Bonus!

Bonus: cutting the cord

We cut a lot of cords in knitting [I’m pushing the metaphor here a little…], but this post isn’t about knitting. It’s about what some of us do while we knit.

 

Watch TV.

 

I don’t know about where you live, but where I live [Toronto, Canada], cable TV is expensive. I’m embarrassed to say that I was paying the ghastly sum of $130/month for cable — for all the basic channels, tons of stuff I never watched, but was packaged in with the movies + the actual HBO and movies. And that’s about average up here. Until a week ago. We cancelled the whole shebang, and aren’t looking back.

 

I have been talking to a lot of people about this lately, and some have already made the switch, some are thinking about it, and some don’t even know where to begin. I’m not going to make this a long post with all the details, but instead will make this full of pithy links to get you on the right track, if you’d rather spend your money on yarn and needles instead of cable tv.

 

 

Some good articles and forums to get you started:

TechCrunch

Wall Street Journal

Digital Home’s Over The Air forum [for Canadian residents]

TVFool’s forum [US & Canada]

check your own home’s address to see what channels you might receive over the air [US & Canada]

interesting thread for Canadians who want Netflix, Hulu, etc

 

Here’s what we’re watching:

– Netflix [available in the US and Canada] at $8/month

free HD [digital] programming, pulled from the air with an antenna [see the links above for more information about how this works]

– many things on the network and cable channel websites

 

 

Here’s the equipment we chose:

Apple TV [this provides access to Netflix, some sports networks, You Tube and any video, audio and pictures you have on your home computer]

– alternatives to Apple TV include Boxee, Roku, Blu-Ray disc players with advanced features incorporated, many of the gaming consoles like Xbox, and lots of other devices. More are being introduced all the time. The key is what services they offer access to, and if they have a web browser built in or not. [With a web browser in your device, you can watch the stuff the networks make available on the web, but without having to sit at your computer.] We initially wanted the Boxee, but the reviews everywhere said the hardware wasn’t stable and needed rebooting daily, at least. We hear there’s a new Boxee being released…worth watching for.

this rooftop antenna [we tried an indoor antenna and found it almost as functional, but unsightly and a pain in the butt to have underfoot].

– our trusty 7-year-old Tivo Series 2 [the last Tivo model to work with antenna input, luckily!]. When I called to cancel the service [since we were cancelling cable, I didn’t think we’d use it anymore], they offered us a $99/lifetime deal since our Tivo will work just fine with the antenna.  We do love our Tivo, so we were happy they had an option for us. Several commenters tell me that current-model Tivos do work with antenna input so that’s good news!

– a Zinwell digital converter box [necessary if Tivo is to control the incoming channels in order to record it. Without the Tivo in the loop, we wouldn’t have needed this.]

 

What we’re missing:

– stuff on Food Network, Showtime, HBO…

and nothing else! We get all major networks, some weird channels that are antenna only [!] and more than enough to knit by. Much of the stuff we’re missing will eventually be available on Netflix, or can be watched online. There are tons of series on Netflix that I am dying to watch, and it’s all there for me to absorb at my own rate. I could probably spend a year alone in the Anime section!

 

Was the switch easy?

 

Nope. But it wasn’t hard, either. It’s just time consuming, researching your options and narrowing down choices. We’ve experimented with different converter boxes and antennas [though the rooftop antenna is a non-returnable item, so that one is gonna stay] until we got the best possible results.

 

The thing we miss most? The digital clock in our cable box…we have no other clock in the living room. Yeah, we can fix that.

 

I have barely covered the highlights here. I’d recommend you read the first two links and see if this sounds like it’s for you, and then dive into the forums and do your research. Don’t forget to check your postal or zip code for channel availability…no point in doing all this if you’ll only get a channel or two. Good luck!

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Stitch Light Giveaway

Stitch Light has bright light

Now that it’s getting dark earlier in the evening, I’ve been using more and more extra light to see my knitting. Also since I’ve been on the far side of 40 my eyes need a little more light in general. If anyone else needs a bit of extra knitting light, today is your giveaway day!

Stitch Light comes with a craft pocket to keep tools handy

The kind and generous folks at Stitch Light are giving away a Stitch Light to 5 lucky Knittyblog readers.

Stich Light is also offering a special discount for the Knittyblog readers. Use the code KNITTY25  to get 25% off of your entire order PLUS free USPS shipping!  (1 time use per customer.)

 

The usual rules apply for our giveaway: Leave a comment on this post before midnight, eastern time, on Monday, October 3, 2011. A comment will be chosen at random to answer a skill testing question. If s/he answers correctly s/he will win our prize.

 

 

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Surprise Giveaway!

Thank to Roxanne at Zen Yarn Garden we have a giveaway today!

Serenity Silk, Silver Moon colorway

1 skein of luxurious Serenity Silk 75% Superwash Merino/15% Cashmere/10% Silk
Approx. 500 yards (100 g) , prize value $34 CAD.

Also, for the weekend – September 23rd to Sunday, September 25th, Knitty readers are welcome to use the discount code “KNITTY” to receive 10% off their orders at the Zen Yarn Garden shop.

The usual rules apply for our giveaway: Leave a comment on this post before midnight, eastern time, on Sunday, September 25, 2011. A comment will be chosen at random to answer a skill testing question. If s/he answers correctly s/he will win our prize.

Thanks to Roxanne at Zen Yarn Garden for this yummy prize!

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Out of the frying pan…

Amy – upon receiving my first Techniques with Theresa contribution in over a year – asked me if I’d like to talk about what I’ve been up to since leaving you with a “Part One” – yet Part Two-less – for way too long. Here’s my story.

Last fall, my husband turned to me suddenly and said “How would you like to try living in the US for a while?” I was gobsmacked. We’d talked about this for years in a vague, theoretical kind of way. But having lived in Norway since 1999, I felt at least half Norwegian. I love my adopted country and my Norwegian family, had learned to speak the language fluently, was thriving in my job and had made many wonderful friends. But the other half of me was ready to go home.

Home is western North Carolina and the house that my grandparents built in the 1950s, next door to my parents, in a small town where most conversations (with locals at least) start by trying to figure out who in my enormous extended family they already know.

Last view from window on Hattemakerlia

We left Norway in bits and pieces – first saying goodbye to the older of my husband’s gorgeous daughters as she went back to college, leaving work, taking my beloved cat, Stewart, to his new home at a horse farm – complete with three sweet little girls, two lady cats and a Bernese Mountain Dog – then moving out of the house…

… hugging the younger step-daughter one last time and finally – after a weekend of the coldest temperatures I’ve ever experienced (-31C / -24F) – boarding a plane on February 17th to start a new life.

Oh, the poppies are blooming.

We landed in North Carolina to sunshine and summer-in-Norway temperatures. Within weeks I got to see spring unfold… and the dogwoods bloom for the first time in a decade. The peonies, poppies and tulips that my Grandma planted came up.

I planted sweet peas. Onions. Garlic. Three kinds of tomatoes. Pickling cucumbers. Sixteen squash plants. Popcorn and sweet corn. Green beans and okra. Watermelon. Fingerling potatoes. Jalapenos and banana peppers. Rutabaga, turnips and lettuce. Flowers and herbs.

Bean pole + squash

I’ve spent the summer making preserves, jam, jellies, pickles, salsa, sauerkraut and ketchup. Dried beans for leather britches and frozen enough squash to last at least a couple of years. (Biggest lesson learned: Nobody needs 16 squash plants.)

Chicks, day 2

In late April I asked my mom what kind of chickens they used to have here – I remember Grandma incubating eggs in the spare bedroom, but have only dim memories of actual chickens. “Domineckers!” she finally figured out. The Dominique is a heritage breed – probably America’s oldest breed of chicken. Perfect! I found a farm within driving distance and picked up 11 fluffy three day old chicks.

Here chick chick chick, here chicks!

Nine have survived to adulthood – three cockrels who crow morning, noon and night and six hens who have just started laying teeny tiny eggs for us! (The eggs will get bigger – they’re only 4.5 months old now.)

I’ve also been hanging out with old friends and meeting new ones. My childhood friend Allison went with me to meet Liza – of Merritt Farm Alpacas – who I’d bought fiber from on a previous visit and she happened to mention needing a new home for two alpacas. My hand flew into the air and I shouted “me!!” before I even knew what was happening. Dad and I got to work building an alpaca shed / chicken coop and Brichon – aka Scout, aka Mater – and Poocher …

Alpacas, dude.

…came to live with us in the beginning of June. Fiber animals!! I was starting to live the dream. All I needed now was a dog.

A few weeks later my stepkid Amalie – here visiting us and the pool for the summer – and I were driving through town and saw an abandoned dog sitting on the side of the road at a busy intersection. We stopped to make sure the poor thing didn’t get hit by traffic and wound up adopting the sweetest dog in the universe. My husband christened her Audrey III.

And there's that look again.

I love her to distraction.

So yeah, I’m having a Very Good Time – despite missing my friends and family in Norway.  (Men vi ses igjen!!)  Hopefully – assuming you’ve noticed I went missing - you’ll find it in your hearts to forgive me for leaving you hanging about blocking…?

 

*Spread the joy!*

WWW: Knitty on tap, Sheep for Counting, K/W Knitter’s Fair and Bonus Giveaway!

Because we love you very much, we have another giveaway for you!

I am slightly sad that the Knitty team isn't eligible to win one...

If you’re a reader of our reviews page (and if not, you should be – every issue we tell you about all sorts of fabulous and interesting products to make your knitting and your life better and more fun!), you’ll remember our review of the clever Block ‘n’ Roll solution.

Thanks to the generous people at The Bag Smith, we have 6 of them available to give away, each with a value of $59.95.

The usual rules apply: Leave a comment to this post before midnight, eastern time, on Friday, September 2, 2011. Six comments will be chosen at random to answer a skill testing question. If they answer correctly they will each win a kit.


We can suggest a pattern or two...

The newly relaunched Yarn Company space in New York City is part yarn gallery and part yarn think tank, complete with two dedicated guest computers. And we’re thrilled that one of them is just for Knitty! The owners, Tavy and Assaf Ronen, say that having a Knitty computer makes perfect sense. “When our customers are just stuck for an idea on a project with a yarn they’ve just fallen for, we know they can find what they need on Knitty… ”


The Kitchener Waterloo Guild throws an excellent party every year.

Knitters a little north of New York, in Southern Ontario, are excitedly looking forward to the upcoming Kitchener-Waterloo Knitter’s Fair, being held at Bingeman’s Park in Kitchener on Saturday, September 10th. This annual event is a highlight for many knitters in the area – Amy and Kate included. More details available in the current issue of the KW Guild newsletter.

There are 65 vendors – yarn sellers both big and small – free seminars, a fashion show, door prizes, and the most fun part of all – knit-oogling.

You might recognize the name of one of the speakers…. Kate will be there, talking about her famous “training sock” philosophy, and sharing tips and techniques for knitters to avoid the “horrible first attempt syndrome” when learning new knitterly skills.


A great story, but points off for the terrible puns in the headline… inmates in a prison in New Zealand have taken up knitting, and are donating the results of their efforts to a local women’s shelter.


Since we are very excited by all things Icelandic at the moment, we were tickled pink by this video sheep for counting, to help you get sleepy.


And we’re enjoying the reappearance of crafts in newspapers, whether in listings for prize winners at local fairs, or as in this case, a pattern giveaway. The Calgary Herald is offering a free knitting pattern to readers. No picture, sadly, but I can only assume there’s one on the actual pattern…

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Coffee

It’s not secret that I like a cup of coffee (or twelve). And I’m pleased to report that Portland, Oregon, seems to be my kind of town. The residents of Portland, seemingly, love coffee as much as I do.

There are excellent coffee shops on every block.

I had terrific cups of coffee wherever I went:

at Grand Central Bakery

A simple cup of their dark roast.

at the legendary Stumptown Coffee

A double americano, extra short.

heck, I even had good coffee at the convention center.

Venti Bold

Yes, there is a Starbucks at the Oregon Convention Center, although apparently they ran out of coffee on the first day. I will only take partial responsibility for that – there was also an Open Source convention on at the same time. Seriously, guys, knitters and techies in the same room – you are going to need more coffee than usual.

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Because Size Matters: Foot Size Survey

Everyone's are different

As Knitty’s technical editor for socks, I get to talk to a lot of knitters and designers about sock patterns. The number one question I hear from designers and knitters is how to size socks.

When sizing socks, foot circumference is the key measurement. For the vast majority of sock designs, the length of the foot is controlled simply by working fewer or more rounds in that section- totally independent of the number of stitches you cast on.

The challenge is that information about foot circumference is very hard to find. When sizing shoes, foot length is the primary measurement; and so all of the information out there in the world about foot size is focused on foot length.

Since foot length is remarkably unrelated to foot circumference – small feet can be wide, long feet can be narrow – telling me your shoe size tells me very little about how big your socks should be. A lot of the time, when designers are creating socks, we’re guessing about how they should be sized.

With help from our friends and collaborators at Sock Summit and Cooperative Press, we’re trying to change this. We’re launching a foot size survey, and we’re hoping you can help us out.

Send email to footsurvey@wisehildaknits.com with the following info:

  • Your shoe size: US or European size & gender (e.g. US Women’s size 8)
  • Your foot length
  • Ankle circumference around the narrowest part of your ankle
  • Foot circumference around the ball of your foot
  • Circumference around your foot at your ankle
  • Diagonal measurement around your heel, from the base of your heel up over the top of your foot
  • Circumference of your calf six inches (15cm) up from the ground

The measurements we need

And if you can talk your friends and family into letting you measure their feet, we’d love that info too.

We’ll crunch the data and come up with a set of measurements that we will publish here and on the Cooperative Press website, for all sock designers to use.

Thank you! Your reward for participation will be better sized sock patterns for everyone – and our eternal gratitude, of course!

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It’s Monday – We Need a Giveaway!

When I woke up this Monday morning and looked out the window I saw 2 inches of snow, in April.

I decided right then the Knittyblog world needs a giveaway.

What goodness do we have for you today?

Springy! Gabriola Green

1 skein of Indigo Moon Ultimate Sock Yarn

75% superwash wool and 25% nylon
color: Gabriola Green
430yds/100gm
28sts-32rows/4″ on US 3 (2.25-3.25mm)

Can’t wait to see if you’re the lucky winner and want yarn right now? Trish Moon has given us a special discount to share with you: 10% off through April 30, 2011, if you mention KnittyBlog when you place your order.

Here’s how to win: leave a comment to this post by Wednesday, April 20th 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.

Good luck and happy spring knitting!

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We could use a little brightness today

Mondays are often challenging. So it’s time for a big contest!

One lucky person will win a FiberBuzz Gift Basket, including prizes from all of our FiberBuzz sponsors. Take a look at this yumminess!

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Quick Fitted Wristlets &
Cabled Turban patterns
by Stitch Diva
prize value: $14

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Empire State Gloves kit
by Van der Rock Yarns
prize value: $21CAD

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Leather-covered measuring tape
by Debra’s Garden
prize value: $18

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Sheep Needle Gauge
by Goose Pond/elegant knitter
prize value: $15

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Beaded Smoke Ring kit
including pattern, luxury yarn and beads
by HeartStrings
prize value: $25

 

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A copy of Timeless Knits for Kids
by Timeless Knits
prize value: $24.95

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2011 club membership
by Jane Thornley Knitter’s Club
prize value: $75

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1 skein of yarn
by Red Barn Yarn
prize value: $24

image 3 Patterns – Chloe, Haltermelon,
and Spring
Garden Tee
by Never Not Knitting
prize value: $15

Here’s how to win: leave a comment to this post by Friday, March 25, 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.

Happy knitting, and good luck, everyone!

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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!*