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Cutbank Girls – a yarnie Prince George podcast

Local knitters, Darlene Shatford and Jaylene Pfeifer, are the Cutbank Girls who broadcast their podcast from downtown Prince George.
Jaylene Pfeifer, left, and Darlene Shatford are the Cutbank Girls who are postcasting about all things knitting from downtown Prince George.

With the view of the Prince George cutbanks as a constant source of inspiration Darlene Shatford and Jaylene Pfeifer call themselves the Cutbank Girls on their video podcasts.

The dynamic duo create handknit items to showcase to knitters all over the world while also featuring the yarn, patterns and needles they use to create their wearable art.

Fibre arts creators, sometimes known as 'yarnies', Pfeifer is a kinesiologist and yoga teacher and Shatford is owner operator of Top Drawer Yarn Studio located beside ArtSpace, above Books & Co., in downtown Prince George.

They call themselves Sweater Sisters as they often make matching sweaters.

“How many sweaters do we have?” Shatford asked Pfeifer.

“We’ve got 21 sweaters that we’ve made using the same pattern,” Pfeifer smiled.

“Jaylene has been working with me at Top Drawer for a long time and we’re friends so we decided to do this podcast,” Shatford said.

A few years back when podcasts and YouTube channels became popular, it triggered an idea.

“We kept saying ‘oh, we could do that,’” Pfeifer said, tongue firmly planted in cheek.

“And we’d be really fun,” Shatford snort-laughed at her own false bravado.

“We started imagining what we would do,” Pfeifer shot back as it becomes apparent these two are the type of friends who often bounce ideas off each other and finish each other’s sentences.

“So in the fall of 2022 we said let’s just do it and in January 2023 we just did it,” Pfeifer said.

Pointing out the window that faces the cutbanks and then below to Prince Rupert Street at Third Avenue Pfeifer offers a show and tell of details.

“I have a little space over here – I’m a kinesiologist and yoga teacher so we’re both here and can see the cutbanks and we’ve both grown up here and so we wondered what we’d call ourselves and we were just brainstorming and riffing and then it was Cutbank Girls – let’s just do it.”

“And it’s completely raw – there’s no editing,” Shatford said.

“No editing,” Pfeifer echoed, shaking her head.

“We just do this thing and we laugh,” Shatford smiled.

“And then we post it,” Pfeifer concluded.

“We talk about finished objects, works in progress, and what’s in our queue,” Shatford said.

“These are terms that knitters are aware of, because of a world-wide data base called Ravelry, a place where knitters unite. You can post your projects, look up yarn, get patterns, find out about techniques, message one another - it just goes on and on.”

They use Ravelry and their podcasts on Youtube to make that connection with like-minded people.

“And it was really funny - at first we’d be like ‘oooooh we got 100 views!’” Pfeifer laughed as she fondly recalls their tentative start.

“But now we have more than 1,000 followers and almost every video gets about 1,000 views, which to us is like mind-boggling. And we’re answering questions from people all around the world.”

They had one lady from Texas commenting.

“And she says things like ‘luv y’all’ and there’s a lady from Portugal who wants to come visit us here in Prince George and I told her we’d come to visit her in Portugal instead,” Shatford joked.

They could do a Cutbanks Around the World tour and they smiled at each other as they considered it for a hot second and then quickly moved on.

The podcast sure keeps the Cutbank Girls knitting.

“It keeps you motivated because you know you’re going to have to have something finished – doesn’t have to be big – and man, I have a lot of sweaters,” Pfeifer smiled.

“Like a sweater a month,” Shatford wrinkled up her nose and nodded in agreement. “And it’s an absolute joy.”

“And your shop is perfect to explore all the possibilities,” Pfeifer said to Shatford. “The fibre we want to use for the sweaters is right here, and it motivates other people when they come into the shop.”

And in a lilting voice Shatford explained that recently a lady called from Newfoundland.

“She said ‘I watch the Cutbank Girls and I thought I might have a look at what you have for needles',” Shatford singsonged.

Because the woman lives in an isolated area, she doesn’t have a shop in her area that carries any knitting supplies.

“So she decided on some needles and because she’s spending more than $25 I told her I’d pay for half the shipping and I hear in response ‘Well, bless your dear heart!’ and that was so cute.”

Making an old-fashioned, personal connection because of a modern-day podcast does not go unnoticed by the Cutbank Girls.

“I felt we were catalogue shopping as we texted, with me sending photos and then finally taking the order over the phone to fill her mail order,” Shatford smiled.

The podcast has certainly built community.

“And that’s what knitting does,” Pfeifer smiled.