Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Pulitzer gives us Hamilton fever all over again.

Mason-Dixon Mailbag: Silver Lining Edition

Dear Kay,
I never cease to be amazed whenever I hear from a far-flung knitter.
Knitting Her Way Through the Apocalypse
We can all envy at least one person stranded in Europe under the giant volcanic ash cloud: Leah. Leah is stuck in Stockholm, trying to get back to Ohio. I suggested that maybe this was actually kind of a good thing. I mean: I love Ohio and all, but Stuck in Stockholm sounds like a Meg Ryan movie to me. She writes that she has in fact made excellent progress in laying in a pile of Swedish yarn, which involved a trip to Marias Garn. (Sigh! Marias Garn! [Room swirls and harp music commences as overwhelming memories crash over me.])
Leah writes, “I am knitting now, and I think I have written my first pattern as well, for a big chunky cowl like all the hipsters here have on, since everything here was in Swedish. So yay, and thanks for the advice. We’re going to try to get to Oslo, then Frankfurt, then Detroit at the end of the week.” Vaya con yarn, Leah!
Tasmanian Weather Report
Then there’s Vicki, who wrote to say she was going to get a copy of the juicy novel I mentioned, Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall. At her library. In Tasmania.
TASMANIA! Now there’s a hemisphere I haven’t ever been to. [goes off to Google this] Google Maps says that by car it’s 16,040 miles, including two kayaking spells from Seattle to Hawaii (seriously–Google says to “kayak” across the Pacific, those wacky jokers), then Hawaii to Japan. I’m not sure this is the most direct route, frankly.
When I suggested to Vicki that Tasmania is, like, three days ahead of Nashville time, she calmly responded:

“It was actually very late Wednesday night and now its very late Thursday night – so we are ‘ahead’ but not quite as far ahead as you suggested. We are just finishing a very long warm summer, days still mild but the nights are chilling off. We actually have great knitting weather – warm enough in summer for Rowan denim cotton singlets (once you recover from the trauma of the top half not just fitting, letting it hibernate for a year before frogging and getting it right the second time) and cool enough for cosy winter jumpers – but without having to shovel snow.
“So I just googled Deep Bay (where we actually live, on the Huon River where seagulls have been acting strangely lately (see pic) to Nashville – for me it says its 26,048 km and it also had me going through parts of Tasmania I’ve never heard of and on tracks that I’m pretty sure are only meant for bushwalking not driving on, got the ferry across Bass Strait right to get to mainland Australia, and then also had me kayaking over the Pacific. Methinks Google has a sense of humour and/or a sense of adventure…”

She’s right: those seagulls are looking mighty peculiar out there. Thinking they’re ducks or something. Maybe the Icelandic volcano cloud has gotten to them.
And a Word from Iceland
Silja of Iceland writes:
“There are two big jokes here in Iceland at the moment:
1. The Brits asked Iceland to send them some cash, but as there is no C in the Icelandic alphabet we thought they meant ash.
2. It was the last wish of the newly dead economy of Iceland that its ashes would be spread all over Europe.”
Thanks for writing, y’all–keep those cards and letters coming.




  1. ROFLMAO at Icelandic jokesters!

  2. Yep, Britain deserves some Icelandic ash, that’s for sure! (At least the Bank does).:)

  3. The most geographically diverse and educational post ever. Excellent!

  4. Here in England, it’s too soon to make Icelandic volcano jokes! We’re waiting for the dust to settle 😉

  5. Love the Icelandic jokes, especially about the newly dead economy, lol!
    Also, I went to Google maps just to see this whole “kayaking” thing for myself and it totally tells you to kayak across the Pacific Ocean, what?! Plus it expects you’ve kayaked your car across with you since the driving instructions just pick up again which I find somewhat more hilarious!

  6. I love Google Maps for wacky directions, though I’ll admit that I’ve used them to walk from the cities south of Boston, MA to cities north of Boston, MA (14 miles or so) and it worked great! Admittedly, none of these trips required a kayak, so YMMV.

  7. Love the Iceland jokes. See also:
    My stranded SIL is enjoying her extended stay in Paris! I wonder if she’ll have time to go to La Droguerie… must check.

  8. planes are flying again…. you will not be cut off from us for long. Hey ho. Such excitement! x x x

  9. Good luck with the sweater blocking! For some unbelievable photos of the volcano’s impact on Iceland, see

  10. Trust knitters to find the silver linings!

  11. Okay, but why does it have me depart from the northernmost point in Washington? Does it have to do with currents, ‘cuz it sure seems like that’s a longer trip across the Pacific than necessary! In a similar vein, I checked out my home on the east coast to Europe, and no kayaking directions :-(

  12. It is only 15,702 miles from my office. Did you hear about the girl that really did row across the Atlantic in 70 days, she did it for a clean water charity or something, heard it on NPR last night. But that is just crazy talk, she had no one with her and no follow boat or anything. I’m thinking that google’s estimate of 59 days is very optimistic, thinking more like 159 days.

  13. Thanks for a good break from work. I loved the driving directions in JAPANESE
    80. Take exit 豊田JCT toward 東海環状・伊勢湾岸道・豊田東出口・土岐JCT・四日市・新名神

  14. The first time I did google earth from NY to Paris it suggested swimming across the atlantic (I didn’t check again to see if it still does), seems like kayaking across the pacific is more practical, doesn’t it!

  15. I’m just glad I had swallowed my drink of water before continuing to read — “vaya con yarn” would surely have caused it to shoot out of my nose with laughter!

  16. Wow to commenter India above for the link to the photos. OHMYGOSH. and thanks.

  17. Talking of international travel – any news on the dvd on tour? (The singing revolution?)

  18. Have to say, the title of the post would make a good book title – or has it been done? “Knitting Your Way Through the Apocalypse” – it does have a certain ring to it.
    Love the Iceland jokes – and reeeally hope the people who program Google maps are exhibiting humor in telling you to kayak across the ocean.

  19. I love this post.

  20. I was in Iceland just after the Volcano erupted the first time and having seen it first hand I feel very attached to it. LOVE the jokes — had heard the first one but I think the second one is even better. Trust a country of knitters to have a great sense of humor!!

  21. Hi, I read your blog from Istanbul, Turkey, the only city on two continents. Lots of great color-strand knitting happens here, but none of it by me yet… Love your books and blog, thank you!

  22. The girl that rowed the ocean was Katie Spotz from where I live in Mentor, Ohio. I loved the jokes, but the one says the Icelandic language doesn’t have a c in it. But the name does. Tried to see if they called it something else, like Norway is Norge, but couldn’t find anything. So was it just some crazy Icelandic humor? Love your blog!

  23. The girl that rowed the ocean was Katie Spotz from where I live in Mentor, Ohio. I loved the jokes, but the one says the Icelandic language doesn’t have a c in it. But the name does. Tried to see if they called it something else, like Norway is Norge, but couldn’t find anything. So was it just some crazy Icelandic humor? Love your blog!

  24. There are plenty more jokes like. As for the fact that there is no C in our language it is true and in icelandic Iceland is called Ísland.
    I love following this blog and the hole community around it.
    Hugs from Iceland

  25. I would give my eye teeth to be stuck in the vicinity of Marias Garn! I remember well the beautiful “flower” arrangement of blue yarns in the window!

  26. I would give my eye teeth to be stuck in the vicinity of Marias Garn! I remember well the beautiful “flower” arrangement of blue yarns in the window!

  27. slaptastically hilarious post.

  28. Google here is clearly more boring. I can’t seem to get to any part of the US from Warwickshire, UK, where I live, or even from London – kayak or no kayak.

  29. Love those jokes!
    My daughter is “stuck” in Ireland.

  30. I second the question, what’s happening with the Singing Revolution odyssey? I was #2.

  31. I’ve wondered how many stuck travelers were knitters and of those knitters how many are glad they SO over packed the knitting projects in their carry on.
    Seriously, knitters, as their hands fly through the second sock, would have found waiting on those cots less boring than others.

  32. Those Icelandic jokes are hilarious! My folks are stuck in Ankara, Turkey right now. They left shortly before Easter (1st wk in April) and were supposed to come back Monday. They are still not even on a list as of Thursday! Dad is getting antsy and not loving washing his undies in the hotel room sink…

  33. When you are swinging by Japan on your way to Tazmania, come visit me in Tokyo. I would like to think I am stuck in Japan due to the ash, but no such luck. I am just stuck…

  34. very best job

  35. Punk not dead

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  37. Good crew it’s cool :)

  38. Punk not dead

  39. this is be cool 8)


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