Sunday, July 25, 2010

Podcast Recommendation of the Week - Number 1

I make things all day long, sometimes into the night. My crafts are labor intensive, also occasionally tiny, painstaking, and always repetitive. I need to listen to something while I'm creating or I'm left alone with my own thoughts and, well, no thank you. Years ago I used to put a TV on while I worked but the temptation to glance up was irresistible and it became distracting. I've always loved radio and since I found podcasts, I don't even watch TV just to relax anymore, I'm hooked on sound! I make my own pictures in my mind.

My default listening experience of choice is live streaming NPR over my computer. I'm a proud NPR junkie and I love knowing what's going on right now. I'm supremely lucky to live within radio range of three excellent NPR stations, but I have at least 6 different stations bookmarked on my computer so I can jump around from town to town along the northeast and listen to my favorite shows at the most convenient times regardless of where they are broadcasting from.

When the shows are not to my taste or they start repeating I listen to the podcasts I've downloaded from the internet and stored on my computer and also transferred to my little orange iPod.

I know a lot of artists listen while they work, some to music, some to audio books, some to TV and movies. Once they burn through all those episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer they have to find something new! I mentioned on Twitter that I have 250 podcasts waiting to be listened to and people wanted to know WHAT IS ON THERE??

And it came up again recently at one of Mimi's crafty meet-ups, what do you listen to while you make?

So I decided to make a list, telling you once a week about a podcast I like and what it's about. Then you can decide if it's something that would entertain you as well. I hope you find some great new listening!

Bob Edwards Weekend
I decided to go alphabetically so I wouldn't get confused. The first entry is Bob Edwards Weekend. Bob Edwards is the smokey-voiced former host of Morning Edition on NPR. It crushed me when they let him go (though I have to admit, I love the new hosts) so I was very excited to find his show available as a podcast. On it he interviews actors, authors, singers and musicians.

Bob Edwards has an excellent way of letting the interviewee get their thoughts out without interruption, and he's obviously listening to their answers because he follows up and laughs and interacts in a very satisfying way. He's one of those interviewers that, like Terry Gross, can make me interested in a subject matter or person I wouldn't have thought I would care about.

The show is presented as two one-hour segments and it always features a classic clip from the This I Believe series started by Edward R. Murrow in the 1950s, including the context of the clip, which is so interesting I think.

I like listening to this podcast on weekend mornings with a cup of hot beverage and a slow-paced project in my lap.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Granny Square Pillow Cover

I have been so eager to make pillows! I have had this excitement for years now. I've bought pillow-making books, read tutorial after tutorial and finally took the plunge with this cotton granny square I had crocheted last year. I made the front about 12 inches across.

I matched the stitch count for the back and crocheted two panels which overlapped about 3 or 4 rows. On the second-to-last row of the top panel, I used double crochet stitch to act as button holes, then finished with a row of single crochet.

I had originally crocheted the front piece to the back pieces with right sides facing and then turned it right side out. But I didn't love it so I took it apart and re-crocheted it with wrong sides together, when I did that the crochet edge appeared like piping. Now I love it! Plus it was easier to see where I needed to catch loops at the places where I had to stitch through 3 layers.

I sorted through my vintage button collection and picked out coordinating but all different-patterned white plastic buttons. I sewed them on about 2-3 crochet stitches apart along the back seam.

I went to the fabric shop to buy a 12" square pillow insert but all they had was 14" so I bought it. I made sure to pick one with a nice fabric shell because it is visible through the front granny square of the pillow cover. The pillow insert turned out to be just the right size! The cover stretched over it nicely.

*happy sigh*

Will be making many more of this kind of pillow and others too! I knew I would love it and now that I've started, I cannot be stopped :)