Hi. I’m Brenda. Nice to see you. Or possibly, nice to see you again. This isn’t one of those meet-the-blogger type introductions, as everything you need to know about me you’ve likely heard before. And if you haven’t, the whys and wherefores of this website, are in the About section. If you feel you need that information before proceeding, by all means, go there, then come back.
A few years ago, I took a an extended break from online life, from talking about my knitting, and from making things to show the internet. I went back to uni and studied (or read, as they say in the UK) design and innovation. It was something that had been on my bucket list for quite a while, and it felt like the right time. So I did that, and obtained my BSc at the end of it.
After uni I accepted a post as a community organizer in Pembrokeshire, supporting the development of community groups and sustainable energy projects. Which is both worthy, and extremely necessary if we’re to meet the goal of lowering carbon emissions in time to avoid global catastrophe. That project was set to run for eighteen months, and many of those months have now been lost forever due to another type of catastrophe. One in which we, the lucky, have had to contend with the inconvenience of staying at home most of the time, because the alternative might be catching a disease that could possibly kill you, or someone you love.
When lockdown happened in the UK, I connected with far away loved ones, checking in weekly to share coping stories, and acknowledge the weirdness of the new normal. Because we’re all in this thing together. I also popped back into all my old social media accounts, long dormant, but still there. It was comforting to see the familiar names and faces of online friends and knitsibs. In between posting recipes for garlic flatbread, grieving the cancellation of Eurovision (the main reason why I still have a Twitter account) and making masks, I began to think about picking up the microphone again, and perhaps recording a couple of new episodes of Cast On. As you do. Just for the duration of the lock down. As a way to connect with my knitsibs. A way for us to all be in this thing together.
Time passed, and with it, the moment for my temporary return to podcasting. Lock down restrictions eased, and I got to see my ADORABLE granddaughter again, after 11 weeks of WhatsApp calls. (That’s Lilly. She loves cows. Yes, that’s a handknit; Ravelled here.) Pembrokeshire eventually began filling up with tourists again, as it does every year.
At about the same time that I realised the moment to release a few lockdown episodes had passed, I began producing a podcast on behalf of the community energy project I work for. The project, itself, is in its final few months, and there may never be many episodes of this podcast, but producing it has been very rewarding nonetheless. And extremely helpful, as it allowed me to move through the worst of the podcasting relearning curve on the job. I discovered some cool new tools that make recording interviews easier, and I ordered some new audio kit, and well, here were are. Instead of a couple of lockdown episodes, it’s the whole kit and caboodle. The return of Cast On.
Will this Cast On be the same as the old Cast On? Of course not. I’ve changed; you’ve changed. The whole world has changed. The act of knitting is still the same, but conversation in the knitting community has also changed. It seems to reflect more of the issues of the wider world in which we live. Perhaps it has always been so, but it’s definitely become easier to share our ways of thinking with each other, and it follows that this then makes it more likely that we’ll find knitters with whom we do not agree. (That said, I’ve been only tangentially aware of the various ups and downs in the knitting world over the past years, so I don’t feel particularly well placed to comment on any of it.)
On the other hand, in all the ways that matter, I think you’ll find that Cast On is exactly the same. I’ve recorded two episodes now, and am working on a third. (Yes, I will release them soon.) It doesn’t feel any different than when I first turned on the mic. It’s still just me. Talking about my knitting. To people who get it. The only real difference in the process of making Cast On is that the show notes for each podcast will live here, and not at the old website. (More on why, in an upcoming podcast.)
That’s it really. I’m happier to be back at the mic again than I have words for. It feels SO GOOD. I can’t wait for the conversation to begin again. That will happen very soon. Until then, and as always, if you’re cold, put on a sweater. That’s what they’re for.