About Sticks & String
Sticks & String sort of just happened. I had returned to knitting, for a number of not very well thought out reasons, in mid 2006;
I did a quick search on the Internet for knitting resources and found 'Cast-On' amongst other things, I downloaded the first couple of episodes
and was pretty much hooked from the second one on. In one of the episodes Brenda encourages people to start their own podcast, this got me thinking
about doing a show, not about knitting, but about astronomy, in which I have a degree and which I pursue as a hobby. I thought about it some more,
and realised that although I like doing some astronomy, I really don't like to spend my time talking about it (although I'm not ruling out an astronomy
podcast in the future); I preferred talking about my knitting. And so, Sticks & String was born.
About David Reidy
I live in the Blue Mountains to the west of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. By training I'm a physicist specialising in Astrophysics. As I neared the end of that degree I decided
I liked teaching more than research and so did a Dip.Ed. and started High School teaching. I started out teaching Physics and Science and migrated to Computing as it started to enter
the school curriculum. I am now the Computing Coordinator at school - which means I look after the teaching side, and luckily don't have to maintain the machines and network. I still
enjoy astronomy as a hobby, living out of the city is a definite advantage there.
How the podcast is made
A blog was the first step. Well the second step actually, the first step was coming up with a name for the whole thing. I wanted a name that wasn’t too cute, nor one that was too boring - and of course, one that wasn’t already taken. I ran through all the combinations of “Australian” and “Knitting” I could think of - “Aussieknit” was already taken; “Knitting down under” sounded like it would be about knitting underwear; and besides, knitting is world wide and there’s no distinctly Australian style of knitting - so I moved on. I eventually hit upon the title you see above because I was thinking about my knitting philosophy. Whenever I turn out a finished article, you can bet someone will say something like “Oh, you’re so clever.” and I really don’t think I am. I, and every other knitter, am able to take some fairly low tech items, some sticks and pieces of string, follow some basic instructions and turn out wonderful and practical items.
Once I’d got this blog started, I headed over to libsyn to create the Sticks and Strings podcast. That’s the first step that cost any money. Libsyn have a number of levels, I chose the second cheapest one, which should let me do a half hour show each week, it’s US$10 per month, so not expensive at all.
The last stop was to get a producer account at the podsafe music network so that I can get some music for the shows.
To make it a little easier to find me, and to distinguish myself as an Australian podcaster, I registered the sticksandstring.com.au domain and pointed it to the WordPress pages. I could explain that I decided against the simple .com domain for all sorts of nationalistic reasons but the real one is because someone else has it already.
Recording the show
I tried recording the show using the same USB headset microphone that I use for teamspeak when playing Everquest 2, the mic is fine for that job, but kept making creaking noises every time I moved even slightly, after a few minutes of trying to edit these out I gave up and moved forward the purchase of some decent equipment. A quick ring-around of a few of the better music shops brought the desired result, when I said that I was looking for equipment for podcasting, the person on the phone put me through to the podcasting sales staff, so that was the shop I chose.
I wanted to be able to record away from the computer so that I could get interviews for the show, and a decent mic for recording at home. The package they put together included the Edirol R09 by Roland, a Rode X/Y Stereo video mic and a desk stand for the mic, all for under $1000. The R09 is a full 24-bit stereo digital recorder that can provide phantom power to a condensor mic, but it’s tiny and will easily fit into a top pocket. It records to SD cards and the only criticism I have is that the 64MB card that it comes with will only record 3 mins at the highest quality, so I picked up a 2GB card, that will record a little over 2 hours, which should be plenty.
The second part of the process is the editing, which is highly important as it means I can remove some of the dumber things I say. I use Adobe Audition for the editing, I already had the program from work I did on some television programs in the past. I’m still coming to terms with many of its features and will have to pick up one of the how-to books to get the nuances of making the sound as good as it can be.