Thursday, July 19, 2007

Knitting on the Back Burner

Well, folks it's been almost two weeks. The long absence is not because I've lost my knitting jones. It's just that it's been so hot and I've had so much real life intruding on my play life. I know, I know, knitting relieves stress and is a good thing to do when the trials and tribulations come in torrents. I have been working on the requisite pair of summer socks. I'm at the heel flap and decided on Eye of Partridge which takes a little concentration and paying attention to row count. When the going got really tough I couldn't work on it for fear the partridge's eyes would be crossed.

However, since real life was requiring that I do a lot of driving to and fro, hither and yon, knitting did not always work. I found knitting podcasts to be soothing, comforting and informative . . . for the most part. Let's hear it for knitting podcasts!

Although I am a high tech wannabe and covet every innovation marketed, I am relatively new to the MP3 player/iPod arena. I'm an audio book fanatic and until recently a tape in the car cassette player or a Walkman (remember those) at the beach served me well enough. It wasn't until I discovered the selection of audio books downloadable from my city's free library system that I had to have an MP3 player. I bought a Sansa because the free systems use Overdrive and run only MicroSoft and not Apple. Why can't they all just get along? I was introduced to podcasts, more specifically knitting podcasts, by one of my knitting gurus. They are what is saving my sanity these days, along with a stitch or two knit on a sock.

Now about those knitting podcasts, I haven't listened to each and every one, but I've tried quite a few, so many that I bought an iPod Nano just for the podcasts so I can keep the Sansa strictly for free books. I am not writing to point out the negative because I think the podcast thing takes a lot of skill, planning, organization and more. However, I must say that the cream rises to the top. I will drop some names here, but will not name the ones I feel are lacking. Let's just say I have listened to some I labeled SSGG--Silly, Silly, Giggling Girls. I gave each podcaster ample time to overcome the beginning uncertainty and hit her (or his) stride. I did not pass final judgement until I had listened to at least six episodes, if they lasted that long . . . and if I lasted that long. Okay so maybe I gave up on some after three episodes.

The SSGG spend an hour giggling and saying silly things about silly things. They throw in a giggly tale of what's on their needles or just came off, give helpful hints, rave about yarns and give some book reviews. They sometimes do interviews. It's difficult wading through the murk in hopes of hearing a gem or two. It is usually two women, one of whom is at the mic, the other across the table? . . . room? . . . continent? The second woman sounds far away most of the time. Within the SSGG realm of podcasting there might be one or two worth wading through if you can get past the giggles and double entendres, sort of separate the wheat from the chaff.

Most of you are probably way ahead of me and have been listening since the inception, but I will give you my top picks so far. I expect to add more to the list as I catch up on what's already available and check out the new ones added daily.

1. The first podcast I was turned on to was Brenda Dayne's Cast On. Try it. You'll like it. She is absolutely heaven to listen to, speaks the language without what I call air fillers (umm, aaah, mmm) is informative, organized and articulate and I even like her choice of music. She had me at "pick up your pointy sticks and cast on" or something like that.

2. It was with great excitement that I downloaded the first Knit Picks podcast and Kellie Petkin did not disappoint. She is another who speaks well and gives an organized podcast full of information, funny asides (knitting related), book reviews and interviews.

3. Webs podcast, Ready, Set, Knit!, was a radio show first. I'm so glad to be able to listen to it now far, far away from the store, but with the website only a mouse click away. I've been to Webs a couple of times for meet ups with my Circular Sock Machine friends. When I am in MA vacationing it is many hours closer, but still three hours away. Six hours round trip to shop for yarn is not a thing to do every weekend. However, I sure wish I could! It's a great store and they present a great podcast. It's easy to listen to and informative on many levels. Being in the fiber business gives these podcasters plenty of inside information to impart and they attract all the knit stars to their store and I'm hoping to catch up with interviews that have been done and the new ones to come.

4. I must include the one guy I've really liked so far even though I haven't listened to the requisite six podcasts. So far I like It's a Purl Man. I like his style and his content. I like hearing the other half's take on this whole knitting thing, what they're knitting and what they like.

5. I'm adding this one even though it is now defunct: Unwound with Kelli Robinson. Her podcasts really drew me in. From the abundance of information to the invitations to participate, Unwound is a gem of organization and content. Maybe once Kelli is into the groove of her professional job she will find she can come back to podcast land. Months have past since her final podcast, Episode 12, "Farewell." Maybe she withdraws even that little thread of hope. Even so her 12 episodes are worth listening to whether she comes back to continue or not.

It has taken me days to write this little blog entry and during that time I have listened to many more podcasts. There is an epidemic of umms out there! I know we all say it sometimes, but people, PLEASE! Stop saying it after every other word! Even the people who are virtually umm-free themselves are being ummed to death by people they interview. Please, please, please check yourselves. It's okay to be silent for that nano second it takes to say umm while you collect your thoughts or notes or whatever it is that gives you that brain blip!!!

Umm, and that's all I have to say about that.

Bona Fide Knitter

1 comment:

Laura said...

What a terrific review! so far I have only listened to "Cast On", and not all episodes of it yet. Thank you, BFK, for doing all the hard work of testing and reporting so candidly from the front.

Off to give your recommendations a try...