KNITSONIK 04 – Jacksons of Reading + The Shetland Diaries part 2

This is the next in a series of experiments in adapting some of the KNITSONIK concepts and recordings to a rough and ready podcast format! Here are some previous episodes, and I’m hoping to get the ‘cast up on iTunes in coming weeks!

01 – the inaugural KNITSONIK podcast, produced at Prick Your Finger during a residency in 2011
02 – Knitting with Bells on
03 – The Shetland Diaries

I am sitting on a mountain of recorded sounds, and my brain is overflowing with ideas connecting KNITTING with SOUNDS. I wanted to see if there is a nice way I can share all of this with you, and whether I have any comrades out there who may be interested in joining me on a fortnightly basis, to explore connections between WOOL and SOUNDS. There may well be some accordion music… there will always be some knitting… and the sounds will be AMAZING! Who is up for this? Are you game? Then let me fire up my mixing desk, my sound-recordings archive, my microphones, and my SONIK devices!

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(If you prefer not to use the player, you can download this episode of KNITSONIK directly from here).

This week in the KNITSONIK podcast:

The jingling sound of my completed bell garland created using bells from this Etsy vendor!



Some features from The Domestic Soundscape this week including the sound of the dripping/broken tap; the RAIN destroying the garage roof; and the scratchy roses outside the dining room window scratching the glass in a nice way.


The we had a lot of sounds relating to the very sad closure of Jacksons of Reading.

Steve Morano’s song “Jacksons Corner” can be purchased here, and the video he made to go with this song – which features tons of lovely imagery of this beautiful old family-owned department store – is below. You can also see loads of photos and read more about the closure of this lovely old store on my blog post about it at The Domestic Soundscape.

You can even see the Pneumatic Tube Change system in action in the video, which I bang on about in the podcast, and which I recorded for the Sound Diaries UK Soundmap / sonic time capsule project in 2010 and you can also still hear that online, both on the UK Soundmap and also below.

I also talked about the wonderful commemorative cake that was handknitted by folk to celebrate 135 years of Jacksons of Reading. This was a venture organised by my friend Suzanne who is a genius and a wonderful artist and maker. She is one of the Outcast knitters of Reading, and created a pattern for a knitted candle, so that all the knitters of Reading could participate in the window display commemorating 135 years of Jacksons a few years ago.

I intend to knit one of these candles to remind myself of this wonderful place.
You can, too! Just download the PDF from here.


Then we travel to Shetland and – as in the words of the Shetland Wool Week Song – “listen to Shima machines”.

This is the home of SHIMA SEIKI knitting machines. Sandra Johnson who is a crofter with her own flock of sheep, a machine knitter, and a professional linker of machine-knit pieces talks a bit about linking and also the economics of different knitting tools.

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We hear again from the wonderful Oliver Henry of Jamieson & Smith, talking about some of the projects at J&S which have involved creating new yarns based on historic textiles. He discusses specifically the wonderful heritage yarn range in the clip shared here.

Then Brian Smith – the archivist at the Shetland Museum & Archives – gives an account of the Truck system of the past, through which knitters were paid in absolute nonsense for their incredible handiwork.

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I then play the sound of huge bales of wool being loaded onto a lorry outside J&S, mixed with the sound of Oliver Henry describing how new markets and products have resulted in rising prices for wool being paid to the crofters who ultimately grow this wonderful resource.

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Then we have some of the sounds of terns and sheep, recorded by the side of the Nesbister böd.

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After this lovely landscape/fauna recording, I muse on the metallic textures of contemporary agriculture and we explore some of the sounds that I heard at the flock book and the ram auction up in Shetland during Shetland Wool Week.


Photo of me recording the sheep at the Auction mart taken by Jeni Reid and used with kind permission

Then I have a wonderful letter from a listener! Thanks to Spinnerin on Ravelry for taking the time to write and let me know that the WOVEMBER baa-tone has caused some havoc with your goats.

I once bothered a blackbird in my garden by playing my wonderful CD of sheep bells by Luc Herelle, which has a blackbird on one of the tracks. The sound of my recorded bird was drifting up into the garden, and a real blackbird began to sing a very assertive melody from the roof of the garden to stand his ground against the phantom challenger.

Luc Herelle’s CD is in copyright, so to simulate the effects, I have used recordings of my own sheep bells coupled with the blackbird I recorded in our garden in 2008, and the blackbird I recorded singing in Brussels last year during Tuned City. He’s a beautiful singer; do listen.

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Finally, as a parting gift to Spinnerin’s goats, I share a lovely recording of some goats in the Netherlands, created by Henrik Schröder. Thank you for creating this lovely recording and for making it available to listeners everywhere via the aporee map…

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…see you all in a fortnight and – as ever – thanks for listening,

1 thought on “KNITSONIK 04 – Jacksons of Reading + The Shetland Diaries part 2

  1. Where are the reams of comments? Listening to Podcast #4, the rain totally pulled me in, I’m kind of exploring KnitsoniK in delayed fashion, but it is immensely entertaining, thought evoking. Woe is Jackson’s Corner, appreciating your very fun recordings!

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