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Ninja-bonus giveaway!

Silk Road Socks by Hunter Hammersen

It’s been a few weeks since our last knitting contest. Let’s remedy that right now!

This time, the prize is a copy of the brand-new book, Silk Road Socks, by Hunter Hammersen. [Winner’s choice of print or digital version.] You can peek inside at all the sock patterns on the book’s Ravelry page. The Knitalong has already started, and you’ll find it here.

Here’s how to win: leave a comment to this post by Monday, January 24, at midnight eastern time, and you could win! We’ll choose a winner at random, make them answer a  skill-testing question, and post the results next week.

Prize value: 26.95 print, 16.95 digital.

Can’t wait? Don’t blame you. You can buy your copy here.

*Spread the joy!*

2010: A good year for knitting

One of my favorite reads at the end of every calendar year is Clara Parkes’ Year in Review at Knitters Review. I’ll never forget the thrill I got when she named Clapotis “Design of the Year” in her 2005 edition.

Well, one of the reasons we re-launched this blog was to bring you the voices of our editorial staff [Amy, Jillian, Kate, and occasionally Mandy], and we like stuff too. So without cribbing from our friend, Clara [we’ll peek at hers after we write ours], let’s see what the Knitty crew are taking away from 2010.


thump, thump, thump

Amy says… My favorite aspect of 2010 was technology and where it’s taking us.

Knitters, crafters, and just about everyone else latched on to Twitter like a lifeline, sharing information from the banal to the beneficial. As I’m the keeper of the Knitty Twitter feed, the voice you hear there is mine [hence all the ukulele references].

Knitters [and others] have also recently discovered Pinterest, and are pinning their inspirations, aspirations and delusions on their own virtual bulletin boards to share with anyone who wants to peek.

2010 was the year we re-launched this blog, learning all about WordPress and the good and bad that goes with it. Mostly good, and we’re really glad to be back. The KnittyBlog has given us a place for our frequent contests, and we’re having a blast giving away great prizes and look forward to doing more of this in the years to come.

We also moved our mailing list to our own server this year, something we’d been meaning to do for a while. We think it’s pretty awesome.

2010 was the year I hacked my first computer, so that the main Knitty laptop could stay safely at home when I traveled for work.

Remix by Berroco

With all the good that technology brought to 2010, I can’t ignore the fact that it was a crap of a year for technology for Knitty in particular. We had some serious server challenges and fought our way through them. No growth without a little grunt work, right? It was all worth it, though the number of mint Oreo cookies consumed in the Knitty office [by me, that is] in early spring, to get through the worst of it, was staggering.

I also have a thing for cool stuff, and 2010 was no slacker when it comes to shwag. My personal favorites: the new Lexie Barnes Glitterati line [glitter vinyl makes my heart beat faster], the new Field Journal Notebook from Tom Bihn [so new, we haven’t written about it yet, but watch the upcoming winter issue for my review], and Signature’s new circular needles.

My final favorite thing, as a non-wool knitter, were all the innovative non-wool yarns that were introduced in 2010. At the top of my list was Berroco’s Remix, a blend of nylon, cotton, acrylic, silk and linen fibers, all recycled. A lightweight tweedy yarn of this quality is something I’d never seen before, and one that had warmth and environmental sensitivity — that deserves kudos! Thank you, Berroco!


Love!

Jillian says... My favorite idea for 2010 was doing your own thing.

Two yarn lovers, in conjunction with wonderful partners, launched ‘just what I always wanted’ yarn lines: Pam Allen launched everyone’s new go-to basic yarns in Quince and Co; Jared Flood launched his textural and tweedy Shelter Yarn.

A whole bunch of really talented designers self published (or published with small independent publishers) lovely and true-to-themselves pattern books this year: Miriam Felton, Stephen West, Ann Weaver, Cookie A, and Gudrun Johnston are some of the stand outs. And though they weren’t released in 2010, Ysolda Teague’s two self-published books — Whimsical Little Knits and Whimsical Little Knits 2 — are the success stories of this year, allowing Ysolda to feature her work to retailers in a charming 4-booth space on the TNNA [The National Needlework Association] trade-show floor.

But my number one favorite thing for 2010, because of the quality of information, timeliness and the out and out balls it took to publish: Shannon Okey’s The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design.


Signature Circulars are very popular among the Knitty staff

Kate says… My favorite thing about 2010 was the books – both paper and digital.

Tons of really amazing books were published by big publishers, small publishers, and even designers working alone at their kitchen tables. 2010 saw the release of so many amazing knitting books, on topics both broad and fabulously narrow.

We saw wonderful pattern collections, we saw excellent new teaching books, we saw books about the usual topics like socks and sweaters and adorable things for babies. 2010 also added books about finishing and cables and Entrelac, and Nordic knitting, and lace (such wonderful books about lace) and collections of patterns for dogs and wild animals and fast food and monsters; and the republication of some key works by goddesses Starmore and Zimmermann.

Go (fill in your favorite country here), go!

And because I don’t just read about knitting, but sometimes I actually do some, too, I was made extraordinarily happy in 2010 by the release of Signature Needle Arts‘ circular needles [above left] and the relaunch of Regia World Ball Color sock yarn [right].

*Spread the joy!*

It’s official: we’ve gone nutty.

And now it’s Monday, and the last contest isn’t even over yet, but we’re doing it ONE MORE TIME! Because we take holiday madness quite seriously over here at Knitty.

Here’s how to win: leave a comment to this post by Wednesday, December 29, at midnight eastern time, and you could win! We’ll choose a winner at random, make them answer a terrifically difficult [cough] skill-testing question, and post the results next week.

What’s the prize this time, you ask? It’s a kit for the gorgeous Cuckoo Mittens from the current issue!

we are cuckoo for these mittens. no, really.

Cuckoo mitts kit

contains this gorgeous yarn:
The Loopy Ewe Solid Series Fingering [100% Superwash Merino; 220 yds per 55g skein]
MC Robin’s Egg Blue; 1 skein
CC Blackberry; 1 skein

Retail price for kit: $20.50

We’ll choose the winner at random, which means anyone has the same chance  to win as anyone else! So enter, and good luck to you all!

*Spread the joy!*

Ninja strikes again! Another contest!

What is this…Thursday contests every week? Not even close. We just feel like giving away stuff and it happens to be on a Thursday again this time! I know, we’re out of control. It’s fun.

Here’s how to win: leave a comment to this post by Monday, December 27 at midnight eastern time, and you could win! We’ll choose a winner at random, make them answer a terrifically difficult [cough] skill-testing question, and post the results next week.

What’s the prize this time, you ask?

this loveliness is the Emerald City colorway

1 skein of Lisa Souza Superwash BFL sock yarn
Fiber: 100%Blue Faced Leicester Superwash wool hand dyed
4 ounce skeins/ 465 yards
Needle size for socks 0-1 US /2.0-2.25mm  suggested
Care: Machine wash and dry
Value: $18 US

Can’t wait to see if you’re the lucky winner? Lisa Souza herself has given us a special discount to share with you: Free Shipping through January 6th, if you mention KnittyBlog when you place your order.

Good luck everyone!


The lucky winner of the Briar Rose contest from last Thursday: Nancy H, comment #6176. Congratulations, Nancy! Happy knitting!

You didn’t win? Well, at Briar Rose has given us a special discount to share with all our readers: 10% off through the end of December. Just use code KnitBR.

*Spread the joy!*

Kamikaze ninja surprise contest!

Virtually out of nowhere comes another contest! We know…we think it’s pretty cool, too!

Leave a comment to this post by Friday, December 17 at midnight eastern time, and you could win! We’ll choose a winner at random and post the results on Monday’s blog.

What’s the prize?

Briar Rose Sonoma...will you be the lucky one?

1 skein of Briar Rose Sonoma: Content: 100% wool
Yardage/Wt.: 460 yds/437 m, 8 oz.
Retail price: $32

Can’t wait to see if you’re the lucky winner? Chris at Briar Rose has given us a special discount to share: 10% off through the end of December. Just use code KnitBR.

Good luck to you all!

*Spread the joy!*

[Not] knitting on the road

a button on the visor of my friend Nathania's car

For some reason, I seem to have lost most of the last two months.

October was dedicated to a long-awaited work/vacation, followed by two weeks of intensive work so I could get back on the road.

November included visits all over the place, teaching, meeting knitters [my favorite part] and seeing new parts of the country.

During that time, you could often find me in airports, pulling carry-on luggage from gate to gate, which aggravated my carpal tunnel and — as a result — reduced the knitting time I could take advantage of.

my little tubular friend

Thankfully, someone clever at the Knot Hysteria Silk Retreat* reminded me of the goodness that is Traumeel and gave me a little cupful to apply, which lasted almost a week. I’d stopped using it ages ago, and I don’t know why.

Initially recommended to me by someone who uses her hands more intensely than I ever will — Jennie the Potter — Traumeel is a combination of Arnica [a natural herb] with other natural stuff. Arnica is magic. It helps reduce inflammation. Carpal tunnel syndrome is all about inflamed and swollen tissues. I have found I prefer the cream which takes longer to sink in but seems to sink in more thoroughly [the other formulation is a gel]. Within an hour of the first application, my throbbing wrist stopped throbbing. After a week of regular use, I felt human again with hands instead of claws.

Every night, Traumeel on the wrists and sore spots on the forearm, then on with the wrist splints [which is the reason hub has lovingly named me Borg at night] and I’m doing much better.

All of this is my personal experience, and I’m no doctor. You all know this: speak to your own doctor before making any changes that may affect your health, including using homeopathic medicines.

*the retreat deserves its own post.

*Spread the joy!*

Have you ever clicked the needles in the Knitty header?

You might want to today.

I’ve lived in Canada since I was 6 [aka a long, long time]. Canadian Thanksgiving is in October when it’s usually barely cool outside, with leaves on the trees and jackets optional. I’ve never gotten used to it.

My first 6 years imprinted Thanksgiving time into my brain as what it is now in November in the northeast: a real bite in the air and leaves on the ground. Winter is definitely coming. So I’m feeling very Thanksgivingy today, even though it’s business as usual over here in Toronto. Everything’s open, airports only crowded on the way out of town.

Thanksgiving also means family, and to me, one particular family member. My Grandma, Lillian. When I went to college, I moved 2 hours away from the family to Toronto, home of cheap airfare [at the time, anyway]. I started my own ritual: fly to LaGuardia on Thanksgiving morning, right before the Macy’s parade started. Cab it down to the Port Authority [cabs were cheap then] and take the bus to exit 8A on the NJ Turnpike. Where Grandma lived.

We’d spend the next 4 days just being together. Of course she cooked for me. That’s something that she’d had hardwired into her…she cooked for all of her kids, grandkids and associated partners, no matter how she was feeling or how many of us showed up. She made great turkey, which we continued to enjoy for the rest of the visit in different forms — turkey salad sandwiches, turkey chow mein. She made cholent and rugelach. I never left without a care package to keep me alive until I made it home.

Grandma’s been gone since 1999, and every year, this day makes me miss her more than any other.

*Spread the joy!*

The rest of the trip

When last I blogged, I’d caught  you up about halfway on our recent trip to the UK and France. The first half was a real treat, being driven around in a luxury coach with really nice knitters and a tour guide I’m still crushing on.

One of the bonuses of this trip was that it took us right across the path of our good friends Brenda and Tonia who live in West Wales. So we planned to stay with them for a few days after leaving the group. We haven’t seen each other since the Sea Socks cruise in 2008, and we missed them! Here they are in Tenby, one of our favorite places on the trip.

Brenda + Tonia in Tenby, attractively windblown

I love these women. They rock. And yes, that’s the Brenda you think it is — she does this, and  does it very well. We spent some lovely time together walking around in Tenby.

Tenby is mighty pretty

And then off to the Welsh Wool Museum, where I could touch very little, but had lots to look at.

wool being spun onto bobbins. lots of bobbins.

I was most envious of the lucky bus trippers who chose beautiful wool blankets to take home with them.  Ah, sigh.

the hub and his seaside Ploughman's Lunch and pint.

The four of us parted from the tour after much hugging and waving, and it was weird all of a sudden to be responsible for getting our own selves someplace. Thankfully, B+T were on the job and soon we were at a lovely pub enjoying the afternoon by the seaside. Oh, where they live is heavenly, let me tell you. Here’s my favorite picture of our walk on the beach with Truman.

Truman never runs out of energy. Hub, not so much.

This is one of the beaches where B+T walk the new pup. Must be hard, eh, this life of theirs? We fell in love with Wales pretty much instantly and never wanted to leave.

how's that for a view from your back door?

Unfortunately, right around this time, hub started to show signs of a cold. A bad one. Which he left behind for Brenda [we’ve already apologized]. My body decided to rebel against being in heaven by having a massive allergy attack. So there was much tea made for us and gratefully consumed.

We had short day trips, including one to Narberth, where this was our motto:

yes, it means what you think it does.

Finally, it came time for us to leave, so we boarded the train for Cardiff and spent a very sniffly night there. We managed to stumble across Jamie’s Italian [yup, THAT Jamie — Oliver] and had a nice dinner which hub mostly could taste through his cold. The next morning, we were off to London.

And then on to the Eurostar, which was the super awesomest way to travel ever. Travelling with a sick hub, it made things much easier. Very comfortable, quick, painless way to travel.

Poof, we're in Paris!

By this time, hub was getting worse. Our hotel was a nice pitstop, and we tried to go for a gentle walk, but he was not doing well. By 7 pm, he asked to go to the hospital [and yes, he’s that kind of man who would never ask unless he was very sick].

The hospital staff were awesome, and they took very good care of him.

poor sick hub

The cold had turned into something more serious, and they were great about not brushing him off as a whiny tourist. They found the problem and told us what to do about it. [And since we’ve gotten home,  he has seen his GP, gotten further treatment and now is pretty much himself again. Whew.]

Not fun, but if he had to get sick, Paris clearly was the place for it.

Hub spent the next two days in the hotel room  [good patient] and I went for short wanders around the city. A little Bon Marche…

The yarn department. I purchased nothing, but it was fun to look!

a little Droguerie…

des petits fleurs

a little Samaritaine…

but sadly, it was closed for renovations.

I got to visit L’Oisive The, which was awesome [no pictures, too busy having fun]. And then hub pulled himself together for a visit [via cab, no metro for him] to the Eiffel Tower on our last night.

proof.

happy 20th anniversary to us!

And then we were home again.

It was a great, fun, exciting, exhausting trip and a great way to celebrate our 20th anniversary. We went to Paris on our honeymoon and then again on our 10th, so it made sense that we should return during this trip. It would have been nice for hub not to have been sick, but at least he was well taken care of and comfortable. And he got to walk to our favorite cafe every day, because we chose a hotel less than a block from it. I’ll leave you with a picture of Le Nemrod, our Parisian home.

Ah, we miss it already.

*Spread the joy!*

Contest winner!

Congratulations to Kelly S of Michigan, the winner in our Namaste Hip Holster giveaway! And thanks to Namaste for the awesome prize!

You could be our next winner…just watch this space!

*Spread the joy!*

Obsessing about travel

foreground dude is suspicious. background dude is dapper.

I love to travel. I love the planning to go, when anything is possible and your adventures have yet to start.

I love the part when you’re right IN IT and enjoying what you came for [whether it turns out as you planned or not, and it’s often not].

And I love the part when you’re finally ready to go home and turn the trip you’re on into a juicy memory that you can chaw on for a long while. And unpack the cool stuff you collected on your trip to help you remember.

I’ve had all of those moments in the last 2 weeks. The hub and I just got back from Heather Ordover of Craftlit‘s London, Bath & Wales adventure. A week of UK overload, focused on literature and crafting. The picture above right kind of sums it up: new UK vs old UK — always contrasting. Heather has been a friend since I went to SOAR in 2007, and this time we got to spend time with her hub, who is awesome. Our boys got along exceedingly well, which made for warm fuzzies on our part. And thoughts of future trips together. But I digress. We started in London:

proof I was actually there

dramatic skies as seen from our moving tour bus, driving through London

i can assure you it is NOT falling down.

v. v. v. old socks at the V&A. a museum that I fell in love with. and I emphatically do NOT like museums.

i Knit London is licensed, and clearly i took advantage of that. i loved this strawberry/pear cider. never got another bottle. whimper.

We also saw the play Oliver!, which was slightly traumatic for me since my sister [very musical, she is] was one of the orphans when she was a kid and spent an entire summer singing the songs in the house every waking hour. Talk about flashbacks.

Heather getting Stephen Moore's autograph

Most excitingly that night, besides being in the famous Royal Drury Lane Theatre, and enjoying the performance, it turned out that the grandfather was played by Stephen Moore. Heather is shown at right, getting his autograph and sharing a charming, heartwarming anecdote. I am standing to Mr Moore’s right, trying not to pee my pants. He was lovely and charming and a little surprised by our enthusiasm.

Who is this lovely man? Why, he is the original voice of Marvin, the Paranoid Android. And now I have his signature on my bagel-fabric knitting bag. Because that was all I had with me. Yay to Heather and Andrew for reading the program and getting us the geeky scoop of the trip!

our beloved blue-badge guide, Peter Ffrench, in his customary road-warrior position

the Crescent in Bath. If you've watched a Jane Austen movie, you've likely seen it. wish the cars weren't there, but I just squinted and imagined carriages and women in Regency dress instead.

i didn't expect to care about the Tinturn Abbey visit. i was an idiot. it was one of the most beautiful places I've ever been.

see?

taking a trip (not up to but somewhere near) Abergavenny! who remembers this from Captain Kangaroo?

i love this man. our tour guide, Peter, was the heart & life of the trip. did you know that?

yarn just-bought being wound on the tour bus before we even left Hay-On-Wye. Sharon is the windOR, Dianne is the helpful windEE (and the professional vacation planner that made this trip happen).

Tenby, beautiful little town in west Wales, where the tide was WAY out.

At this point, the tour continued for one more day, but the hub and I stayed behind in Wales to spend some time with our friends Brenda and Tonia. So now’s a good time to stop. There’s another post left to go, and if you want to see any more of the photos between the ones in this post, you’ll find them in my Flickr stream. You’re welcome to poke about.

*Spread the joy!*