KNITSONIK 07 – Finding The Fabric of The Place (Part 1)


Today’s KNITSONIK podcast borrows its name in part from a workshop I will be running at the Old Fire Station in Oxford, during Maker’s Month, and themed around the idea of “FINDING THE FABRIC OF THE CITY”. I was unwell last Friday, and then – feeling better and in a fit of renewed mojo – on Sunday I busted out three and a half hours of ideas and sounds related to the concept of “FINDING THE FABRIC OF THE PLACE”. Because I am sure nobody else is as excited as I am about this topic, I have edited this exuberance down into two parts. This is Part 1; Part 2 will be appearing in your iTunes subscription and online, here, tomorrow.

You can listen to Part 1 of Finding The Fabric of The Place below, via iTunes, or through this link.

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In Part 1 of the podcast, I discuss:

The KNITSONIK jingle, originally created during a residency at London’s finest haberdashery, Prick Your Finger.


Here is the shop window during the residency, and the jingles on

The main inspiration for the synthetic texture of the KNITSONIK.COM jingle comes from Amazing Kraftwerk and The Man Machine.

Then I talk about “Universal Goat” because Cecilia made a really great comment;

Goat listeners, during the section on how frustrating inaccurate generic sounds are, may, like me, have thought of Universal Goat. Whenever there is a marketplace scene in a movie there is often the sound of a (seldom seen) goat bleating. And in all the different films it is the same goat! It was Universal Goat who first alerted me to the sadly limited repertoire of sounds that are drawn upon in film.

– Cecilia, (who has lovely goats).

I respond to this concept in the podcast by highlighting the very beautiful differences between one flock of sheep and another, and all the levels of texture and atmosphere besides, because I think that the idea of using stock sounds such as Universal Goat refutes the richness of data that can be experienced in sound recordings.

I also wanted to respond to some other listener feedback; Sue who wrote via Ravelry, you can find a whole CD of sheep bell recordings here – it’s by Luc Herelle and it’s beautiful. It is getting pretty gard to find, so that might be the last few copies available just now; be warned, I really wound the blackbirds up around here by playing that disc in my studio! Also – loads of lovely jingly stitch markers are available on Etsy, and you can find them by searching for jingle bell stitch markers. Enjoy! I love mine.

Finally, really glad to hear that the parrort of Spilly Jane Knits, Earl, has been enjoying the avian sounds in the KNITSONIK podcast! A couple which are in this episode but which can also be found on my audioboo channel include the sounds of Cranes and Nightingale Thrushes, both recorded in Estonia during my MoKS residency in 2012.

I hope Earl likes them!

I then talk about the HÛRD Sound Diaries, collected here on the Sound Diaries website:

This sound diary explores the differences, similarities and relationships between a whole series of regional textile sounds from both Cumbria and Estonia; sounds are presented in pairs, with texts which examine the sounds and their relationships to places and textiles. Go check it out!

The Cranes and Native Estonian sheep were recorded on Joel and Julika Roos’s beautiful fine wool sheep farm – Jaani talu – in the Southwest of Estonia. Joel and Julika keep native Estonian sheep; Swedish Finull sheep; and Ã…land sheep. The other wonderful sheep breeders I met in Estonia also include Imbi Jäetma of Sae talu; Anneli Ärmpalu-Idvand, who keeps a flock derived from the Kihnu line of Estonian native sheep and Selma and Riina Kaljulaid on the island of Ruhnu. Selma keeps a small flock of the Ruhnu line of Estonian native sheep. A superb document referring to Estonian native sheep can be found here, and a great website here – Know Sheep.

In Cumbria, I talk about David and Diane Kinsman, who keep black Hebridean sheep. David has written a very interesting book on the history of the placement of these sheep (originally found on St. Kilda) on grand estates in the Lake District: The Black Sheep of Windermere by David Kinsman. Here are some of the black sheep of Windermere!


I also talk about the flock of Rough Fell sheep kept by Brian and Jane Knowles at High Borrow Bridge in Selside. You can see one of their prizewinning rams here.


When I play the Nightingale Thrush sound, I compare it with a recording of a Nightingale in London made by Peter Cusack and featured on my all-time favourite sound release: “Your Favourite Sounds of London” by Peter Cusack.

Both my Nightingale thrush and Peter’s Nightingale are singing with electronic buzzes… which segues into the next portion of the podcast, which is all about Christina Kubisch’s work exploring hidden electromagnetic frequencies in the environment. You can hear some of the hidden electromagnetic sounds which surround you in daily life if you have a recording device and get a telephone pick up coil for £9.99 from Maplins.

This is the best video online for giving an overview of how Christina Kubisch’s electrical soundwalks work.

Christina Kubisch – Electrical Walks. An introduction to Christina Kubisch’s “Electrical Walks” series of works from Christina Kubisch on Vimeo.

There will be a soundwalk starting from the Glass Tank at Oxford Brookes University during Audiograft in which you will be able to try out Christina Kubisch’s special headphones for yourself!

I close Part 1 of this podcast – FINDING THE FABRIC OF THE PLACE – with an apology for the length of this concept, and a promise to be back tomorrow with Part 2! See you then…

3 thoughts on “KNITSONIK 07 – Finding The Fabric of The Place (Part 1)

  1. I just came across this website when looking for the Knitsonik book. I moved onto your podcast and just listened to this episode. Fascinating. Is there evidence that domestic pets and/or livestock can hear the electromagnetic wave sounds that we cannot hear without assistance of headphones, etc.? Thanks for doing this podcast.

  2. Felix, firstly, thank you for your wonderful podcast.

    I don’t know if you have access to the HBO series ‘Togetherness’…a character is a movie soundman, and in episode 1.2 he has his own depressing experience with the ‘universal goat’ — he tries to convince his director to use authentic wolf cries — for scene’s wolf — but the director forces him to use stock coyote wails because they are better sounding.

    Gretchen aka popsilly

    1. Hello, yes – I watch this show and in fact I talked about this exact incident in the Wonders of Electricity Episode! :D

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