April 14, 2014

What’s your sewing soundtrack?

Being the generally overstimulated type, I always listen to podcasts while I’m sewing. They keep me company and I love bumbling away at sewing while someone soothing tells me interesting facts in the background. Funnily enough though, I can’t do audiobooks! My mind wanders, and then I’m like who?! what?! in Russia?! eh??! (Lauren Cashmerette on the other hand is an audiobook connoisseur).


Instead, I stick to podcasts, mostly on culture, current affairs, economics, feminism and whatnot. I listen to a blend of those from my homeland and adopted country, and use the Stitcher app which automatically downloads the latest episode of all the podcasts so you don’t have to worry about synching your phone.

My favourites are:

From BBC Radio 4 (for Yanks: it’s like NPR!)

Women’s Hour – a fabulous hour long daily program that covers all sorts of issues, both directly and indirectly related to women. It’s delightfully feminist in a low-key, “but of course” way.

Friday Night Comedy – hosted by tiny Dane Sandi Toskvig. Effectively, the British version of Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.

Documentary of the Week – hour long radio documentaries on all sorts of interesting things. Most recently I listened to an actress interview other actors and actresses about how they play real-life characters in films. Fascinating!

Desert Island Discs – A British classic! Kirsty Young interviews eminent people (not always celebrities, often people you’ve never heard of who’ve been influential behind the scenes) about the records they’d take if they were stranded on a desert island, together with a luxury and a book. It’s a great mixture of autobiography and cultural commentary

Front Row Daily – high end arts show that deals in popular culture as well as the more highbrow. It’s pretty UK focused but there are quite a lot of reviews of films etc. as well.


From NPR (for Brits: it’s like Radio 4!)

Pop Culture Happy Hour – an often totally hilarious weekly commentary on pop culture. I have been known to laugh out loud repeatedly on this one and have to stop basting temporarily.

Slate Culture Gabfest – very similar to PCHH, albeit  less funny and more earnest.

Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me – I suspect I’m not the target audience.. and yet I think it’s hilarious. A weekly comedy show on current affairs. Paula Poundstone! So funny.

Planet Money – against all odds, this economics podcast is super interesting. It’s pretty much the only reason I understood the financial crisis.

The Moth – short real-life stories told by amateur and professional storytellers… variable, but when you get a good one, it’s amazing.

Slate Double X Podcast – Feminist podcast from Slate on the topics of the day

Freakonomics Radio – Another economics podcast! So good. If you like the book, you’ll like this.

And last but by nooooo means least:

This American Life – oh, Ira. Could I marry you? Except I don’t want your crazy dog. Brits, if you only listen to one American podcast this is the one I’d recommend.

Phew! Now the crazy thing is that I just realized that I pretty much keep up to date with all of these… I spend a *lot* of time podcast-listening! But the good news is, that means I spend a lot of time sewing.

So, dear ones, do you listen to music or podcasts while you’re sewing or do you craft in zen-like silence? Which ones do you like most? Any I’m missing out on?

27 thoughts on “What’s your sewing soundtrack?

  1. i listen to “wait wait” (i took my baby to meet peter segal when she was like three months old! nerdiest thing i have ever done) & “this american life”. i also like to put on reruns on “parks & recreation” in the background.

    another podcast i like, which is for very specific tastes, is “go bayside” (available free on itunes). my friend april hosts it. every week she invites a friend (usually a fellow comedian in the L.A. area) over to her apartment to watch an episode of “saved by the bell” & then they “criticially deconstruct it for you the listener”. obviously, being familiar with “saved by the bell” helps a listened enjoy the show, but that’s right in my wheelhouse. (i’ve also been known to put on “saved by the bell” in the background when i sew. i can’t believe i admitted that.)

    1. Jenny says:

      Ooh I’ll have to check that one out! sounds hilarious… I also sometimes have The Daily Show on in the background – it’s basically a podcast anyway!

  2. Katy Patzel says:

    I think you are my NPR podcast soul-mate. I can’t wait to try out your BBC recommendations.

    1. Jenny says:

      Let me know what you think! And if you have any other NPR reccos…

  3. Laurwyn says:

    I went all the way for audiobooks!
    In the past year, I went through the full Game of Thrones series of books. I also “watch” TV series as well, but not the ones that need lots of attention…

    1. Jenny says:

      The whole series?! That’s amazing!

  4. I can’t listen to audio books at all. They drive me crazy. I am music all the way. BBC 6 music or absolute radio 90s (if britpop was your thing you will love it!)

    1. Jenny says:

      Oooh I LOVE Britpop, I will have to see if I can stream that online!

  5. Despite my ipad/iPhone love affair I’ve never listened to pod casts! I tend to just have the radio on – in the morning I listen to community radio 3RRR which is produced here in Melbourne and has a delightfully eclectic mix of independent music, guests and non-idiotic breakfast hosts. Later in the day I listen to Triple J which is a non-commercial indie music station. Although day by day I’m aging out of their target audience (it’s a ‘youth’ station). But sometimes I actually really just enjoy the silence as my workplace is noisy and as soon as my husbo gets home the radio or TV goes on. Silence is sometimes just what I need!

    1. Jenny says:

      They sound pretty cool! I hardly ever listen to music radio any more, which I attribute to my old age 🙂

  6. gMarie says:

    I watch tv or have it playing in the background. Love me some Gibbs. Or movies I’ve seen and don’t have to pay attention to. g

  7. Madalynne says:

    I have to sound in the background, but it’s music. Any kind, it just depends on my mood!

  8. Karen York says:

    If you like This American Life, try Snap Judgement. A bit more in your face and hyper, but great stories.

    1. Jenny says:

      I’ll check it out!

  9. Nancy says:

    Sports. Dodger baseball, college football except for USC games. I get to caught up in the game to sew! Love my Southern California sports!

  10. tanyamaile says:

    And here’s me with the tv on watching movies…. I don’t like quiet sewing much. 🙂

  11. KimP says:

    Silence for me!!!!! I found when the tv writers went on strike several years ago, and there was nothing to watch, I ended up sewing better, faster, and with increased concentration.

  12. Podcast sewing, for the win! I live for a good women’s issues or history podcast. Some of my favorites, in addition to yours are:

    Stuff Mom Never Told You – A gender issues podcast run by the How Stuff Works team
    Stuff You Missed in History Class – the history arm of the Stuff podcast network
    Sawbones – Super interesting medical history podcast from the Maximum Fun network, by a hilarious married couple.

    Lately, I’ve also bee on a Netflix kick, when sewing. Throughout all this Project Sewn sewing, I’ve been binge watching “The Paradise,” which is loosely based on an Emile Zola novel. It’s amazing, not in the least because of the gorgeous costumes!

    1. Jenny says:

      Oooh thanks I’ll be downloading some of these!

      I find it hard to watch TV when I’m sewing, but I’ll have to check out The Paradise anyway!

  13. Angie says:

    I am the audiobook junkie. Or either Pandora.
    So either music or books.

  14. I’m with you on DIDs, Friday Night Comedy, and Woman’s Hour. Throw in the Archers and a large mug of tea, and I’m in heaven!

  15. Amy Wilk says:

    Like you, I can’t do the audiobooks. I either get too distracted listening to it, (sewn finger anyone?) or I get too distracted from it. (Hold on, she put what where?!!) I often put on some Thistle and Shamrock when I’m sewing, mostly because I like folk music and because I love Fiona Ritchie’s accent. I also like Wait, Wait… keeps me chuckling.

  16. Kelli Ward says:

    thanks for your list too! Great minds think alike 🙂

  17. I like listening to podcasts, but am never sure where to start, so thank you for the recommendations – I’ll check them out over the weekend when sewing 🙂

  18. and.sewon says:

    My current favourite podcast is ‘The black tapes’ best description is x files meets serial! Binge listened and am now in the unfortunate position of having to wait for another episode.

  19. M. A. says:

    For me it’s Pandora Radio all the way-and zippy tunes from Flamenco (start with Rodrigo y Gabriela) to movie sound tracks (start with Hans Zimmer) to David Garrett-model turned violinist. Keeps me moving quickly.

  20. Movies movies and more movies! I hate the quiet so I have a pile of sci-fi movies that I just play over again. I’ve just watched all the Marvel movies in chronological order and now I’m onto all the ‘Underworld’ movies…. can’t beat a good werewolf/vampire bloodfest while you’re sewing 😀 I’ve seen them all before, most of them are on their 4th or 5th viewing but it’s just background noise (and blood!)

Let me know what you think!