23 Nov 2010

Episode 96: Simple Gifts

Homemade marmalade is a very good thing. Crashing a car, not so much. The most exciting part of my week involved solving the problem of too-tight double increases worked on the edge. And there was much rejoicing when I figured it out. In this episode I describe exactly how I did it.

Read all about amazing font designer, Rae Kaiser, of Outside the Line. I’m using some of Rae’s fonts this year to make my own rubber stamps for Christmas cards this year. There’s a great tutorial on this technique here.

This week’s Audible recommendation is a collection of short stories by Katherine Mansfield, called The Garden Party.

KniTunes were provided by and used with the permission of:



  1. Holly wrote:

    Thanks for another wonderful episode. For various reasons, I haven’t celebrated Thanksgiving with my family in over ten years. Instead, I celebrate it with a variable group of rag tag misfits like myself who love being part of a community and a chosen family. Still, I miss those seemingly perfect days years ago when mom’s mac and cheese was fighting for room in the oven with the stuffing, turkey, sweet potatoes, and green bean casserole while my cousins and I were fighting for room around the dining room table. My partner is British, and he started celebrating Thanksgiving when he moved to the states. This year we’re doing leg of lamb instead of turkey. Four years ago, our plane had landed in England on Thanksgiving day. His mother had very sweetly prepared a turkey and stuffing dinner for us, complete with cranberry relish, and I immediately felt at home – even 3,000 miles away. They are good people.

    Posted on 11.23.10 ·
  2. Gina wrote:

    I too love the feeling of Thanksgiving! I love how we pretty much eat all day, hang out and just relax with our family! Sometimes there are games and TV watching and maybe a nap. It just feels warm and cozy! I’m hoping desperately that the snow stays away just long enough tomorrow so we can make it out to see family!

    Posted on 11.23.10 ·
  3. Devon wrote:

    Thanks for another lovely podcast! I enjoyed how the Outside the Line ad didn’t really sound like an ad. I keep wanting to listen to all the books you recommend on Audible. One day I’ll be done with college and get a membership because it certainly is fun to listen to things while knitting.

    I really enjoyed the song by Kimo Watanabe. As a music major Aaron Copland’s work Appalachian Spring comes up a lot. The part of that piece where he arranges Simple Gifts is just stunning. It sounds so American.

    Posted on 11.23.10 ·
  4. What a lovely gift it was to get your great podcast on my birthday! I don’t know if you hear this enough, but did you know that you are just super? Because you really, really are. Thanks for coming to the microphone again, Brenda. It’s good to hear your voice.

    Posted on 11.24.10 ·
  5. Robyn wrote:

    Happy Thanksgiving Brenda! Loved the knitting lesson as I am also an artist using this media not just textiles. Here the worlds gently collided making a feast for the eyes, the ears and the imagination. As always I appreciate your efforts to continue podcasting. Just hearing your voice is like visiting with an old an dear friend.

    Posted on 11.24.10 ·
  6. Jenny wrote:

    That was a beautiful episode, Brenda! I’m so happy to be hearing you more often and this was exactly what I needed today, while I bake my pies for Thanksgiving tomorrow. I teared up more than once during this episode and it was lovely to hear the Snow Day essay again…one of my favorites. The music was outstanding too, as always. Hope you and Tonya have a blessed holiday season!

    Posted on 11.24.10 ·
  7. Rebekah wrote:

    I know exactly what you mean when you say that it just isn’t the same… I moved to England when I was 7 and 10 years later and we still haven’t ever had a ‘proper’ thanksgiving… we try, but because it isn’t a bank holiday, we don’t have the time to make the big meal and everything…

    Thanks again for putting out your wonderful podcast each week… it is something I look forward to… 😀

    Posted on 11.24.10 ·
  8. Josie wrote:

    I know what you mean about getting all excited about working out a new knitting technique and then not having anyone to share the excitement with! I was like that when I did the surprisingly stretchy cast off on the toe up socks (first ever pair and I’m wearing them now). I got so excited about it and had to post to facebook so my knitsibs could congratulate me because I just received blank stares from my family.

    Posted on 11.25.10 ·
  9. Lydia wrote:

    Another wonderful podcast which I very much enjoyed. I think you have some snow over there so stay warm – we are heading into a heatwave this week. Lovely music too.

    Posted on 11.26.10 ·
  10. Rebekkah wrote:

    Brenda, it was so nice to hear your Snow Day essay again. It brought me memories of where I was (physically, and in my life) 5 years ago, and it is a beautiful piece of writing.

    Your mention of how everything is quiet is so spot on. But I wanted to share that yesterday, after our meal, Alex and I went for a walk in our neighborhood with his family. It was of course very quiet, with the occasional child playing outside, no doubt banished from the kitchen by exasperated relatives who were putting last minute touches on the meal, or perhaps self-banished, after gobbling down their turkey, and in need a break from the grown-ups. But there was one house we passed, on an otherwise very quiet street, from which we heard the sounds of cheering and laughter. They erupted just as we were about to walk by, and I was so incredibly curious about what was happening inside. Did someone just announce an engagement or a pregnancy? Good-natured food fight? Grandma telling funny stories? I so want to know! I’m tempted to go back today, confess my inadvertent eavesdropping, and ask for the story.

    Posted on 11.26.10 ·
  11. I really enjoyed this epidsode. I found your essay touching even though I do not celebrate Thanks Giving owing to being English (or British depending on location).

    I really enjoying your podcasts. It is good that you are back.

    Posted on 11.27.10 ·
  12. Shar wrote:

    Brenda, thanks again for another great podcast. I loved listening to your snowy day podcast again. Thanksgiving for me is bitter sweet. What made Thanksgiving for me and my cousins was all the family we still had at that time. Everyone helping out and visiting – loving the closeness of family unity. Now sadly, the older members of the family have almost all died and I spend Thanksgiving with a couple of cousins from that group. Only one uncle is left out of 7 brothers and sisters. My uncle is now almost 90. Of the cousins, we consider ourselves middle aged now, although we are mostly all over 60, only a couple of us are still in touch. The oldest generation was what held us together. But even though most of the family has passed on, I still get to spend time with my friends and significant other – the family I’ve chosen. Thank you Brenda again, for the time you put into podcasting. I know it takes significant time to do so and we all really do appreciate it. I know for myself, I always so look forward to your podcasts. I don’t comment often, so have a happy, healthy holiday season. Hugs, Shar

    Posted on 11.28.10 ·
  13. Katherine wrote:

    I am so very glad you’re back–you feed my soul!

    Posted on 11.28.10 ·
  14. Louise B wrote:

    Thank You so much Brenda for another lovely podcast. I’ve been too busy to comment until now. I know how important comments and feedback are to a podcaster as well as to a blogger.
    We didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving here in Minnesota this year. With my fibro and my disabilities, a major meal or even trip to families made it impossible.
    Your “snow day” was comforting to me back when you first broadcast it, and even more so this year. I too have decided to keep my knitted and crocheted gifts to a minimum this year. Simply because of my disabilities.
    I’ll be heading to the dollar store instead. I’ll be giving out little momentos, not major things, to my family and friends.
    The one exception is to my father, who must be spoiled with knitted and crocheted goodness. He’s my chief supplier of yarn through his auctioning hobby. In fact the yarn stash has taken over the house!
    Thank You so much for continuing the podcast!
    Louise B
    Worthington, MN

    Posted on 11.29.10 ·
  15. Lynn wrote:

    Hi Brenda,
    Imagine my surprise to hear “Here with you” by Kimo Watanabe. Anyone growing up in Hawaii during the 70’s will instantly recognize the song (and know all the words) from Cecilio & Kapono’s 1977 album called “Night Music”. (Sorry, I had to stop the podcast to reminisce a little.)

    Yes, welcome back to the podcast! I missed you during your absence.

    Kaneohe, HI

    Posted on 12.1.10 ·
  16. Annetta wrote:

    Good evening Brenda,

    I’ve listened a few times to this now, and I enjoyed the revisit of Franklin Habit’s essay, as I am able to put his sentiments into practice at the moment. Thanks to a fairly major house renovation I’ve been going through what I’ve got ‘in storage for later’ and am catching up with decluttering and remembering where I’ve been for the last several years.

    When the dust settles (March? I hope!?) I look forward to experimenting with your knitting lesson.

    Have a wonderful week,


    Posted on 12.1.10 ·
  17. Felix wrote:

    I love that you reprised that Thanksgiving piece; I remember how much I loved it the first time around.

    Good luck with the massive knitting project you have on… it’s going to be amazing and I can’t wait to see the FO! x

    Posted on 12.1.10 ·
  18. I think I did something wrong when I tried to sign up for the avatar-thingy. But I’ll keep trying, since I agree it’s nice to get that personal image with the words.

    I loved that when you described your knitting conundrum I was able to follow it completely. As you started I thought there was no way it would make sense without a visual and sort of planned to space out for a couple minutes, but you explained it so clearly I was right with you (down to the big grin of accomplishment).

    It’s funny that you replayed the snowy Thanksgiving essay. I was thinking about it earlier in the week as I wrote about the stillness of major holidays and how that leads to activities like family walks. If you’d like to read what I wrote it’s at http://www.everonward.typepad.com, Nov. 26 The Thanksgiving Stroll.

    Posted on 12.3.10 ·
  19. Allyson wrote:

    I have just discovered your podcast (a bit of a johhny-come-lately, am I) and I just love it. I’m going back to listen to past episodes. A perfect way to spend my afternoon break. A cup of steaming hot tea, my latest project and a friend to knit with! Thank you!

    Posted on 12.9.10 ·
  20. Leslie wrote:

    Hi Brenda, love the podcast – I always get a kick out of Franklin’s readings. Thanksgiving has long since come and gone here in Canada and Christmas is literally around the corner. With all the horrible weather were hearing about in Europe I sure hope you and Tonya are safe and sound. Here’s to a wonderful New Year- Happy Christmas!

    Posted on 12.21.10 ·
  21. Leslie wrote:

    Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year- here’s to another wonderful year filled with your podcast and lots of knitting!

    Posted on 12.24.10 ·
  22. Beverly wrote:

    I have just discovered your podcast and Kimo Watanabe!!!! I’ve googled and tried to find his song titled “Here with You” but haven’t had any luck at all. Can you please tell me where I can purchase it?

    LOVE the podcast….will definitely be long time fan.

    P.S. Been listening to CraftLit for months…..adore Heather!!!!

    Posted on 12.28.10 ·
  23. Linda wrote:

    If my son was bummed that he wasn’t going to get knitwear he never wears, I’d know instantly: He’s re-gifting them!

    Posted on 1.2.11 ·
  24. Sandi wrote:

    I have recently begun listening to Cast On while I re-connect with my knitting skills. I love your voice, your views, your sense of humour and am extremely envious that you live in Wales! It has become the go-to playlist on my iPod, so i am slowly making my way through back podcasts. It’s wonderful!

    Posted on 1.3.11 ·

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