Learn how to crawl: the New York City Yarn CrawlΒ is on through Sunday, September 25.

Warm Up the Slide Projector

Dear Ann,
Hi there. Are you comfy? Do you have a beverage? Because this is Part One of my vacation photos. We’ll be here for a while, and the knitting content will be 100% indirect. No actual knitting.
I went to England by myself, a few days ahead of Hubby and kids, because I wanted to make a pilgrimage to the home of beloved Emma. I’ve been chatting to Emma from my first days on the Internet. Hers was the first knitting blog I ever looked at. We even talk on the phone. It was High Time we met in person.
(An aside for purposes of Self Affirmation: I am quite proud that I navigated self and baggage through Heathrow to the Piccadilly Line and got on the right train (the only train, which helped) and took it straight to King’s Cross. There, despite the dire warnings of certain Londoners, I was not accosted by highwaymen. (It was no worse than Penn Station. I stood there drinking a coffee and making phone calls while I waited for the train, safe as could be but poised, like a good New Yorker, to be obstreperous and noisy if anything went amiss.) From King’s Cross I caught the train to Darlington, stayed awake so I wouldn’t miss my stop (knitting all the way on a misbegotten gansey attempt, if you must know), and stepped onto the platform where Emma’s husband Allan was waiting for me. Yay!)
Next stop was Emma’s garden, just like it looks in pictures on her blog, where Emma and Oliver were waiting, roses were blooming, and a giant bee was buzzing. The next 36 hours flew by. I took very few pictures. Too busy blabbing, munching, and sipping! Occasionally knitting, even. It is bittersweet to have such a good time with someone, knowing that in-person get-togethers will always be a rare thing. It would be so great to live within drop-by-unannounced range. But that is the thing about the Internet. It makes the world seem small, but the world is not physically getting one bit smaller.
The next afternoon, we picked up Oliver at school (he introduced me to his teacher!), piled into the car, and went to Whitby. To get there, we drove through actual moors. Actual sheep were grazing. It was actual Yorkshire. Quite astonishingly rural. Lovely, lovely. Once we got to Whitby, I managed to crank up the KayCam for a while.
Emma and Oliver. Oliver is a great sightseeing/dining/hanging-out companion. He likes to give the grownups helpful hints on what they should do next, which made me a little homesick for Joseph.
Whitby’s postcard harbor. Quel thrill to be in the town where those vintage pictures in the Rowan Denim book were taken, long ago.
Bobbins had closed at 5. Emma pointed out — too right– that this was saving me a ton of money. Who could seriously suggest that I would not have walked out of there with armsful of gansey kits with denim wound off of cones? That’s crazy talk! And the window alone was worth a visit and a picture.
Another Bobbins sign. My heart went pitter-pat; denim usually doesn’t get top billing.
Allan kindly posed to demonstrate the height of Whitby’s ancient doors.
Nearby, you can look through the doorway of Arguments Yard (whatever it is, it sounds like a handy public amenity) and see clear through down to the waterside.
After the best fish & chips ever, PLUS my introduction to Mushy Peas, which are so much tastier than you would think from the name (hello Yorkshire advertising people: try ‘pate vert’, or even ‘pea pesto’ and see if that helps), we found a spot to take the sea air on the cliff, and squint into the sun for this picture. It was all so gloriously Victorian and Merchant/Ivory.
This was the view over the edge.
Hello? Is this a Rowan Photo Shoot, or what? Where are the tall pale girls in the sweaters and underwear? (I actually think I’ve seen this location in one of the magazines….I’ll have to dig around.)
I did not manage to take pictures of the wonderful jet and amber shops, the fossil/mineral/goth shop, or other delights of Whitby. Know this: Whitby does not disappoint. Well worth a journey even if you’re not a denim, gansey, or denim gansey fan.
Thank you Emma, Allan and Oliver for a lovely time! I’ll be back!
I’m not done yet with the travelogue. Oh no. There is more denim to come, in London.
Love, Kay



  1. Sounds like a wonderful visit! Thanks for sharing. (Still chuckling about your aside to Yorkshire advertising people.)

  2. Lovely photos. What a wonderful visit.

  3. I’m gobsmacked by your lively commentary. Makes me want to hop a jet to Whitby by nightfall. I especially love the Mushy Pea suggestions. Hey, Whitby Advertising People? Maybe you should proceed to the Argument Yard for a friendly debate. Mushy or no? You be the judge. All in the name of whirled peas. Awwwww, why did she have to go there? Welp, she did.

  4. I am so jealous. I love the UK. I must have lived there in a previous life. Interesting, considering that my current life is of Greek descent.

  5. Brilliant! Totally beautiful! I can hardly tell you the pang I’m having at not being there. Emma and Oliver are adorable, the scenic sights very scenic, the whole trip so admirably full of Fortitude and Self-Direction.
    Can’t wait for you to get to Nashville, where the fish and chips are actually fish and, um, potato chips.
    Bon voyage! See you in a second.

  6. ooohhhh, kay, what’s in those wee crayola crayon colored houses by the sea?

  7. Mushy peas. Sigh. I don’t care what they call ’em, I love ’em and yearn for ’em!

  8. Oliver is absolutely precious! I’m always drawn to the cute kids in bloggy posts. Sounds like you had an amazing time. Can’t wait to hear about/see the rest πŸ™‚

  9. Beautiful, beautiful photos. That little row houses at the beach- one of the most charming sights ever!

  10. What a cute little boy!! Looks like you had a great time with them!!! Keep us posted!

  11. Oh I vote for Kay to bein charge of the future ROWAN backgrounds…this was just PURE eye candy!
    A vote for whirled peas, indeed!

  12. Those little houses by the sea are just so wonderful – maybe you saw them in a Kaffe book? Is that where you change into your swimming suit? or try to keep warm? I have Bobbins bookmarked on my browser – I was dying to hear what it’s like in person! Why didn’t Gwyneth Paltrow stop in there when she was hunting down those dead poets in “Possession”? Can’t wait for the London denim – have just begun kimono sleeved cardigan for new niece out of denim baby blanket left-overs – Annhb

  13. How thrilling to see modern Whitby. Sometimes I pull out the old Denim book just to look at those old photos. I’ve just bought the Denim for my first gansey. What a wonderful holiday with gracious friends.

  14. Annhb, yes, you’re right – those little huts are where you change into your ‘bathers’ (as they’re known here – or at least in some parts of the country) or where you just lounge around in (relative)comfort watching everybody else doing sporty / swimmy type things (the water’s COLD over here!). We went to our beach hut at Shoeburyness on Sunday & the sea was full of jellyfish – I went nowhere near! Not even to paddle. Call me a coward, I don’t care!

  15. Man, what I’d give to be a short pale girl in a sweater and underwear in that scene…beautiful photos!
    I think I need an Arguments Yard, too.
    Can’t do the mushy peas. The chips and vinegar, as disgusting as French husband thinks they are, are excellent, though πŸ™‚

  16. Ah, Kay. Ah, Kay. Ahhhh, Kay. I try not to be jealous, I really do. But you make it very hard on a person.

  17. Great pictures Kay! I am actually from Whitby…..too bad it is in Ontario rather then in England

  18. Ahhh, you make me want to hop a jet and head for England (again). Was lucky enough to take a 7-week trip there in 2001, for college credit, no less! I am looking forward to your London travelogue, as that’s where I spent most of my visit and worked at the Wallace Collection. Sadly then I didn’t even know how to knit so I never visited any yarn shops. It’s so funny how things change in significance… guess I’ll have to go back! Thanks for posting the lovely photos!

  19. Little houses by the beach… are they the same as those in Sarah Dallas’s new book “Knitting”? Lovely, I wish I am there… Thanks for sharing.

  20. Mushy peas, gotta love ’em! Try Myers of Keswick (Hudson & 14th).

  21. Hmmm…I can think of times when an Arguments Yard would come in handy here! Beautiful pictures.

  22. Your visit sounds fun and cozy and wonderful!
    Denim beware!

  23. Ah yes ! “Arguments Yard” – the passageway between “I’m-Really-Ticked-Off-With-You Street” and “You’re-Exactly-Like-Your-Father/Mother Avenue”. I’ve visited there many times ….
    BTW please stop saying the word denim, I can’t cope. I am having a choosing crisis at the moment as I can’t decide which shade to buy for my next project. Perhaps it will come to me in a dream :0)
    Heather x

  24. The vacation photos are fabulous!
    A back-tack package has got your name on it and is en route to you as I type.


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