a few favorite video podcasts

Things are still weird in this time of home isolation and I continue to oscillate between gratitude for my situation and anxiety/sadness over the state of the world. Nonetheless, I’m trying to find everyday joys where I can. One of the places I find joy is knitting podcasts on YouTube, and while I haven’t been able to keep up with very many since starting my PhD, I’ve been catching up on some episodes in the past weeks when I have extra time on my hands / want some company / would like something to watch while I’m knitting. So I thought I’d share a few favorites here on the blog, for those who are also interested in these sorts of videos!

Now, narrowing it down to six to share was kind of tough (I just counted in my list of subscriptions, and I’m subscribed to 24 knitting podcast channels in total) but I figured I’d share a few of my perennial favorites, all of which I’ve been enjoying recently. Even if some of these names might be familiar to you, I hope a few are new and you might discover a new podcast you really enjoy.

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Top row left: Inside Number 23

I was always going to have to include Katie here. Inside Number 23 was the first knitting podcast on YouTube I really started watching regularly, after I stumbled into her channel while searching for Edinburgh Yarn Festival vlogs in 2017 (I attended the festival in 2016 and was sad not to be there in 2017, hence seeking out vlogs). Katie relaunched her podcast this past January after taking a break when she had her daughter, and her new format is lovely and comes in the form of a monthly video. She puts a lot of effort into her podcast, which I think always makes a difference – thoughtfully planned episodes, good editing, and her lovely on-screen personal all make for a really lovely viewing experience, and I appreciate it.

Top row right: The Crimson Stitchery

Anushka became a favorite last year, as I really appreciate her approach to crafting. She’s a fellow PhD student, and living in a small flat in London on a budget, she often tends to focus on doing a lot with a little or with what she has on hand (she’s running an initiative this year called Stashless 2020 in which she and others are trying to knit through – or make a dent in – their yarn stashes). Her podcast includes regular segments on mending and keeping a larder of sorts, and I found it really refreshing when I started watching her podcast to see someone who wasn’t constantly sharing new yarn purchases (although that can be fun too). I love the space she’s carved out in the podcasting world. She’s also a designer and I happen to have one of her patterns on my needles at the moment! Her podcast episodes are typically every two weeks (or fortnightly, as she puts it) but there are often bonus videos in the off-weeks.

Middle row left: Hey BrownBerry

Marce is someone I was lucky enough to meet at last year’s Edinburgh Yarn Festival, and she’s a wonderful person and a truly inspiring maker. I always enjoy her videos, whether she’s sharing what she’s knitting, taking us along the ride for some natural dyeing experiments, or giving us a few moments of calm footage of her home environment in Florida. I grew up in North Carolina and my family would visit Florida just about every summer, so I have to admit I’m really partial to the footage of her surroundings because of the nostalgia it brings on. Her more recent episodes have also featured some Norway footage because Marce recently attended the Knitography retreat that Patricia held right here in my corner of Norway, so I was also lucky to get to hang with her in person again (along with a whole bunch of other wonderful folks)! This was right before everything got very serious very quickly with the coronavirus situation, which makes me feel even luckier. And I can’t forget to mention that Marce is also a designer.

Middle row right: Marina Skua

I also met Marina at Edinburgh Yarn Festival last year, and over the past year I’ve come to know what a delightful human she is. I find her podcast really soothing – she shares her makes, both knitting (and she also designs) and sewing, plus she’s another who likes playing with natural dyeing and shares some of those experiments on the podcast. She also has a line of yarn which shares her name and dyes repeatable colorways using acid dyes as well. Her episodes have included all kinds of snippets: spinning, carding batts, mending, garden updates, and pasta-making have all featured and I’ve enjoyed them all. Marina’s podcast always brings a little bit of calm to my day when I sit down to hang out and watch it, which I can really get behind. Her podcast episodes go up once a month!

Bottom row left: SweetGeorgia

SweetGeorgia is one of the first hand-dyed yarn companies I can remember learning about when I started becoming interested in hand-dyed yarn nearly a decade ago. And for good reason! Felicia, the force behind SweetGeorgia, has an incredible sense of color and both in her yarn company and her own makes she creates beautiful things. Her weekly podcast/video series is called Taking Back Friday, and it’s about carving out some time for yourself to be creative in the midst of life. She’s incredibly accomplished in a number of different fiber crafts and you’ll see them all pop up in her videos – knitting, dyeing, spinning, weaving. I appreciate her discussions and I feel like even when she’s just sharing things she’s been making, her videos feel educational and I always come away having learned something.

Bottom row right: Tea & Possibilities

Nikki’s podcast is another I started watching back in 2017, and I find it a real joy. I love Nikki’s personality and her approach not just to her making, but also to life. She shares knitting and crochet projects, but you’ll also always hear about whatever tea she’s drinking that day and occasionally about books she’s reading or movies/films she’s been watching (which I enjoy because I like her taste – and her passion for history). Nikki was also one of the first people I can remember talking about a different kind of approach to self care than the really commercialized version which has become prevalent these days – sure, a bubble bath or a cup of hot chocolate or pampering yourself can be forms of self care, but so are things like paying the bills you’ve been putting off or tidying up a corner of the house or just taking care of yourself and your life in everyday ways. Having someone put it so plainly helped me realize that sometimes buckling down and doing the things I’ve been putting off will make me feel a hundred times better than any comforting treat I give myself in the meantime can do.

What are your favorite podcasts, knitting-related or otherwise?

a few summer knits

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I thought after my last post sharing some summertime snaps, I’d share what I’ve been knitting on for the past month or so as well. There’s actually been very little knitting for the past few days, as much of Norway has seen temps up and over 30°C (or 85°F), which is unusually warm here. My apartment gets full sun throughout the afternoon (the hottest part of the day) until the sun sets (currently around 10:30 PM), so I definitely haven’t been feeling too inspired to knit. But I can still get in a few stitches in the mornings, like I have this morning, when there’s a cool breeze blowing through the open windows.

While I always have a lot of projects on the go, many of my WIPs are still packed up in boxes along with my stash. We’re actually in a short-term rental for the time being, and will be finding long-term housing early this fall, so all our things will remain in storage until then. I think I have enough knitting to tide me over until then, though, since I thought ahead about what to pack in my suitcase.

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First up is actually a design that will hopefully be launching soon. This one has been in the works for awhile, and this is the second sample I’m knitting for the pattern, which will be for a tee or summer sweater (depending ons leeve length). The first version was lambswool hand-dyed by Ninapetrina, but this one is a slightly more summery blend of yarns. The grey yarn is Amirisu Parade (generously given to me by Amirisu earlier this year), a blend of 60% wool, 20% cotton, 10% linen, and 10% silk. It’s soft, has a lovely drape, and the blend gives this color a lovely heathered appearance. I’ve paired it with Quince & Co. Tern (75% wool/25% silk) for the contrast, in the Backbay colorway. You can find my Ravelry project page for this one here, although it’ll be lacking some information until the pattern comes out.

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I’ve also cast on for a pair of socks since arriving here, with yarn I brought with me. I’m knitting the Pebbles and Pathways socks by Marceline Smith (aka heybrownberry), who I had the chance to meet earlier this year in Edinburgh. Marce is so absolutely lovely, and I love that working on these socks makes me think of that trip and meeting Marce and so many other wonderful knitters. Some projects are like a warm hug, you know? I love the simplicity of this design and I’m really enjoying how it works up in this yarn, Blacker Yarns Mohair Blends 4-ply, a blend of Hebridean and Manx wools with mohair. It’s a woolen spun 2-ply yarn, and when I purchased it from The Woolly Thistle they let me know that Blacker is no longer recommending this yarn for socks (although their website doesn’t appear to have been updated to reflect that). Given the woolen spun structure I imagine it hasn’t worn as well as some people would like. But I’m not afraid of a little bit of mending, so I thought I’d use it for socks anyway and see for myself how it wears. In my experience with sock knitting, the gauge of the fabric matters nearly as much as whether or not a sock yarn has nylon in it. If I wear these socks often I expect I will get holes eventually, but that’s been true for all of my socks. So we shall see! You can find my project page here.

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Another pattern that went straight into my queue when it was released earlier this year was the Granskog tee by Renate Yerkes, designed for this years Oslo Knitting Festival magazine (although it is available as an individual pattern as well). This pattern features tree motifs worked in lace at the hem, and I just think it’s so clever and I love the effect. When I realized that this would be a pretty perfect pattern for two skeins of apple green yarn given to me by my friend Kristin, I made sure to stash those skeins in my suitcase so I could cast on for it this summer. I thought the lace might be a slog to get through, but on the contrary, I was so excited to see the trees emerge that I just wanted to keep knitting. I’m using Norwegian wool yarn from Sjølingstad Uldvarefabrik, an old wool mill in southern Norway that is both museum and functioning mill today. My project page is here.

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And finally, one afternoon a week or two ago I took the ferry over to Munkholmen, a small island in the Trondheimfjord, just a ten minute boat ride from the city center. The island has lived many lives, including being a monastery, a prison, and a fortress at different points in history, but these days it’s mostly a nice place for an outing, with plenty of green grass for a picnic, a little beach for swimming/bathing, and a few facilities on site like a cafe and a shop. I had a wander through the shop (called Munkholmen Galleri) which featured all kinds of things from local artists and makers, and got very excited when I stumbled into a corner with sheepskins and a basket of yarns in three natural colors – all from the grey Trøndersau. There was a light grey, a medium grey, and a natural black (which like most natural black yarns is a warm, deep chocolately brown in some lights). I thought picking up a skein of the lightest grey and the natural black would be a good idea, and hopefully enough to make a pair of mittens. Trøndelag, the county where Trondheim is situated, is also the home of Selbu, which is of course home to the tradition of Selbu mittens. The thought of making myself a pair of Selbu-style mittens with local wool from a rare local breed? I couldn’t resist. So when I got home, I had a browse through some existing patterns, but nothing quite captured what I was after. So I drew up my own chart. This is pretty heavy wool – I’d say aran weight, at least – so these are the thickest Selbu mittens I’ve ever made. But I’m knitting them at a dense gauge so they should be very warm in the winter! I’ll probably share more about these later, but for now you can find the project page here.

So there’s a glimpse at some of the projects I’ve been working on this summer. I know we’re hardly the only ones who have been experiencing a heat wave – how are you keeping cool, if the summer’s been hot where you are?