Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fiber College, Searsport, Maine

Last weekend we were at the Finger Lakes Fiber Arts Festival in Hemlock, NY. But didn't get a chance to take any pictures, rats! The weekend before we were at Fiber College, where we did manage to take pictures. Debbie Bergman of Purple Fleece, is a weaver. I have given her glorious hand towels, pictured above, as presents to many very grateful friends.
This wonderful yarn is from String Theory, a delicious yarn shop in Blue Hill, Maine.
I found this very charming hat, pictured above and below, abandoned in the restroom at Fiber College. It took a good deal of will-power to turn it in at the office. But they knew immediately whose hat it was, so I was happy.
I fell in love with this shawl, knit from hand-spun yarn. The pattern can be found in Folk Shawls by Cheryl Oberle. It is the Wool Peddler's Shawl without the lace border. Easy and comforting.
I have these beautiful tall yellow flowers growing in my garden, and can't remember their name. Leave a comment with their name and I will give you your choice of audiobook.
This weaving of grass and flowers was lovely.

I couldn't quite figure out what this was supposed to be. But I liked it. Detail above, whole tableau below.
I also loved this basket in their shop.
Till next year!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"I was thoroughly entranced"

"I was thoroughly entranced,"
says Marjorie Colletta, knitting editor for BellaOnline.
"It is like having friends in the room with me while I am knitting. I am alternately inspired and amused by the audio book."
Check out BellaOnline for the entire review of our new audiobook!

And from Village Books:
truly a joy. When authors Ann & Kay read to me, I want to jump in the car with my knitting bag & drive to Manhattan & Tennessee simultaneously.
Or have them over for tea. Or something.
It's a joyful and soul-warming experience, spending time with these two.
Highly Recommended!"

says Karen Jelenfy.


Friday, September 11, 2009

Not knitting

An art history major in college, I decided to take astronomy to fulfill the science requirement. The first class was fun, the second a nightmare of equations. "You can drop out," my roommate promptly informed me. I gratefully and immediately re-registered for a geography course in the history of urban transportation which was marvelous. The above new Hubble photo is why I love astronomy. It's stunningly beautiful, and humbling, and looks like a Michelangelo.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Marushka's shawl

My very dear friend Marushka turned 70 this year. Wanting to do something special, I knit her this shawl, the lovely (and easy as pie) feather and fan lace pattern in silk yarn from Teresa Ruch Designs. Teresa had a booth across from ours at Sock Summit. These photos do not capture the gleaming irridescent blues and greens of this hand-painted yarn.
When I was 18, Marushka hired me to be a mother's helper for the summer. I lived in their townhouse in Boston's South End and took care of her two little boys. Marushka was born in Ukraine. Her father was a Ukrainian nationalist, and during WWII he smuggled his family out of the country. Marushka remembers lying in a wagon, covered with hay, with soldiers above plunging pitch forks into it. She spent her childhood in Displaced Persons camps.
Marushka's husband was English. There were often house guests from overseas. Dinner conversation was very interesting. The food in this household was very delicious. I learned about the great cookbook writer Elizabeth David, and began reading her books cover to cover, as you would read a novel. Marushka taught me how to make pyansky, Ukrainian Easter eggs, which I make to this day. She taught me Ukrainian embroidery and gave me Traditional Ukrainian Cooking by S. Stechishim which has delicious recipes for babka, medivnyk and varenyky.
Last month one of the little boys I babysat for, who is now 40, brought his family to visit us here in Maine.
Marushka took me into her life at a time in mine when I needed a sense of home. By sharing her family stories and ethnic traditions she gave to me, really, home in the the very deepest and most satisfying sense of the word. Happy Birthday Marushka!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

We have a winner!

Thank you all so much for your wonderful comments! The English blogger/knitter/reader dovegreyreader always lets her cat choose the contest winners. So we decided to recruit Nina. We printed out the comments (on scrap paper from recording scripts) and put them in a hat my daughter made (without using a pattern) and Sharon won. Please go to our website, choose your four audiobooks, and email us. Congratulations Sharon!
Don't forget you can still receive a scrumptious skein of yarn for free with your audiobook order placed before September 12th. Thank you all again for your comments and we wish everyone a happy, safe and satisfying Labor Day weekend.
And happy knitting!
-from all of us at Knitting Out Loud

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Win four audiobooks!

Win four Knitting Out Loud audiobooks of your choice! Post a comment here before midnight on Friday, September 4th. We will pick a name out of the hat and the winner will be announced here, on the blog, on Saturday, September 5th.


Now through September 12th, order an audiobook from us and you will receive a scrumptious skein of specialty yarn, like the ones pictured above, from small farms and producers including Purple Fleece, LollipopCabin, Teresa Ruch Designs, Romney Ridge Farm and Swan's Island.

Happy Fall from all of us at Knitting Out Loud!

Testing Out Some Knitting Podcasts

From Katherine Jane:

I tend to approach most aspects of life with what my loved ones refer to as "a complete lack of moderation." So when in May I came across a series of podcast recommendations on the delightful blog Charminglochie, I immediately signed up for the ones she mentioned: Stash and Burn, Yarncraft, Knitting Nora's Knitting Natter, Doubleknit, and Berroco.

But then, as with many such endeavors, there came the sinking realization that I had bitten off more than I could chew. I suddenly had hundreds hours of unlistened-to knitting chatter sitting on my computer--and every day more episodes were added to the list. It was a little overwhelming.

So, to fight back against the rising tide, I decided on a plan of action. I would listen to exactly one episode of each of the five podcasts, and take notes on what I heard. Then, based entirely on my notes, I would make my decision on which podcasts to stay subscribed to. Was this scientific? Heck no! After all, the episode I picked could be an "off" day, or a day where the podcasters were trying something new. But it was a plan, and I would just have to hope that the episode I pulled at random out of each podcast pile was somewhat representative of the whole.

With that disclaimer in mind, my thoughts on all the podcasts I sampled:

YarnCraft is a podcast put out by the Lionbrand company, and hosted by two women named Liz & Zontee.
The episode started with them discussing their own projects. Then they played listener comments; an older woman told a sweet story about her grandmother, someone called in with a crochet-hook gauge suggestion, and then came a question about what to make for bridesmaids, especially in August. This led to a larger discussion between Liz and Zontee about what to make for weddings. Among the things they suggested were shawls for bridesmaids, a basket for the flower girl, and a ring bearer pillow cover. Next came their "Stash This" segment, where they discussed dyeing your own colors, with a focus on what yarn and dyes to use, and how to get the dyes to set. The sound quality throughout was a little echoey.
Conclusion: There were some good tips here, and the last segment really made me want to get back into yarn dyeing. The focus is definitely on Lionheart patterns and yarns, but Liz and Zontee obviously know their stuff and enjoy sharing tips and pattern recommendations. Having such a focus on listener feedback is a nice touch.

Stash and Burn
Stash and Burn is hosted by Nicole and Jenny.
The two woman are very bubbly. Nicole and Jenny have a very lighthearted and unscripted-sounding banter, just kind of gossiping back and forth. They talked about their own projects, sewing as well as knitting. Then they got into a long discussion of various yarn stores in the East Bay Area, describing their recent shopping experiences. They ended the podcast talking about the various famous people that can be found on Ravelry, mentioning Michael Stype from REM and even Alice Cooper. As for sound quality, there was a strange growling noise in the background periodically--perhaps traffic going past.
Conclusion: This is a fun podcast, but probably would be more useful for me personally if I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Knitty Nora's Knitting Natter
This is an English podcast, and Knitty Nora has a delightful accent.
The episode started off with a jaunty tune called "knitty" by Arthur Rasky, which I loved right off the bat. Then Knitty Nora announced, "We're going to a party!", and bundled the recorder off to a 10th anniversary party at her local knit shop. The sound quality was erratic at best; you could hear Nora breathing into the microphone, and the sound level varied between loud and soft. Nora interviewed a series of women and it was occasionally impossible to hear what they were saying. Somehow, however, this all came off as quirky and charming. Nora asked lots of rhetorical questions and then paused as if to wait for your response, and she seems prone to saying things like, "Pop on your glad rags and your lippy, even the blokes among you, if you fancy!"
Conclusion: Bizarre and hilarious, this warmed my heart and thoroughly tickled my inner Anglophile.

The Doubleknit podcast is hosted by two women, Erin and Jessica.
The episode started with a lively blast of rock music, and then Erin and Jessica jumped right in. The two covered a wide variety of subjects, including movies and tv shows. Their banter was very unscripted, and the two definitely expected their listeners to have heard previous podcasts, referring to ongoing projects and a contest they were hosting. They had some interesting insights about Cascade yarn and how the colors are improved through process of consumer feedback, and talked critically about the new Interweave and Knit One magazines. My favorite little moment was when the women talked about how the term "five stitch stique" is hard to say--one of the obstacles of podcasting! The sound quality was good but not perfect--there was a light background air noise throughout that could be distracting.
Conclusion: Had the most "insidery" feel of everything I listened to; sounds like the podcast has a devoted following.

It turns out the Berroco podcast is actually a video podcast--and it's fabulous! Every episode is under 6 minutes, and teaches a specific technique. The videos are very clear and easy to follow. This was a lovely surprise; I love the Berroco blog, and this series is promises to be a useful little treat that I will look forward to.
Conclusion: If you like the idea of a video podcast, you can't go wrong with something this short and useful.

Final Conclusion:
In the end, I'm probably only going to stay subscribed to Knitty Nora's Knitting Natter and Berroco. All the other podcasts definitely had their good points, for sure, but those were the two that stuck out for me the most: Berroco for its usefulness, and Knitty Nora for her delightful strangeness. But depending on what you're looking for in a podcast, any of the others might be right for you! (And meanwhile, Charminglochie has suggested even more podcasts...!)

Readers: Do you have a favorite knitting podcast? Did I get anything wrong in my extremely unscientific tour through these podcasts? Let us know in the comments!

-Katherine Jane


Katherine Jane Arathoon lives in New York City and occasionally guest blogs for Knitting Out Loud. She also blogs at Between Ewe And Me.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Belle of the Ball Podcast interview

From Katherine Jane:

At the Sock Summit earlier this month, Kathy was interviewed by Sherrill for the Belle of the Ball Podcast.

You can download the episode directly:
or get it from the blog:
or simply search for "Belle of the Ball" on the iTunes store.

I'm still so jealous that I couldn't go to the Sock Summit, but hearing people's stories has been lots of fun. Hearing the crazy hubub in the background of these interviews makes me all the more determined to go to the next Sock Summit (there must be a next one!). The interview with Kathy's starts at 39:17; tune in to hear her talk about our newest releases, and discussion of how the company came to be. As Sherrill says in the podcast, "Never underestimate the idea of a knitter." Hear, hear!

-Katherine Jane


Katherine Jane Arathoon lives in New York City and occasionally guest blogs for Knitting Out Loud. She also blogs at Between Ewe And Me.