Having wrestled control of my laptop and chocolate back from Monkey (who fortunately doesn't seem to have changed any passwords in my absence)... normal service should now resume.
Thank you for all the good wishes, thoughts etc. I'm out of bed now and have stopped slobbing around in my pjs, still feeling a bit fragile though. I don't think it was/is tonsillitis, maybe just a stonker of a cold. Who knows? At least it didn't stop me knitting and doing various other related activities! Monkey did this (with Holly's help) - which is very cool, so thank you to them both!
As Monkey informed you, I've been reading knitting magazines! I got three cheap from Calana Crafts on Ebay, all US ones from last year and none of which I'd seen before, so I thought I'd do some review type comments:
Creative Knitting - (July 2005 issue). I got the impression this was at the more basic end of the spectrum. The patterns were graded, but were mainly easy or the next stage up and the yarn adverts seemed to be for the cheaper brands like Red Heart. There were loads of patterns, and a good variety of garments/things in a range of sizes. I also liked the way that the yarn requirements were worded - just giving you the length/weight of yarn eg worsted or DK and the gauge. They do indicate what was used for the sample in the picture but there almost seems to be an expectation that you're going to sub! There were three shortish articles (about the same length as the ones in Knitting) but nothing particularly overwhelming in terms of subject matter - knitting for preemies, something about ripple stitches and some gauge basics. There are also seven pages of basic knitting and crochet instructions at the end (like Simply Knitting has with EVERY issue!). Seems to have 6 issues a year.
Family Circle Easy Knitting - (Holiday 2004, I image this is the Christmas issue, or maybe Thanksgiving?). Has all the patterns at the end (like Rowan mags) so the magazine part is at the front. Again, some nice patterns and a wider range of yarns advertised (going more expensive this time). Has a feel a bit like Simply Knitting with similar news style bits at the beginning and some product reviews. The patterns here are themed into groups (again, a bit like Rowan) and there are more easy ones than hard ones. There were a few shortish articles, much like Creative Knitting and none of them particularly lengthy. There are four pages of knitting/crochet instructions in this one. Plus a useful page with pictures of strands of all the yarns used in the patterns - in conjunction with the gauge and skein information this is good! I'm not sure how often this mag comes out, perhaps quarterly?
Cast On (The Knitting Guild of America) - (May-July 2005). This has a more "serious" feel, there are more advanced patterns (although still plenty of easier ones) and not as many adverts. I really enjoyed the articles in this one - they were lengthier, and well illustrated. One was the second part of an article about decreasing - only two pages of it but it packed in a lot of detail and the illustrations were clear. I'd love to see something like this in UK knitting magazines! The book reviews section has much more detail than you'd get in Knitting or Simply Knitting. This comes out quarterly as part of membership of TKGA. As you'd expect there's also a lot of info about them in here (shops that are members and info about local guilds for instance).
All in all, I'd gladly swop the UK knitting mags for one of these, although I don't think any of them are as good as Interweave Knits. I was interested to find out that it's not only Simply Knitting that includes basic instructions in it (although neither of the mags that include this go in for quite the length SK does!). Also none of them come out monthly as the mags do over here.
I'll try and remember to take these three along to Knit Lincs on Saturday to see what the others think. Have GOT to be better by then cos I've also got 3 house viewings booked in the morning!
I've also been catching up on some podcasts and listening to new ones. I've really enjoyed a new one called "At the yarn store" which is done by the woman who runs Holly Spring Homespun in the US. This had me hyperventilating with envy at all the yarn descriptions. She also talks about the goats on her farm and interviews various people (two starting up a new LYS and a rep from a yarn company). It's interesting listening, but they're quite lenthy podcasts, about the same as Cast On, which is more of a listening commitment than some of the others. Two of my other favourites (apart from Knitcast and Cast On obviously) are Pixie Purls Podcast and Irie Knits (although I don't get the phrase on Irie Knits - "the podcast for knitters who like to knit". What would be the point in being a knitter who didn't like to knit?!). I've also listened to one episode of Stitch-Cast, partly because it was about dyeing, which is something I want to try. This one is fun too, and I recommend a listen.