Friday, January 09, 2009

We’re going to Strathardle today (my husband has suddenly announced). I approach the ordeal with some trepidation – it’ll be cold (but no snow). It’ll be stormy. (Forth Road Bridge closed?) Will I be allergic to the house again and come back with a fortnight’s-worth of coughing and breathlessness? Blogging should resume on Tuesday.

Knitting-wise, it’ll be déjà vu all over again. The Strathardle project is that dusty pink Araucania sweater of virtually the same pattern as the one here. But up there, I’ve only got six inches (at best) done of the body. Whereas here, top-sleeve shaping should begin next session.

But it’s time to engage seriously with the happiest gardening chore of the year – finalising the seed order. This year’s plan is to keep it simple, and concentrate on things that will grow, like broad beans. Except for the Edinburgh doorstep, where I intend to try for chillis.


I heard from Helen in Athens yesterday. She proposes skipping Hartford and trying to synchronise our arrival at JFK so that she can hire a car and drive us both the rest of the way. I think she thinks it’s not worth all the trouble and expense of getting to the USofA if one doesn’t get to see that skyline. We’ll see. Schipol airport sounds better and better with every comment; by now, I’d be sorry to miss it. I remember JFK as utterly confusing.

Like America itself, by now. The last time I saw my mother was in late ’02. I left my husband behind in NYC for a day of art on his own, and took the train to Old Saybrook. We were staying in a miniscule apartment of Theo’s somewhere East Side-ish, so my journey began with the subway.

First I went cross-town, then I had to change. I remember a platform with trains going in different directions on either side of it. Lots of destinations were mentioned, but nothing basic like “Uptown” or “Downtown”. Which was which? I asked somebody and got it right.

Then I got out at “Grand Central Station”. I came up to the street. I looked around. There was nothing to be seen, in any direction, which could possibly be Grand Central Station. (It turned out to be around the corner.) When you emerge from the subway at a London terminal, you are in the station.

It’s memories like that which make JFK an uninviting prospect.


Knitter’s great days – at least some of them, at least recently – were when Nancy Thomas edited it. It might be interesting to go back through those issues. Before that – am I right? – she had edited VK. She went off to work for Classic Elite, or something of the sort, didn’t she?

I am beginning to feel that there are other magazines I ought to add to my groaning shelves. What’s this one called Knit.1?


  1. I've done an inventory of seeds left over from last year, and should do fine with just a few select purchases. I also put forth the idea of starting community seed flats in our break room at work, which gets plenty of sunlight. The idea was well-received and takes care of my too-little-space and marauding cats issues here at home.

  2. Schipol has tulips. I don't know what JFK can offer to compete with that!

  3. I got stuck in Schipol airport for five hours a couple of years back and it was like having an extra mini holiday. I was flying with KLM to Nuremberg and had missed my connection, so KLM gave me a vast wodge of vouchers to spend, got me on the next flight and told me to go and explore. There are sushi bars and internet cafes, gardening shops (I bought some seeds!) and several international areas in the airport that you need to go through passport controls to access. It wasa great fun. Never found the museum though.

  4. Anonymous10:45 AM

    I don't think you would find much of interest in Knit 1. I believe it's focus is supposed to be on the newer, younger knitter. It seems to run heavy to large gauge simple, chunky sweaters that look good on almost no one. I actually looked at the current issue after hearing that Cookie A had a sock pattern in it, but couldn't find anything else in it that I would ever consider making, so it didn't seem worth it's cover price for me.

  5. Another idea for the travel planning - ask your jet-setting family if they have some guest coupons to let you into the business lounge for whichever airline you end up with.
    You can usually have some snacks, fill your tea flask/water bottle, and if there is a delay then the staff seem more likely to actually help you ... If you have more than two hours layover it can be very useful.
    Last winter I was told the Amsterdam lounge has no internet. One had to pay to use the cafe in the terminal, but it was not much.
    Somehow I didn't find the museum either.

  6. There's a new British mag called The Knitter which seems to be for more advanced knitters than Simply Knitting and the other one

    Schiphol is actually designed for spending time in and is a million times nicer than JFK, which in my memory is a bit like a bus station.

  7. I had a good laugh at the Grand Central story. In NYC, it so often depends which exit you take from the subway. There is a subway line that goes from 42nd street to Grand Central "the shuttle" that confused me for years. Knit1 is aimed at the younger, newer knitter, as far as I can tell. There are two new UK mags, have you seen them?

  8. Anonymous2:37 PM

    My standard advice regardless of which airport it is, is to arrange in advance for a very precise meeting point: not just "at baggage claim" but "at the exit from the carousel farthest to the left as you look at it when leaving" or something like that. JFK is huge, monstrous, and confusing. KLM is my favorite airline.

  9. I was going to suggest the same as Helen. i heard about the new UK knitting mag from yesterday's Mason-Dixon post. If you follow their link, you can get a brief look at the cover and first page. Looks like some interesting stuff.

  10. NYC airports are notorious for delays. Go Hartford.

    Hope all goes well at Strathardle. I'd pick up some over the counter antihistamines on the way.

  11. Anonymous4:38 PM

    Being from New York I fly in regularly to see my mother but I generally fly into LaGuardia even though Mom lives closer to Kennedy (depending on the weather she's in a landing/take-off flight path). We often drive past and around Kennedy but it remains a scary mystery to me!

    And no matter what city I am in or how familiar I am with it I almost always find myself disoriented when I emerge from the subway.

    I received a copy of Yarn Forward in a gift exchange, I thought it seemed like a very nice UK mag. And, like Stash Haus, I read a good review of The Knitter from some Irish knitters on Ravelry yesterday.

  12. Anonymous5:49 PM

    What about Interweave Knits? It's been my absolute favourite for a few years.
    - Beth

  13. Anonymous10:05 PM

    I am in Schiphol quite regularly and agree that it is not a bad place to spend an hour or two, though I have never seen the 'fish' restaurant. The museum is definitely worth a visit but be prepared, it is not huge, a maximum of 20 paintings. Here is a link

    The airport is rather long and so you have to be prepared to hoof it a bit though there are travelators here and there.

    I recently flew to Chicago from Amsterdam with United Airlines and bless my company for paying for business class - the seats turn into beds.

    Good luck with the travelling,

  14. Anonymous2:19 AM

    I like Schipol too. The first time I went there I was flying to meet Bill who was at a conference in Amsterdam. I was pregnant and on crutches, so they offered me a wheelchair, and I had a very nice "tour guide" who pushed me off to collect my bag and then dropped me with Bill full of ideas where to go and what to do.
    I've been through twice since, once on the way to the US, with 2 small kids, and it was just fine, and summer 2007, with just Bill, becasue we were honeymooning in Prague, and had a stopover there. We found the Reiksmuseum outpost, and still had time to get a train into Amsterdam for tea. Not that I'm suggesting you need to get a train to get your tea, but it was fun for us, especially since I wasn't on crutches this time!

  15. Anonymous3:03 PM

    Hi Jean - AIRPORT - negotiating through them - although I am only 61, I have various mobility problems. Before I get on an airplane I always ask the ticketing people to have a wheelchair and a porter available for me when I get off the plane. This helps so much when negotiating airports. The porter's know where things are!! Even if I am feeling spry and not in much pain, I always ask for a wheelchair and a porter. You need to tip them, usually $5.00 or so, but it is so worth it in trying to find your way around. Have a good trip - Hester from Atlanta

  16. Anonymous2:36 AM

    Another cheer from here on getting the direct flight to Hartford on KLM.
    A friend reported to me that back in 1999 the people working at JFK were incredibly rude. She also says that flying into Boston in bad weather is scary since the plane has to fly in over water and the runways are short, and advises something father south, like Newark, or inland, like Hartford.

    So it looks as though you made the right choice.


    Hi Jean,
    Carol has done a nice synopsis of the changes in knitting magazines and the new online knitting magazines. I'm so glad you are blogging again. As an insomniac I could always count on you to have a new post in the middle of the night my time