’t wear them on the outside, it would definitely keep your bum warm… 🙂

Love Franklin, and love to hear his voice, thank you for having him on your podcast!

There was something else I wanted to say, but I got distracted by making a gravatar. 🙂

46 Connie November 22, 2010 at 10:27 pm

I am so with you on the designer underwear! I don’t get it. Every time someone on Project Runway pulled those out, there was loud wailing at my house. We are getting ready for Thanksgiving here, and it is snowing. Hope you are having a cozy week!

47 Carol November 22, 2010 at 11:52 pm

I enjoy your show! Here’s a tumblr of pretty things for you to look at:

48 Caelidh November 24, 2010 at 2:14 pm

They don’t look AS BAD as I envisioned! ( usually the granny panties I see go up to the belly button!)

and of course the models are skinny and pretty!!. They just look like short shorts to me….

Now.. to look like REAL granny panties.. knit some ugly monstrositys that go up to the belly button and bag around the butt!

49 Caelidh November 24, 2010 at 2:14 pm

Well I guess the 2nd pictures.. the white ones .. look more like goofy panties..

but again.. on supermodels.. sigh./ on me they would look atrocious!

50 Wendy McD November 24, 2010 at 6:22 pm

Without wanting to start a riot… with me as the hanged dummy… I have been searching for YEARS for just the right (very fine) silk to make me some tap type panties. I have cones and cones of stuff that just will not do. Wool blends are out, yet silk must needs be blended. So I pretty much stopped searching hoping that through the years something will click in my head and get me knitting. I’m a designer and there’s NO WAY they would be shaped like this! NO! Perhaps I should also tell you that I only wear rather full skirts ALL the time so there’s plenty of room for something like this on my person. Well like I said I hope I don’t start a riot but I think I’m the only one in FAVOR of the undergarment… just not designed like these I saw here… and SURELY never on the outside of my garments.

BRENDA (((HUGS))) soooooooo good to have you back ChickaBinga!

51 Jessica Powers November 24, 2010 at 10:37 pm

ahahahaha – adult soakers is all I can say! We saw a whole ensemble of baby cables: weird retro bra top, matching granny panties, and a cardigan to go over it all. The ad had the woman lounging in said outfit at a picnic…riiiiiiiight.

On another note: finally cottoned on that you’re from Portland, so no wonder you sound like a Seattle NPR radio person! Love it to pieces since it makes me feel at home to listen to the podcast down here in NZ. Keep up the fun work!

52 kim langley November 25, 2010 at 7:56 pm

Thanks for the podcasts and the great links. The tighty whities are simply strange, remind me of the soakers i used for the kids diapers.

I added a gavatar, hope it shows up.

53 Laura Sue November 27, 2010 at 12:23 am

Wow, Brenda Dayne, how good it is to have you back. And thank you for repeating the essay by Franklin Habit. As a woman over 50, I am one of the invisible population. We are so disregarded and considered so unimportant that when people make fun of us they don’t even consider the possibility that it might be wrong or in bad taste or insulting–or that it might hurt. “Not your grandma’s knitting” is considered funny and oh-so-hip. Young women trying to distance themselves from their elders, argue that knitting is SO cool–but would never consider that their elders who knit are. Nobody wants to be considered old. I’m not expressing this well, but I am so grateful to you and to Franklin who are respectful. Not just of older women, but of small towns, of the everyday, of that which gives real purpose to life, not just to that which has flashing lights. And do you know what? It is a very good thing to be old.

54 Glenda December 8, 2010 at 5:27 am

Oh my gosh. These are… Wow. There are no words. My head had envisioned something pretty awful and I thought I would never wear those but if given a choice between the horror in my head and the horror in those pictures, my head wins.

On a different note, great to have you podcasting again. I check my iTunes more often than I know you post looking for your next episode. I’m very glad that you’re healthy and that you’re back.

55 Leslie December 9, 2010 at 8:36 pm

Hi Brenda, I loved the episode. A few years ago I had an epiphany about Granny panties and I’ll share it. Our youngest daughter had just become a new Mum and my husband and I along with my parents traveled to be with her and her husband to lend a hand. It was Christmas so it was a particularly busy time of year. The health nurse quietly voiced her concerns that Crystal may have been over extending herself with so many house guests and was surprised when our daughter informed her we were the one’s keeping things running while she recuperated and tended to the new baby. As Mum and I folded yet another load of laundry ( I had forgotten the amounts of laundry a new baby inspires!) it suddenly dawned on me that my status in the world had changed.
“Mum, I said, ” do you realize now that no matter how sexy or plain my undies are- from now on they’ll be Granny Panties!” She looked at me and we both started to laugh and the men – once they had been told of the remark also joined in. So, in spite of the fact that I would never remotely consider wearing Aran granny panties, I am proud to say – that frilly or mundanely practical all my panties are Granny panties and I’m proud of it!

56 Leslie December 10, 2010 at 3:03 pm

I’m also checking to see if my Gravatar is working – anxiously awating the next installment of the podcast – knit on knitsib!

57 Kristi December 13, 2010 at 10:50 pm

Brenda, I wanted you to know of another knitting visual site other than fietaomoa it is It is one of my favorites.

58 Aileen O December 20, 2010 at 9:31 pm

Hmm … if I had the legs for it like I did in high school, I’d wear the slinky gray ones as short-shorts. As for the aran cable ones … you’re right, they look way too much like women’s diapers. Maybe they’re the new yoga wear?? LOL 😉

59 Fernie December 27, 2010 at 4:59 pm

Wow, when something looks that bad even on gorgeous models with perfect legs you know it can’t be good.

On a brighter (if bittersweet) note, thank you for the Franklin Habit story. It really resonated for me. I remember so well my grandmother proudly telling us that the afghans and sweaters she knitted and crocheted for us were acrylic and therefore machine washable. And how I’ve regretted that I didn’t fully appreciate her hard work and never asked her to teach me to knit, which she would have been so thrilled to do. Who knew that years after her passing I would pay someone in a LYS to teach me what has now become an obsession.

60 Linda January 2, 2011 at 12:13 am

Feitoamao oddly named? Well, since it means ‘made by hand’…perhaps not so much.

61 MelD January 30, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Now I have caught up with all 97 podcasts, I feel I can take part!
Nice to get to know you, Brenda 😉 hope you keep doing this for a long time, you are so enjoyable to listen to and have accompanied me a lot over the last 3mths or so (97 hours…!!!) – I could comment on so much but will wait till I meet you one day… knit on!

62 raquel February 13, 2011 at 7:00 am

quick note – feito a mao is Portuguese for made by hand.

love love love your podcast hope school doesn’t deter you from continuing your knitting. If you’re going to study design/architecture the techniques and process for knitting will certainly help and if you get to incorporate some ideas then goodonya! I wish I had the chance before taking design studios to do more knitting and now that I have I can totally apply it to the creative/inspiration aspect of architecture.

63 Meg White June 20, 2011 at 10:15 pm

Hi! I know I’m late to comment… will you still see it? I just had to suggest my favorite granny square designer. I’m making a lovely cardigan right now out of Robyn Chachula’s “Blueprint Crochet”. I swear, you’ll want to dress yourself in granny squares!
Thank you for all your work, Brenda. 🙂

64 Karen Wardell July 18, 2011 at 11:00 pm

Hi! Have listened to your podcasts forever and when you took a break awhile back, I started over….I listen while I exercise, while I sew and while I knit. Summer for me is time to do all of these things and relax since I am a 4th grader teacher the rest of the year (formerly an art teacher for k-8th graders, but alas, all money has been cut for the arts….)
I had to check online to see if you had a pic of the Aran grannies and there they were!!!!Yep, it’s a diaper look. Thoroughly enjoyed the piece about the poncho…yes I had a poncho that I CROCHETed myself when I was about 11….bright orange. My grandmother quilted….I am the first generation yarn artist….and I am loving it…it is my peace in my life. I love the outdoors and it’s hard to stay indoors here in California….
Love your work. Love that you are back. Looking forward to catching up.

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