Monday, November 09, 2020

Some Treats for Your Ears

Do not adjust your computer -- yes, I'm blogging on a Monday! I know it's something I rarely do, but I'm feeling so happy this particular Monday morning and I'm the only one at home today, so I felt like putting up a post. Last week I mentioned something about podcasts, prompting Juliann to ask for recommendations and then a request from Mary to put those recommendations into a blog post, so that's what this bonus post is all about.

I'm not sure if I'd technically be considered an early adopter of podcasts, but I've been listening to knitting podcasts since about 2005, so quite a while. Back then I was still single, living in an apartment by myself, and taking the bus to work every day. Podcasts were still a new thing back then, but I found a few to listen to during my commute, and it's a practice I've continued. Back in the Before Times, I'd typically listen on my walk to and from work and during my lunch break while I knit. Now that I don't have that commute or that lunch break (I typically work through lunch because I use my break time to run or walk), I'm mainly listening while I exercise. I actually used to listen to upbeat music on my runs, thinking that the beat would help me to keep a steady pace, but I've found that listening to something spoken word, be that a podcast or an audiobook, actually works better because I usually focus on what I'm listening to more than how hard it is to breathe or how my muscles are burning. And when you've borrowed an audiobook from the library and have only a limited amount of time to listen, and you only listen when you're exercising, it's a great motivator to get out there!

I've listened to quite a lot of podcasts over the years, quite of a few of which have "pod-faded," so I am limiting my recommendations to what I am currently enjoying. This isn't a complete list, just some highlights that I can highly recommend.

Knitting Podcasts:

  • Cast On with Brenda Dayne: This podcast was actually one of the first ones I listened to, and it was among my very favorites -- it still is! Brenda recently resurrected it and has begun publishing new episodes. There are only three out so far, but I'm pretty sure you can also go back and listen to the old episodes as well.
  • Knitmore Girls Podcast: This is one I've been listening to for many years. They have 600 episodes out right now, and I'm pretty sure I listened to all of them (I don't remember exactly when I started listening, but when I did I went back and listened to all their previous episodes). It's cohosted by a mother and daughter team, and the granddaughter also occasionally makes guest appearances. They talk about knitting, sewing, spinning, and other crafty things.
  • Yarns at Yin Hoo: This is a podcast I listen to when I want something soothing and relaxing in my ears. It's hosted by Sara, a knitter, spinner, and sewer (sewist?) who also likes to talk about cooking and read poetry on the podcast. She has a very soothing voice and speaks at a calming pace.
  • Down Cellar Studio Podcast: Hosted by Jen (aka Boston Jen), who is now actually a friend, this podcast is really inspiring because of how prolific she is. Jen knits and crochets and recently learned to spin, and she loves to make things for her many nieces and nephews.
  • Craftlit: I have been listening to this podcast since the summer of 2007, and while it's not really a knitting podcast (though Heather, the host, does talk a bit about what she is knitting or crafting), it's a great accompaniment to knitting or other fiber arts. Heather is a former high school English teacher, so listening to her is a bit like sitting in on a literature class. She plays audio recordings of books that are in the public domain (so she's done a lot of classics) and discusses them.

Non-knitting Podcasts:

  • This American Life: I'm sure many of you have either heard of this show or already listen to it, particularly if you're an NPR junkie like me. There have been some episodes that don't excite me much, but usually I can count on about an hour on some interesting topic.
  • Radiolab: I'm pretty sure I heard part of an episode of Radiolab on the radio a number of years ago and then went looking for it because it was so fascinating and so unusual. This show focuses on interesting topics in science and politics, human interest stories, and a host of other totally random things. The pieces are extremely well researched and the recordings are always top notch.
  • Hidden Brain: This is another NPR podcast, and I'd say it's along the same lines as Radiolab except that its main focus is on psychology -- the brain, emotions, human behavior, etc. It's always interesting to listen to.
  • What's Her Name: I have to admit that I am waaaay behind on this podcast, and I've long given up on trying to keep up with it. I just listen to an episode or two every now and then. It's hosted by two sisters, and each episode focuses on a different notable woman from history who you probably haven't heard of.
  • In the Dark: This is a podcast that definitely won't be for everyone. It's an investigative journalism podcast focusing on true crime. The first season may be very hard to listen to. What I want to specifically recommend to you is Season 2, which focuses on the case of Curtis Flowers, a Black man from Mississippi who was tried six times for the murders of four people -- murders he maintained he didn't commit. Over the course of this season, the reporters investigated every aspect of the case in great detail. I can tell you that there's been a resolution to the case in the past several months, but it's still worth listening if you want a real-life example of systemic racism in the criminal justice system.

So there you have it! I hope if you're looking for something new to listen to, these recommendations are helpful to you. The photo at the top of the post was one I snapped yesterday while I was out listening to podcasts on a long walk -- it was really a spectacular day, and the sun was just right to illuminate that beautiful tree.


  1. thank you! I am so excited Brenda Dayne is back - can't wait to re-subscribe and listen. Yarns at Yin Hoo is completely new to me and looks like one I'd enjoy. And I'm going to give Jen another listen. I see you post about Pigskin Party things and it sure looks like fun.

  2. Consider “the Moth”. Excellent podcast!

    1. I have heard wonderful things about the Moth! Perhaps it's one to add if I ever catch up!

  3. Great post. I loved In the Dark and Serial. I am familiar with some of those podcasts but will be checking out some new listens for my cold weather walking.

  4. Thank you for the recommendations! I've honestly never found a knitting podcast that I've enjoyed too much, but Yarns at Yin Hoo sounds like it might be right up my alley, and I did not know Brenda Dayne was back. I'm definitely going to give them a try. I love your first three non-knitting podcasts, and now I'm working my way through various cooking and baking baking podcasts trying to find a good one. Any recommendations welcome!

  5. I enjoy the same knitting podcasts although I am on again/off again when it comes to the Knitmore Girls. - Just me I suppose. I also like the Two Ewes Fiber Adventures - knitting, spinning with occasional dog training and bee keeping.

  6. I agree with Julia in KW - I love The Moth Radio Hour! This American Life is one of my favorite shows, but I hardly ever get to listen to it anymore. I've never listened or watched a knitting podcast!

  7. Great list, Sarah. Thanks for the recommendations. :-) I would add . . . Brené Brown's Unlocking Us and NPR's Wait Wait Don't Tell Me. (I have never listened to a knitting podcast. . . )

  8. I am so thrilled that Brenda Dayne is back! :)