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2016: Well, that was something, eh?

Challenging in ways many of us didn’t expect, 2016 has been a hell of a year. We’re starting to lose our cultural heroes, often unexpectedly, and we’re a bit raw with the changing political climate in the US, and crazy people with weapons worldwide. Yeah, 2016 has sucked.

But it’s also been joyous, surprising and a wonderful year for knitting and knitters.

Here are some things that happened:

    • Knitty didn’t close in Spring 2016. We would have had to without the financial support of our Patrons. We launched this new funding model in September 2015, and by March of 2016, Knitty Patrons had stepped up and were carrying 2/3 of the cost of producing the magazine. We are grateful on a daily basis for their support. Thanks to them and our fiercely loyal Advertisers, we…
    • Rewrote our website code, making our pages responsive, so that they’re much easier to view on mobile devices of all sizes. This was a big project and we completed it on time so that the First Fall 2016 issue launched when it was supposed to, and the cool auto-resizable pages worked from the get go.
    • Published four great issues, full of patterns like these:
Laurel, by Amy Christoffers, from the Deep Fall 2016 issue

Laurel, by Amy Christoffers, from the DF16

 

Anyadell by Senja Jarva from our DF16 issue

Anyadell by Senja Jarva from the DF16 issue

 

Pincha by Pinpilan Wangsai from our First Fall 2016 Issue

Pincha by Pinpilan Wangsai from the FF16 issue

 

Gocce by Paola Albergamo from the SS16 issue

Gocce by Paola Albergamo from the SS16 issue

 

Ennui by Justyna Lorkowska from our FF16 issue

Ennui by Justyna Lorkowska from our FF16 issue

And my favorite meta-meta crazypants pattern of the year:

Toilet Paper Toilet Paper Cozy by Christine Olea from the W16 issue

Toilet Paper Toilet Paper Cozy by Christine Olea from the W16 issue

On the personal side:

O Canada!

O Canada!

I became a Canadian (after living in Canada since I was 8), and took a train across the country to celebrate! I welcomed a new rabbit, Tully, into my family, got rid of my misbehaving uterus, and had both my Carpal Tunnelly hands surgically fixed. I stepped back from teaching and concentrated on healing and taking care of myself. Rather lovely.

 

Jillian and Gwen Steege from Storey Publishing, celebrating Yarnitecture!

Jillian continued her crazy busy and successful year of travelling and teaching at legendary venues, while (at the same time, mind you) finishing her brilliant book about spinning the yarns you want to knit: Yarnitecture. And continued to raise her kids, along with her hubby, with love and compassion. She’s on the road in 2017, too…will you be lucky enough to be able to catch a class with her?

 

Kate and her groundbreaking book!

Kate was on the move too! She taught all over the US and Canada, and popped over to her homeland, hitting Bath, Manchester and Oxford in the UK in spring, as well as taping several new online classes. She’s added video columnist to her resume, as Knitty’s newest columnist on the subject of techniques. She wrote the book all knitwear designers need to read. And just for fun, she and her darling husband and nutso dog Dexter moved house, too. She’s already got a busy schedule lined up for 2017. Go Kate, go!

 

So that’s a lot of good stuff that happened in 2016. I’m glad to be able to celebrate it with you, and I’m honored to work with such great people as Jillian, Kate, Chris (Sysadmin gift from above), Ashley and Rachel (our gloriously wonderful Tech Editors). Thank you for being here, too.

Here’s to a happier, more joyous 2017!

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Obsession Thursday: Getting back to cooking

This is an Instant Pot.

This is an Instant Pot.

You’ve probably seen these things everywhere on social media. I sure had. It’s an Instant Pot, aka an electronic pressure cooker. Everyone I know has one (or one like it) or wants one. There was (unsurprisingly) a sale on Black Friday where it was about half the regular price. So I jumped.

Why do you want one of these? Here’s why I did:

  1. Unlike a slow cooker, it keeps smells in the pot, not all over your house/apartment
  2. You can cook delicious dishes from frozen ingredients in just a short time…some as fast as 3 minutes, once the machine reaches pressure (remember, it’s a pressure cooker)
  3. It also does the functions of a rice cooker, slow cooker and even a saute pan

It was number 2 that did it for me. I keep forgetting to cook actual FOOD until it’s too close to dinner to do anything but defrost something I’ve precooked (I do batches of stuff from time to time, but not always) or order pizza. That is not healthy. And doesn’t feel very adult.

It arrived yesterday. Like others before me, I’m a bit intimidated by this large pot with a fancy lid and lots of buttons. I read the manual. I joined this Facebook group (it’s VERY helpful and encouraging). I started saving appealing recipes to my Pocket (I prefer Pocket to Pinterest, but that’s just me. There are TONS of recipes on Pinterest). And tonight, after I do my first water test, I’m going to cook some frozen chicken thighs into something delicious. I’ve been told that, once I get the hang of it, I’ll want to use it for almost every meal. You can even make cheesecake in this thing.

Do you have one of these? Share your tips and favorite recipes with me in the comments, will you?

*The link above takes you to Amazon, where Knitty will get a small fee if you purchase one of these things. Keep an eye out for sales…they pop up all the time.

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Introducing our newest columnist!

It’s kind of funny to be introducing Kate Atherley, because if you read this blog, you know her quite well already. Kate is our Lead Tech Editor, as well as being a very experienced teacher with a massive portfolio of classes. She may not know it all, but she knows a whole lot, has written four books (and counting), and she’s been a valued part of the Knitty team for so long, it’s hard to imagine Knitty without her.

We had a vacancy in our Techniques column, and I asked Kate if she’d be willing to take this on. Because we live in the same town, I’m able to be her Producer* (ooh! My Radio + TV degree finally becomes useful!), which frees her up to concentrate on content. And as Kate’s already created 12 online classes, she knows how to do this stuff really well.

Kate’s first video column went live in the most recent issue, Winter 2016. She decided she wanted to see what was in the issue, find a common thread (in this case, it’s a bulky one), and provide solid knitting knowledge and handy tips that could be used right away. Take a look and let us know what you think!

Going forward, Kate will continue to scan each issue and choose a theme (how Ira Glass of her!), then share her knowledge with you in detailed, helpful video tutorials. Her column is called Wiseknit™, a tip of the hat to her original online persona, Wisehilda. And, we think, an apt description of what she’ll be sharing with our readers!

*Our first video was a bit of a learning experience for me. Expect improved production values (better audio, for example) in future columns.

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Obsession Thursday: All Tully, all the time…

Not really. But at home, it kind of is. He’s such a different bunny from any I’ve ever cared for before.

Last few nights, he’s decided he enjoys jumping on me when I’m on the couch and demanding to be petted. This, as you can imagine, is not a hardship for me. Except when I stop. And he decides I need to be back at it. So he tells me with a not-gentle nip. He’s still a baby, and only 3 weeks since his neuter, so testosterone is still in him. He gets the high-pitched bunny squeal of pain in return, which is a language he understands. Eventually, the nipping will stop. Or get gentler, anyway.

Meanwhile, I’ve been posting these videos the last few nights. People tell me it’s very soothing to watch. So here you go.

Should you want to see more of these, you can follow me on Instagram. That’s where I post them.

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Obsession Thursday: A new rabbit in the Knitty household

Some of you may remember that one of the two mini-rex sisters who lived with me, Boeing, died in October 2015. Since then, it’s been just me and her sister, Squeezle.

Squeezle is 11 and then some, and that’s pretty senior for a bunny. She’s been happy as a solo bunny. I guess she always had secret desires of being top bun than now can be realized. Me, though…I wanted a puppy. Someone furry to hang out with me on the couch, go on road trips with.

Baby Tully won my heart with this picture. Look at those ears!

Baby Tully won my heart with this picture. Look at those ears!

Anyone who knows me knows I’m not a dog person, however. I’m a rabbit person. So when I found a listing for a Flemish Giant mix rabbit (mixed with what? Beagle?) whose foster mom said was “like a dog”, I decided I was ready.

Meet Tully —>. 10 weeks old in this picture, after being rescued from an open field in a large plastic tub with his two brothers. They’ve been adopted to other loving homes.

Tully was neutered just before I brought him home. He has some mellowing to do as the hormones leave his system, but basically he is the biggest, love-loving bunny I’ve ever met. Maybe even more than little grey mini rex Newton (1993-2005), and that’s saying something.

See, mini rexes are notoriously high strung, but I love them anyway. However, there are a few breeds of rabbit that are mellower. Flemish Giants are one of them. Tully ain’t scared of much except sudden noises. Driving in the car? No biggie. And now that he’s explored the living room/kitchen area where he roams, he’ll sit at my feet forever for pets. One day, he might even make it up on the couch next to me.

Tully would like me to pet him. All the time.

Tully would like me to pet him. All the time.

Purebred FGs can grow to 22 lbs. He’s about 7 lbs right now, which is as big as Boeing was at her largest.  The vet thinks he won’t get much bigger. Those may be famous last words, but I don’t care. I love having a big bunny again.

I have a harness waiting for Tully, when I feel he’s calm enough to handle it.  It’ll probably take a while to get him used to it. I can’t wait. I’m looking forward to taking him on road trips with me, or on overnights to friends’ houses.

As for Squeezle, she and Tully will never meet. Bonding bunnies is stressful for both of them (and for the human, honestly) and even if it was successful, then Tully would lose his mate sooner than is fair. So they live in different zones of the apartment for now.

Tully came home with me the day before my birthday. Best birthday present ever.

 

Here he is. Home at last.

A side view of my big bunnydude.

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Obsession Thursday: New habits

I am a fat girl, and have been so for much of my life. I’ve also been thin a few times. It never sticks. I accept my size.

But last weekend at Rhinebeck, something changed. I saw myself in pictures and video and I wasn’t even me any more. I scared myself. The past two years’ worth of divorce-based-new-life stress eating has caught up with me. I also have IBS*, and my GI tract that weekend made me feel a drastic change in my food consumption was in order.

I’ve done everything from Weight Watchers (smart but exhausting) to Optifast (doctor-monitored and crazypants). I know what works, but what works for ME isn’t the same thing. So I did some research and invented my own program.

Keep in mind that this is what is working for me now, and you should do what works for you.

This is the stuff I'm eating for 2/3 meals every weekday.

This is the stuff I’m eating for 2/3 meals every weekday.

Breakfast and lunch every weekday is a glass of this stuff: Orgain Chocolate Protein Powder. I am experimenting with different recipes, but so far have enjoyed it mixed with unsweetened coconut milk and frozen fruit. (I tried it today with 1% Lactaid and strawberries, and it’s the best so far.)

For lunch, I tried it as a chia pudding but it was much too much food and not so great. Kind of grossed me out. So it’s 2 shakes right now. I also have an iced latte every morning with 1% Lactaid milk and sweetener. It makes me feel normal and keeps me full till past noon.

Orgain also comes as a premixed shake, but it’s a totally different formula. It tastes strongly of fermented legumes (or something else gross) and is just ICK. Powder stuff is vegan (!) and tastes much better. 

For dinner, I eat dinner.  That means it includes bread, rice or pasta if I want it to. It means I don’t weigh or measure, but I also don’t go nuts. The first week, my dinners were larger than I think they should be (probably by about 30%), and I’m not surprised by that. I’ve got to adjust from eating much too much, all day long. So I’m cutting myself some slack.

If I’m hungry during the day or at night, as much fruit and veg as I want. Popcorn, of course. No crap, period. I have always found it easier to say no to an entire group of stuff rather than picking which to say yes to. Remember, I have decades of Weight Watchers-based experience.

This allows me to go out with friends for dinners. It allows me to not think about what to eat for breakfast or lunch every day, which always was a bit of a pain and ended up with me making bad choices.

I’m writing this on Sunday at lunchtime, just after deciding that I get to have a normal lunch on the weekend as well to maintain sanity. I don’t want to get sick of the shakes. So today, lunch will be steamed rice and edamame and some sort of sauce and sesame seeds on it.

In this first week, the first two days, I went mental with cravings for candy and chocolate. Later in the week, I realized they had passed. The Orgain powder is about as decent tasting as any sort of drink like this could be (read the Amazon reviews to see what others say). And it helps quell the chocolate cravings.

After just under a week doing this, inches are starting to drop off. I hate the scale but will be going to my GP’s office to let him weigh me and just announce if I’ve lost or gained. Hearing my actual weight will likely derail me and it’s not the point anyway. The point is to get back to where I feel good again, can move again, fit into my clothes again.

Regarding how this stuff reacts with IBS, so far, so good! Having less bread is probably a huge part of that, in my case. Of course, YMMV. But I’m encouraged. And already am feeling pleased with myself as I ignore the crap in the stores that I was living off of for the last year or 2. I just walk the perimeter of the grocery store instead.

PS It’s my birthday today, Thursday. Yay me!

(the links to the product are affiliate links, which support Knitty.)


*ETA: It’s now November 1, and my IBS symptoms are almost completely gone. I’m thrilled. I realized that the corn maze I walked through on the weekend is something I wouldn’t have done 2 weeks ago…how the hell would I get to the bathroom in time if I needed to? This is a huge relief. Life changing, actually.

 

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Obsession Thursday: Rhinebeck 2016 recap!

As I haven’t been to Rhinebeck in years, this was an exciting trip for me. It’s hard to sum it up in paragraphs of prose, so I’d rather go with photos, and I think you would, too. Enjoy!

I set off very early, in time to drive into the sunrise as I neared the US border.

I set off very early, in time to drive into the sunrise as I neared the US border.

 

The first morning was deliciously cold and fog was everywhere.

The first morning was deliciously cold and fog was everywhere.

 

The fall colors were as beautiful as always.

The fall colors were as beautiful as always.

And then I went into the A and B buildings. The lighting for photography was best in these buildings, and I was able to get in before the crowds came. I loved so much in this year’s show, but couldn’t possibly feature everyone’s work, as much as I wish I could! These are just some delicious highlights.

Into the Whirled.

Into the Whirled.

Into the Whirled

Into the Whirled

Loop

Loop

Loop

Loop

Neighborhood Fiber Co.

Neighborhood Fiber Co.

Neighborhood Fiber Co.

Neighborhood Fiber Co.

Neighborhood Fiber Co. I loved these swatches in embroidery hoops!

Neighborhood Fiber Co. I loved these swatches in embroidery hoops!

Hansen electric wheels (now with the new Pro model!)

Hansen miniSpinner (now with the new Pro model!)

Look at that sexy wood!

Look at that sexy wood!

Miss Babs

Miss Babs

Miss Babs

Miss Babs

This is THE Lisa Souza, freaking out as we finally meet since working together for probably 12 years online!

This is THE Lisa Souza, freaking out as we finally meet after having worked together online for probably 12 years!

Lisa Souza

Lisa Souza

Lisa Souza

Lisa Souza

Windsong Farm Originals

Windsong Farm Originals

Windsong Farm Originals

Windsong Farm Originals

Lanart

Lanart

Lanart and the nice man in their booth

Lanart and the nice man in their booth

Stephen Willette Fiber Art Tools

Stephen Willette Fiber Art Tools

Trunk Brooklyn

Trunk Brooklyn

Trunk Brooklyn (I think)

Trunk Brooklyn (I think)

Wild Fibers Magazine

Wild Fibers Magazine

Wild Fibers Magazine

Wild Fibers Magazine

trying on hats at Sankow's Beaver Brook Farm

trying on hats at Sankow’s Beaver Brook Farm

Golding

Golding

Golding

Golding

a happy spinner trying out a Lendrum wheel

a happy spinner trying out a Lendrum wheel

Jillian and our friend Erica check out the fleeces

Jillian and our friend Erica check out the fleeces

As always, a crush at The Fold for Socks that Rock

As always, a crush at The Fold for Socks that Rock

The Fold

The Fold

Dragonfly Fibers and their Vote! colorway

Dragonfly Fibers and their Vote! colorway

Sheepses

Sheepses

Knitting Garage

Knitting Garage

Knitting Garage

Knitting Garage

The Sheep Shed @ Mountain View Farm

The Sheep Shed @ Mountain View Farm

Nicky Epstein!

Nicky Epstein! (she gives good hugs)

naturallyinspiredbaskets.com

naturallyinspiredbaskets.com

naturallyinspiredbaskets.com

naturallyinspiredbaskets.com

Katrinkles

Katrinkles

Loop of the Loom

Loop of the Loom

wool or maple cotton candy? which is which?

wool or maple cotton candy? which is which?

Fiber Optic Yarns

Fiber Optic Yarns

Fiber Optic Yarns

Fiber Optic Yarns

New England Felting Supply

New England Felting Supply

New England Felting Supply

New England Felting Supply

Chameleon Colorworks

Chameleon Colorworks

And then it was time to go home.

And then it was time to go home.

I can’t possibly compute realistic numbers, but what you’ve seen here is just a tiny fraction of what you’d see at Rhinebeck over the weekend. I had proclaimed on Twitter that it wasn’t going to be sweater weather (sweata-weatha!) during the weekend, based on the weather forecasts, and was delighted to find myself completely wrong. It was perfect sweater weather.

Saturday was, as usual, a crazy crowded day with so much browsing, eating and friend-reunioning, and Sunday was quieter and filled with catching up with those we missed the first day, and the booths we wanted to go back to before going home. There is never enough time to see it all, and this year, I was okay with that. I sat in front of the view above Sunday afternoon, and I watched people go by. Saw my first baby-manbun (omg, New Yorkers, you are so silly), met the nicest knitter/gardener (hi, Jane!) and we talked for a long while, and then Jillian and I sauntered back to the car and left before the traffic crush hit.

Not many pics of friends, because I’d rather talk to them than shoot them. But I saw so many, and missed many more. Till next time, Rhinebeck!

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Obsession Thursday: #rhinebeckpiechart

I haven’t been at Rhinebeck since 2008. Eight years! Until recently, I was in the UK most Octobers, so it just didn’t work out.

rhinebeckpieThis year, my friends got themselves super-organized and rented a house nearby. Which means staying for reasonably cheap with people I love. How could I not go?

So I’m driving 7+ hours to Rhinebeck tomorrow while the housesitter watches the Squeezle again (bless her). I have planned a stop at Sonic for some diet limeade to fuel my drive (i may buy two so I have enough for the whole trip). Have you never had Sonic’s diet limeade? It’s very good.

Twitter user @oharethey started a thing I rather like: the #rhinebeckpiechart. Here’s mine —>

It’s probably more complex than this, but it feels like friends first and everything else is a bonus. That’s worth driving 7+ hours for, right? Hell, yes.

If you’re going to be there, our first-ever Rhinebeck Knitty meetup is on the hill at 2pm on Saturday. I’ll have knittybuttons to give away until I run out. Come give me a hug!

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Obsession Thursday: The smell of woodsmoke.

Long beach on Vancouver Island. Photo directly out of my phone, really. No filters or adjustments of any kind. I can't make this stuff up.

Long beach on Vancouver Island. Photo directly out of my phone, really. No filters or adjustments of any kind. I can’t make this stuff up.

I am in Tofino. I got here by getting on a train in Toronto and riding in my little sleeper bunk all the way to Vancouver, then grabbing a rental car and taking the ferry over to Vancouver Island.

Tofino is a tiny little surfing town that sticks out of the west coast of Vancouver Island all by itself. It’s a 3-hour drive from reasonably urban Nanaimo (home of the bars), going up and down and through wiggly bits, over mountainy terrain, through rainforesty bits that occasionally open up to give you vistas I only wish I had photos of. Diamond-clear lakes that tend more to green than blue, and mountains covered with so very many trees (thankfully, still covered, not clearcut), and fog and little boats and omg I am so much in love with this part of the world. If you want to see what my trip has been like so far, you can find my photos here.

I’ve been lucky enough, thanks to being able to teach knitting, to have travelled to a lot of places. I get this ache often, this I HAVE TO LIVE HERE ache. Sometimes it passes as soon as I get to the next place; sometimes it stays with me long after I’ve returned home. Places that stuck really hard with me are Portland (the Oregon one), Hawaii, Brighton AND Yorkshire, in England, and now here. Tofino. This is the first place I’ve gone to purely as vacation. No work, except blogging. It’s been relaxing, refreshing, enlightening, and so enjoyable. I’ve made myself not be miserly and have booked the Whale Watch, instead of just wishing I had once I got home. I get on the boat in a few hours.

I’m reasonably freshly single after being married a long damned time. I could move anywhere I want, thankfully, as long as there’s a decent internet connection and a good rabbit vet. Every time I walk out of my little inn and smell the woodsmoke, and feel the dampness from the ocean against my skin, I realize that this kind of environment is the one that touches me most deeply. Woods and ocean. So maybe I could move somewhere like this.

Maybe I will. Or maybe I’ll book another trip here or somewhere like here. A longer one.

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Talking to a friend makes work feel like not-work!

unnamedI’m lucky enough to have made many friends in the knitting world since starting this magazine almost 15 years ago. One of the first people I met was the delightful Vickie Howell. She is one of the most skilled interviewers I’ve had the pleasure of talking to over the years, whether on podcasts or on her legendary TV show, Knitty Gritty.

Vickie and I sat down together (so to speak) over Skype earlier this week, and you can hear the result in her latest Craft•ish Podcast. Some of the topics we discussed might surprise you…but then again, if you know me, you won’t be surprised at all.

 

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