31 Dec 2008

Episode 72: The Alchemy of Pie

Thanks to my guest, Kim Werker, former editor of Interweave Crochet and founder of CrochetMe. Read the inspirational blog post that made me think,here.

Yarnmarket.com and The Knitters Guild Association have announced the launch of the 2009 Design Contest. This competition for knitters will award prizes in several categories, with the grand prize pattern winning a $1,000 gift certificate for Yarnmarket.com. Rules, information and entry forms are available in this pdf download.

If youโ€™ve ever wanted to participate in a group fiber arts project on a grand scale, 2009 is the year for you. The latest project from the International Fiber Collaborative is hoping to re-create a full-sized tree for display in April 2009 at Big Springs International Park in Huntsville, Alabama. Knit a leaf, get involved; youโ€™ll find all the information you need to participate at the International Fiber Collective.

How does knitting work to reduce stress? Find out, in the BBC program, All In The Mind.

Thank you for the music, knitsibs, and Happy New Year!

KniTunes were provided by and used with the permission of:

Additional music by All India Radio.


  1. Would a cowl or a smokering take up less yarn than a scarf? You could do one in the same lace pattern as on the seaman’s scarf (or similar) or one like the pieces of Jean’s lace you have saved. Something lofty and taking advantage of the quiviut, that her mom can still use and enjoy and remind her of Jean.

    Also, thank you for the interview with Kim. I’d mostly missed both her blog post and the Joss Whedon quest this summer, so it was nice to her both from her and you.

    Also also, there doesn’t seem to be a link to the Radio4 piece on knitting. Has it already been taken down?

    Posted on 12.31.08 ·
  2. Jenna in Richmond, Virginia wrote:

    “Hamo Neys” Brenda!

    May the year ahead be filled with joy!
    Kind regards and thanks for the new podcast!

    Posted on 1.1.09 ·
  3. Lynne wrote:

    Brenda, thank you for being with me as 2009 rolled into the Portland/Vancouver area. My husband’s snores from the recliner, heard over your wonderful voice.

    I would like to offer a couple of suggestions for the Quiviut yarn. First, leave it in the ball with a beautiful dpn or two stuck artfully into it. Keep it close so you can “pet” it when you feel the need. It represents the unformed possibilities of creativity. It is the anticipation of “what’s next”. It is the reflection on the legacy Jean passed to you. Since Jean’s mom isn’t a knitter, may I suggest this yarn means so very much more to you? Think about keeping it.

    If a project of some kind is a must, how about a free form knitted meditation? There is not enough yardage for a prayer shawl; however, you could put intentional love and memories of Jean into every stitch. Knit a particularly enticing lace pattern and prepare it as a window hanging. Let the light play through the voids of the lace.

    Heart hugs to you dear knit sib. I am a new media consultant/life coach/knitter. Contact me for sharing and exploring the possibilities.

    Posted on 1.1.09 ·
  4. Thanks for playing my song, Brenda! (what a cool blog you have here. I got lost in all the great images and design and writing.)

    Posted on 1.1.09 ·
  5. Barb wrote:

    Ask not what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive… then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
    -Howard Thurman

    ‘Nuff said. I think you posted the perfect podacst, at the perfect time. Thanks for the reminder (which we probably all need to hear…I know I do), and for so many years of great listening. Onward!

    Posted on 1.1.09 ·
  6. Robin wrote:

    How wonderful that you will be telling more stories. My all time favorite was the picture that you painted for me about the old barn at the end of the lane last year. I am looking forward to hopefully more of the same. Now for the project using quivit. What about a small lace doilie that could be mounted and framed. You could make the doilie as big or small as the yarn amount would allow and protecting it under glass would protect the exspensive precious yarn from future moth nibbling and such.

    Posted on 1.1.09 ·
  7. Joy Lang wrote:

    Thanks for the wonderful podcast as always.
    With the scarf yarn, I would try wristwarmers or use it with another wonderful yarn to compliment it.
    I love the last song, it is one of my favorites.

    Posted on 1.1.09 ·
  8. Joan wrote:

    Hi Brenda:) Happy New Year and all the best to you and your loved ones:)!
    In reading the above suggestions regarding the Quiviut yarn, I had already thought of the first one and was struck silent by the second. Being a knitter, the thought of a piece of yarn not living out its potential is difficult to contemplate. Perhaps leaving the yarn in a ball signifies in a sense where Jean is now. Who knows? I just know seeing a beautiful ball of yarn just sitting there would be too much for me, LOL – and from what you have said about her, too much for Jean, too:) Although again, I have to say, it’s a beautiful idea and one worth seriously considering.
    The smoke ring idea from the first poster was also the first idea I had, mostly because of the amount of yarn and the fact that there are many lovely free patterns on the net – elann.com being one place where there are at least two beautiful lace neck ring patterns. Ravelry, of course is another option. But again, would this be a good gift for Jean’s mother? I suspect the best thing it might be (and here again I side with the second poster) to make it for yourself – something beautiful, warm and valuable that you wear near your heart on a cold day to remind yourself of Jean.
    Whatever you decide to do, I hope it holds meaning for you and the recipient.
    Joan G in Ellicott City “Merlin” USA

    Posted on 1.1.09 ·
  9. Kate wrote:

    It’s an important reminder to all of us, that if we don’t take care of our own interests, no one else will do it! I’m delighted that cast on is still a part of your dream. I look forward to every episode, and will continue to do so through whatever twists you create. Happy New Year!

    Posted on 1.1.09 ·
  10. Barbara Sarnecka wrote:

    Hi Brenda, thanks for another great podcast. Just hearing your beautiful voice is such a pleasure! OK, two issues to cover: (1) What to do with the Quiviut yarn? I think make a lace handkercheif with it, for Jean’s mom. It could be any size from 6″ square to 2 feet or more– whatever you have yarn for. You could use the lace pattern that Jean used in her Quiviut scarf, that you had to frog. Or some other lace pattern that would mean something special to Jean or her mom. Lace is good because it’s mostly space, so a little yarn goes a long way. Hankies are good because they can be as big or small as you like. It doesn’t have to be functional, after all– no one is going to blow their nose on it. It’s a tribute, and a work of art. So that’s my two cents about the yarn. Next issue (2) Doing your own thing: Of course it’s the right thing to do, but also totally understandable that you have been pulled toward trying to please an audience. You’re caught between two basically opposing forces: Creativity and the need to make a regular income. Creativity is unpredictable, risky, constantly changing. That’s its appeal. Whereas a regular income is . . well, regular. Predictable. Secure. Unchanging. That’s ITS appeal. These things will never live together comfortably. You can appeal to a wider and wider base of listeners by making your content increasingly bland, predictable, and inoffensive, and make yourself miserable in the process– but you don’t want to be Disney, do you? Well, I don’t want you to be Disney, anyway. I like the surprises you spring on us. They challenges me and fuel my own creative process. Happy New Year and take care!

    Posted on 1.2.09 ·
  11. Karen S wrote:

    Is there enough yarn to make a beautiful lacy cowl? Or some lacy fingerless mitts (maybe long ones)? Such an object would probably be wonderful for your friend’s mother to receive, or for you to keep and remember her every time you wore it.
    Thank you for continuing, I love your podcast, and your new wonderful storytelling site!

    Posted on 1.2.09 ·
  12. Vera wrote:

    When I heard the about the Quiviut yarn, I thought about a cowl too.

    I’m one of those people who can’t directly relate to Kim Werker’s decision to leave Interweave Crochet. I’m naturally one of those “think inside the box” people, but I know when you are doing something that’s not what you are, it causes unhappiness, and you must embrace who you are–introvert, extrovert, creative, non-creative, whatever. It takes all kinds of people to make society work, and I wish Kim the best in her next endeavor.

    Keep on keeping on with Cast On as long as it keeps you creative and makes you happy. Do what you need to do. Your storytelling makes me happy.

    Posted on 1.2.09 ·
  13. Very moving story about the damage to Jean’s scarf and unraveling the precious yarn. Whatever you decide to do with the yarn, I encourage you to write something for Jean’s mother about how working with her daughter’s yarn and knitting taps into your feelings about and experiences with Jean. Words seem to be as important a craft medium to you.

    As for the yarn, your comment about framing Jean’s knitted lace panels made me think that a lace panel would also be good for the qiuviut. You could frame it as well, with your writing framed next to it. Or attaching the panel to a luxurious pillow would also have a nice effect.

    Now I’m off to listen to the rest of your show. Thanks as always for the great listening.

    Posted on 1.2.09 ·
  14. Doris wrote:

    Hello Brenda, I am a relatively new listener (about a month now) because I had no flatrate internet access and so had to think twice before I downloaded anything, even free pdfs were a problem most months. Now I have unlimited access and I am currently quite busy downloading your whole archive. I listened to episode 24 yesterday, so now I have a really difficult decision to make: episode 25 or the new one? Or both?? As a non-native, I was surprised by how effortlessly I understand everything you are saying. Your pronunciation is so clear and good, your voice so easy to listen to – and yes, the contents are really good, too. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Happy New Year from freezing Austria! Doris

    Posted on 1.2.09 ·
  15. Connie wrote:

    I really enjoyed this episode ( as I always do). Whatever you decide to do, I will listen.

    Posted on 1.2.09 ·
  16. Susan B. wrote:

    This was my first listen and I cannot come up with an adequate superlative for the quality and content of your podcast. I am so pleased you decided to continue, because in one podcast I became a faithful listener. Happy New Year to you and yours.

    Posted on 1.3.09 ·
  17. Denyse wrote:

    Happy New Year, Brenda and Tonia! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Loved the podcast! Do you have access to a loom of some sort? Perhaps a handwoven scarf would be a nice gift and make the most use of that precious ball. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Huggles & Love,

    Posted on 1.3.09 ·
  18. sally webster wrote:

    Hi Brenda tried to do the Audible thing from your sidebar link. Once you’ve been through the whole process it redirects you to the UK site and says you’ll have to begin again from scratch. There is still no free book offer on the UK site. Hoping you can help me. Thanks

    Posted on 1.3.09 ·
  19. Brenda! Thank GOD you’ve decided to podcast for YOU! THOSE were the best episodes. These last 2 episodes really sound like you are BACK. And therefore I’m back to being a listener. To be honest, I took a Brenda break for a while and it’s clear that these missed ones were the episodes you mention in THIS one – the ones where you were not true to you. I’m very glad you will tell stories. Make yourself happy first girl, the rest will flow.
    All the best for 2009. Alex

    Posted on 1.3.09 ·
  20. Oh! And as for Jean’s yarn? I think you should make something for yourself that will forever remind you of Jean. I imagine this is what she would also want you to do.

    Posted on 1.3.09 ·
  21. Carol wrote:

    How about knitting/felting some kind of pin that reflects something of Jean—like if she liked to garden it might be a flower but there are a lot of other options.

    Thought this was the best podcast ever! You gave us a lot to reflect upon.

    All the best in the new year. Carol

    Posted on 1.3.09 ·
  22. Eileen Duffy wrote:

    Happy New Year Brenda!
    Great episode, one of my favorites – although there is only one I didn’t like. I was addicted with Monster Hash! The pumpkin pie story was wonderful. I really think you have a novel inside kicking and screaming to get out!

    Jean’s yarn – This year the knitting group I frequent when in Montana decorated a small Christmas tree for a local charity that auctions them off at the annual Festival of the Trees. One of the members knitted the most wonderful little sweaters and socks for the tree – tiny ones, many embellished with beads. Several people have suggested that you keep the yarn – if you made a pair of wee and little socks you could keep one and send one on to Jean’s Mom.

    Although the cowl idea is good – are they really ever worn by non-knitters or their kin?

    Posted on 1.3.09 ·
  23. Hi Brenda,
    I just loved your description of the Chanel No 5, your mother’s scent, and all the memories it brought back. Just wonderful!
    Listening to your podcast, I had a horrible premonition that you were going to stop podcasting, having run out of steam, like Kim. You kept me in suspense till the end, but thank goodness, you are not leaving us!

    Just know that I will happily follow you wherever you take me, and I’m sure I speak for many listeners when I say that. I have loved every one of your podcasts, and I see no reason why that should change.
    Have a wonderful New Year!

    Posted on 1.3.09 ·
  24. Carole Byrne wrote:

    Dear Brenda, Thank you for your wonderful story about your mother and Chanel #5. It reminded me of similar events with my mother (a Chanel #5 lover) and father. What a lovely way to start the year.

    I am a knitter and a runner, and I have found that listening to knitting podcasts while I run makes that whole hour or half hour just more fund. I started listening to you podcasts last year when I was wintering in Arizona. I listened to them all summer running near the lake we live at in Alberta. I could probably tell you exactly where I was for each of your podcasts. they have made me laugh and made me cry. They have put a spring in my step and stopped me dead in my tracks. Thank you so much for sharing your life, thoughts and music.

    May you have a great 2009. I look forward to sharing the road with you (literally and spiritually).



    Posted on 1.4.09 ·
  25. Maura wrote:

    Hi Brenda,
    The idea of a lace bookmark came to mind. What about collecting photos of Jean along with other things (such as your writings) that express what she meant to you and making a book. The bookmark could be placed inside the book, as a gift for her mother. It’s soft and touchable. Also, a knit flower brooch could be interesting as well.

    Kind regards,

    Posted on 1.4.09 ·
  26. Sarah wrote:


    I was surprised that you couldn’t find British people willing to eat Pumpkin Pie – I’ve always wanted to try it but haven’t been able to because every recipe I come across requires the tinned stuff. How do you prepare your fresh pumpkin?


    Posted on 1.4.09 ·
  27. Barbro wrote:

    I think I had some problems with my keyboard. Here is a new one:

    You are so right (as always) about the effect of a theme. I always use some theme when I design things to knit. It can be a pattern for a person, European traditions in my way or something else. I am much more creative if I think that way before I start working with the pattern.

    I have listened to all of your podcasts and I love them, I do not mind that you make them in your own timetable. They helped me to win the Sock Knitting Pentathlon 2008. I was listening to podcast and knitting and I had a great time.



    Posted on 1.4.09 ·
  28. Dana wrote:

    Hi Brenda…isn’t that the irony of creative endeavors…people are attracted to them because they are so personal, and then the creativity becomes, for lack of a better word, tainted by the audience itself. Just remember that we were attracted to your podcast (and I’m a relatively new listener) by the way you pleased YOURSELF with your writing and ‘casting…and I hope the mojo will return!! Happy new year.

    Posted on 1.5.09 ·
  29. LittleWit wrote:

    Thanks again for another excellent podcast. I really enjoyed listening to Kim Werker’s explanation of how she works. It makes me wonder if I don’t fall into that category sometimes.

    Posted on 1.5.09 ·
  30. Helga wrote:

    Whatever you will do with the Quiviut: put it first for a few days into the freezer, than let it thaw for one or two days and than put it into the freezer again. If there are still moth eggs they will not be harmed by the first freezing roung but the thawing will put them into “spring feeling”, they will start to develop. The second round of freezing will then kill them.

    And Brenda, I LOVE your podcast!

    Posted on 1.6.09 ·
  31. beth wrote:

    another lovely podcast- i enjoy these so much!
    as for the special quivit – how about knitting a small drawstring bag. you can put something special in it-or she can. a beautiful luxurious gift.
    take care – and thanks for your podcasts!

    Posted on 1.6.09 ·
  32. beth wrote:
    Posted on 1.6.09 ·
  33. Sabine wrote:

    I don’t know whether anyone has suggested this yet, but taking into account that Quiviut is the softest ever fibre, I think it needs to be worn. It makes me crinch to think that nobody enjoys this unmatchable soft feeling. So here is my suggestion: What about some mitts or wrist warmers. They do not take up a lot of yarn, but will spread this exceptional experience of softness.

    Posted on 1.7.09 ·
  34. I noticed that Sabine says this is a yarn that should be worn, but if an artical of clothing isn’t possible, perhaps you could knit it into a square with a motif special to your friend. You could then frame the square as a piece of art.
    Best of Luck

    Posted on 1.7.09 ·
  35. Heather wrote:

    Hello Brenda,
    When I think of what would be meaningful to Jean’s mother, I feel it would be something that she made. Your idea of sending her the lovely scarf was a perfect idea, but the curses moths thwarted that. What of the lovely lace swatches you were going to frame? You could send those to Jean’s mother so she can remember and say, “my talented Jean knit those”. A ball of yarn — as gorgeous as we know it is — would not do the same. And Jean I’m sure, would love for you to enjoy the yarn, as one knitter to another.
    It is wonderful to hear that you are able to feel a little happiness through the sorrow in remembering your dear friend. I wish you much peace and continued healing.

    Posted on 1.7.09 ·
  36. Julie wrote:

    I second the previous poster’s idea that Jean’s mom might be more touched by something actually made by her daughter than something someone else made with her yarn. Keep the Quiviut and make a memory for you.

    My suggestion may be a bit obvious, but why not use it in a pair of Mrs. Beaton’s? Perhaps you could even use it in a couple pairs and send a pair back to the person who held Jean’s stash. It would be a little bit of you and a little of her for a great memory.

    Posted on 1.8.09 ·
  37. Kristy wrote:

    Hi Brenda,

    Thank you for your wonderful podcasts. They are a tremendous gift and inspiration. I was moved by your revelation that you need to please yourself as the storyteller this year. I am very much looking forward to the podcast that inspires you, instead of the one you think we, the listeners, want to hear. The former is always far more interesting.

    I also have an idea for Jean’s yarn. Is there enough yarn for just the lace portion of the seaman’s scarf? My dear aunt, who passed away this past spring, once knit me a seaman’s scarf with one yarn for the lace panels and another for the ribbing. It is lovely.

    Take care,
    Kristy in NM

    Posted on 1.8.09 ·
  38. I agree with the other readers that you should make something for you with the qiviut (cowl!) , As you said yourself, it’s a yarn only a knitter will understand. I think Jean would want you to keep it as a memory of her and the time you two spent on the scarf project. You can always send something else to her mom – maybe a bag made with one of Jean’s strap handles?

    On a personal note, I’m *very* pleased that you are standing up for your inner artist. Please, just do your thing. Your stories are flat-out terrific. We’re not going anywhere. ๐Ÿ™‚


    Posted on 1.8.09 ·
  39. Josie wrote:

    I was going to suggest a smoke ring as well, for you or her mother.

    Posted on 1.8.09 ·
  40. Sue wrote:

    Thank you so much for your honesty. I so enjoy your podcasts and super music selection, I’m looking forward to more. BTW the interview with Kim Werker really hit home…in a good way, thank you.
    Enjoy 2009

    Posted on 1.8.09 ·
  41. My first thought about a use for the qiviut is a smoke ring, the second is to use it in the inner ruffle for two pairs of Mrs Beatons… one for you, one for your friend’s mother. That way it’s next to your skin, warm, only requires a bit of yarn, and is there to touch you both. Plus it’s extra special, because it’s your pattern, right?

    Posted on 1.8.09 ·
  42. Oh… and I’m glad you found a way to have more joy in the podcast again. I had been missing that.

    Posted on 1.8.09 ·
  43. Karen wrote:

    My thoughts on the quiviut: knitters know the wonder of passing each inch of yarn through their hands to create knitting and what a marvel that can be. I would want to find some more quiviut that nearly matches (or contrasts!) the ball that Jean chose. Then you can knit the project that she designed for the yarn, using the yards that passed through her very hands for one of the lace panels that can be folded near the heart. I think it’s an especially lovely gift for her mother and so meaningful that that it come through you, her knitting pupil. There are many great suggestions. I’m sure that whatever you decide will be perfect.

    Posted on 1.8.09 ·
  44. Why don’t you use Jean’s yarn to make a hat for her mother? If there’s enough leftover, you can make one for yourself, as well. Then you’ll both have a physical reminder of her.

    Posted on 1.9.09 ·
  45. Magpie wrote:

    I don’t have any suggestions for Jean’s quivit, but I like the ideas of leaving it in a ball to pet, and also adding more yarn and using that as a panel.

    Thank you for your podcast. I eagerly await each one, and make my husband and daughter leave me alone while I listen.

    Differences between tinned and fresh pumpkin… I live in North Carolina, so have access to both, but it depends on what kind of fresh pumpkin you can get, and how it’s prepared. I agree that doing the fairly thin slices and baking is the best way to go for fresh, as you get a slightly nutty flavor and a dryer product than just halving the pumpkin. I think fresh tastes better. It’s definitely sweeter, and somehow tastes more real, even if it usually gives a more pallid product than Libby’s. Pumpkin pie is one of my favorites, and when pumpkins are in season, I cook up extra flesh and put it in the freezer for later use. Even though I can get tinned, I like my “put up” kind better, even if I don’t grow them myself.

    Posted on 1.9.09 ·
  46. Ginni wrote:

    I love your podcasts and this one especially was meant for me. I also am leaving a job that I loved yet, which I have recently felt less than inspired by, a loss of creative self. I am on the road to discovering what this new self will create, and I am going to enjoy the journey, the process instead of looking for the ultimate “job” or way to make money. I’ll survive, I always do. It’s all about being happy in the process and I am so excited to be in it. Your podcast made me laugh and cry. Thanks for sharing such deep sentiments. You ARE a GREAT story teller. Live your gifts and thanks for sharing them with us.

    Posted on 1.9.09 ·
  47. I vote with all the other folks who have mentioned a cowl for the qiviut. I just about cried when you mentioned the moth damage on such a lovely item knit by your late mentor. I think, based on the description, that you may have enough yardage for a cowl that keeps to the spirit of the original garment, yet allows you to experience the wonder of knitting with such an amazing and rare fiber. Would that I had the opportunity to do so!

    I also am glad that you’re taking the podcast back in a direction that suits you best. If you still need readers, please email me – I never heard back re: my sample, but am still willing to assist should you need it.

    I also hope you’re fully recovered from your surgery of late last year and are looking forward to the return of the light and a wonderful 2009!

    Posted on 1.9.09 ·
  48. T2 wrote:

    The subject matter and mood of this podcast fit perfectly with the way my mind has been working (or at least ruminating) lately. Thank you. I look forward to seeing what directions you take us in 2009.

    Posted on 1.11.09 ·
  49. Natasha-in-Vancouver wrote:

    Offering another opinion on the quivit: you might try making two of something, one for yourself and one for Jean’s mum. Even though this will drastically reduce the already tiny amount of yarn, you need to have something for yourself as well as something for her mum. Most likely from Jean’s mum’s point of view, it won’t matter what you make; your thoughtfulness and effort to honour her daughter will make it special. As well, knowing that a special friend of her daughter’s has a matching item will give her some kinship in her memory.

    Fabulous podcast. You are so right – you ARE a storyteller above all else!

    Posted on 1.13.09 ·
  50. filambulle wrote:

    Hi Brenda!
    I loved this last podcast, and I am full of happy anticipation: the series of the muses is still close to my heart, and I was secretly hoping for something like that, I believe.
    Do you need inspiration?
    The senses of knitting
    Months; Colors, from dark to bright; Feelings
    Body parts (mmhh, not sure)

    I have read somewhere about the classification of all stories and plots in something like 20 categories. As it was in french, I will translate it to you if I find it. (and if you wish). ๐Ÿ˜€

    Keep telling me stories, please. I love that!
    xo from Switzerland

    Posted on 1.13.09 ·
  51. SusieQ wrote:

    Brenda, I am so happy you have decided keep doing Caston. I came to listening to Podcasts about a year ago (never knew they existed before that). Since I am a knitter I looked for knitting podcasts and found yours – I loved it and download all of them. Started listening to them in order, one a day. Was caught up when you started having your medical problems, so missed the weekly podcasts but certainly understood the reason why you couldn’t continue. I have no idea of how podcasting works (that is the expense involved and how it is covered) but being a person with a progressive disease in which I get out less and less I really enjoy listening to a variety of podcasts.
    I love it when you are a guest on QN doing the quizes. They are so funny sometimes I am laughing out loud along with you guys.
    So, just to let you know the work you put into Podcasting is appreciated and I am glad you have decided to continue. Susieq in California

    Posted on 1.14.09 ·
  52. vanessa wrote:

    Thank you Brenda for a brilliant show, I love the podcast keep it up! and Have a great year ahead
    your knitterly
    nessaknits xxx

    Posted on 1.15.09 ·
  53. Lee wrote:

    Thank you so much for this podcast. It came on a day when I was dealing with a few home truths about myself and my life. What a wonder to hear from both you and Kim that I am on the right road. And I am so glad you are going to continue to podcast. I love your voice and your stories and your honesty. I know you touch many people with every one.

    Posted on 1.15.09 ·
  54. Rae Kaiser wrote:

    Hi Brenda,
    Thank you for each and every one of your podcasts. Life is not easy for us creative people who live differently and support ourselves through our craft. As for how you feel about your podcast and continuing in a different vein whatever that is, I would like to say anytime we do a creative thing we must first do it for ourselves. And then if our vision is good or good enough and if you are true to yourself the money, listeners, sponsors etc do come. So plz keep on keeping on.

    And it is so much easier to live this way.


    Posted on 1.15.09 ·
  55. Liz T. wrote:

    Hi Brenda,

    Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the last podcast and to wish you a (belated) happy new year!

    Best wishes


    Posted on 1.16.09 ·
  56. Denise Klein wrote:

    I have been listening to you for what feels like forever. I feel as though we are such close friends. You sat with me during my husbands chemo and I listened to your stories while my grandson was being born. I share my ride on my horse with you and you encourage me to knit one more row when I must stay awake to hear the end of the podcast and knitting helps me do so. Thank you most of all for your stories. I lost my mom this past year and still have ‘things’ of hers that I ‘smell’. Your chanel story brought a tear to my eye.
    Your Jean made me think of my Jean and the knitting group of teachers held in my house weekly for years.
    Tell stories!! You are creative and brilliant and your words spin a story by knitting together words and the end result is …. A Thing of Beauty!

    Posted on 1.16.09 ·
  57. mklee wrote:

    hello brenda-

    i love your podcast!

    not related to knitting, but i thought that you might like this article since it mentions canned pumpkins:

    happy new year,

    Posted on 1.16.09 ·
  58. Kirsty wrote:

    Lovely episode, thank you. I played the bit about alchemy to my husband who made a decision today to give up an old dream in order to pursue a new career. He’s always been interested in alchemy, so hearing your words resonated strongly with him.

    And for some bizarre reason, the ABBA song at the end made me blub.

    Posted on 1.16.09 ·
  59. Cassandra wrote:

    Regarding your quivut: what if you wove with it? I recall that you had an Ashford knitters’ loom at some point. I don’t know what dent heddle that comes with, but you could double the quivut as necessary for a balanced tabby. As just weft, you would probably have enough for a scarf, and you could pair it with cashmere or silk warp. You could still send her mother a scarf, with a piece of you included as well. Also, it might be less painful to weave than to knit with it. I look forward to all your future storytelling efforts.

    Posted on 1.17.09 ·
  60. Hi Brenda!

    Thanks for another amazing episode… this one had me rushing off (okay, debating for a day, THEN rushing) to send Kim Werker an email with a proposition: hooping lessons in exchange for fibre-world-domination coaching. It was great to hear thoughts on life changingness – I’ve been working on it for the past few years, and slow progress is happening – and on making podcasting enjoyable – I’m planning to come back to recording ChristaKnits, and am working on content and format concepts that will bring me joy, and remove some of the editing work that didn’t. … and my mouth is watering for pumpkin pie!

    Posted on 1.17.09 ·
  61. Tracy wrote:

    Welcome back, Brenda! I love the sound of your voice so much that I would listen to you reading the milk carton, but it is the stories that make the podcast. I can’t wait to hear about the next theme (and I want to know more about the two guys and the dog…)

    Once again happy to be a subscriber.

    Posted on 1.19.09 ·
  62. carotrike wrote:

    Hi Brenda!
    I’m so glad you’re keeping the podcasts going! I live in beautiful Somerset and have only just discovered you! Love listening! At the moment I am catching up on all your past casts as well as doenloading the most recent.
    2008 wasn’t such a good year for me either, I lost a work colegue and a grandchild.
    Like you I am looking forward to 2009 with optimism and excitment.
    Keep up the great work

    Posted on 1.20.09 ·
  63. Cindy Petty wrote:

    I finally got a chance to listen to your last 2 podcasts today and, as usual, you made me laugh and you made me cry (my idea of a good podcast AND a good movie!).

    As you began describing your latest journey, I kept saying, “She can’t quit, she’s too good a storyteller!” Then you said the same thing. Yes, you ARE a storyteller — one of the best!

    I like the idea of themes….used them all of the time when I planned parties for hospital personnel! Your podcasts would be great in themes and go for what YOU want! Usually you’re on the mark with me, but if not, that’s okay, too. That’s why we people are all different!

    Well, need to run, but I wanted to let you know how important your podcast is in my life. Thank you so much!

    Cindy from Southern Indiana

    Posted on 1.20.09 ·
  64. Kristan wrote:

    My sister has been in Finland for two years and found her favorite food not available. Oddly enough, Finns don’t seem to stock chocolate chips, or refried beans. They also haven’t accepted our love of dryer sheets.

    As for Jean’s yarn… may I suggest you make a swatch from her pattern notes, just something big enough for a good sampling, then frame both the swatch and the notes? I am sure that her mother would be just as proud to have a bit of her daughters handwriting and a swatch of her patterning as she would to have something to wear. For the rest of the ball, if you don’t make an art piece for yourself, put it in a pretty glass apothecary jar, or even a canning jar, so that you may protect it from flying buggers and knots. You can then remove the lid occasionally for a pet and sniff. And please, whatever you do, label this precious yarn so your grandchildren don’t throw it away, thinking that granny has completly lost her marbles for saving it.


    Posted on 1.20.09 ·
  65. Sue wrote:


    Why not knit your friend’s scarf in the same lace pattern that she used? If you don’t have enough yarn to do that maybe knit a lace pattern swatch and frame it for her mother.

    Posted on 1.22.09 ·
  66. Hi Brenda,

    How lovely to hear your voice!

    I was sooo disappointed for you when Jean’s scarf did not happen. I was glad Jean got the maximum enjoyment out of the quiviut before she passed on. She petted it, she spent the glorious time knitting it and she actually got to wear it.

    I too have lost a friend recently. My good friend Kim died unexpectedly this past November, leaving her wide circle of friends gasping in grief and disbelief. The past few months have been very difficult for us all. Though, not nearly as bad as for her family, of course.
    My friend was not what one might call a knitter. She didn’t have the patience to do anything she called ‘fiddly’ work. She did however knit on special occasions, like the birth of her first grandchild. She felt it was her duty as grandmother to have something ready for the baby when it arrived and I was delighted and overjoyed to be the one to help her through the fiddly bits! It wasn’t unusual for me to get to the office only to have her knitting thrust in my face, needles and all, with the instruction to ‘fix it’! She produced a lovely little sweater for her granddaughter and then immediately started in on socks for her youngest daughter. Two years later I think she gave up on the first sock.
    When Kim became ill this Fall, I visited with her one day and she shared with me the progress on her project for her next grandchild, due in February. She had me ‘Fix It’ (it turned out to be a dropped stitch, no big deal) and we had a lovely visit. I saw my friend one more time after that at her daughter’s baby shower and a week later she was gone.
    After a lot of ” I shoulda, woulda, coulda’s”, grieving the time missed with my friend, I remembered the baby project. With trepidation I phoned the family home and spoke with her daughter who was pregnant with the second grandchild. They had come across their mother’s knitting (that she had hid from them in case she didn’t get it done by the time the baby came) and she had wondered who she could get to finish it. Yay! I hadn’t been sure she would want anyone to finish what her mom had started but I jumped right in and offered my services. She seemed very grateful.
    However eager I was to do this for my friend and her family, I couldn’t touch the knitting for months. I had my own Christmas knitting to finish and I had ’til the end of February after all! But it didn’t get done, I kept putting it off until one day I got strict with myself and created a whole afternoon to sit and concentrate on this item, no other knitting allowed until it was done. I realized as soon as I opened the bag containing the knitting what the problem was. It was fear. I personally have little fear when it comes to knitting, I can pick up the pointy sticks and cast on for any project, surf the web to learn new techniques and rip back rows with impunity. But this wasn’t MY knitting. This was the last remaining creative tie these people had with their dearly departed Mother and Wife. What if I messed it up?! The weight of the responsibility was crushingly enormous. No wonder I was doing the procrastination dance. Finally, I did persevere and got the little bunting bag done as well as the matching hat that goes with it.
    Listening to your pod cast this morning galvanized me into action and I wrapped and delivered it before I sat down to write my story. Thank you

    As for the Quiviut, this is recycling at its best. Jean would be very proud of you. It couldn’t have been easy to make the decision. I like the idea for a cowl or smoke ring, for yourself. If you have need for more yardage you could always use up some bits of leftover lace weight and make a truly unique combination, a piece that would always remind you of your friend. The yarn is no longer Jean’s work and not likely to have meaning for Jean’s Mom. I like the idea of the framed lace sample going to her Mom.

    Thanks for the podcasting. As for content… as long as it’s your voice and creative content of some sort, I’m happy.

    Your knit sib,

    Posted on 1.22.09 ·
  67. Kathleen in SF wrote:

    As usual, a moving, thought provoking, and beautiful podcast. I hope you know just how much your insights and honesty mean to us, your listeners. Amazing, thank you.

    Posted on 1.23.09 ·
  68. Shannon wrote:

    What a brilliant podcast, Brenda. Absolutely brilliant. It brought tears to my eyes and brought back memories of past holidays, past family gatherings, and times that will never come again. I loved Kim Werker’s comments on moving on, which were clearly excitement-laded, juxtaposed against your own nostalgia. Between the two of you, you illustrate all that’s great and scary about change. Man, Brenda, you completely rock!

    Posted on 1.23.09 ·
  69. Nicole wrote:

    Loved hearing about pumpkin pie, especially the cultural differences. Maybe “culture” could be one of your themes. Or “change”, like how knitting has changed, how you have been changed by knitting, how knitting can bring about change, how things have changed but aspects of knitting have not.

    Posted on 1.23.09 ·
  70. Valorie Brown wrote:

    Brenda — as for the yarn, I had a thought, but did not read through all 70 comments, so if someone else thought of this as well, please ignore (unfortunately I am a little behind in my listening). I think that if you had been able to give Jean’s mother the completed scarf, that would have been so very special, but since that was not possible, I don’t think that your knitting something out of Jean’s yarn is what you’re looking for. From what you have said, Jean would want you to enjoy the yarn — you understand the significance of it. So what if you DESIGN something for the yarn, name it after Jean, sell the pattern and donate the proceeds to a charity in Jean’s name, and send Jean’s mother a note explaining all of this. (I did read far enough to see that several people suggested a cowl/smoke ring, and I thought something along those lines would be lovely as well).

    That way, you are honoring Jean, giving her mother a part of her, and Jean has given you the yarn.

    Posted on 1.26.09 ·
  71. Rhiannon wrote:

    Happy New Year Brenda (albeit a little late)!
    I am always thankful when I see there is a new episode of Cast-on. It was nice to hear that you will be focusing on storytelling and themes in future episodes. Some of my favorite series of Cast-on were the series on the Muses and Cast-on goes to Camp. You are a fabulous storyteller and your podcasts are always assembled so beautifully. It truly is an art. I can’t wait to hear what is to come in 2009. Well wishes in the upcoming year and Happy Knitting.
    ~Rhiannon (aka. rae)

    Posted on 1.27.09 ·
  72. Ana wrote:

    Hi Brenda,

    I wanted to suggest a use for your quivut yarn. How about a knitted lace choker? I perfer them to smoke rings because they’re so cozy, and this yarn would definitely be soft enough.

    Posted on 1.27.09 ·
  73. I’m new to your podcasts and I savor them already. Thank you. I recently began teaching a non-art course at an art college… I did not consider myself to be an artist until I learned that one could major in knitting. After my first class with my new students I knew I was in a place that I belonged at last. My love of knitting has been stimulated again and your podcasts and website have been fulfilling. I especially wanted to share my thoughts on what to do with the Quiviut yarn. I would make a square or rectangle of a pattern that truly showed the beauty of the yarn, then use it as the front panel of a pillow that I would keep on my bed or near my favorite chair so that when I touched or looked upon it, warm memories of my friend would arise and for a moment she’d be there with me. ( For me, it is a book that reminds me of my dearest friend who lives too far away. Even if it is only on the shelf, I know that she’s close whenever it catches my eye.) I hope you find a way to honor your friend, the yarn, and your fondness of both. Thank you again for sharing your stories on the podcasts.

    Posted on 2.13.09 ·
  74. Jana wrote:

    Hi Brenda,

    Lovely podcast – I’m catching up! Glad you are Back! I love your story-telling. And your knitting inspirations.

    I think that you should keep the Qiviut yarn as several people have suggested. I especially love the suggestion made by Tracie in #74 for a square in a pillow. Make something to remind you of Jean and keep it! The book Arctic Lace by Donna Druchunas is all about Qiviut!

    Thank you for wonderful moments of inspiration and reflection.

    Posted on 2.24.09 ·
  75. sparrow wrote:

    i just finally had time to listen to this, and wanted to thank you. i needed to be reminded that my restlessness is not necessarily a lack of drive or a lack of focus. i, like kim, love to be a part of the bigger picture. i prefer to work with others, and i would rather do my own thing than be bored by a “within the box project”. so often, i don’t start at all because i fear what others will say… that i am flighty… or unwilling to settle… i wait for the right thing to come along, and i search my soul for what will bring me joy rather than what will fill my time. it means that for now, i stay at home with my daughter and teach her instead of working a sad and depressing job. and it means that sometimes, in the search of joy, i live for a minute in boredom rather than be stuck in it forever. it was good to hear of someone else seeking her hearts passion!!

    blessings… and thank you. you settle my heart, and quiet my soul. you help me find peace. i am terribly grateful for what you do here at cast-on!!

    Posted on 2.26.09 ·

Comments are closed.