Sunday, February 19, 2006

This just in: brand new knitting/fiber podcast reviews

***Even if you've already read this post, please scroll down to read the new reviews of the shows I forgot. No idea how that happened. This post should be retitled "Where's my brain?" Must be Olympic knitting or something. The new shows added to the reviews: "About Time", "Pointy Sticks" and "Musings Of A Peaceful Knitter".***

On to the reviews.

If you don't know what podcasts are, or think that you might not be able to listen because you don't have an iPod, please click here first.

I must start with a brief explanation of podcasting and my method of rating them. First, it's important to understand that podcasts are "shows" that can be put together by anyone. It's quite a bit of work, a little bit of money, and takes some guts to just put yourself out on the line like that with your voice and creativity.

Some podcast hosts are professionals in the audio media world, and so their shows reflect that. Other hosts are people who have never touched a mic, done public speaking, have no experience in piecing a show together or using the hardware and software needed for publishing a podcast.

In a past review that I posted, I held each show under a microscope and came off as the Judge Simon of the knit-blogging world. When I wrote it, I didn't mean anything personally by it.

I am a perfectionist myself, and am sometimes hard on others when it seems that they may not have planned all that carefully. This can be unfortunate, because it can lead to others being swayed by my ideas, and vilifying the person who was criticized.

Taking all of this into consideration, I have modified my style of reviewing, though not my standards. That being said, let us begin. In alphabetical order:

About Time by Whit Larson. Just before the Olympics started, Whit released her best show so far. She managed to land an interview with Stephanie Pearl McPhee (AKA Yarn Harlot), and I must say, it is her best show thus far. She sounds relaxed, everything is pulled together, all in all, a great show. I look forward to hearing more from Whit.

CastOn, by Brenda Dayne. If you've heard anything about knit related podcasts, chances are you've already heard about this show. Brenda does an outstanding job of blending music with entertaining commentary, an essay often by a guest writer (last week by Franklin Habit), and my personal favorite part, Today's Sweater. In Today's Sweater, Brenda gives us a visual picture of whichever sweater she's wearing that day, the story behind the yarn and the knitting of it.

FiberCast by Caroline. This is the most technically explicit podcast. Caroline recently released a show where she explained step by step how to prepare a raw fleece for spinning. Very cool. She's doing a really good job with this show and improves each episode.

KnitCast, by Marie Irshad. This show just celebrated it's first "birthday" on February 15th. The Birthday Show was recorded in a Real Live radio station, and she has other knitting podcast hosts Brenda Dayne, Caroline, Rhonda Bell and Whit Larson as guests. They discuss the finer points of podcasting, their individual decisions to start a show, etc. This episode is great if you want to learn more about podcasting. Marie's monthly show centers around an interview with a prominent person in the fiber arts world, which are always well done. Past episodes have included interviews with Stephanie Japel of Glampyre, Knitted Babes author Claire Garland, Debbie Bliss and Annie Modesitt. On her show's blog she has a list in the sidebar of future guests, and she's got quite the lineup!

Knitting Newscast by Rhonda Bell. When Rhonda first decided to start podcasting, she was so taken with the idea that she couldn't even wait to get home, and recorded her first show in her car. Since that time, she has gone from a flying-by-the-seat-of-her-pants style to an essential stop for knitting news. Her show now truly lives up to it's name, and it's a great resource for finding out what's going on in the knitting world.

Musings Of A Peaceful Knitter, by Lisa Akers. The promo lives up to it's name. The music and her voice are reminiscent of a yoga session. Lisa plans to have peaceful, well, musings throughout her episodes. I know we're all sick of hearing the media depict knitting as "The New Yoga", but this promises to be enjoyable. I plan to check back with her when her show debuts on March 1st.

Pointy Sticks, by Christine. I would describe this podcast as an audio-blog/radio-talk-show hybrid. She's got some great tunes on the first episode as well, and sounds pretty polished for someone who's just launched her first episode. Her second episode should be live soon, so look for it!

Secret Knitting, by Daniella. Each show is an audio pattern. Daniella tells you what weight of yarn to use, how many stitches to cast on, and then you knit your stitches to the sound of her voice. She doesn't post pictures of the finished project until a few weeks later, so that you have time to complete yours, thus the name Secret Knitting. If there were awards to give, this one would get the "most innovative idea yet" award.

Unraveled, by Shannon Chower. Unfortunately, it seems that this show is on hold for now. On her blog she hints at some life issues that are getting in the way of her blogging and podcasting. It's unfortunate, because I enjoyed her show for the brief time it lasted.

WeaveCast by Syne Mitchell. The first episode of this show was just released on the 14th of this month. She has a warm voice and has some cool music as her intro. In her introduction it sounds like she's got a great format lined up for future shows. She takes a page from Brenda Dayne's proverbial book with "Today's Swatch" and featured essays. I'm not a weaver, but I'm afraid I'll want to be one by the next show!

NOTE: if you go searching for the post where I last reviewed podcasts, you will notice that there are some chunks missing out of the original entry. This is because I regretfully wrote a few things that should probably be forgotten, and so I have removed them.

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