A change is as good as a rest

I woke up this morning with some kind of mid-trip malaise. A bit of a runny nose, a few sneezes… probably more to do with all the planes and hotels than any actual illness, but I started mainlining Emergen-C just the same.  I have no idea if it works, but at least if I take that stuff it feels like I tried to fight back- I wasn’t just haplessly victimized by a stupid virus.  (I’m convinced that I get sick when I travel so much because it’s just too much exposure to the rest of humanity.  The planes, airports…hotels… everybody all crammed in together.  I’m a religious handwasher, but it never seems to be enough. If you’re going to come in contact with hundreds of people a day, then you know one of them is going to give you something.) Today’s a good day to rest, fight back, and pull it together.  Today I’m making my way from Fort Worth, Texas  to Minneapolis, Minnesota, and writing this to you as I wait for my first flight.  I don’t have to teach until tomorrow, so today I can just stagger through airports, knit and go to bed early. It’s exactly what I need, and I can tell it will work like a charm.  I finished my Suki, and it’s crammed in a corner of my suitcase, waiting to have the ends woven in and be blocked – so on this flight I’ll be knitting the pair of socks I had kicking around.  They’re pretty close to done, so before I left I grabbed  a skein of yarn that I bought at MadTosh last night (don’t pretend to be surprised.  I walked out of there with only six skeins of yarn.  I consider it a personal victory.  I stuffed them in my shoes, then in the suitcase.  Good tip.)

The skein in my purse isn’t wound or anything. Just stuffed in the bottom of my bag as a little insurance policy.  It’s two pretty short flights today- Fort Worth to Chicago, and Chicago to Minneapolis, but you never know, and I can think of little else more dangerous than me trapped at O’Hare waiting for a connection that never comes, and then running out of yarn.  Best to protect against it, for the sake of all concerned. 

That skein – I’d take a picture of it if I thought it wouldn’t suck in this light, is the loveliest thing – and lovely is the best way to describe last night at MadTosh Crafts.  The minute I walked through the door I wished I’d taken the big camera with me, my little iphone camera doesn’t do it justice. The whole place was set up by colour and yarn type, with tidy little cubbies full of miracle yarns – and the entirety of it made me want to go organize my stash.

There was fabric, and ribbons and no end of interesting stuff everywhere. 

I love the premise for the shop- it is, of course, owned by the lovely Amy herself, just like Madeleine Tosh yarns is, but it’s another business entirely.
It’s sort of a crazy thing, a yarn company owner opening a shop that sells other people’s yarns – but as Amy explained, there was a need for a local community shop, and that’s what they’ve tried to open.  No online shopping, no shipping… just a shop for Fort Worth, full of great yarns that they love, an alternative to a shop like Joann’s for people looking for a different sort of materials.  It’s a really nice idea, and the staff was so nice, and the knitters were so nice (you had to know that was coming) and let me tell you,

The whole thing came together beautifully, and I was so happy, and so proud of myself for overcoming the urge to buy a whole whack of yarn that… well.  I bought a whole whack of yarn, but it was for a nephew sweater, so it doesn’t matter… right?  Right.  Thanks for your support. 

The next few days are all about stalking Prince visiting Minneapolis, and hanging out at StevenBe.  If you’re in the neighbourhood, they have a great idea for the talk on Thursday night.  All proceeds to their Creative Community Foundation and the fiber arts programs at the Waldorf School, and everyone agrees that this is a super fun shop and community.   Very cool. 

71 thoughts on “A change is as good as a rest

  1. Sorry to let you know that Prince is in Chicago this week. But you were so close to being here when he would be performing. First his people announced that he would be doing a concert in the Twin Cities, only to change it to Chicago a few days later. I’m sure he wouldn’t have changed plans had he known you would be in town.

  2. Congratulations on your self restraint! Stuffing yarn in shoes works, as long as they aren’t stinky. I would have suggested bra cups, but have the feeling the one you are wearing is probably it. 🙂 Welcome (briefly) to Chicago. I’m sure if you got stuck here with no yarn someone would offer to drive a skein or two over to you and send them through security!

  3. Oooh, I’ll be in Ft Worth area in a couple of weeks. I’ll have to check them out! Good health and enjoy the rest of the trip. You can always get a larger carry on. Just sayin’…

  4. Steph, I work just north of Chicago. If you get trapped in the perpetual abiss that is OHare (trust me, be glad you’re not dealing with security or you’d be there for hours and hours), send out the bat signal. You know there are bunches of us prepared to ninja out of work to assist!
    And please feel better! It’s the time of year for aches and sneezes. Can’t wait to see photos of the pretty yarn you purchased!

  5. Bugger! I’ve missed seeing you once again. I won’t be in the Minneapolis area for another three weeks. Meanwhile, I can’t wait until the pattern for that wee sweet dress is posted for sale… Safe travels!

  6. OMG!! I’ve never written before, but I love you and your blog and your family! I’ll be at your talk on Thursday and a class on Friday! (I’m sounding WAYYY too much like a fan-girl, right now..) Prince is in Chicago and unfortunately the review from last night wasn’t too kind. Happy flying and we’re looking forward to seeing you Minnesota, probably one of the few spots that are colder than Toronto, in the winter.

  7. Try Zicam! As soon as I’m feeling iffy, i take one Zicam melt every 3 hours – by the end of the day 90% of the time it’s gone

  8. So . . . does the MadTosh store get slammed as hard by their horrendous turnaround time on orders as all us other LYSs do?
    Not to be a party pooper, but MadTosh is in the process of cheesing off a lot of yarn stores (and customers).

  9. A friend of mine who has a super delicate immune system taught me a trick – it sounds gross, but you hardly notice after the first minute or two, and it has saved my butt on many a public transportation excursion.
    take a tiny fingertipful of neosporin or triple antibiotic ointment and dab it just inside your nostrils. It’s a trick his respiratory therapist taught him for flights, and he NEVER gets sick on trips.
    Like I said, feels weird, sounds gross, but you hardly notice after you apply it, and I’ve done a fair bit of air travel since he shared, and not gotten sick.

  10. Rianne is right…that really does work. I do it quite often in winter as I get sores in my nasal cavity (due to people not using humidifiers. What is wrong with those people!) and isn’t as gross as it sounds.
    Emergen-C is great! The reason it works is because you’re basically mainlining sunshine. And B-vitamins.

  11. Elderberry syrup, before, during & after. Works wonders & tastes dang good while doing so! And indeed, 6 skeins is a huge victory. Congratulations!

  12. Maybe it’s slightly too late, but I read a couple of years ago that a study was done on people gargling with plain water for at least 20 seconds a day, and those that did (without any other help) were 40% less likely to get sick than those that didn’t. It’s true even with washing hands, that friction and water get rid of at least 90% of the germs on your hands without even using soap, I believe. So it’s that principle, I suppose… friction in the mouth with just plain water gets rid of germs. Cool, huh? Spit the water out, of course.

  13. Stephanie, thank you for a very entertaining evening in Fort Worth. We hope you’ll come again. (My own knitting waited patiently in the car, because I just knew my hands would be busy clapping – and I was right!)
    And, MadTosh, thank you for graciously hosting the event. Y’all certainly gave Yarn Harlot a warm, Texas-style welcome.

  14. Probiotics taken daily strengthen the immune system and decrease incidence of colds, Haven’t had one in years deity chemotherapy.

  15. EmergenC has worked for me (a friend recommended it). It seems to lessen the severity of anything floating around even if you don’t avoid it altogether. Hope you dodge the bugs!

  16. My doc told me it’s not so much the closed in air on airplanes that make you sick–it’s touching stuff like tray tables and chair arms. They straighten up planes, but they don’t clean tray tables, etc. Since I’ve started carrying the cleaning wipes and using them on tray tables, telephone receivers and tv remotes in the hotel rooms, I haven’t gotten sick nearly as often.
    We need yarn stores in the airport–genius idea! (at least for knitters…) Would relieve the worry of running out of yarn.

  17. Rest and recover well, and wave hi at my in-laws on your way out. And wow I know where I want to go next time I visit them–thank you!

  18. Prince in Chicago tonight at the United Center. Final day of a 3-day stand. Don’t know if he’ll be back in Minneapolis in time for stalking.

  19. Darn and Darn. I have to go to 5th grade curriculum night on Thursday evening, and all the Friday classes were full (I decided I would take time off work if there were any spots…..there were not). I hope you will make Minneapolis/St.Paul a continued regular stop on your gallivants – I loved hearing you on Minnesota Public Radio a while back.
    Benjoy your time here – the weather will be BEAUTIFUL!!! I am looking out my window at clear blue sky and “sweater weather”. Tomorrow and Friday might be more Texas like than you were expecting – highs in the mid 70s. But still, absolutely gorgeous.
    Last but not least – a guy who we run into at our neighborhood bar (it’s not too near StevenBe or I would have invited you for a pint! If you want an invite- holler!)has a sister who works at Stevenbe. He noticed me knitting one night (I had observed his fine hand-knit hat!) and that is how we met. I don’t actually know his name – I refer to him as the knitting guy – even though I don’t think he himself actually knits. SMALL WORLD!!! I think that gives me 3 degrees of separation from the Yarn Harlot (sigh of happiness).

  20. So pumped to be attending the lecture tomorrow night, and I was just informed I got a spot in the Friday afternoon class! Will bring Minneapolis made beer!

  21. Wow – the shop sounds just delightful. Not sure what yarn you got (since you said they carry lots of brands), but you might want to check out Grumperina’s recent blog post if you haven’t already.
    Happy trails!

  22. I’ve had good luck with Emergen-C. I don’t know if it really works or if it is awesome placebo effect but either way I’ve avoided the yuck going around my house a few times now by mainlining the Emergen-C.

  23. You are on the right track with the Emergen-C’s! It won’t necessarily stave off a cold, but it will make you feel soooo much better that you can get through your day without feeling so foggy. Feel better!

  24. Hi Stephanie! I’ll be at your “Knitting for Speed and Efficiency” class at StevenBe. I’m really looking forward to it.

  25. Nephew sweater yarn doesn’t count. Everyone knows this. And yarn is generally squashy enough that stuffing just -one- more skein into your luggage is usually do-able.

  26. I expect you got a good dose of the ragweed pollen that is currently plaguing the DFW area. If so, the Chicago air, and a hair shampoo and clothes wash will cure you pretty quickly.
    I know you didn’t intend to imply that Fort Worth is a wasteland served only by big box stores. Within 10 minutes of Mad Tosh is the lovely long established Jennings Street Yarns. The owner and her staff are accomplished knitters willing to share their expertise, contrary to my experiences at Mad Tosh.

  27. Bummed I have a conflict and can not see you while you are in Minneapolis. For great locally sourced food with a vegetarian menu go to the Birchwood and of course try one of the many locally brewed craft beers. We have become a mecca for local brewers.

  28. maybe you already know this, but the most common route of entry for viruses is through your eyes — so no rubbing, no matter how travel-weary! feel better soon!

  29. Good news the weather in Chicagoland is currently beautiful. So you won’t need to e-mail asking for the rescue I could provide. Though if the weather goddess becomes grumpy. I can rescue you from
    O’Hara ad get you to Minnesota. Though it’d be a long day

  30. Sure your runny nose isn’t related to fall allergy season in the South? I know it gets bad here this time of year as golden rod blooms. Just a thought and hope its nothing more. Hope you have a great trip.

  31. My Dad always prescribed a dose of Vitamin D via sitting (and in his case snoozing) in the sunshine for a cold coming on. The forecast for Minneapolis tomorrow is for bright sunshine. You can sit out on Steven B’s little patio and soak up the rays between your classes while you sit and knit.

  32. Hope you fell better real soon. Start on those socks and rest.
    I feel like a star with my picture on your blog,LOL!
    Hope you return to TEXAS soon.

  33. Steph, my next-door neighbour swears by a product called AirBourne/or AirBorne. She always takes it when she travels. It is definitely worth a try. Have a good trip and travel safely.

  34. Your photos of the shop are great. Fabric and yarn in one place! There’s a small yarn shop in Key West, Florida that is set up like that. Like a rainbow. Beautiful.

  35. Waldorf schools ROCK my youngest niece attends one and her sister did until she hit high school age,two years ago. Great that the yarn store helps them out!

  36. You might just be allergic to ragweed. It’s in bloom right now here in Texas and the pollen count is off the charts. Hope you feel better soon! Safe travels.

  37. A normal person has ~20% chance of catching a cold when they fly. Someone like myself, w/o a full deck of white blood cells, is almost sure to catch a cold when flying.
    My immunologist and ENT suggested that I fly with a surgical mask. They disagree about why that is effective, but the literature of large scale studies and my experience shows it works.
    The ENT thinks that the mask holds in moisture b/c the dry air in airplane cabins dries out your sinuses and makes them susceptible to inhaled pathogens. He recommends taking the mask off every half hour for ocean nasal spray and/or a cup of hot liquids.
    The immunologist says mask are effective b/c they keep people from touching the noise and mouth–classic ways to spread infection.

  38. It sounds like you are having too much fun at each stop, falling down in the yarn as part payment for the talks and events. I’m looking forward to when you get to come again to the Boston area. I’d highly recommend contacting Gather Here. They just set up an artist-in-residence (for short periods like a week) apartment in their annex. It is awesome!
    And I’m not just saying that because I’ve never gotten into your Matawa class.

  39. In Australia we have a nasal spray called ‘Fess’. It’s basically saline, and there’s a version with eucalyptus oil labelled ‘Frequent Flyer’. This stuff (either version) is MAGIC on planes-helps to keep the nasal passages moist, and the eucy oil is very soothing. I have horrendous sinuses and this, more than anything, has made flying possible for me. It’s a simple, simple thing to make – use non-iodised salt (although table salt is fine really) and boiled water. Add one or two drops of eucalyptus oil only (optional). Use about 3 tsp salt to one cup of water. Then wash out the nose (essentially, block one nostril, inhale gently through the other, then allow to drain out). Not at all ladylike, but you can carry salt (and oil) with you. This is also an amazing gargle. It works because you make the water about as salty as blood is, so it’s a soothing, non-irritating wash for any part of the body, but especially for mucous membranes. The eucy oil is a mild antiseptic (as is tea-tree oil, but perhaps that’s getting too exotic for you to find?) so it helps kill cold germs/viruses/nasal nasties in general.
    I once carried some vital, non-negotiable, bought-in-Norway-but-taking-it-home-via-Bangkok fabric by winding it around my waist inside my shirt. No room left in any of my (several and various) bags. Helped keep me warm on the plane. A perfectly sensible thing to do. Really.

  40. StevenBe is a super shop. Steven also has a shop called the Yarn Garage in Rosemount, MN, if you have time to run around. The staff are so helpful. I bought lots of wonderful alpaca yarn there last fall to knit the Snooty Snood cowls from Ravelry. My sister is particular about what knit things she’ll wear, but she loves her alpaca cowls.

  41. There’s a new yarn shop in FW? A couple of blocks from where I used to live? And you were there? When I was eating shark with Beloved and his family? *verklempt* (And yes, Jennings Street Yarn is a lovely shop, as well.)

  42. Add me to your list of emergency yarn contacts in Chicago…happy to help out a fellow knitter in need! Feel better 🙂

  43. Two things:
    1) I start with Emergen-C before I travel and that usually helps.
    2) Since you like Puerperium (which I totally get having tried it after seeing all yours) have you thought about Tama for the nephews?
    oh, and I’m really jealous of the yarn shops you get to visit! But it’s probably best for my wallet. I don’t think it’s really a job if you spend all your earnings.
    oh, and good luck with Prince. I hope he’s come to his senses.

  44. My husband’s doctor told us to take vitamin D-3 and elderberry every day to help our immune systems. I haven’t had even a cold since, and I teach. It can’t hurt — give it a try.

  45. I work at a hospital, and all the nurses use this great hand sanitizer called CalStat. I steal some when I’m flying, (obviously in a really small container, because the TSA is just a wee bit insane) and not only does it kill ALL the germs, it makes your hands nice and soft!

  46. We loved having you in FTW, and I hope you can come back to teach some classes!! Oh, and btw, nobody saw the water bottle. I don’t even know what I’m talking about 😉

  47. Smear the inside of your nostrils with any good unperfumed cream, it will catch many virusrelated bad things. You could be suffering from the air-conditioned air you are inhaling. In Japan sick people wear masks, you could wear one to prevent getting ill, but I think you would rather badly stand out in a crowd in your part of the world. Climate-controlled rooms make me speak with a hoarse voice, but AC in cars attacks my head. The hairroots get very painful by the slightest touch of my hair and it can last several days, even weeks (I once had an undercooled head waiting for the bus in horizontal rain and low temperatures in a gale, AC trickers the damaged nerve-ends again). And yes, a good aunt has to buy yarn for a nephews sweater if there is no alternative in her stash, well done!

  48. 1) I fully endorse the effectiveness of EmergenC. Keep it coming.
    2) Great! Now I want to go to Fort Worth.
    3) Good plan for a rest day and only 6 skeins? You did very well.
    4) Enjoy yourself with all those lovely knitters; don’t forget the sock in the photos!

  49. EmergenC is great! I always have some kicking around. The best one to take when you think you’re coming down with the Creeping Crud is the Immune Defense. It has Zinc in it and my whole family now swears by it. Anytime my son starts to feel the Crud coming on he runs and takes an Immune Defense immediately. He hates the taste but it always works. The stuff is amazing! Hope you feel better right away.
    Congratulations on your yarn buying restraint. I understand how hard it is to restrain yourself when surrounded by all that delicious fiber. Honestly, I’m amazed at your willpower. I don’t know if I could have walked away with only 6 skeins. Well maybe if someone took all my cash, credit cards, and purse far away and wouldn’t give it back until after I left the store. I bet I would still figure out a way to add to my stash LOL! Happy and safe traveling.

  50. I volunteer to be your EmergenCYarn! I live only a little over an hour from O’Hare and could get your some yarn very quickly. Never despair, there’s yarn at O’Hare! Call a friend, supply won’t end. A very short poem to help you remember you have friends everywhere who will never let you be empty handed.

  51. Stephanie: I had the most amazing time at your talk at MadTosh in Fort Worth. I think it’s time for knitting humor to go mainstream. You are a stand-up comic par excellence.

  52. I highly recommend taking AIRBORNE, created by a 2nd grade teacher to build immunity. Usually available in the grocery store. I start 2-3 days before I fly OR the minute the first sniffle or sore throat starts. It works wonders!

  53. When next you feel impending snot, I swear by the efficacy of Zinc & Echinacea lozenges. Jamieson’s makes them, they’re pretty easily found at health food stores and even at Shopper’s.
    Saved me just this week, when I need to be in hospital surroundings all next week with parents.
    Glad to hear the Emergen-C works well too. I’ll file that in my “grab in the US when needed” brain.

  54. I so wanted to see you Tuesday night but there was no way I was gonna make it by 6 :/. Glad the Texas knitters gave you a good time!

  55. Oh no!! How did I miss that you were in Fort Worth?!?!?! I am so upset! I just live a couple of hours north of there in Oklahoma and would TOTALLY came to see you…. and that store?? I am going to have to get directions. We go to Fort Worth every few months or so, and my only options for yarn are Walmart and Hobby Lobby. I have to drive an hour and a half north for a good LYS. Now I have more options! Yay! Hate that I missed you!

  56. I have the same theory about travelling and getting sick, although I think I’m also susceptible to illness because I’m likely sleep deprived — either from getting up early for a flight, or because I went to bed late leading up to the trip, or don’t sleep as well on the trip. At any rate, hope you’re feeling better!

  57. Stephanie, too bad you didn’t stay for the Texas state fair. I understand the winner food of this year is
    Fried bacon cinnamon rolls
    Not that you’d want to eat one but it might make great speech fodder.

  58. Try COLD-EASE!! They are pre-wrapped lozenges that contain zinc that you take right away when you feel a cold coming on. (take up to 6 a day) They work wonders for me.
    Also, in addition to hand-washing – the key is to not touch your face (eyes, nose, mouth) because that’s how the viruses get into your system. Try not to be around people sneezing or coughing – you can breathe in the cold/flu droplets that float in the air and get sick that way too.
    Stay well and see you in class at Vogue Knitting Live in Chicago!

  59. Sorry I missed seeing you when you were in Ft. Worth. But I don’t frequent MadTosh due to total lack of customer service. If you ever get back to the DFW area please consider coming to Jennings Street Yarn where they know how to treat a customer and share their knowledge without the snobby attitude of MadTosh.

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