09 Dec 2011

Episode 106: Golden Seams

In this episode: My chocolate buzz; delight or detriment? Thanks for all the travel and teaching recommendations so far; please do keep them coming in. Breaking the fraternal rule of long-repeat sock yarn always only ever ends in tears or the mental health clinic. (Remember, don’t knit like I knit. I make mistakes, so you don’t have to.) I’m knitting Uzu as unironical pyjama socks; please tell me I’m not alone in the whole pyjama sock thing. The mysterious origins of the Sherman method revealed – rejoice with me! Mel also has a lovely tutorial, with pictures, that’s wonderfully easy to follow. My current hat (or “het”, in Received Pronunciation) project is Habitat, by Jared Flood, aka Brooklyn Tweed.

Lastly, but certainly not least, there is lots and lots of sock talk in this episode. What to do with worn out socks? Why not knit them with their later life in mind from the get go? Check out the Achilles Heal socks in the new knitty.com. Lots of ideas are still coming in so do check the shownotes from last week. You can read an article about Japanese golden ceramic seams here, as well as visit the V&A ceramics virtually.

Music by The Alice Project, Regifting for the Holidays, from the cd Girl on the Box.


  1. Syrenmuse wrote:

    I haven’t listened yet but I saw the show notes and wondered when you were going to make a Rav group so we could have knit-a-longs?

    Posted on 12.9.11 ·
  2. MelD wrote:

    Leather feet on socks make them into slippers and “save” the soles (and maybe our souls from having to reknit too often!!)… then they become “Hรผttenfinken” (hut slippers) ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Posted on 12.9.11 ·
  3. Mary wrote:

    Use for used-up socks: I saw a great one at my daughters’ girl scout troop meeting a few days ago. They cut off the toe and the leg, and filled a second, white (store-bought) sock with a middling amount of uncooked rice or dry beans – secured with an elastic band – then poured a slightly smaller amount of the rice in again – tied it off. This then became a “snowman” and the leg of the “pretty” sock became a sweather for the snowman, and the toe became it’s hat. They drew on faces, or used buttons, etc. Quick and fun and decorative!

    Then, the girls found they could use the discarded heels from the socks as elbow pads!

    Posted on 12.9.11 ·
  4. Liz R wrote:

    I don’t have much to say except hi! and I love love love your podcast!

    Posted on 12.11.11 ·
  5. One of the most moving art exhibits I saw this year was one about Korean pottery, at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. It involved broken pottery pieces, some mended with that gold method – some not mended but reimagined.

    The thing that drove the exhibition home to me was the comment about what the phrase “broken pottery” meant in Korean. It was used to signify non-conforming women. That’s how useless and beyond repair they felt us to be.

    My favorite piece was a sketch in pencil on mulberry paper, by Ha In Sun. I wasn’t expecting its profound beauty, nor the questions that it would ask.
    Repurposed pottery, not broken in any way. Of use, of honor, of joy and dignity.

    Like each and every one of of us nonconforming women.

    Posted on 12.11.11 ·
  6. Jane Adair wrote:

    Wow, thanks for mentioning me. I didn’t expect to be so touched by hearing you say my name.

    All this sock talk is making me want to knit socks. And I have just the yarn in my stash.

    Posted on 12.11.11 ·
  7. anneliz wrote:

    I loved the bit about received pronunciation – my grandmother, who was from the south of England always used to call my sister and I ‘gells’ rather than girls!
    The best example of RP is to be found in the movie ‘Brief Encounter’ in which RP is delivered at breakneck speed and the actor Celia Johnson wears a series of excellent hets.
    I will be wearing hets from now on too…

    Posted on 12.11.11 ·
  8. Andrea wrote:

    Golden seams!They’d be a wonderful addition to my life right now. I loved it.

    Posted on 12.11.11 ·
  9. Jane Adair wrote:

    Forgot to mention: great PB quote! Took me a moment to remember where that one was from. For others: from Princess Bride, Wesley says “Every night he’d say that. “Good night Wesley. Sleep well. I’ll most likely kill you in the morning.” watch the movie!!

    Posted on 12.12.11 ·
  10. celeritas2 wrote:

    I love the new format Brenda! Regular short podcasts are just perfect for me, as I have to listen closely to Cast On as I want catch every word and with a 1 year old finding a whole hour is a challenge.

    Wonderful episode, I love socks and feel a bit sad that so many podcasts focus on sweaters now which I struggle with so great to have some sock episodes.

    On darning / throwing away socks I must admit to having being horrified at the idea of throwing them away when a hole is worn. Sure throwing away a socks with multiple holes that is basically dead but only one, oh my! Maybe I don’t knit enough but I’d be sockless if I did that.

    I do have a bag of socks to darn but I will get there. I also wear through at the ball of the foot and have tried a neat method where you pick up sts in a square slightly larger than the size of the hole and stitches along the column and then at the top. You then knit from the first row of picked up sts, k2tog/p2tog-ing the sts along the columns then Kitchenering at the end. There’s a not very popular knitpicks video that taught me, its great http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIrjpOQZ6ds

    Another thought I had with regard to golden seams is what about doing a double knitted sole over the bit where the ball of your foot wears through or alternatively you could use a sport or dk weight socks yarn like Regia 6ply just on the sole or heel with the same size needles to create a dense fabric in the problem area. You could even use gold yarn to emphasise the golden seams idea!

    Posted on 12.12.11 ·
  11. Felix wrote:

    So beautiful to learn about the Japanese method for mending broken ceramics. I LOVE THAT! What a wonderful story.

    You might enjoy Tom of Holland’s wonderful blogging series, “visible mending” http://tomofholland.com/2011/11/26/vmp-special-edition-visible-mending-in-my-surroundings/

    …and the artist Celia Pym has done some gorgeous projects focussed around the idea of visible mending.

    The ceramics/golden seams is just lovely. Thanks for another quality Cast On audio presentation x

    Posted on 12.12.11 ·
  12. prairiepoet wrote:

    I loved the story about the mended ceramics and the golden seam. Cast on Gold!

    Posted on 12.13.11 ·
  13. Karen R wrote:

    Brenda! I never write (obviously not _never_, but…) however! I have been loving the short weekly podcasts and today’s listen just tickled me. I love the golden seams/mending theme that has been recurring because it strikes home so much for me. I have mixed feelings when I think of the fine line between “Oh, is it handknit?” and “Wow, that’s hand knit?” When it comes to darning socks (and I’ve had the dubious pleasure of having socks come back to me a year or so later with holes and the begged, “Please, can’t you fix it?”), I never have enough of the same yarn left over, so there’s always a patch of discrepancy that I sigh and consider a badge of honor.

    This line of inquiry, the “what to do with socks that have worn out their feet” line, is especially meaningful to me because my long-ago Knitting Olympics project (during which time I girded my loins and shyly wrote to ask if I could be on Team Wales, and The Brenda Dayne said yes!) was my first pair of socks and they are now worn out but the legs are still lovely. So now I will take your suggestions and ruminate…

    I nearly didn’t write, but you ended with a beloved quote. I was the Dread Pirate Roberts for Halloween this year!

    Posted on 12.13.11 ·
  14. teresa wrote:

    great show as usual! Thank you!

    Posted on 12.15.11 ·
  15. Leah wrote:

    Please won’t you please please please come to Corvallis, OR? Not so far from Portland! We have Fiber Nooks and Crannies plus a new LYS called Stash that sources lots of yarn and fibers from local producers and artists. I would LOVE a chance to meet you in person!!!

    Posted on 12.16.11 ·
  16. Bonny wrote:

    Another great podcast! Finding out about the ‘Golden Seams’ in pottery was a revelation. I remember all the broken dishes from my turn at washing dishes as a child. I grew up in Germany until we returned to Canada when I was 8. There is a saying in German: “Sherben bringen Glรผck!” that rough
    Y translates to: “Shards bring you Luck!” Wish I had known about the Golden Seams back then.

    Thanks for mentioning my tip about using cotton sock tos as painting rags ๐Ÿ™‚

    Have a wonderful Christmas!

    Posted on 12.19.11 ·
  17. Tahmi wrote:

    Glad to hear I’m not the only one who wears out her socks on the balls of her feet first! I can’t remember where I picked up this hint, but it has really worked for me. When you knit the bottom of your sock (I usually go from the toes to where the ball of the foot would end) use a k1, slip one – just like you’d do across the back of the heel of a sock to give it a little extra strength. This might not solve all your sock wear problems – but the only socks I’ve never had to darn are the ones where I remembered to knit in this trick! Hope your Christmas knitting is going well! ๐Ÿ™‚ (also – excellent quote from the Princess Bride!)

    Posted on 12.20.11 ·
  18. Kelly K wrote:

    I always match my socks to my jammies. Who wears blue socks with pink jammies? That’s just tacky… ๐Ÿ™‚

    Posted on 12.22.11 ·
  19. Ha ha! I’m a blubbering idiot. I think your show notes are switched/backwards for episodes 105 & 106. Ha ha… Cause I was reading through em & thinking “I don’t remember her saying that? But hmm, maybe I spaced out and focused on my socks I’m designing as I knit”, but alas I don’t think it was me. But now I realize that your looking to do classes not just visit people!!! Very cool! If you want to come to the east coast, my fav knitting store is “Seed Stitch Fine Yarns” in Salem, MA, There is a huge knitting crowd there and you’d definitely “sell out” there and pack the house! It has to be the most beautiful & well done store that I’ve ever seen.

    Posted on 12.25.11 ·
  20. Erin wrote:

    I love the Golden Seams ๐Ÿ™‚ very wabi sabi – and yes hand knit, well loved things are something to be proud of.

    Posted on 1.4.12 ·
  21. Judiuni wrote:

    I match my sleeping socks with my pyjamas. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Posted on 2.2.12 ·
  22. Karen wrote:

    Love the ‘cast, as always. Loved the Princess Bride reference – I am a slave to pop culture and you are speakin’ my language! Got a good chuckle out of that one.

    Posted on 2.7.12 ·
  23. Hi Brenda,

    old socks that are worn out in the feet… my thought is why not take advantage of your sewing skills – cut the foot off, steek up the back of the remaining “tube’ and voila! You’ll have a flat piece of beautiful knitting that can be pieced together with other similar sock panels and create a quilt top! – imagine a beautiful throw with this “patchwork” on the front – the back could be a nice thin cashmere fabric of some sort…

    an idea ๐Ÿ™‚

    hugs to you and your family!

    Posted on 2.10.12 ·
  24. Jennie Van Heuit wrote:

    I’m a year behind! Which is lovely, as I never have to wait to hear ‘new’ podcasts.

    I wore a hole in the heel of my first completed socks ever. Resolutely threw them in the trash–“I’ll just knit more!”–and then pulled them out again within the hour. Just can’t do it. Perhaps I’ll knit a patch and somehow weave it in. I know how to do traditional darning, but it doesn’t seem right for handknit socks. (Also, the hole is like 1″ square.)

    Posted on 12.21.12 ·

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