Sunday, 25 May 2008

In Praise of Podcasts

I thought I'd like to write a little bit about podcasts I listen to. I've really got into podcasts lately. I only got my ipod at christmas, and it took a while till I was savvy enough about the whole thing to even realise you could get podcasts, but when I did, I became a little addicted :) I've got a nano, which at 4gb you would think would be enough space for my music and podcasts, but I have to rearrange it every week without fail. And if I'm going on a long bus journey, I can be on itunes for hours the day before, trying to figure out what music and podcasts I want to listen to. I listen to a lot of music anyway, but trying to squeeze all the podcasts I listen to on there too . . . I think I need another ipod just for podcasts and audiobooks. Oh, yeah, I forgot about the audiobooks. Or I need the 160gb ipod classic that I keep drooling over in the argos catalogue!

Anyway, I'm catching up on podcasts just now. I like to listen to a series right from the beginning and catch up before I listen to new ones, and I listen to one series at a time. But if a new episode comes up from a series I've caught up on, that gets priority.

As far as knitting podcasts go, I've listened to and caught up on (in the order I listened to them in) Cast On, Lime and Violet, Stash and Burn, and Yarncraft. Today I'm going to start catching up on Knit Picks podcasts.

I like them all for different reasons. I really got into the two host podcast thing for a while there (see Lime and Violet, Stash and Burn, and Yarncraft). I like the way a two person podcast can ramble off topic (especially Lime and Violet! I love their digressions), and it seems more friendly, like a real conversation. Some people like knitting podcasts to stay on the topic of knitting, but I think it helps to get a more overall picture of what the podcaster is like, and how knitting influences their own lives, not just abstract thoughts on a topic.

I find that podcasts influence my own knitting. Lime and Violet makes me want to buy yarn. Lots of yarn. Stash and Burn makes me want to knit all that yarn up right now! All podcasts make me think about different patterns than I would normally think about, when the podcasters talk about what they're making. Kind of like when I see a WIP or FO on someone's blog, and start thinking, oh I might want to make that too. Cast On makes me want to write stuff, because the articles etc on that show are really well written and spoken. Yarncraft is interesting because there's a lot of talk about behind-the-scenes stuff at a yarn company (lion brand), and each episode is structured around a specific theme (as is Stash and Burn), and I find that makes me think about different parts of knitting in different ways.

I also listen to Shimmy Cast, a podcast about belly dance. This is the only talking belly dance podcast I could find out there, please if there are more, let me know! I subscribe to a few music ones, but I like talky ones too. I love this show! It's so nice to hear discussions on belly dance topics, and there are reviews on dvds, cds, books, etc. which is really useful. I've even ordered a dvd based on a review from this podcast. It should be coming through this week hopefully.

I never really listened to radio before, but podcasts seem like the best kind of radio. I like being able to download shows on a specific topic that interests me, and there are so many great ones out there. And they're free! It's really mindblowing, how all these great resources are out there for free on the internet. But I think that's a whole other post topic. :) I really admire anyone brave enough to create one, sometimes I would like to, but my voice is not one that is good to listen to. So to everyone out there who has made a podcast, no matter what it is about, thank you for taking the time and effort to make them. I know it must be a ton of hard work, and I'm really grateful for the end product. Now, back to actually listening to them! :D

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Some More FOs

OK, so here's the rest of the fo's I promised like, three weeks ago. I'm having real problems keeping up with my blog. I think I'm using Ravelry for what I intended the blog to be - a place to keep track of my knitting, what I made and everything entailed in that. And having two places to do that isn't really working. I think I'll have to rethink what I want the blog to be. Maybe add some other topics of discussion. I could even, gosh, talk about dancing once in a while? :)

Anyway, for today, here's some of the small projects I finished:

Jules, from The Inside Loop, issue 1. (BTW have you seen issue 2 yet? Some lovely patterns there again). I love these socks, they're so comfy and wearable. They're made from some of a huge cone of Rennie 4 ply wool I got off ebay a while.

These are crocheted ears, that I test-crocheted for Kitty-bob on Ravelry. I don't think she has a website, the pattern is just available on Ravelry right now. But if you're a member there, then the pattern is free! These were really fast, and fun. The big one is made of two strands of DK yarn held together and is the same size as my bf's ear, and the small one is made with the same instructions from just one strand and is the same size as my ear. I knew I had small ears, but I really developed quite a complex for a couple of days after seeing the difference! Anway, they took a small amount of yarn, so good for leftovers, and it really didn't take long to make them at all.

That's it for FOs that I have pictures of. I have two other FOs that I'll have to photograph soon, and a secret project which I have high hopes for, but I can't put it here yet.

And, I'm working on Stargazer again! My bf nagged me last night to go back to it, cos it was just sitting in a bag, and if all it needed was a band round the middle and sewed, then why wasn't I getting on with it?! So I flounced a little and took it out the bag. I'm in the middle of the band, and I think it's going to work out fine. I had irrational fear of it being too big, or too small, or whatever else entered into my head that day. I figure I'll just knit the damn band and if it needs fixed after that, I can fix it. Soon, it will be finished. Then I can get onto another sweater.

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Many, many FOs!

I've been busy since my last post! I seem to have lost all concentration ability for large projects (must be something to do with spring coming), so I've been making a lot of small things. It's been good, cos I feel much more productive when I finish many small things. I'm sure I'll get back to Stargazer at some point (all it needs is a band round the middle, and sewed up, but I just can't do it!), but till then I guess I'll be trying to get some of the little projects out of my queue (778 items in my ravelry queue now, and it seems to grow every day!)

I'm going to try something new here, and link to my flickr pictures. Blogger takes forever to upload, and since I already have to upload them to flickr for ravelry, there doesn't seem much point in uploading twice. So here goes:

The 3am Cable Hat, by SmarieK. A really fast, fun knit made from some blue wool that I found in the stash.

These are zill mufflers, the pattern came from My dog, and no doubt my neighbours too, get annoyed if I try to practice playing my zills in the house uncovered. Tupac still doesn't like the muffled zills, but it's more of an annoyed not liking, than a terrified running away, which is much better. I made the purple ones first, then realised they are a fantastic project for using up little balls of leftovers. One tiny ball made 3 sets of the green zill mufflers, so I gave some to my friends in my dance class. We're learning zills in both egyptian belly dance and tribal. I also made a bag to keep my zills in:

This is the Jamaica pouch from 101 one skein wonders. I made mine a little smaller by omitting one repeat, as it only needed to be that size to fit my zills in.

This is the Cabled Baglet from 101 designer one skein wonders. I actually used a couple of the books I have! This turned out really well, but the patten in the book is wrong, so if you're going to make it, go to the errata page first. (link takes you to a pdf) I have a whole rant about books and errata, but I'll save it for another day :) You can already see some of it on the project page for this on ravelry. But the bag is nice, and I use it as a project bag for my portable projects.

Lastly, some monkey socks:

This is the pattern I use when I want to try out a new yarn for socks. This yarn is one I got off ebay, Rennie pure wool, a huge 900g cone of it. It's really good for socks, nice and cosy, and washes up soft.

I'm still making some small projects, but I'll put them in another post tomorrow. Linking the pics from flickr is much faster, but this has still been a long post. C u again soon with more FOs!