REVIEW! My Pick of the Podcasts, Summer Edition

Hello there, dear readers!

I'm being super organised this week and sitting down on a gloomy British bank holiday Monday (just as it should be!) to write the first post of September.  Viewers of The Project Bag Podcast will know by now that I'm not actually around this weekend, but I couldn't leave you without a post and thought, as I've discovered so many great new podcasts (some genuinely new, some new to me) lately it was time I did my summer edition of the Pick of the Podcasts series.

Goodness it feels weird to be sitting here on 27th August, writing to people as though on the 2nd September, referring to my current self in the past tense and my future self in the present tense.  Can you follow that?  Haha me either, reading it back!  Anyway, let's get on with it, shall we?

I've got so many podcasts to share with you this time.  Not long after I published my last review, I started watching Taking Back Fridays, and also discovered the joys of Cozying up with the Stitchin' Sisters and....but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Settle down to find out my Summer pick of the podcasts.

1)  Taking Back  Fridays, with Felicia Lo of Sweet Georgia.

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Copyright for image remains that of Felicia Lo.


I discovered this one not long after posting my Winter/Spring edition.  It's a simple but charming concept,  Felicia Lo: the owner, dyer and general wonder behind Sweet Georgia opened up her drool-worthy crafting space (in her attic, no less - just how perfect!) for some personal time with viewers.  The concept is, simply put, to take back a little bit of time for herself (and the viewers' selves) once a week, to talk crafts, reflect on her crafting journey, and enjoy time to make things. 

Felicia is fascinating to listen to.  She's got a lovely warm presence and, like some of my other favourites, makes you feel like she's really talking just to you, but also brings something different to the podcasting world in the way in which she tries to share knowledge beyond just what WIP she's working on.  For example, one that really got me straight away just from the title was : I deleted my Ravelry queue. 

I'll let that sink in for a while.... yep...that was my reaction too!

But it was so interesting!  She shared that she'd worked out how long, in theory, it would take her to knit everything in her Ravelry queue, and the answer was shocking!  I won't spoil it for you - click the title link to watch it for yourself.  But I did think of the projects in my Pinterest account and realised that I would probably have to live to about 150 years old to complete all of mine! 
What followed was a really interesting discussion about how to pick patterns that you'll love making and that will bring you something more than just pressure to tick another one off your wish-list. 

I've learned so much from her about weaving, colour selection, the creative process and yes, the business side of things too. 

As I write, I'm preparing yarns for the Tullameen Shawl Mystery Knit Along, designed by Tabitha, the design director for Sweet Georgia, and by the time you're reading this, I'll already be powering through the first clue.  I've seen some of Tabitha's work because of watching this charming podcast as Felicia shows off the new design collections and know that, although I've no idea what this shawl will look like, I will love it.  Incidentally, I should shout out to Tabitha here - she very kindly offered me her opinion on which of 3 potential colour combinations I should go for.  How kind is that?  Especially as I was making the shawl from yarns that weren't Sweet Georgia. 

For those who don't know, a KAL is a knit-along.   A knit-along is an event where lots of people all work on the same project at the same time.  A mystery knit along is just the same, but you don't know what the end product will look like.   It can be such fun but also quite nerve-wracking.  I've never committed so much of my precious indie-dyed yarn collection to one project before and I want to get it right. 

Seriously, check it out!

2) Cozy Up with the Stitching Sisters

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Copyright remains that of The Stitchin' Sisters

We stay in Canada for my second summer choice.  About the same time as I discovered Felicia Lo, I discovered this delightful podcast.  It's weekly again, which I just love, and tends to be between 40m and 1hr.  The podcast, very unusually for me, is a multi-presenter podcast.   I tend to prefer the ones with just one presenter.  But this just works for me.  The Stitchin' Sisters are 4 sisters who all gather at their mom's place once a week with coffee and their knitting, letting their kids play in the den in the basement while their patient mom watches over them, allowing her four daughters to chat with us and share their knits. 

The dynamic is brilliant - they have such a giggle together, and they look at the camera as well as at each other, so it feels more relaxed, drawing you into the conversation.  They laugh and joke together, poking fun at themselves as well as at each other, and as well as being incredibly fast knitters, they are also great designers.  They've now completed a set of four shawl patterns, one for each of them, called the My Sister Shawl collection.  Each pattern is unique to the sister it's named for and they're all delightful. 

One of my favourite episodes has been a review of a retreat they went on, where they treated us to some footage of Sarah, the eldest doing some incredible booty-shaking at a late night knit-night.  Us knitters know how to party!

I do want to knit their shawl patterns, but I've never attempted a single shawl before, so I've got the fear.  But having said that, this Tullameen MKAL will soon sort me out in that department!

It's not always all four sisters.  Typically it's just 3, but sometimes just 2, so it feels really casual, and there's always something going on in the background.  They film in the kitchen - the hub of the home - and create a welcoming atmosphere for viewers.

3)  The Drunk Knitter

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This one I only discovered two weeks ago.  I'd seen her on suggested videos on YouTube and thought, hey, that looks like fun!  So I queued it to watch later.  Then, totally coincidentally, she popped up on instagram that very same day, as I was following the #diversiknitty hashtag created by Nathan Taylor (AKA Sockmatician - see the winter/spring edition of my pick of the podcasts).  I clicked onto her grid and saw a vibrant use of colour and a sense of just the joy of knitting.  Then, to my delight, I saw that she wanted test knitters for a gorgeous crop-top. 
Viewers of the podcast will know my thoughts about crop tops from Episode 3: Honey I Shrunk the Sweater, but she's designed it as a full length version too - wahey! 

So not only have I subscribed to a delightful new YouTube video podcast, but I've got another test knit to cast on my needles very shortly! 

I love the bounce and energy of this podcast.  She is so so funny to watch and you can't help but feel enthused along with her.  Just 3 video episodes in (she has had an audio for a while I think), and she's already shed the light on the nature of superwash wools, and had really interesting discussions.

Harrowingly, she knows a pain similar to my own - it's not my place to share her story here...watch Episode 3 of her podcast for her to share it with you - but like me is determined to speak out, to let other parents know they're not alone, and to be a voice and a force for change and for good.  Her Joy shawl design sees £1 from every pattern sold go to Share Charity (the equivalent of SANDs in the USA) for the month of August and she's using a knitalong of the shawl to get conversations started.

I am looking forward to future collaborations with her to work together to make a difference.

4)  Mischief Maker
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Copyright remains that of Jade Prosser

Another brand spanking new podcast (we share a podversary as we're both on episode 5), Jade Prosser is an absolute delight.  My one thing is I wish she didn't try to suppress her excitement during her podcasts.  A couple of times, she giggled with excitement and said "I can't believe I'm recording a podcast!!!" and the joy was wonderful and infectious.  But really, that is the only thing I'd say could improve - the content is just beyond this world.  And her craft nook!!!!!

There is a wall of rainbow zips and it's gorgeous, quilting square samples are framed and on the walls, a tempting sneak peek at her fabric stash is just visible in the IKEA storage behind her. By episode 3, Jade had pulled an easy-chair into her craft nook and immediately it all felt more relaxed - not that I wasn't enjoying it anyway.

She makes the most beautiful patchwork project bags (see the photo above), dyes yarn, and knits ALL the things...literally ALL the things.  She is perhaps the only person with more of a WIP problem than me - in episode 1 her WIPs were in the thirties. 

This brand new podcast brings warmth and sparkle and so much diverse content that there really is something for everyone and something new to see each week.  She has a Q and A segment which has sparked some interesting discussion and, in episode 4, she was apparently asked "how do you do it all?" and she gave a refreshingly honest answer, which involved an anecdote about an apocalyptic nosebleed and a toddler who decided that emptying icing sugar onto the floor then cleaning it with a mop was a good idea.  Not all life is insta-worthy.  Thanks, Jade, for inspiring me to show some of my less insta-worthy shots too!

Just a note - don't search for the mischief maker podcast on Youtube - you end up with something very different...use her handle "Stitch Mischief" instead.

5) Potion Yarns
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Staying across the pond for my number 5 pick this season is Potion Yarn Podcast by the gorgeous Johanna.  She is sparkly and smiley and with such a cool aesthetic...I love her style! 

Her podcast is bringing something pretty different...she's currently doing a wool series in which she explores different yarn bases and how they're best used.  I'm learning lots! 

She also has a bit of castonitis like me it seems, as the few episodes I've watched so far there's always something different - variety being the spice of life of course!

And her giveaways are fun too - you really have to work for them.  For example, last week the discussion was about yarn clubs and what makes them good or bad.  It was a multi part question to enter the giveaway and it really got people talking - brilliant!

Johanna is also a yarn dyer and I love what I've seen so far.

Well, that's it readers - that's my top 5 for the summer.

It's all across the pond and one day I will make it over there myself.  I'll have yarns from Sweet Georgia, patterns from the Stitchin' Sisters, a Finch Bucket bag from Mischief Maker, more patterns from The Drunk Knitter and yarns from Potion Yarns.  One day!

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