My Top Ten Audio Knitcasts for 2009

Last year was a great year for solid and enjoyable knitcasts.  I want to share my top fifteen (or so) list for good knitcasts and then a couple of others as well.

#1 is my guilty pleasure. They may not be highfalutin but Lime & Violet never fail to educate, entertain, and enlighten. Brimming with knit-energy, Starbucks, and gin, these foul-tongued fiberistas got it going on 24/7.  Even tho Lime ain’t been heard from in many a moon, Carin does her best to contain and channel that force of nature that the world knows as Violet (but Sideshow Husband knows as “The Chesticle Host”).  God bless em, these gals’ll be rich n’ famous one day (as opposed to poor and . . .)!

#2 would be on anyone’s list, and almost always is. Number one under “knitting” in iTunes search is Cast On with Brenda Dayne. Long-time caster and a smooth-throated master, Brenda casts out a professional airing every time. Ask anyone.

#3 is David Reidy’s Sticks and String. The guy is so knice, and knowledgable, and knit-busy that I defy you to not be pulled into his bustling Sydney circle. It’s all so well organized and seamless that you feel like you are at the best yarn party every time you listen. His essays are always sensible and vehicles for the “that’s right” insight.

#4 is Stash and Burn. Jenny and Nicole are SF yarnettes with know-how and charm. Phocused yet phun.

#5 is a newbie but already on the lips and iPods of many a string-picker (or thrower, as the case may be): Never Not Knitting. Alana is a pro who share her largesse with the world with creativity and verve.  Seriously, look at her blog: this gal can really knit! Inspirational and elegant.

#6- Knit Spirit

#7- Knit Picks– Top in iTunes under ‘knit”

#8- It’s a Purl, Man

#9- YKnit

#10- Knit Obsession with ZKnits

Honorable Mention for Sheer Heart: Knaked Knits and Knitting at Night

Podcasts that are good as far as they go but have dissappointingly podfaded: Unwound, Yarn Thing, Knitters Uncensored, and SSK

Podcats that I really really really want to like and have listened to every episode but think are just boring every time I do: Stitch Stud and his Bride (who’s the “stud” and where’s the “bride”?-  overly earnest and monotone) . Sorry guy, it’s just dull . . . Infrequent schedule hurts this one as well.

Sweaters for Dragons– I must admit that I’ve never really gotten the dragon/sweater connection. Eric, you are funny when you are with Violet but (I take responsibility here), I may not be geeky enough to appreciate your infrequent, Star Trek-infused podcast. Actually, these last two may be examples of the difficulty of making an good single-presenter podcast. Unless you are really a fascinating speaker (ex. Brenda, Kelley, David), a conversation is usually more interesting.  

More later. My fingers are itching to knit.


EZ BSJ Fever

One Elizabeth Zimmermann Baby Surprise Jacket FO. Two more on the needles! Found a use for the Mokely Stripe (100% wool). It’s amazing how addictive this little bugger (the BSJ) is. I’m using the easy pattern to get set for starting a real sweater construction, the Knee-length Coat in Noro Iro from Michael del Vecchio’s Knitting With Balls (page 112).  Got yarn and needles. Can I do it? Or should i try the ASJ first?

Finished BSJ #1

Finished BSJ #1

Winter Diamond FO: Sofa Rug, or Shoulder Shrug?

Finished the Ghost Cable Winter Diamond Room Throw today! My design. Fun and easy to knit. I say it again, recycled yarn is a great way to go.

Sofa rug or shoulder shrug?!

Sofa rug or shoulder shrug?!

It’s a very easy pattern, based on the Lion Brand Baby Love Diagonal Baby Blanket. The center has progressive cable fragments, called “ghost” or “shadow” cables, drifting sinuously to and fro. The many cables pull the square into a long diamond, great as a sofa topper or shoulder cozy in the chill of winter. 

Sofa rug? Shoulder shrug? Your choice. The icy gale shall not prevail! 

Check my Ravelry page for more pics and info on this project.

Finished edging the Origami Hat and Scarf with i-cord . . .

Origami Scarf and Hat with i-cord trim

So now on to BSJ, complete with i-cord trim. (But, may *lacivious wink* cast on Seraphim Shawl today . . .)

My Pillow List: Yays and Nays of Knitting in Tokyo

Things I love about knitting in Japan:

  • Being Asia, bamboo needles are super cheap, even circs. I get them at 100 yen shops (about a dollar) and have lots of them. OK, yes, I mostly use my Knit Picks Harmony needles but I use my bamboo needles a lot every day as well. The yarn from 100 yen shops sucks but I have used some for theatre productions . . .
  • Japan is the home of Mitsuharu Hirose-sama, the Knitting Prince! the-knitting-prince
  • a little-known fact: tatami (rice straw flooring found in every Japanese home) is perfect for blocking. Imagine having a room-sized blocking mat to push pins into. Great for those big honkin’ lace shawls and crazy-long Dr. Who scarves! 
  • Japan is the home of Noro * drool* and Habu yarns. Also, Habu’s talented designer Setsuko Torii.
  • Japan has four very distinct seasons, with very strict divisions between them and appropriate activities for each. Knitting is Winter activity. Period. In that period, Japanese knitters knit like maniacs. Intense!
  • Japanese knitting means chart knitting. Fun and Interesting. 
  • Lots of indigo and natural dyed yarns.
  • Popular Japanese spiral paper clips (these shown are a German make but we have super cheap ones just like them here) make great stitch markers.
  • My job (university professor at Japanese university) gives me lots of time, both during the school term at school and off for months of vacation, to knit. 
  • I can knit anywhere or anytime I want. Since I’m a foreigner, I’m expected to do strange things anyway, so no one bats an eye when I knit on the train or in a cafe :).  

Things I Don’t Love About Knitting in Japan:

  • Not many yarn shops. Most yarns and knitting goods very expensive (like most things here).
  • Sock yarn nonexistent. Has to be ordered online. The sock-knitting craze, indeed the knitting boom, never hit here. Knitting is essentially the domain of middle-aged women (blouses) and love-struck teen girls (boyfriend scarves).
  • Knitting is strictly seen as A Winter Activity. (See seasonal comment above). Lots of craft stores put away their yarns in the spring and summer!

Some FOs Coming Up!

It’s been great. Lots of knitting time and more on the way. Basically, I’m a house husband this summer . . .

So, the Origami sweater and hat are done except for the i-cord edging. I am practicing my applied i-cord because I know that I want to edge the BSJ with it. I like the finished look.  A great thing I discovered about i-cord: covers a multitude of edging errors (I had to steek the back of the band because I BO too tightly! But, shhhh, don’t tell anybody. Its a secret . . .) . Love that. Here’s what I have so far:

Origami Scarf and Hat- pre i-cord

Origami Scarf and Hat- pre i-cord

Ghost Cable Room Throw is coming along, maybe 75% done. I love it. If it comes out well, I’ll post the pattern, my design :), here.  

Gotta take an excusion into the Houdini socks by Cat Bourhi. Love her mind!

Will work on BSJ this week. If it comes out OK, will start right in on the Adult Surprise Jacket in Noro.  But what about the Seraphim Shawl?!! So many projects in queue . . .

New Day, New FO, New News

OK, just got back from the dentist. Not so bad. I found a good one. In Japan, there is a hesitency to administer more than a minimum amount of anesthesia. Now, I don’t mind drilling, cleaning, shots, even extensive bone work. However, I HATE nerve pain! I may be a bit of a  hypochondriac but I am not a masochist! Give me that anesthetic. Lots of it. Numb me till I drool. Anyway, I made all this irritatingly clear to my new dentist and he and I have an understanding: he’ll give me a double dose of the elephant tranquilizer and I won’t pitch a loud, embarrassing, shit fit in the dental chair (and he knows that I’m the type who will) Yes, I think that’s a fair exchange . . .

Stayed up late last night (like every night this summer) and finished the Ariel Scarf Turned Ariel Hat. I’m calling it the Ariel Mermaid Hat or the “Poor Man’s Pomatomus,” a tribute to Cookie A’s magical and popular Pomatomus Socks that are fish-scaly and wonderful but a lot harder than this easy lace pattern. The hat came out pretty well, I think. and, yes, I will definitely make the matching scarf for it at some point. I was going to do a ribbing at the bottom of the hat but I like how the gentle curves of the pattern frame the face . . . kinda mermaid-like, no? Probably a good idea to omit the ribbing also because the top of the hat already is absorbing the curves from the other side so maybe forcing the curves into a straight line on the bottom as well would give too much pucker . . .) Here’s a pic or two of the hat:

Poor Man's Pomatomus

Ariel Mermaid Hat

Ariel Mermaid Hat, or The Poor Man's Pomatomus

Poor Pomatomus

Finally, good news: Alana from the new and very listenable Nevernotknitting knitting blog and podcast (on iTunes) has accepted my essay on early knitting traumas (See Knit Training page in this blog)! Yay! She will read it on the air in a few weeks (her show is every two weeks and there are some other entries as well . . .). Will note here when she will air it when I find out.

Now to BSJ and my new Shadow Cables Winter Room Throw.

Fresh Look, Fresh Memory

New look for the blog! I decided the other one was too dark and Goth, scarin’ sum knitters away (I know you Goth knitters out there didn’t object but think about it, white is just as scary as black: pale porcelain skin, death shrouds, etc. etc.) Also, the type was too small and hard to read so this one (called “Dairy,” gives a pop to the pics . . . better than black even) is an improvement.

Today I wrote up a memory I had from my very first project. This was prompted by a call for knitting essays from Alana of the Nevernotknitting Podcast. (She and her stunningly GREEN Ravelympics sweater top can be found at She is an elegant and precise knitter with many lovely projects. Go see! Also check out her podcast. It’s one of the good ones, polished and well-organized and chock full of info and wry fun.) I submitted it (the essay) to Alana and she will either use it, or not , as she wishes.

The essay is called A Bad Beginning for an Untrained Train KnitterIt’s a dramatic recounting of my first knitting project, one that was ill-conceived, bit the dust, and met a tragic fate. Go to Knit Training to read the full terrible account!

Gnit Gnews: I didn’t have much time to work on the Ariel Scarf but it is now officially becoming the Ariel Hat.  We’ll see how the curved sides pucker up, should be interesting and cool (I hope). Was able to join the ends after seven repeats and will pick up the stitches tonight (I’m usually up until 4 or 5 am) or tomorrow during the day. Will connect the top and band soon.

Have to go to the dentist tomorrow for some harrowing jaw drilling so the knitting may be a comfort? I used to looooove going to the dentist but lately I’m not having as much fun . . .

I think I have decided to do a creamy room throw with Shadow Cables out of my recycled yarn.  More on that later. Gotta keep moving on the BSJ.

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