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I was on a trip

There’s much more to the story than this video of our favorite tacky tourist souvenir, but I’m still recovering from it all. Watch for an update on Thursday. With pictures. And everything.

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Mythos kit ninja-bonus giveaway!

mythos!

Our next ninja-bonus giveaway is a kit for the gorgeous Mythos sweater, designed by Laura Nelkin, which was published in our First Fall issue. The sweater is designed in Schaefer‘s scrumptious Audrey yarn [50% merino wool/50% cultivated silk].

Here’s what one lucky winner will receive:

3 skeins of Audrey
Color: winner’s choice,
based on availability

Prize value: $114.00

Want to win? Leave a comment to this post by 9 am eastern time Wednesday, September 22st. We’ll pick one winner and announce the lucky person on our WWW post later that day.

Good luck, everyone!

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Amy’s coming to the UK!

It's almost time!

This trip has been in the works since before Sock Summit ’09 — aka more than a year. And finally, it’s almost here!

It’s the brainchild of my friend, Craftlit host, Heather Ordover. I almost fell off my chair when she asked if I would be her co-host! It’s extra-exciting for me, because this trip also coincides with hub’s and my 20th anniversary and he’s coming with me. Yes, twenty years. Insane. [There are rumors we were married in the womb. I will neither confirm nor deny.]

Anyway, I’m not posting this to brag about the trip. I’m excited because our brilliant [and super-professional] tour organizer, Dianne, has given us two opportunities to have meetups with UK readers and listeners while we’re there!

London:
@ I Knit London, Sunday, October 3 from 3-4pm

Cardiff:
@ Rummer Tavern, Wednesday, Oct 6, from 7-9pm

If you can make it, please do! I’ll have Knitty shwag with me, and both Heather and I are really excited to meet all of you!

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I’m obsessed with plastic glassware.

my introduction to Tervis Tumbler madness: the peace sign mug

This is the dumbest post I’ve ever written, but I guarantee someone reading it will have used these things and agree…Tervis Tumblers are awesome.

A year ago, my sister and my mom took a vacation in Venice, FL, and kept driving past the Tervis Tumbler factory. “What’s a Tervis Tumbler?” we wondered. So we made mom stop [yes, we can still do that when we’re in our 40s…oh, the power of children over the mama] and went into a crystal-clear plastic wonderland.

Tervis Tumblers are kind of a stupid idea, and yet I love them. Understatement. I love them. They’re a hollow-space insulated mug or tumbler [lots of different sizes and shapes available], and each is decorated with an embroidered patch stuck between the two layers of plastic. The patches vary from sports teams and colleges to “let’s get drunk” emblems and cutesy girl icons. Lots of ticky tacky to be found.

hub's favorite Big T Tervis

This is a really stupid idea. Who thought of this? How lame is it to use patches like this? But go look in my cupboards. Clearly I’ve gotten over the stupidness, because I have 6 of these in different designs and shapes in my house.

They keep drinks cold or hot forever, come with really awesome lids that will let a straw in if you want, and I just love the things. Also, if they break, there’s a lifetime warranty. Hub loves the ridiculously huge 24-ounce Big T. I’m fond of the 17 oz mug. Yes, there’s a Tervis Tumbler for everyone.

Sometimes you just have to embrace your lameness.

[p.s. looks like they’re branching out…now they’ve got Fiestaware inspired designs that are actually printed on the glass. Way to go, Tervis!]

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Just like a pill

I bought a recumbent exercise bike in a fit of panic a few years ago when I was prepping to go on Knitty Gritty. Cable television. In reruns for ever. Me and my generous body on tv for all to see. [Ironically, the episode has aired a total of 2 times, as far as I know. But I digress.]

I rode it for a while, and it soon became exactly what most of these devices become: a nagging reminder of  failure to stick with it. A clothing horse. An embarrassment.

Flash forward to me now, and I’m in a bit of a state. My body isn’t working well, and things are breaking down all over. I need to do something, but my choices are suddenly limited. I’d love to walk for exercise, but my plantar fasciitis has gotten so bad, nothing relieves the pain except Birkenstocks. [Yes, I’ve tried everything you’ll suggest. Trust me — Birks are my only solution until this heals.] Exercise walking in Birkenstocks is not ideal. My recently injured knee makes walking at all pretty uncomfortable at the moment. Must rest, doctor says. Oy.

So I’ll ride my outdoor bike, right? That won’t hurt my knee! Except my hands are a delicate issue [carpal tunnel and now I’ve got some fun tennis elbow as a result of favoring the hand that took so long to recover from a cortisone shot], so leaning forward on handlebars of a bike is not a good idea.

i ride something sort of like this almost every day. this surprises me.

Suddenly I remember the albatross in the basement. Chiropractor and Osteopath both give it the green light and I force myself. 22 minutes I decide is an appropriate amount. I put it on resistance level 2 (level 1 is nothing at all) and go. It’s hard. I stop multiple times. I do it.

Next day, I do it again. And again. And all of a sudden, I realize my Restless Leg Syndrome [I told you I was a mess] stops bothering me so much. I go for several days like this and then miss a day. That night, legs are jumping all over the place.

The penny drops. The recumbent bike is not an exercise bike. It’s not a weight-loss solution. It’s a pill. Taking this pill makes me feel better.

Suddenly, instead of finding reasons to avoid going near the albatross, I find myself planning my day around my 22 minute ride, followed by a well-earned shower. Two days ago, I barely made it through the 22 minutes. Yesterday, I pedalled like a madwoman with almost no breaks. Not sure what today’s ride will be like, but I’ll do it, which is all that counts.

My knee is healing and I’m walking more comfortably. My body is working better. I can’t believe it took me this long to stop resenting something that would make me feel better. I like feeling better.

My companion as I pedal is not knitting [my hands need resting when possible; see above]. Instead, I listen to really good audiobooks as another incentive to ride and excellent distraction. I can’t listen to them unless I’m pedalling. But that’s another post.

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Ninja-bonus giveaway post!

sockupied launches today

Out of the blue, we’ve got a surprise ninja giveaway! [We love giving you stuff.]

Today brings the launch of a new digital magazine, Sockupied, from the folks at Interweave.

It’s not an online mag, though you get it from the internet. It’s quite a different thing. And it’s full of socks! This first issue also features a profile of our very own Cookie A! Go Cookie!

Here’s how their press release describes it: “Sockupied is available as a digital download exclusively from Interweave’s online store for $14.97, beginning today. The eMag is actually a 365-megabyte application that users download and install to a Macintosh or PC computer; once installed, the application runs on the Adobe AIR platform.

Want to win a copy? Leave a comment to this post by midnight eastern time today [August 30, 2010]. We’ll pick one winner and announce the lucky person on our WWW post [that’d be this coming Wednesday].

Good luck, everyone!

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Just who is writing this thing?

You may have noticed that the KnittyBlog has diversified. It used to be a one-woman blog with Amy mouthing off on whatever she felt like writing about that day. A while ago, Jillian wisely suggested that there are 4 of us who work on Knitty. Each of us has a different background, different likes and dislikes, and different life-based and geographical perspectives. Which is way more interesting than just one person being mouthy.

So we made it so. The KnittyBlog has been brought to you by the Knitty Team since early 2010, and we figure it’s time we officially introduced ourselves. We take turns writing this thing, and you can always tell who the author is by looking up there next to the date of the post.

Amy

Amy is the editor of Knitty. She’s also the publisher and founder of the magazine. In 2002, it came to her in a dream while sitting on the living room couch that she should start an online knitting magazine to feature the knitting talent she’d been seeing on blogs all over the world in one tidy, professional-looking website. The rest is happy history.

She loves ukuleles, rabbits [her babies are 2 mini-rex sisters named Squeeze and Boeing], scooters and shiny things. She’s allergic to wool and sensitive to all animal fibers, so she’s the non-wool knitter in the Knitty crew. She lives in Toronto and can often be found hanging out, having a latte and knitting, at The Purple Purl. She is frequently obsessed with technology and gadgets, and quite likes shoes that don’t hurt.


Jillian

Jillian is the editor of Knittyspin, Knitty’s Ad Manager and Catalyst of the whole shebang. This means she is often the brains behind the exciting new ideas we implement at Knitty, like this blog-writing thing and the recent issue shift to our two-fall publishing schedule. She’s also the reason there is a Knitty — her passion, brain and heart have helped Amy build the magazine and keep it on the grass-roots path we all feel is so important. If you ever meet her, thank her.

Jillian has been a knitter forever, and a spinner almost as long. Spinning is her current passion, and she spends part of almost every day at her wheel. Her hangout is The Spinning Loft in Howell, MI. She likes vintage dresses, Tim Burton, British murder mysteries and listening to her kids sing in the bathtub. She recently welcomed a rescue puppy — Atticus — into her home, and in addition to all the usual puppy training, she is watching him carefully to make sure he doesn’t start teething on her spinning wheels.


Mandy

Mandy is the senior technical editor of Knitty magazine. Mandy has a terrifyingly skilled knitting-focused brain, and prides herself on making Knitty patterns, especially the complex ones, as knittable as possible. She’s also a talented designer, having been published in several magazines [including Knitty, of course].

Mandy paints, makes unique jewelry and is a star at wardrobe remixing — turning humble thrift-shop clothing into super-desirable fashion. She’s also the co-author of the super-cool book Yarn Bombing. Her Vancouver-based hangout is Three Bags Full, and she shares her home with Roxy, the rescue kitty.


Kate

Kate edits Knitty’s sock patterns and all of the patterns in Knittyspin, and has recently taken on the job of keeping us organized as our Editorial Assistant.  She is a mathematician, which comes in handy in all aspects of her knitting work. Kate is a highly regarded knitting teacher in Toronto, and offers her professional services through several Toronto-based shops and beyond.

She is an expert on all things deli, and is a regular at Caplansky’s. She likes double-pointed needles, kitten heels and strong coffee. A puppy recently showed up on Kate’s doorstep, literally: a little abandoned boy with [perhaps] beagle and shepherd in him, Dexter is now officially part of her family.

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I’m a cheap date.

i kees you, new beloved spindle.

I’m also a gear ho. So it wasn’t surprising that, when I recently visited the Chelsea, MI-area spinning guild — The Spinner’s Flock — that I’d be trolling the tables of fiber and goodies for sale to see if anything was there that I couldn’t live without.

There is a lot of wool. Beautiful 9-month-preganant-belly-sized balls of woolly roving, elegant braids of hand-dyed merino/tencel [from my friend, Carla, which is why I remember the URL], and lots of equipment. Obviously the wool stayed put.

On a second pass through the hall, the spindle shown above caught my eye. Ooh, pretty colors! But more interestingly, the top of the shaft doesn’t have a hook — it has an integrated pigtail. I thought it was neat. I gave it the spin-in-the-palm-of-my-hand test [which means nothing likely, but it seemed zippy], and since it was a whopping $14, I bought it.

I took my new prize back to the circle of friends I was spinning with, and attacked my silk roving, expecting nothing much. Within minutes, I realized this thing was a gem. A keeper. Possibly my favorite spindle. And by this time, the vendor had packed up and gone home. I hadn’t taken a business card. No, really — this IS now my favorite spindle. [I have going on 20 spindles, and they all cost more than this one. Oh, the irony!] Light, spins like a full-on dervish [double rainbow!], and the pigtail is sheer genius.

MUST. HAVE. ANOTHER.

Can anyone help me find my holy grail?

look how it makes the pretty with the tussah silk.

love the aqua. if my soul had a color, it would be aqua.

looks heavy, but it's actually very light.

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Attention non-woolly sock knitters!

The day has arrived. Sock Candy, the non-woolly version of Blue Moon’s Socks That Rock, has returned in beautiful hand-painted glory! Says Tina, “We are offering our Sock Candy for a very limited time as a hand paint. It is not our intention to continue to hand paint this yarn. Instead we’re venturing into having it mill dyed in multicolors.”

One last chance to grab the most beautiful hand-painted cotton sock yarn ever!

Sock Candy, hand-painted by Tina. YUM.


[Yup, Singer was made for me. Literally. How flattering, and irresistible, is that? No worries, I placed my order before I posted this. Because I know what you knitters are like. Because I’m one of you. :)]

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Knitting quickie

Something I realized while frogging [to fix the extra repeat of the lace pattern I somehow decided was necessary to insert between vertical columns — aka a real mess] last night…

[Knowing that I almost always choose simple lace with a purl- or knit-back row will help this next  part make more sense.]

When it comes to frogging lace off the needles, which I often do with simple lace, I always frog with the wrong side facing me. This means I’m undoing decreases and increases that I’ve just done, and for some reason, it’s easier for me to keep things tidy and not drop stitches or former yarn overs. It also means that many stitches will get mounted on the needles incorrectly, but that’s super-easy to fix on the next row, which is that right-side row again, now being reknit properly.

Pictures? We don’t need no stinking pictures. We’re knitters.

[Okay, I went looking for pictures, and instead found validation: Pam Allen says the same thing. See point 3.]

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