Author: Amy Singer

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.

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!

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.

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.

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!

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!

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!]

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.

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!

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.