New Favorite Podcast: Mom on Pop

As I’ve mentioned off and on here, I listen to lots of podcasts while I’m knitting—I’ve found it’s the perfect way to be entertained and keep my eyes on tiny stitches at the same time. (They’re also great to listen to while cooking, cleaning, power walking… anything that doesn’t require too much thinking.) And today I’m especially excited to spread the word about my newest favorite podcast, because it’s made by two of my favorite people, my husband, John, and my mother-in-law, Bonney!

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Mom on Pop is the title of the podcast, and it’s produced by The A.V. Club, the arts & entertainment website where John works. On it John and Bonney chat about anything pop culture-related that they’re currently into, like iPhone games, TV shows, and stuff they found on Netflix. The cheeky title is perfect for their mother-and-son banter, and I can attest that it’s just like listening in on one of their everyday conversations, which are highly amusing to me, and I think almost as amusing to those who don’t know them personally.

If you’ve been a longtime reader of this blog, you already know Bonney as the owner of the world’s biggest yarn stash.

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She’s still unchallenged in the title!

There’s not much yarn talk on the podcast, but they do occasionally mention me in passing, which is cool and weird.

You can subscribe to Mom on Pop via iTunes or find it on the A.V. Club website.

Pogo’s Alice

I was listening to the podcast Sideshow (made by Sean Rameswaram of Studio 360) on my run/walk this morning, and the topic was the artist Pogo, who makes remixes using clips from animations and TV shows. I found the clip they played of his “Alice” remix to be totally mesmerizing, so even though it’s nearly five years old, I wanted to share it for a little Monday inspiration/chill-out.

This is the first time I’ve been really captivated by something featured on Sideshow, but it’s still a pretty new podcast, so maybe it’s still coming into its own. For now, I’m a much bigger fan of TLDR, another internet-themed podcast that came out of WNYC’s On The Media. I do love this trend of public radio podcast spinoffs!

What I’m Knitting to (and Running to): Lots of Music

December is such a hectic month up until the end, and so I’ve found myself choosing music more often over podcasts and TV when I’m knitting. The right album for my mood lets me get into a groove of extended concentration on what’s taking shape in my hands, which is particularly helpful when I’m in the process of designing something.

Here are the albums I’m enjoying lately, some old and some new.

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New music (2012 favorites):
Put Your Back N 2 It by Perfume Genius
America by Dan Deacon
Ekstasis by Julia Holter

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Older favorites:
Horses by Patti Smith
Crazy Rhythms by The Feelies (I’ve blogged about this one before)
Fabulous Muscles by Xiu Xiu (explicit)
Privilege EPs by Parenthetical Girls

On another note, the beginning of the year seems like a great time to refresh my running mix. These are some recent (single track) additions that I’ve made, and I would love more suggestions:

Gangrimes Style by Dan Deacon
Honey Bunny by Girls
Handsome Devil by The Smiths
Stay Useless by Cloud Nothings
Came Out of a Lady by Rubblebucket

What are you going to exercise to in the new year? And what music, podcasts, TV, etc. are you knitting to as 2012 winds down? Please share in the comments!

What I’m Knitting to: The Violinist’s Thumb

It’s a new blog feature! As a designer, most days I’m lucky enough to spend a big chunk of time knitting, and I’m usually consuming other media as I do so—I listen to tons of music, podcasts, and audiobooks, and (depending on time of day) I watch TV and the occasional movie as I work on my latest project. Since these pieces of audio and visual culture are such a big part of my knitting, I think it makes sense to share some of them here.

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This month I’ve been listening to the audio version of The Violinists Thumb and Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by our Genetic Code, a new book by Sam Kean. I love history and pop science, and this book is a winning combination of them both. I imagine it’s difficult to write about the mechanics of DNA for a broad audience without either leaving most people behind with science-y talk or dumbing it down too much. At least for me, someone who never took a science course past high school (unless you count The Physiology of Music, which I don’t, because it sounded like fun but mostly went way over my head), Kean does it perfectly.

As for listening to this book instead of reading it, it’s been highly entertaining, but I occasionally feel like I’m missing something from not getting to see all those rows of Gs and Ts and As (not to mention Cs) written out in front of me. And I’m a little bit distracted by my knitting the entire time, of course, so that contributes to my missing a sentence or two sometimes. I’d actually be willing to listening to the entire thing over again at some point, and I’m sure I’d pick up on quite a bit that I missed the first time. But the book is highly entertaining with dramatic anecdotes from history even if you’re not entirely following what exactly that crazy DNA is doing.

Now the question goes to you, fellow knitters and makers: what are you knitting (or sewing, or tinkering) to this month?

Pearl and the Beard Giveaway

Our giveaway winner is comment #40 by knitcrazy!

Me, my Mom, and my Mom’s friend Vera. We all love knitting (well, maybe my Mom less), so we would be wearing and knitting the sweater at the same time!

You may have noticed that occasionally I blog about music that I love, even though most of my blog is dedicated to things knitting related. Very seldom do these two interests collide, so you can imagine my excitement when I heard about Pearl and the Beard, a fantastic Brooklyn band (so, also local to me!) with a love for knitting. The 3-person sweater pictured on their new album was made by Jocelyn Mackenzie, one of the members!

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Killing the Darlings is definitely 3-person sweater-worthy.

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Pearl and the Beard draw you in with warm 3-part harmonies that are sweet and haunting at the same time—combined with masterfully played acoustic instruments (cello, guitar), the songs are steeped in tradition with a very 2011 spirit. Just check out this free track from the album, “Reverend”:

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So about that sweater. Jocelyn designed and made it herself using a knitting machine, which is something I’ve been really interested in lately. She explains how it all happened in this video.

I mentioned a giveaway in the title of this post, and it’s true! Pearl and the Beard are letting me give away a copy of Killing the Darlings to one person, so I’d like to ask you all: who would you put in your 3-person sweater? Myself, I’d wear the sweater with my two cats. They would hate it, but it would make for a great photo shoot!

Let us know who your sweater companions would be in the comments to this post, and I’ll randomly select a winner this Friday, July 1st. If the winner is in the US, they’ll get a physical copy of the album, and if they’re out of the country, they’ll get the album as a download. Good luck!

Summer Reading

My July 4th weekend consisted largely of reading and sleeping in the grass. How appropriate that I was reading this book.

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I loved it. It’s been a long time since I got excited about a book, so I feel the need to spread the word. As you can see, it’s The Accidental by Ali Smith. It came out a few years ago.

While I’m talking of new favorite things, the best movie I saw recently was Please Give (not spectacular, but unexpectedly good), and in the music category I’ve been enjoying The National’s Boxer (admittedly late to this one too).