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12/12/11: Listen While You Work

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Let’s talk crochet for a minute.

I’ve been doing this type of needlecraft for many years now and I think have gotten farther along with it than any other type of craft I do. I don’t know if this was caused by the amount of interest I showed, but rather, by the fact that it is easy to do. Really it is. And now I’m hovering back and forth over the idea of going further into this topic right now. Hmm, it sounds very tempting to me but I have an inkling it will take the rest of the evening to finish. So I will postpone that thought until later. You can exhale now. 🙂

The real reason why I want to talk crochet concerns the events of last month. During most of the month I was trying to squeeze in as much crochet time as possible to make some sets of handwarmers. I was to sell these handwarmers at a church bazaar on December 3 and wanted a good assortment. (I didn’t wind up making as much as I wanted but I did sell a couple pair!)

The pattern I used was the Cabled Mitts by Brenda K. B. Anderson featured in the Nov/Dec 2010 issue of Crochet Today. I made them before as you can see here. It is a fantastically easy pattern to follow and memorize so there were many a moment when I was looking for something. . . You know. . . Something to preoccupy your mind when your doing “straightforward stitching.”

I’ve noticed that many stitchers like to watch t.v. or listen to music when they’re doing rows upon rows of stockinette or single crochet. Believe me, I gave the t.v. a try and I really couldn’t pay much attention to either the program or what my hands were doing. And I am not a huge music fan (just can’t seem to stay interested in most songs!), so what other choices were there?

Then audiobooks entered the scene last year. Received some free audiobook offers from Audible.com so gave The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins and The Canterbury Tales a try. These books did perk my interest but they just didn’t seem to work well when I was busy crocheting. If I missed hearing just a couple sentences I lost track of the story and I felt, because it was a book, I was missing out on a lot. And it was doubly hard to do this when there was a need to stop every twenty minutes or so (i.e. cooking, family, chores, etc.).

So there I was during November, busy crocheting away with a pattern in hand that enabled me to let my mind go gallivanting, and nothing was there to tame it.

Then the “Aha!” moment came. I remember searching through some knitting blogs during late October and found some authors compiling their very own podcasts. Yes, podcasts all about yarn, knitting, crochet, weaving, spinning. . . All the fun subjects. This whole podcast thing got me intrigued. So I downloaded a few and listened to a couple of their episodes. At the beginning I wasn’t much impressed. I don’t remember the names or whatnot, but I thought some of them were lacking in real content. A good portion talked about their latest WIP or UFO’s, a yarn they love, or a festival they just came back from. All fine and good but nothing wasn’t relating to me. It is hard to pinpoint where I found the problems.

Anyway, I last came to The Stash, the blog of the KnitPicks yarn company. Oh, I heard of this company from way back. I think it was the first yarn catalog that I ever saw and I have contemplated about buying their colorful, straight-from-Willie-Wonka’s-Factory needles. But up to this date in time, I haven’t bought a single skein or needle from them even though their forever in my yarn source list.

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And guess what I found on their blog. Oh yes. A podcast. And it has to be my favorite one to date, even down to the opening, transition, and ending music. I’ve already listened to an insane amount already. . . About 34 episodes. Yeah.

What I think is so remarkable about this podcast–besides having the ability to keep my mind preoccupied while crocheting–is the main host’s infectious love for all things knitting and fiber. Her name is Kelley Petkun, and from what I’ve learned she is Irish, loves lace knitting, wears shawls, has a hubby named Bob, and has the unknown attribute to make anyone excited about what she’s excited about. The last bit of info about Kelley may lead some people into trouble because on more than one occasion, I’ve felt very compelled to buy every yarn, book, or pattern she talked about on the show. I have to mentally restrain myself constantly!

The other KnitPicks staff members–Kerin, Alison, Jenny, Hannah, etc.–also host and are guests on the show. I really like when the in-house designers come in and chat (usually bringing along a sock to knit), because I am really intrigued about the thought process and design plans of knitwear designers.

Above everything else, I enjoy the interviews with book authors and designers the most. I like to keep a close eye on who designs what and it is always a pleasure to get to know the designers a little bit more.

So after about a year’s worth of searching for a crochet/knit companion I think I found it in knitting podcasts. Now I am looking for more podcasts to listen to and maybe even find a good one in the realm of sewing. Let me know your favorites by leaving a comment below! 

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