31 Dec 2007

Episode 59: Start as you mean to go on.

Dream a while with me, as we pause in the space just before the old year gives way to the new. This week on Cast On, contributing writer Becky Annison shares a Secret Life. What’s a Callenig? Heather Ordover, of the Craftlit Podcast delivers one, unawares. Many thanks to Heather’s husband, Andrew, for playing along.

I talked about these things:


I played KniTunes from these artists:

MariLwydSay it with skulls… This frightening thing is the Mari Lwyd, a Welsh custom used to bring good luck on New Years Eve.

Hamo Neys, Knitsibs! Tell me your dreams. What do you want to make happen in 2008?


  1. Nancy wrote:

    As I re-start episode 59 to take my second listen, I think about what I Start as I mean to go on…. What is/will be on my mind for 2008. Such like your “barn project” I too have a personal project that may seem unattainable but try as you will… I will as well. Brenda, we all listen to the very end and for some of us, we listen to the end more than once! Happy Hogmanay.

    Posted on 12.31.07 ·
  2. Gail wrote:

    Brenda, I can’t get over how you were recording as you walked around outside – how far you have come this year, healthwise!

    Posted on 1.1.08 ·
  3. Sonia wrote:

    I just clicked on your website, and was very happily suprised to see you have a new episode up. I thought all podcasters were taking a break! Thank you, thank you Brenda! Happy New Year to you and Tonia.


    Posted on 1.1.08 ·
  4. glittrgirl wrote:

    Your outside walking barn piece was fabulous, and you paint such vivid and pretty pictures with words. I wish you luck with your barn project. We all need one of those. I have started today, as I mean to go on in 2008. And thanks for having an English voice reading this week – it made for a nice change.

    Posted on 1.1.08 ·
  5. Jen Minnis wrote:

    hi Brenda,

    just a thought on the clogs… could you knit and felt a new sole for them… then just sew the new sole onto the bottoms as a second layer of thickness to help them last longer? not as thick and durable as the leather soles… but maybe a make do?

    Posted on 1.1.08 ·
  6. Samantha wrote:

    Just about to have roast beef and all the trimmings, then I’m going to sit down with a glass of something my knitting and Brenda…………what a wonderful start to 2008. Thank You

    Posted on 1.1.08 ·
  7. britta wrote:

    Brenda, what a lovely episode… such gorgeous music and I could just see your barn- how lovely.

    One of my friends and I have our little tradition of “holding dreams” for each other- we take turns telling our dreams, and the other honors those dreams. It is a deeply fulfilling and empowering act.

    Here’s to Cast-On, for making ringing in 2008 that much more special! Cheers!

    Posted on 1.1.08 ·
  8. love the podcast, just thought you would like to know that http://www.getknitted.com sell fiber trends slipper soles. Not sure if this is what you were looking for the felted clogs but worth a look.

    Posted on 1.1.08 ·
  9. Brenda,

    Thank you for another inspiring podcast. Still working up the courage to publically state my dreams for 2008 but thank you for the gentle push down the path!

    Posted on 1.2.08 ·
  10. Angie wrote:

    Thanks for taking me to your dream barn. I took you along with me for my first walk of the year and the first time I could manage the 5km block since an injury last February. Thanks for being there. I’m starting off on the right foot.

    Posted on 1.2.08 ·
  11. carla wrote:

    Thanks for another great episode. I recently discovered your podcast and have been endlessly impressed.

    Best of luck with your barn! I have a perfect picture in my mind, and it sounds like a lovely place to live.

    Posted on 1.2.08 ·
  12. Saving felted clogs is easy – take a wad of roving and a felting needle, make a darning egg out of wayward sponge, and using your needle, felt up the sole. It’s also how I fix holy socks.

    This is Ayala Talpai’s technique – from here: http://www.fiberfanatics.com/latest.html#darnsock – but *do* get yourself a felting needle… examples here: http://www.feltmaking.com/ as well as at her own site.

    Posted on 1.2.08 ·
  13. pam wrote:

    Regarding the felted clogs, my suggestion is to needle felt a patch for the hole(s) in the sole. I’ve seen this done successfully to patch holes worn in beloved socks when one lacks darning skills. You can do this endlessly as the clog soles get worn down. Since no one will see the soles when the clogs are being worn, the color of the wool used to felt the patch doesn’t matter so much.

    Good luck, Brenda! I’m looking forward to the next series!

    Posted on 1.2.08 ·
  14. J wrote:

    I have been dreaming about the perfect home for decades.
    I have never been able to move into them either.
    But I also get to knit in my sleep.
    What does it mean? πŸ™‚
    I really appreciate your podcast!

    Posted on 1.2.08 ·
  15. Wow. Brenda, please go after your dream. I am one who sits on my dreams year after year, because I am so sure they cannot happen.

    You know what MY dream is? How geeky is THIS going to sound?? I do websites for people but I feel “old” and “rusty” as I only do HTML and CSS. That won’t do, in today’s world, as you know. PHP scares me but I realized this weekend that I really MUST learn. I also want to be able to get my sites and blog to do things that I can only imagine now. So, along with doing things such as taking better care of myself, I am going to learn PHP and how it relates to WordPress. (No I’m not pitching myself for your web project. But boy, wouldn’t it be great if I knew enough to be able to try.) I’ll be looking for courses this week and hope to start soon. I’ll let you know how I make out, if you’re interested in knowing.

    Posted on 1.2.08 ·
  16. Toni wrote:

    Thank you, Brenda.

    Posted on 1.2.08 ·
  17. robin wrote:

    I just fininished listening to your latest podcast, thank you. It took me back down through memory lane. As a child I loved exploring old barns around our home and dreaming about how to live in them. As I grew up and married my husband of 25 years we have had the joy of living in many different homes in different states. I loved each home but there was usualy one thing missing that would have truely made that particular home our dream home. Then one day in 2005 we stumbled up the mountain and found a home for sale. It was empty and so we walked around to the back of the house, the stunning view was breath taking. As we looked down over the mountain valley and across the lake, we both looked at each other and knew that we could never afford such a home with this type of view. ( we had look at others before) But to our amazment as we talked to the realtor the home was within our reach. Without going into all the details one month later we moved in. As we began living in our new home I was reminded of all the other little things that were missing in our other homes that this home had. To celebrate this realization we bought a sign that is in the window over looking the wonderful view that we fell in love with at the start. The sign reads “Fairytales do come true”
    I wish you success with your fairytale

    Posted on 1.2.08 ·
  18. Liz wrote:

    Hi Brenda,

    I really enjoyed the OB (outside broadcast for non-Brits) in your New Year’s episode. I’d really like to knit some more sweaters this year so in the spirit of starting as I mean to go on I’ve been knitting on the front of my stranded knitting sweater in Kid Classic and Cracksilk Haze (with beads!). I’m always pleasantly suprised when I pick it up at how quickly the colourwork flies along so thank you for the encouragement to get started again.

    Happy New Year

    Liz x

    Posted on 1.3.08 ·
  19. Sharah wrote:

    Dreams for 2008: (are plans dreams?)
    graduate from college
    find job (telecommuting)
    Get married to my fiance (of 7 years)
    go over the road with him, and work from his truck! (Lots of time for knitting too; of course)

    Thanks for asking me to share πŸ™‚

    Posted on 1.3.08 ·
  20. teresa wrote:

    to have a baby

    Posted on 1.3.08 ·
  21. RuTemple wrote:

    While any sufficiently heavy leather scrap cut to size and a sewing awl will do for slipper soles, the idea of needle felting a patch is brilliant. (Hi, Jen!) Get it wet by hot, use a mild detergent/soap (Dawn works great), and pat-pat-pat till you’ve got a sort of skin going, and then rub the dickens out of it, and moonch about with your felting needle(s) to inter-felt the fibers. Viola Voila! as Walt Kelly once wrote.

    Last episode, after I picked myself up from laughing at the out-take, I was tempted to send a note, teasing that “One-Take Dayne said the F-word! On the episode with her Paaarents on it!” but instead, I wrote you a new verse to Lou and Peter Barryman’s tune, “A Chat With Your Mother” The rest of the lyrics are here: http://members.aol.com/berrymanp/alyrics/fword.html, if you don’t have the music you’ll have to imagine the accordion tremulo and descending minor third at the end. On a dare, I’ll record it for you. Sans accordion.

    There are Guitar-playing chubby guys who podcast from their bathtubs
    There are bloggers who put up with sheep but never see their wool
    There are weavers in Alaska and scotch-swilling vegan Nomads
    It’s from them that I’d expect to hear the F-Word, Not from YouuuuUUU–


    We sit down to have a chat
    It’s F-word this and F-word that
    I can’t control how you young people talk to one another
    But I don’t want to hear you use that F-word with your mother !

    Thank you so much for the walk down past Your barn in this episode. I can just hear how much you love this place; I hope it works out for you to have the loving care of it. I had to haul out a map, to begin to get your description; that watery-horizon looks out across to Cornwall, how cool is that?

    There are folks who dance out the Mari Llwd in Minnesota, whether there’s been a Welsh person in the ritual dance / mumming community I don’t know, or whether it’s been adopted as a neighboring tradition along with the winter tradition of Welsh border morris, I couldn’t tell you. Your description is exactly the effect mummers go for – Gah! how strange, and yet how beautiful. How wonderful to hear the rhyming contest happens in Welsh. My other heritage-side (Swedish) does something similar, and calls it Julebukking, and yes, that came over to the New World a couple of generations back, too.

    Here’s to a prosperous, healthy, rich in loved-ones new year!

    Posted on 1.4.08 ·
  22. susan lowell wrote:

    A masterful podcast! Perhaps your very best! Loved the lesson of the barn. It was as if I could sense the humidity of the air, you had me walking next to you around the barn. Sometimes we are gifted with something (barn view) that helps sends us on happy daydreams, but does not laden us with the realities of mortgage payments and hostile neighbor-brothers.

    Is that farm leased to the farmer by the local lord or does the farmer own it outright? Can it be owned outright? I’ve heard of Welsh lords owning vast tracts, renting them out, raising rents, etc. You would lose the sense of control if you had to lease the land. And that would make me forget the dreams in a hurry. I’d say maintain your interest, let your interest be known, be ready to accept the dream, but besure to read the fine print and ask others about the hidden costs/details of “ownership” of agricultural land. And be sure to invite me to your new barn-warming party!

    Your descriptions of Mari Llwd and other UK rituals were so much fun. I think there is still “First Footin’ ” going on in Washington State.

    Posted on 1.4.08 ·
  23. That was a lovely start to the new series. I want a picture of the barn (or the view of the sea from it). You painted a picture which had me wanting to buy it – that farmer could be inundated!

    Here’s a link re slipper soles (read the comments, too)


    I’ve put off making them, Brenda, because if you say they need quiet and are tricky, what hope have I got?

    Happy New Year to all of us.

    Posted on 1.4.08 ·
  24. Thanks for taking us on your walk! It was a nice way to “go out” while working on these socks… one of my resolutions. πŸ™‚ have my fingers crossed for your barn. I want to hear podcasts from that view!

    Posted on 1.4.08 ·
  25. This podcast I need to listen to again and again. Its inspiring. And it makes me want to pick up my pointy sticks.

    Posted on 1.5.08 ·
  26. Andrea wrote:

    Thank you so much for creating such a wonderful podcast. When I see Cast On in my blog reader I do a little whoo hoo dance! I was especially moved by your essay about the barn. I often dream about houses and just like you I am never living in them. I learned a relaxation technique many years ago about “building” a dream home in my mind while trying to relax. You think about the details of the house and it clears you mind and stops it from wandering. I alway thought this is why I often dream of houses but maybe there is more to it. Keep up the great work.

    Posted on 1.5.08 ·
  27. Laura wrote:

    Hi Brenda,

    Regarding the felted clogs, if you have trouble finding a ready-made leather sole, check a second-hand store for suede jackets. I bought one at my local Value Village for about $7 and had enough leather to sole at least 3 pairs of clogs. It worked beautifully! Thanks for the terrific podcast – I’ve just finished listening from the very beginning and now am a bit sad that I no longer have a stash of new Cast Ons in my ipod.

    Posted on 1.6.08 ·
  28. Janey wrote:

    Hi Brenda,

    This episode has inspired such feeling in me that for the first time I’m leaving you a comment. Your walk to the barn was so heartfelt, it was easy to picture what you were seeing and feel what you were feeling. We all have dreams, some for sharing, others not but I wish you every luck in pursueing yours!

    Regarding the felted clogs, I second the Get Knitted suggestion. I’ve also read somewhere that some people buy a really cheap pair of slippers and cut the soles off them so they can be stitched to the sole of your clogs. Just a suggestion but hope it helps!

    Looking forward to another year of Cast On!

    Posted on 1.6.08 ·
  29. Toni too wrote:

    Loved this episode, perhaps my favorite so far. You’re quite the word-painter, missy!

    Happy 2008.

    Posted on 1.7.08 ·
  30. Knit Nurse wrote:

    Dear Brenda

    thanks for a lovely, lovely episode. It inspired me to two decisions for 2008. The first was to contact all those people whose podcasts I enjoy and let them know I’m out here and I’m listening! I rarely give feedback on podcasts, even though I know from my daytime job of publishing that it is very important so that you don’t feel like you are operating in a vacuum! I have been listening for about a year, yours was the first knitting podcast I found, and I particularly enjoy the music that you choose, it is right down my alley!

    The second decision I took was to make a move towards going part-time at work, something I have been thinking of doing for a while. Now I think it is time to take the plunge and give myself a better work-life balance. There are so many non-work-related things I want to do that I never have time for, and I am now going to make time for myself.

    Incidentally, I have seen a similar custom to the Mari Lwyd being enacted in the west of Ireland, when ‘the Wren Boys’ process around local houses wearing masks, singing and demanding alcohol. It takes place on St Stephen’s day (boxing day) and relates to the fact that it used to be traditional to kill a wren on St Stephens Day and carry it round in a cage as part of the procession. The group I saw had a similarly ghoulish horse with a moving jaw that sang songs, I guess it must be related or a crossover of some kind!

    keep on casting on!

    Posted on 1.7.08 ·
  31. Libby wrote:

    Hi Brenda,
    I’m still catching up on your back catalogue of podcasts and was listening to number 30 yesterday where you talked about how it was an epiphany to discover the Widdershins pattern for Toe Up Socks. I love that there is no picking up stitches and the heel construction is so neat. And until yesterday I didn’t realise how lucky I was to have chosen this pattern for my first attempt at sock knitting. I thought I was being boring and unadventurous not trying any other construction but now I see I just struck oil first time, as it were.
    I love your podcast, it makes me listen to music I wouldn’t have tried on my own, it inspires me to become a better knitter and I love your geekiness. And it reminds me of family holidays from my childhood when you talk about Tenby and surroundings as we stayed there on several occasions.

    Thank you Brenda and Happy New Year!!


    Posted on 1.7.08 ·
  32. Julia wrote:

    Brenda, What a great podcast. I hope that you get that house. I have listened to every single episode (many twice), but until recently, the ‘vintage cast-ons’ were really my favorites. These last two podcasts have had the ring of those early ones, where you tell stories about your life, and just kind of “go.” I like all the cast-ons, but I really love these.

    Posted on 1.8.08 ·
  33. Michelle wrote:

    I received an ipod for Christmas & have already caught up on all the previous episodes of Cast On! My fears about halfway through the series have come true, and I am now experiencing withdrawals & desperately searching for another podcast that comes close to filling the Cast On void that now exists in my day! So far, no luck. This last episode was a wonderful listen. Thank you so much for the time & effort you put into this endeavor. It is brilliant and inspirational.

    I do miss the Chub Creek dude, though. Where’d he run off to?

    Posted on 1.8.08 ·
  34. Hope wrote:

    Thank you for a great podcast!

    Posted on 1.9.08 ·
  35. For the slippers, if yours have the “bumper” on them, I would knit and felt a new set of soles, and then get a shoe repairman to sew the old slippers on top of the new soles. The bumper should give him/her space to sew the two soles together. You could also probably get him/her to cut you some leather soles and sew them on as well at the same time.

    Posted on 1.9.08 ·
  36. Bibnbub wrote:

    My husband’s Nana introduced me to “first footing” when I met her. Her version however is that the person doing the first footing has to be a light haired female or a dark haired male, cant be a red head. Given Im the only non-red head in the family I have a very busy new years morning visiting all the in-laws homes and taking a little chocolate to each of them. It’s nice that she keeps the tradition going even though she’s now here in Australia.

    Posted on 1.10.08 ·
  37. Emma wrote:

    Hi Brenda,

    I wonder whether the bloke who has the barn would be more likely to sell it if he thought that by giving the cousin half the money for it would in some way make the cousin beholden or grateful to him. Therefore the bloke with the barn would have 1 up on the cousin. Or you could point out how this barn ties them together by selling it neither party would have hold on the other. Though IÒ€ℒm not sure what happens if it falls down. Just a thought.

    WhenÒ€ℒs the next podacst πŸ™‚


    Posted on 1.10.08 ·
  38. Mary wrote:

    Today I listened to my first “Cast On” podcast! WOW! It was so wonderful that I have to admit it moved me to tears…not once … but twice! I absolutely adored the music and your wonderful descriptive abilities on your walk.
    I loved the message you received for your “anniversary” I’m assuming of podcasting! As far as what I heard today,
    you truly deserve to be complimented many times over! I can’t wait to listen to past podcasts and look forward to more from your future…but how anything could top what I enjoyed today? I’m not sure but look forward with anticipation! On the “clog” front…. I’ve made two pairs and have given BOTH away with much love … and two grateful recipients…and the THIRD pair STILL sits on my needles from AT LEAST three years ago… haven’t frogged or even looked at them since I got discouraged and put them down…. perhaps by you I’ve been inspired to pick them up again!
    Thank you a THOUSAND times over for a truly lovely hour spent by me today!

    Posted on 1.11.08 ·
  39. Nancy R. wrote:

    Dear Brenda,

    Thank you so much for yet another wonderful episode. I have been a really BIG FAN of Cast On ever since I heard my very first one about a year ago.

    I so appreciate all the work that you put into each and every episode. Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart…

    Greetings from Portland, OR

    Posted on 1.11.08 ·
  40. Michele wrote:

    Hi Brenda- Last year I made felted clogs for most of my family 8 or nine pairs and most of us have holes now πŸ™ But I have found duct tape fixes it quite well and keeps everybody quiet until I have the desire to knit 9 more pairs.
    Love the show! peace

    Posted on 1.11.08 ·
  41. Monica wrote:

    I made felted clogs for my dad for Christmas and he absolutely LOVES them. He’s already requested another pair in a different colour. In terms of the leather sole, I’ve seen people use a rubber doormat cut into a clog shape and super-glued to the bottom. I used Rubber Paint (meant for tool handles) which solved the slip-issue but I think he’s wearing holes in them already.

    I wonder if you could cut off the dead bottom, knit and felt new bottoms and then do a sort of embroidery stitch and attach the two? It wouldn’t be seamless, like the original clog… but it would be an experiment.

    Thank you for EVERY episode you do! And I love the music you choose.

    Posted on 1.12.08 ·
  42. Kyle wrote:


    Many thanks for your thoughtful and thought provoking episodes. As unpleasant as it was sitting in a cramped plane I forgot about my uncomfortable surroundings listening to you while working on an alpaca shrug. Your descriptions of the walk to the barn painted a wonderful picture in episode 59. It took me back to September when we were exploring around the rural areas in the south of France near Carcasonne. I’ve spent 5 weeks in Europe over the last two years and I’ll say my dream out loud “I would like to relocate somewhere in Europe with my husband.: There! I said it!

    A bientot

    Posted on 1.12.08 ·
  43. Joni wrote:

    I have had yearnings for unavailable places. In my experience the desire itself has turned out to be a harmful distraction, much like envy, or sexual attraction to a married person, or the feeling that someone else is living “the life” I wanted for myself. I hope it goes better for you.

    Posted on 1.13.08 ·
  44. Kathy in MI wrote:

    I also enjoyed the barn walk. (This was my first podcast on my new MP3 player.)
    I am back for more! I especially liked the story about the yarn in the stash basket! Delightful!

    Posted on 1.14.08 ·
  45. Beautiful episode, Brenda. I could completely envision the barn. I don’t know if it means anything, but I have a good feeling for you this year. I think good things are going to happen for you (and you’re going to MAKE good things happen for you).

    Also, I don’t know about re-soling the felted clogs (I think Monica had a good thought about knitting and felting new soles and cutting off the old ones). But I did just write up a trio of techniques I use to prevent me from getting lost in the pattern, in case you find yourself needing to knit more of them. It really eased the frustration for me and allowed me to knit them without having to rip back, even in the midst of distractions.

    Can’t wait for your next episode!

    Posted on 1.15.08 ·
  46. Posted on 1.15.08 ·
  47. Dawn wrote:

    damn. i just realized that by listening to 9-10 episodes a day everyday i have hastened the point where i will have to wait weeks to hear another episode! crap. i’m on 47 now. i’m almost there. fan-tucking-fastic.

    Posted on 1.17.08 ·
  48. Thea wrote:

    Brenda, Cast-on was brilliant this time. Your essay about your dream barn was etherical and I am bound and determined to find such a dream for myself. Thanks for your inspiration.

    Wonderful to hear your voice….

    Posted on 1.18.08 ·
  49. CarolineF wrote:

    Hey Brenda I saw this on the cheezburger site and thought you’d like it.


    Posted on 1.18.08 ·
  50. Evelyn wrote:

    You do mean to go on, don’t you?

    Posted on 1.19.08 ·
  51. LeAnn wrote:

    Greetings from Tennessee, Brenda! I’ve been a listener for about a year and I absolutely love your work. You have a way of transporting me from my rush-hour traffic jam to beautiful places like Italy and a wonderful abandoned barn atop a hill in Wales. I had never heard the phrase “start as you mean to go on” but that has become a touchstone for me. Thanks for your beautiful work. God bless!

    Posted on 1.19.08 ·
  52. Spundraft wrote:

    Thank you for for taking the time to publish CastOn – I discovered your podcasts and the online knitting community 6 months ago having been a lapsed/embarrassed knitter for many years, and it’s changed my world. None of my friends knit (though a couple would now like to learn) and connecting with like-minded people has been so much fun. Your archive has provoked thought, created nostalgia (I went to university in Wales not that many years ago) and given me huge amounts of pleasure, and never fails to send me haring to the web page to look up a link you’ve mentioned or to check out a photo. Here’s to many more entertaining anecdotes in 2008

    Posted on 1.19.08 ·
  53. trish wrote:

    I’m new to your podcasts. How do I fast forward thru the music? I prefer listening to things having to do with knitting only. Including the music simply takes too much time.

    Posted on 1.19.08 ·
  54. Kimberli wrote:

    May this year bring you the barn of your dreams. Listening to your description of “your barn” and how you love it so resonated strongly. All my life I’ve longed for such a vista from a home high on a hill overlooking a view that just makes my heart sing. I could see in my mind’s eye what you see. What a dream home it will be…and it will be a reality for you one day.

    Living in California it’s hard to find that picturesque British langdscape but for a time I came close. For ten years we rented a tiny cottage in an area that had spots where I could climb high and almost think I was in England. Those were lovely times that seem to fill a tiny spot of my soul’s longing for misty mornings, rolling green hills and clear bright sunshine.

    Now we’ve move away from that lovely spot, to my “hometown” with my dear family nearby. While I miss my rambling walks at our old home, now I’ve replaced it with frequent gatherings of loved ones and watching my son grow and thrive surrounded by the love of many. Each day I try to make this new home somehow like my “dream” home in my mind’s eye. That comfy, cosy cottage in the country. For a few moments listening to you describe your dream barn – I was there.

    Thank you Brenda.

    Posted on 1.20.08 ·
  55. Deidre wrote:

    Hi Brenda, just finished listening to the latest podcast. I don’t think it could have come at a better time. Something it about it touched me very deeply which only leads me find what I must start on and I will go on. . . thanks for sharing your dreams with us.

    Posted on 1.20.08 ·
  56. Lise wrote:

    Just wanted to let you know that we plugged you in the most recent episode of ‘The Secret Frequency”.

    It’s a political podcast, but knitting came up and I just had to give you a mention.

    Posted on 1.22.08 ·
  57. Leanne wrote:

    This episode brought tears to my eyes. It was beautiful in every way and makes me wish that all of our dearest dreams come true…. that we make it so.

    Posted on 1.24.08 ·
  58. Carol wrote:

    Best podcast ever. Like Leanne, I also had tears in my eyes. I could see the barn and the stream through your voice. An the haunting rendition of Auld Lang Syne really put me over the edge. Thanks for a lovely show.

    Posted on 1.25.08 ·
  59. My goal is to finially figure out how to have a book of my knitting patterns published…

    Posted on 5.9.14 ·

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