That’s Not My Age Podcast Episode 8: Debbie Bliss
I’ve known my next podcast guest, Debbie Bliss, for many years. We met last century when I was a fashion assistant stepping in for the fashion editor to style one of Debbie’s knitting pattern books. The most published knitwear designer in the world has over 35 books, 20 booklets, her own range of yarns and her own knitting magazine. If you want to know anything about knitting, Debbie Bliss is your woman. After working together, we initially kept in touch but living at opposite ends of the Victoria Line came between us, so I am thrilled to have made contact with her again. She cares deeply about democratic design, carefully develops collections to complement the qualities of each yarn – and is very, very funny.
In this That’s Not My Age podcast episode, Debbie talks movingly about having breast cancer, which has seen her undergo a mastectomy, lymph node removal and over six months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. ‘Anyone who has ever had cancer will understand, you’re never quite removed from the fear that it will come back, and you’ll have to go through it all again,’ she says. ‘People tell people who have been diagnosed to be positive; but I think that bring realistic works better for me.’
We discuss hot flushes (aka power surges), the joy of spending time offline and the benefits of being kind. Chat about how she runs her business and what knitting means to her. On style, Debbie now aged 67 says she found her confidence in midlife, ‘ I think having your own style is much easier when you’re older,’ she adds, ‘When you’re younger there is more pressure – now it’s all Instagram and pouting lips. I think when you’re older you do know your style and you’re more discerning.’
Debbie is reading Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield and watching The Politician on Netflix and all of the Real Housewives. She loves food from the ‘local caff’. Her latest health update is, ‘ The removed thymus turned out to be early stage, very rare thymus cancer but luckily not secondary breast cancer. My breast tumour was also very rare – so I’m feeling pretty special! Good news: no more treatment needed so I can watch my hair grow.’
Debbie Bliss knows her style:
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Producer and audio engineer: Linda Ara-Tebaldi
Host: Alyson Walsh
Guest: Debbie Bliss
Music: David Schweitzer
Artwork: Ayumi Takahashi
Digital technician: Tom Hole at Stirtingale
Coordinator: Helen Johnson