Revisiting The Close Knit Podcast Mission

I wanted to take a minute to share the mission of the close knit podcast.

photography by  Nina Hamilton

photography by Nina Hamilton


The close knit podcast aims to hold space for conversation to be had about the ways we use fiber to process life and world events.
What I meant when I wrote that was that this podcast is the vessel, and the guest brings the story - the connecting thread between all guests is fiber in some form. Intentionally broad, this enabled me to speak to all kinds of people about all manner of things.
In practical terms, it has looked like a majority white, majority women-identified line up. When it was entirely this - early on, I paused, readjusted, and tried to publicly challenge myself to do better. I shared this process publicly because I believe in transparency of process, whenever possible. Owning mistakes, instead of letting them own you, and moving forward. 
Over the course of the life of this podcast, I hope to speak to as many people from as many backgrounds as possible - whose stories may be connected only insofar as their interest in fiber, and I hope that each listener finds themselves represented here, in some way. Whether that is a person whose ethnic identity resembles your own, or gender identity, or approach to making, or ethics on living their lives. 
I hope that you find someone who feels like ‘home’ to you here. 
I know that I can always do better - and though I spend more time than your average person researching people in the fiber community to interview, those interviews don’t always pull through, or they don’t happen in the way I imagine they will. I am constantly learning the process of letting go of the outcome as a podcast maker - I can only ask the guest in, and hold as safe a space as I am able - I cannot falsely create stories or force a conversation in a direction it’s not able to go. More so, I cannot expect a certain type of conversation to happen simply because of a common narrative around assumptions I’m no doubt making about my guest.

I want to keep at this. I want to make this podcast for a long ass time - maybe even for the entire time I’m on this planet. so it’s gonna take time, and the guest list will evolve. and I hope, as the knitting and wider fiber community begins to take more seriously issues of representation - we may more easily be able to find a diverse body of people to speak to and hear from.

This being said, know that I am always scouring the internet for new stories, following along on instagram and trying to track down the voices of people who don’t look like me. Sometimes, I do okay it, and other times, not as much. I don’t expect anyone to do that work for me, but I am open to suggestions - I am open to feedback. If there’s someone that you love or YOU are that someone - who is doing interesting work with fiber, who maybe doesn’t have the type of stage that makes it easy to find them, by all means - please let me know. 

I’m here to listen, to keep working on creating a really safe space for people to share. 

I’m processing - in my own private life, sometimes quietly - through hours of conversation with people that I know, and hours of knitting. I’m working on a sock right now - which of course, what else would I be working on, and I don’t know if I’m doing it ‘right’ this whole thing, but I know that I’m giving it what I’ve got. & at the very least, I feel hopeful that we have this vessel - our making, our place for quiet internal reflection, and our connection of fiber. Our place to find each other - our thing to connect over. I’m glad that there is this soft vessel to perhaps help us find each other. 

EPISODE 44 :: Isadora Alvarez of Back Beat Rags - The Nuts and Bolts of Local Production

The Close Knit podcast aims to hold space for conversation about the ways we use fiber to process world and life events

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In Episode 44, I spoke to Isadora Alvarez of Back Beat Rags. Lately I’ve been particularly intrigued by production - how a person gets into clothing and textile production and design, what this process looks like and the many complexities within it. I’ve been admiring Isadora’s laid back style and commitment to natural fibers for some time, then I read an interview piece with her and was struck by her voice - the way she told her story with integrity and tons of honesty and a sense of humor. Bringing her on the podcast, I was excited to dig into the ‘why’ behind her commitment to natural fibers and to understand more about her local production. She walks us through what production looks like for Back Beat so thoroughly and with so much thoughtful detail. I think this episode is really exciting for anyone who wants to more deeply understand how many steps are involved in textile production and how much thought and intention goes into this process for Isadora. 

She’s has always had a super scrappy, DIY approach to her business. Hearing all about her journey from the Philippines to the US to study and eventually start Back Beat Rags is deeply interesting and inspiring. 

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The Close Knit Podcast is supported by the following people (& more!) through Patreon. If you'd like to support the podcast and get access to sneak peeks + additional content for patrons-only, please check out patreon! 

Aleksandra Alex Alicia Alison C Alison S Amanda Bee Belle Brittany Caitlin Carolina Carolyn Casey Cath Catherine Chantale Chase Elizabeth Ellen Emily B Emily P Emily T Hanna Lisa Heather James Justice Laura Lauren Lawral leah Lyle Marta Morgan Natalie Natasha Niki Ocean Rachel Sandy Sarah B Sarah H Shelby Shelly shivani - THANK YOU SO MUCH!

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Find Isadora: website | instagram  

Want more? 

Like what you're hearing? 

Awesome! I'm glad you've found your way to this podcast. Please feel free to subscribe, leave a review on iTunes (this makes all the difference to reaching more people!) and share with your loved ones. Thanks for tuning in.

Until next time! 

xx

ani

EPISODE 43 :: Aaron Sanders Head on Going All In & Daily Practice 

The Close Knit podcast aims to hold space for conversation about the ways we use fiber to process world and life events

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A huge thank you to this episode’s sponsor: Craneway Craft Fair. I first learned about Craneway Craft Fair when I moved to the Bay and was searching out craft fairs to attend (as you do). This year is the 48th annual Craneway (formerly known as the KPFA Crafts Fair), and it’s happening on December 22 & 23rd. This last week especially I’ve been reflecting on how important handmade and locally made is to me - especially in light of the wildness of consumer culture in america & Craneway feels like the total antithesis to all of that. From 10am-5pm on Dec 22 & 23, so just in the nick of time if you have any last minute holiday gifts in mind, you can find artisan made goods in the Craneway Pavillion in Richmond, CA. The best part is, Craneway directly supports Berkeley’s KPFA 94.1 public radio. KPFA was the first community supported radio station in the USA. They currently air public news, public affairs, talk, and music programming  & they’ll be broadcasting live from Craneway on the fair days! It feels pretty awesome to be shouting out an organization that’s supporting not only local makers but also progressive public radio. You can find Craneway on instagram at @cranewaycraftfair and online at cranewaycraftfair.com See you on the 22nd! 

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This week I spoke to Aaron Sanders Head. Aaron’s work stood out to me this year when I first noticed his sashiko-informed stitching and really stunning imagery. Aaron walks me through his career from post-college to now, and how fiber art has kind of (excuse the pun) woven it’s way into his life - throughout his career in arts administration. In his work with a local art gallery, he began booking workshops to accompany exhibitions & soon realized he was booking the types of classes he was interested in - quilting, embroidery, sashiko, natural dyeing. It was from here that he really began an active and daily practice. 

Aaron was remarkably candid with me - we talk about finances, the difficulty and importance of sourcing materials thoughtfully, and the privilege in being able to “slow down”, and how the term ‘self-care’ has been sometimes misused. I appreciated Aaron’s grounded perspective on so many topics and it was really refreshing to hear them articulated in this way! 

This chat really takes you on the journey with Aaron, I feel. So listen on to hear how Aaron went from studying photography in Boston, to touring Texas with his partner, teaching indigo dye workshops and making it work. 

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The Close Knit Podcast is supported by the following people (& more!) through Patreon. If you'd like to support the podcast and get access to sneak peeks + additional content for patrons-only, please check out patreon! 

Aleksandra Alex Alicia Alison C Alison S Amanda Bee Belle Brittany Caitlin Carolina Carolyn Casey Cath Catherine Chantale Chase Elizabeth Ellen Emily B Emily P Emily T Hanna Lisa Heather James Justice Laura Lauren Lawral leah Lyle Marta Morgan Natalie Natasha Niki Ocean Rachel Sandy Sarah B Sarah H Shelby Shelly shivani - THANK YOU SO MUCH!

People/ Things we mentioned in the podcast:

Find Aaron: website | instagram  

Want more? 

Like what you're hearing? 

Awesome! I'm glad you've found your way to this podcast. Please feel free to subscribe, leave a review on iTunes (this makes all the difference to reaching more people!) and share with your loved ones. Thanks for tuning in.

Until next time! 

xx

ani

EPISODE 42 :: Jess Mahaney of Muumuu - Wild Beginnings, Changing Directions & Finding Flow  

photography by Mark Mahaney

photography by Mark Mahaney

The Close Knit podcast aims to hold space for conversation about the ways we use fiber to process world and life events

The Close Knit Podcast is supported by the following people (& more!) through Patreon. If you'd like to support the podcast and get access to sneak peeks + additional content for patrons-only, please check out patreon! 

Aleksandra Alex Alicia Alison C Alison S Amanda Bee Belle Brittany Caitlin Carolina Caroline Carolyn Casey Cath Catherine Chantale Charlotte Chase Elizabeth Ellen Emily B Emily P Emily T Hanna Lisa Heather Jaclyn James Justice Laura Lauren Lawral leah Lyle Marta Morgan Natalie Natasha Niki Ocean Rachel Sandy Sarah B Sarah H Shelby Shelly shivani Tal - THANK YOU SO MUCH!

In episode 42, I spoke to Jess Mahaney of Muumuu. Jess is someone whose designs stood out to me immediately when I saw them online this year. Jess was a little surprised when I asked her to come the podcast- her background and engagement with fiber is different to a lot of folks who’ve previously been on the podcast. What I love about Jess is the breadth of things that she brings to the table- a gumption & scrappiness that is inspiring, a willingness to get to work and a deep interest in design, clothing and getting dressed. Muumuu as a concept for Jess has been around for a long time - she never envisioned being a designer at this time in her life, about 7 years into raising a child-  but as its struck her, she’s followed it and it feels like its “in the flow”, as she describes it. 

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She talks about the parts of herself that she felt went missing when she became a full time caretaker of her baby & how dressing herself was part of this. She sings the praises of linen, how it looks relaxed always and we talk about the ways that women, especially women designers, are changing the narrative around dressing and who we dress “for” and how. 

We discuss her fear of not having the right language for describing what she wants, not thinking of herself truly as a “designer”. We discuss what it means to follow your impulses, to make more things in the world and the ethical quandaries that come up with that. Jess tells us what her ultimate vision for Muu Muu looks like (spoiler - it’s not just about clothing - clothing is really just the vehicle), and what’s on tap for her for the next couple of months.

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People/ Things we mentioned in the podcast:

Find Jess: website | instagram  

Want more? 

Like what you're hearing? 

Awesome! I'm glad you've found your way to this podcast. Please feel free to subscribe, leave a review on iTunes (this makes all the difference to reaching more people!) and share with your loved ones. Thanks for tuning in.

Until next time! 

xx

ani

EPISODE 41 :: Anny Crane on Becoming an Art Teacher & Processing Through Art

photo by Erika Townsley

photo by Erika Townsley

The Close Knit podcast aims to hold space for conversation about the ways we use fiber to process world and life events

This week I spoke to Anny Crane. Anny is a process artist, working mainly in embroidery. Anna’s process struck me visually because she embroiders onto paper, usually that she’s made - so there’s a lot to take in, textures, colors, embellishments. I loved getting to talk to Anny about how she got started with the sort of art she creates, something she found as her grandmother was passing & how her process has changed and stayed the same.We discuss her move to Michigan, her current job situation & how sometimes settling into success can feel intimidating. Be sure to stay tuned to the end - we really get into some big feelings around social media and how our use of it has changed over time. 

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A huge thank you to this episode’s sponsor - Making Things. Last episode, I got to introduce you to Making Things, so for this episode, I wanted to tell you more about their soon-to-launch platform. Making Things is like Netflix- but better, because it’s for knitting & crochet - it’s unlimited access to all your favorite patterns in one place. All the pattern have been tech edited and tested so you know that you’re getting the best quality resources.  Not only that, but there’s a whole digital toolbox to bring these interactive patterns to life - counters, row highlighters, chart grids, editable notes & live pattern support - all designed by and for the knitting and crochet community. You can follow Making Things’ journey as they go live on instagram at @themakingthingsapp and online at makingthingsapp.com 

liz's knitted self portrait - her first intarsia (!!)

liz's knitted self portrait - her first intarsia (!!)

The Close Knit Podcast is supported by the following people (& more!) through Patreon. If you'd like to support the podcast and get access to sneak peeks + additional content for patrons-only, please check out patreon! 

Alicia Alison Tal Lauren Chase Melanie Ellen Sandy leah James Natalie Chantale Justice Sarah Cath Casey Morgan Natasha Emily Hanna Lisa Carolina Rachel Aleksandra Charlotte Brittany Lyle Alex Alison Ashley Caroline Claire Elizabeth Heather Rachael Shelly shivani Katie Jaclyn

People/ Things we mentioned in the podcast:

Find Anny: website | instagram  

Want more? 

Like what you're hearing? 

Awesome! I'm glad you've found your way to this podcast. Please feel free to subscribe, leave a review on iTunes (this makes all the difference to reaching more people!) and share with your loved ones. Thanks for tuning in.

Until next time! 

xx

ani