Wednesday, August 13, 2008


(If you don't care about knitting or my interest in podcasts, then you can just skip this post)

I've alluded to the podcasts that I listen to a few times and I've been meaning to do a post about them for a while. They've become kind of an obsessive part of my daily commute and I only wish that I can the kind of job that would allow me to listen to them at work, too. But I find that there is too much competition between trying to listen to the talking and the thinking I have to do for my job.

I've listed the podcasts that I'm really committed to in the sidebar of my blog. If you want to give one a try, I would listen to a current episode and see what you think. If you like it, you can subscribe via iTunes or another program (I know there are others, but I'm not familiar with them since I use iTunes) and go back and listen from the beginning. In some cases this will give you hours of entertainment and for some of the newer ones it won't take you long to catch up.

I listen to podcasts for a few reasons. 1 - There are some great interviews with knitting designers and knitting celebrities that you can't find anywhere else. I seriously stalk iTunes for any podcast where the Yarn Harlot is interviewed. 2 - Discussion of patterns and yarns that I haven't heard of before. This is kind of like finding patterns and yarns in ravelry, except that I don't have to be staring at a computer screen. 3 - Getting to listen to other people talk about knitting. Maybe if there were more TV shows about knitting I wouldn't need the podcasts, but there is just something nice about infusing my brain with yarn related dialogue. 4 - News and reviews. Magazines and blogs are fine ways to here what is "new" in the knitting world, but podcasts are much more immediate than magazines and I can't read blogs (easily) while knitting or commuting.

Cast On was my first, and probably still my favorite knitting podcast. Brenda's voice is lovely, she produces a very professional program, she has themes for each series of 10-12 episodes and I just like listening to her stories. But once I caught up on all of the old episodes I had to find some new options since Brenda is currently producing her show only 1-2 times a month.

I posted on Ravelry in the Brenda Dayne Fan Club forum for suggestions on other podcasts to listen to. I knew that I would be hard pressed to find another podcaster as professional as Brenda, but I thought that getting the opinions of fellow fans would get me going in the right direction. (There are lots of knitting podcasts out there now!)

My next podcasts were Stash and Burn, the Knit Picks Podcast and Sticks & String. All three were enjoyable and it took a few months to go back and listen to all of the back episodes since they had all been around for over a year. Stash and Burn is kind of like hanging out with two knitting friends who are as obsessive about yarn as I am. They are both a little more obsessive about the size of their stash than I am, but I really enjoy listening to them chat and they've had some nice interview shows, too. I was a little concerned about the Knit Picks Podcast being too commercial, since it is run by a yarn company, but it is really much more about Kelly and good technique advice. There is certainly some mention of their yarn and new products. But other than the lengthy discussion of their new sock blanks I haven't felt and commercial pressure at all. Kelly and I can be very different knitters (that much garter stitch would make me want to poke my eyes out), but I really like her book reviews and we both like knitting lace. And I think the advantage of being "in the business" is that she gets some really interesting people on to interview on the show. Sticks & String didn't click with me at first, but it only took a few episodes for David to get in a groove and for me to get hooked. David's style is probably the one that most closely matches Brenda Dayne's, but being a male knitter in Australia, he has some interesting points of view to bring to the table. I also really appreciate his fearlessness and his clear agreement with me that colorwork in knitting looks harder than it is, so there is no reason to be scared of new techniques. David also had a great set of interviews in his last series and I'm looking forward to more.

Newer podcasts that I've enjoyed include Craft, Rock, Live with Vickie Howell and YKnit. Vickie's show is less specifically about knitting and more about crafting in general. I get the impression that she is more herself on the podcast (no influence from TV producers) and she's had some interesting interviews. She's just started her second series and I plan to keep listening. YKnit is produced more sporadically and seems to be very focused on interviews and events. It is really well produced and the hosts are two male knitters in California. Sometimes the humor is a little immature, but it is a fun show and probably better for an afternoon commute than a morning bus ride.

My primary non-knitting podcasts are the Tuned In podcast, hosted by the local paper's TV critic and the two podcasts of the American Theatre Wing. The TV critic likes a lot of the same shows that I do, so I always enjoy getting the inside scoop and opinions on my favorite (sometimes obscure shows). And the ATW shows have great interviews, but they tend to be my fill-in podcasts when I get caught up on knitting shows.

I'm currently catching up on Ready, Set, Knit, which is the podcast of WEBS yarn store. It's certainly the most commercial of the bunch, and I sometimes skip the knit-alongs or lists of their newest closeouts, but I enjoy the format and they have some good interviews. When I do listen to the knit-along sections I have picked up some good knitting tips, so it just depends what they're working on.

Once I get caught up on my current shows, I plan to give the following podcasts a try:
Knit Sciene
Knitcast (this one is out of production, so I only have the archives to listen to)
Knitmoregirl's Podcast
Its a Purl, Man

I owe all of the podcast craziness to Amy at She mentioned the Cast On podcast in her blog, and I checked it out, and the rest is history. :-)

(I'm a bad wife and I don't have R's podcast listed in the sidebar. This is because I'm a really bad wife and I haven't listened to them even though I am subscribed. As soon as I stop being a bad wife, I'll put up a link.)

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