Archive for the ‘road trip’ Tag

How I spent my summer vacation   24 comments

You had better get yourself a cup of coffee and settle in.  It’s going to be a long post.

On Labor Day, Mom and set out on our big adventure, driving to Wisconsin to meet a group of Ravelry friends and enjoy a weekend full of giggles and yarn and fiber games.  But before that could happen, we had a long drive.  We went a northern route to avoid holiday weekend traffic (which is killer on the one highway out of Maine) and later, Chicago.  I don’t love driving in strange cities.

We planned two long days of driving: the first to Kingston, Ontario, Canada; the second to Muskegon, Michigan, USA.

Everything went as planned, though the long days were made longer by lots of construction, beginning in Montreal and ending somewhere west of Toronto.  We stayed in a decent enough hotel in Kingston, and got a good tip from the desk clerk about the 407 – a toll road that goes around Toronto.  He said it would be empty and darned but he was right!  It was a welcome relief from solid slow traffic with loads of big rig trucks.  The truckers were all good drivers, but it is still not the most relaxing driving.

Border crossings were easy going in and out of Canada, the US Border guy was quite funny, thought we were crazy to drive to Wisconsin for a vacation. Maybe we were, but we weren’t turning back!

I haven’t been to Ontario since I was nine or ten, and I have never been to Quebec or Michigan, so even though we weren’t stopping anyplace except to sleep, it was interesting to see the countryside as we cruised through.  The rolling hills of rural Quebec are beautiful.  Ontario is much flatter, but still very pretty.  Michigan was so flat and green!  We laughed when we saw a sign for a ski resort off an exit.  There was not a mountain or hill in sight.  I wonder how far it was to that resort?

We crossed Michigan through Flint, Lansing, and Grand Rapids, and went north a bit to Muskegon.  We spent the night there, and got our first extra pleasant surprise.  We had a reservation for a room with two beds, nothing special.  But when we checked in they offered us an upgrade to a suite and we grabbed it.  It was a very nice room, with loads of space, big windows that open, a balcony, table and chairs, comfortable chairs and the required two beds. We joked that it was too bad we were only there one night.

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We had a great view over the marina to the harbor.

The next morning we got to sleep in a bit and have a nice breakfast, then went off to catch the ferry across Lake Michigan to Milwaukee.

It felt really good to be traveling and not driving, I have to say.  They warned us it would be a rough crossing, but to us it didn’t seem like anything much, just a bit of roll under foot. We were traveling in the business cabin, which meant that we got some free coffee while knitting in our comfortable chairs, and so we passed a pleasant morning getting to Milwaukee.

Once in Milwaukee, we were able to navigate our way through MORE construction to an old friend’s house.  She lived in Maine about 15 years ago, and Mom and I had lost track of her.  But when we knew we were going to be in Wisconsin, we used the power of the internet to find her and arranged to have lunch with her. It was so great to see her, and meet the special person in her life, see her home and do lots of catching up.

We left there in the afternoon, in time to find our way through the construction to the airport to meet the first of the Ravelry friends, Kendra from Houston.

So many people thought we were crazy to plan this big trip to spend time with people we had never met.  But we have all been chatting and sharing for years, and I knew we would be fine.  More than fine, that we would have a blast.

At the airport, Kendra found us easily, even having no idea what we looked like! Something about two ladies in matching gray fleece standing around the empty baggage carousel?

Our next adventure was about to begin.  All that construction?  Well, after two days of successfully navigating it, our brains and the GPS finally failed.  They moved a highway entrance from the left to the right and we completely missed it.  Got off the road, found the next entrance – it was closed due to the construction.  But we had Mom and a paper map, and we eventually found our way back to the highway in the correct direction, and were on our way again.

We got to our Airbnb in Hustisford without further delay.  It is a sweet little house right on the lake, and right next door to a pub/restaurant.  An amazingly quiet one with good food!

It is owned by two brothers who have recently remodeled the whole thing, and done a great job.  We did notice a few things that were missed, like bedside table and lamps, and we needed groceries, so after a delicious meal at the pub, we headed to Wal*Mart.  There we picked up groceries for the weekend and grabbed a couple of lamps so that Mom and I could read before sleep and not have to use the overhead light.  🙂 And for those of you who know me, I know you just passed out on learning where we shopped.  If we had known where there were any other stores, I would have pushed to go there.  But looking for groceries at ten o’clock at night in rural America means that you go to Wal*Mart, right? So we did, and got everything we needed.

Thursday was the first day of festivities.  We headed off to Beaver Dam, where we were to meet up with Deb and her knitting group, visit the local yarn store, then connect with Knitting Sarah for a tour of Nancy’s Notions before heading back to Deb’s for dinner.

We texted Deb as we got close and she agreed to meet us for lunch at a local restaurant.  While we were trying to follow the GPS directions to get there, I noticed a car behind me, following pretty closely.  Soon it was flashing its lights and blowing the horn.  I pulled over to let this impatient person go past.  Instead, the car pulled up beside us and the driver was waving madly at us.  It was Deb!  So, we followed her to the restaurant.  Meeting with her was just like meeting Kendra the night before – instant best friends.  Before too long, another woman joined us.  Sue is in Deb’s knitting group, and also the Ravelry friend of Knitting Sarah Group where we all hang out.  Another old friend we have known for years, not minutes!

After lunch, we gathered at Deb’s, and then headed out to do some shopping.  Firefly Fibers was our first stop, and it was pretty darned wonderful. It is not a HUGE store, but a well stocked one.  I managed to get a few things there before we headed out to go to Nancy’s Notions. (And started knitting with the pink and blue before I could get a photo, sorry!  The pink is Madeline Tosh Light in a discontinued color; the blue-purple variegated is Malabrigo sock in the Anniversario colorway.  The pattern is Rainbow Warrior – more on that later!)

Aren’t they pretty?

I didn’t get photos nor buy anything at Nancy’s Notions, but I really enjoyed the tour with Sarah.  If you want to learn more about the business, do check it out online.  I get their catalogs, and they have EVERYTHING that a sewer or quilter needs. I was curious to see the quality – you know how it is with catalogs – everything looks good.  Turns out, it really is in this case.  Nice quality products and fabrics. If you sew, it is worth checking out.

That evening at Deb’s was SO MUCH FUN!  We sat around knitting and gabbing, we ate a delicious meal, did a yarn version of Yankee Swap, and it felt like Christmas with all the gifts that Sarah and Deb had put together for us.  Loads of goodies, some snacks, and some fiber treats.  Sarah gave me this fabulous fiber from Three Water Farms to thank me for helping out with the group this  spring while she packed up and moved.  And I don’t know if she or Deb put this beautiful project bag and stitch markers in the bag of goodies, but I love it!

This is the yarn that I wound up with after all the yarn swapping was done:

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Our friend Jude joined us at Deb’s, and so when the party was over, we were four at the house.

Friday morning we were off to breakfast in Johnson Creek on the way to Wisconsin Sheep and Wool festival, the centerpiece of our gathering.

I took no photos that day. We did have quite a group of us there – I have lost count, but at least 5 or 6 of us in one group, and then others from Deb’s knitting group and friends of Sarah wandering in and out of the crowds. It was an amazing event.  Like Maine Fiber frolic on steroids.  Two HUGE barns filled with fiber related vendors.  I never even got to them all!  I DID, however, find a few things to buy.  🙂  I know you are surprised by this.

The yarn:  Sock yarn from Knit City, unmatched skeins meant to go together.  And an amazing find – these two skeins equal a sweater quantity of yarn, and were only 28 dollars apiece.  Kendra spotted them in the bargain bin by my feet while I was perusing the full priced beauties at eye level. So a sweater for $56.  Not bad! And it isn’t blue-green, it’s just blue.  🙂

The fiber: the braid is super wash merino from Fiber Optic.  I have seen their ads on Ravelry and never clicked through, because I was afraid of the damage to my bank account.  So I was pleased to see them at the festival, where I could drool in person.  I can’t remember the vendor where I got the ball of merino/silk.  I was so tired I couldn’t do the math, so went on the conservative side with 10 ounces.  I wish I had gotten more, it is lovely.

It was a long day, but so much fun, seeing what all the ladies bought and all that they resisted.

That night Deb joined us at the house, and so did Adina.  Adina is moving to Maine and has hosted a few Ravelry gatherings here, and has come to Whorls and Purls at the Purple Fleece when she is not home in Illinois.  It was great to connect with her and to have her join us for dinner and the night.

So we were six sitting about knitting and chatting Friday night.

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(Mom is sitting out of range, but trust me, she was working on her endless sweater. And do check out that sunset!) Kendra and Jude shared yarn they had brought for us, so there was even MORE yarn added to my stash!

And Mom’s stash looked like this – she only bought one skein, the rest were gifts!  She was overwhelmed.

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While planning this event, someone, maybe Deb or Sue, came up with the idea that we should all cast on the same pattern.  Kendra found the pattern Rainbow Warrior shawl, and we all agreed it would be great.  Some folks cast on Thursday night, some Friday, and some both nights.  🙂 All the colors look so amazing, the finished shawls will be great fun.

Mom took this photo on Saturday, showing our progress.

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We were expecting one more visitor on Friday, but she wasn’t able to make it until after the festival on Saturday.

Saturday we had planned visiting several yarn stores in the Milwaukee area, but we were really fried, and had this beautiful spot, so we decided not to leave it.  I was glad as I felt exhausted, and we planned to leave Sunday morning, so a low key day felt really good.

We spent the day knitting, with Mom and me doing some intermittent packing as well.

There was porch knitting, for sure. And when it got too hot, we moved back to the living room, never stopping knitting, talking, and laughing.

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Saturday evening Teryn and her fiancee Peter finally found their way to us in time to show off her festival purchases, and join us for dinner at the pub next door. We had a fun time, and we are pretty sure Peter did not know what he had gotten into.  He also might have been worried that he was looking at what Teryn will be like in 40 years.  🙂

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Sunday came all too soon. Mom and I were up early, finished packing the car, stripped the beds, and said good bye.

We were sad to leave, but still had more vacation ahead.  First stop, Chicago.  I avoided it once, but we headed for it on purpose this time.  Mom has two old high school classmates who live there, and we were meeting them for lunch.  It was a pretty wonderful time.  These two people, and the wife of one of them, are amazing people with such interesting stories, I could have stayed listening all afternoon.  In fact, we did for a few hours before finally heading out to continue on our way.

I was disappointed at the amount of traffic on a Sunday, but knew it was better than a weekday.  We were heading east now, and had a day and a half to get to Niagara Falls, Ontario Canada.  We stopped driving at about 7, which got us to the Toledo area.  We were lucky that the first hotel we tried was neat, clean, had a room, and served us breakfast, too!

Monday morning we set a leisurely pace, but still made it to Niagara Falls by about 2 o’clock.  We decided to skip lunch until we got there, because I really needed to be done with driving.  So when we got to our hotel, we checked in to what turned out to be ANOTHER huge water view suite! (The mist to the right is spray from the Horseshoe falls.) This time it was two rooms, and we got to stay more than one night!

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We got some “lupper” (lunch-supper) and went for a walk down to the falls.  It was advertised as three blocks.  The last one was a huge long one down a steep hill, but we did survive that trip!

I had never seen the falls before, they are incredibly beautiful.

Tuesday we booked a tour that took us behind the falls, a boat ride into the mist, and to a few other attractions in the area. It was great to not have to drive or figure out where everything was.  After we got back from that, we took the advice of our breakfast waiter and headed down the river to Niagara on the Lake for supper, and a view of where the river meets the lake.  This was a beautiful area, quite different in nature from Niagara Falls.  Mom and I agreed that if we ever come again, we will make sure to allow more time to explore this town.

 

 

Our original plan had been to take two days to get home from here, but when we thought about it, we thought we could get up super early and make it in one day,  we knew if that really turned out to be dumb, we could always stop part way.  So 3 am found us in the car and heading back to USA and home. The trip was uneventful and long.  We toughed it out and after a breakfast stop, we only stopped for bathroom and refueling breaks.  We were at Mom’s house by 4:30 pm.  We were able to convince A that she wanted to bring Mom’s car over after work and drive me home in my car, so I was done driving when we pulled into Mom’s driveway.  More than 2500 miles! It was long and so much fun, I know I would do it again.  But maybe not for a while.

So, that’s what I did on my summer vacation.  I should have enough yarn to keep me busy for a few months.  🙂

Thought I would wrap up with a few sunsets we saw along the way.  And one dawn.

 

Edited to add – here’s a link to the knitting Sarah’s blog post about the weekend in case you want to read about it from a different perspective.

 

 

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Countdown!   21 comments

It’s Friday!  I am on vacation!!!  Whew!  I thought this week would never end.  I had a list of things to make sure got done at work, and I made it through the list with time to spare. Even with all the last minute things that got added to it as people realized that the 18th is a long way away and there are things that they can’t possible do alone.  🙂

Now I have to tackle my “at home” list and my “packing list” and my “what knitting to bring along” list.

So this weekend will be a lot of chores and running about, not TOO much fiber or other fun.  But some, always some.

In all the cleaning and packing, I do intend to go to Whorls and Purls on Saturday afternoon, though probably not for the whole afternoon.  At least a couple of hours.  I would LOVE to finish the green and black striped sweater, and I am pretty close.  I am doing the broken rib on the body, have maybe ten more rows and a bind off, then I have to pick up and knit the neck.  Then it is all weaving in ends.  And there are tons.  Oh, stripes, why do you torture us so? I also have a shawl and a necklace on the needles. And socks.  Always some knitting to choose from!

I am making a list of knitting projects I want to do so I can look for the right yarns when I am out in Wisconsin, but I am not going to cast on anything new before I go.  I think I will just bring along the three projects (not the big sweater) to work on until I buy some yarn, lol.

I do plan to bring along my interchangeable needles so I can cast on whatever I want while I am there.  Because I know I am going to find amazing yarn that I won’t be able to resist.

Mom arrives on Sunday so we can do the road trip food shopping, and load the car for an early start Monday.  That means we need to clear out and clean out the guest room and get it ready for her.  No one has stayed with us in months!  It MIGHT be dusty in there.  🙂

For supper, we are planning to take her to Bagaduce Lunch.  She has never been there, and I think she will love it.  What is not to love about fresh seafood, ice cream, and a killer view?

Then Monday we head off.  I am not bringing the computer with me on the road trip, but I will have the phone, so I expect that I will answer comments, but not sure if I will do much posting before I get back. Maybe over on Instagram… (where I am SalpalCrafts)

And that reminds me!  Etsy is doing a big labor day sale, and my shop, SalpalCrafts, is participating. Most of my inventory is on sale.  It is a small shop but if there is something there that you want, now is a great time to get it. Or, if you missed out, I can do a custom knit for you.  OK, shameless self promotion is over…

So I will be en route to Wisconsin until Wednesday, there until Sunday, and then en route home again. Home by Thursday the 14th.  I’ll share loads of goodies and things with you when I return.

Here’s a gratuitous sock in progress shot to tide you over until I return.  🙂

 

 

I feel like it has been a long time since I wrote anything interesting   25 comments

I hope you aren’t feeling that way and getting bored…

Things are moving slowly everywhere – large projects having steady movement but at times it is imperceptible.  Garden wagon is fixed, but I haven’t begun moving dirt – because IT RAINED! And while I am so pleased about that, the pile of dirt is now heavy and wet.  But I will start getting the area it is going prepped tonight, and maybe move a wagon load or two.

The secret fiber project moves on, I am more than half way finished now.  🙂 It kind of is a time suck right now, but I hope it will be winding down soon.  I have no spinning time and not much knitting time!

The shawl moves on as well – I am on the last lace section, about 15 rows to go, but they are LONG rows, and some have beads, which slows me right down.  Worth it in the end, though, right?? I should have something to show you in a few weeks. Maybe sooner.

And I did cast on and knit a plain old beanie this week.  The exciting part of that?  I finally used my very first skeins of handspun!  I used half of my first spin of natural for the ribbed cuff, and then about half (maybe a bit more) of my very first colored spin for the body of the hat.  I want to add a pompom, then that will be done.  It is kind of cute – the yarn looks like it was supposed to be lumpy, lol.

But what is occupying my brain at this point is VACATION!  My big road trip to Wisconsin is less than a month away, I can’t believe it!  Mom and I leave on Labor Day, and travel through Quebec and Ontario to Michigan, then take a ferry across the lake to Wisconsin on Wednesday. We will stay there until Sunday, when we leave and head for Chicago to visit with some school friends of hers, then head for Niagara Falls by Monday night.  We leave there on Wednesday to head home.  Not sure yet if we will attempt that last leg all in one day, or stop part way to sleep.

I am SO looking forward to this trip, the purpose of which is to meet some long time on-line friends and attend the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool festival.  You had better believe I will be buying some lovely yarn and fiber on this trip!  Not only are we going to the festival, but we also will be visiting loads of local yarn stores while we are there.  I can’t wait to see what I find.  🙂

And I am looking forward to seeing all of the live people who are the online friends I have been chatting with for years.  I am quite excited about the whole adventure. And very glad I have the little Prius to make the driving part fun and affordable. We will get to whizz through parts of the continent I have never seen before – always a fun prospect. I have been wanting to go to Niagara Falls for a long time, I am glad Mom is willing to spend a day or two there with me. And I haven’t been to Ontario since I was ten.  All I remember is trees.  It will be interesting to see it now, nearly 50 years later.  Probably still some trees, lol.

When we get home, I will have a few days off from work to get unpacked and laundry done.  But we won’t think about that now. Now I need to make my list of things to pack to take with me. Top of the list – passport, followed by knitting.  And money.  Nothing else is important, right? It is going to be a long month.  🙂

But to bring it back to this week!  I want to really work on moving that dirt pile, which means relocating some raised bed boxes and filling them.  And Mom gave me some rhubarb, so I need to locate it’s permanent home and put dirt there. So I will work on that in the evenings, and then go for a swim, weather permitting.

The blackberries are slowly ripening, I have picked and frozen a few handfuls of those, but I hope that by the weekend there will be a lot more ripe, so I can pick some volume of berries. Eventually would like enough to make a batch of blackberry jelly, which I just love. So I keep picking and freezing, until I have enough.

Friday afternoon I have to go to a memorial service  and so won’t get home until late, but A has Friday off, and might go to her sister’s or she might stay home and putter.  Either way, Friday evening we will sort out what chores still need doing and who will do them.  And Saturday is Whorls and Purls, so I will get a solid chunk of knitting time then. Sunday – Sunday I HOPE we are staying home and relaxing.  Which in my case, likely means rotating between moving dirt, swimming, picking berries and working on fiber projects, secret and not secret.

That’s all that is going on around here – I’ll let you know how the projects progress.

Summer weekends – they are so good and there are so few of them.  🙂

 

Looking forward and backward   23 comments

Made it through another weekend of travel.  This one was different, as I warned you it would be – no yarn purchases.  But lots of knitting, thanks to my sister being willing to be the driver!

Saturday morning I was up and out of the house by 4:30, drove down to Portland, and together we left at 7:30 for Connecticut.  We must have done something very good, because the traffic gods blessed us, and we made it to my aunt and uncles in record time, arriving RIGHT on the dot of  11.  We had a nice visit with them, then the two of us headed down into the town we first lived, had a picnic on the village green.  It was SO NICE!  Of course it looks the same but different from what we remember.  It’s smaller and the trees are bigger.  But the beautiful old houses and churches look the same.

From there we drove past our old house (also smaller with bigger trees) and then on to visit with Dad and Stepmom S.  We stayed for a couple of hours, chatting, looking at old yearbooks, and then spent quite a time out in their yard – they have loads of bird feeders and an amazing variety of birds, which keep them and their indoor cats well entertained.

Then it was back on the road by 4, and home to my sister’s before 8, where we relaxed with delicious pizza – delivered!  Oh, the good part of living in a city!

I was wide awake, so though they offered me a bed for the night, I headed home.  I have had too many days away from home, between traveling and working every day.  Got home by 11:30 and when I tell you I fell into bed and asleep and didn’t open my eyes for a solid 8 hours, I am not kidding.

And I never moved out of low gear Sunday.  I did start a load of laundry (dear A finished it for me) and I went to the dump and the hardware store, but other than that I just sat and knit.

Well, knit and ripped out. I got to a point where I could try on the green and black striped sweater, and it just wasn’t right.  The neck opening was too large, and the front of the sweater too big.  So, I took good notes on my gauge, then ripped it all out, did loads of math, gave up the idea of the boat neck and cast on a crew neck sweater.  I did like the width of the stripes, so now I really think I am good to go on this one. No photo now, it looks just like the last time I started it.  🙂

I worked a lot on my socks on Saturday, so I ignored them Sunday, just worked on the Moon and Sky shawl, got past the first beaded row.  The beads on this are going to be pretty subtle, I think.  They are matte finish and close in color to one of the colors in the yarn.  But they do glow a bit in the right light, so I think when they whole is complete, they will be awfully pretty.

I did a couple of rows on the handspun vest as well, but no one except me would notice.  fingering weight takes a long time to show effort!  But I still love it and want to have it ready in the fall, so it stays in rotation.  🙂

I didn’t do any spinning, I was just too tired to move the wheel into position, it seemed like too much effort.  I’ll work on that this week, I promise! Last week, I did cake up the yarn I will be plying that with, so I am ready for plying should I ever finish spinning.

This week will be long, with the promise of a holiday weekend at the end!  Before Saturday I want to get the pool water tested so I can get the PH right, and the stabilizer and chlorine in – then I can get in and get the last of the leaves from the middle.  I can’t reach them from the edges.

I also want to work on that spin and get it off my wheel so I can clean the old wheel and move it upstairs, and give attention to the new wheel!  And I want to finish my May sock, so I am ready for June when it arrives (so soon!)

And my sister and I are both inspired to do some cleaning and clearing, so I will once again put that on my list, to start weeding out the craft room and organizing the yarn and fabric.  It won’t happen in one session or one week or maybe one month, but every bit helps.

This weekend I am on for ALL of the household chores and some serious catering to A’s wishes as she has been the solo person two weekends in a row.  Good thing I have three days, because I also want to get some seed sin the ground, and some yardwork done.

I might need a 30 day weekend to do all I would like to do and that needs doing.

 

 

 

The Weekend Report   23 comments

Gang, I had so much fun out and about with Mom last weekend!  We started off on time early Friday morning and decided to stop for breakfast at a place we had heard about near Augusta (not Aunt Gin’s, which would have been a better choice, it turns out) and it took them over an HOUR to get us some coffee and eggs.  Wow.  So then we were behind schedule but not too worried as we had no deadlines or commitments Friday, just plans and anticipation.

It was raining and spitting most of the way through the boring turnpike driving.  I had MapQuest plot me a route using “shortest distance” so that I didn’t have all highway driving all day.  It was 8 hours of driving after all, I wanted to see something other than yellow dotted lines.  🙂

Mom navigated, and it was fun, though we have no idea where we were most of the time, we knew we could figure it out with maps and GPS if needed. We wandered through western Mass, and wound up in Amherst, which I have always wanted to see.  It was very lovely, but it was UMASS commencement weekend, so to say that there was a little traffic is an understatement.  It took forever to get to Northampton from there.  And once in Northampton, we added road construction to the mix, it seriously took us more than half an hour to go the short distance from the pretty bridge to WEBS.

But get there we did, and by then the sun was shining (as it should over this wonderful place!)

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It is in an industrial setting just in back of town. If you are looking for a cute yarn shop, this isn’t it (but there is one in town.) However – go in the door and you are transported to fiber heaven. There is a HUGE retail space with all the yummy yarns beautifully displayed.  A whole entire section of Madeline Tosh just hanging there, showing off it’s lovely colors, calling for me to buy it.  🙂  There are wheels and buttons and yarns and fiber and pattern books and loads of room to move around, good lighting and (mostly) very nice staff.

And then there is the backroom.

It’s actually where we started, because the restrooms are back there… and we were five hours from coffee after all.  🙂

This room is much more like a warehouse, I can’t begin to guess how big it is.  Aisles and aisles of shelves from the floor to over my head, filled with yarn.

I spent the most time in the Valley Brand aisle, touching everything (remember, this is why I was there!) If I liked how it felt, I took photos of the tag so I would remember it when I get to ordering online someday (soon I hope) and so my phone is filled with photos of tags.  🙂

All the prices were reasonable but some were on sale, so they were WAY more than reasonable.  This coming weekend is their huge tent sale, I can’t imagine what a zoo the place will be, but I bet people will be getting some great bargains.

The other aisles are organized by fiber weight.  I cruised fast through bulky but slowed to a crawl in fingering, sport, and lace.  Oh so many things were calling my name.  But I had a strict yarn budget for the weekend.

But I wanted it all.

But I had a budget.

But…

I finally settled on this selection:

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The Leyden for some socks, the Southampton for a shawl, or something light and fluffy.  Southampton is a yarn I have been wanting to try since I can’t seem to get Soie et Doucette anymore.  It is very similar to kid silk haze, which I also love.  So I will give it a shot and see what happens. At $7.99 a ball, it didn’t seem too bad an experiment.

I was pretty impressed with myself, coming out of there with money left and my homework completed!

Then I caught up with Mom, and she staggered me.  She was in there with me the whole time, and she bought NOTHING. Because she had no project in mind.

I didn’t know that was a thing.  🙂

Anyway – we got some vague directions about lunch and parking and muddled through that and got out of that town as fast as we could, which was not fast.

The directions continued to meander through the Berkshires in the general direction of New York, and we blindly followed them, trusting MapQuest.

Until we found ourselves in a two track dirt road wandering under leaning dead trees. A road not on the map we had, but clearly marked and where MapQuest said it would be. As we drove, the road got narrower (it hardly seemed possible) and ruttier.  When we finally came to an intersection with a paved road we abandoned MapQuest and took the paved road.  First chance we got, I pulled over and we set the GPS with our hotel address in Poughkeepsie.

Our new route zipped us along Route 23 through Great Barrington and out onto the beautiful Taconic Parkway.  I mean it, it is a beautiful road.  NO trucks!!!  It’s a true parkway, loads of pretty trees and green grass.  And of course, it is late spring there, the trees are fully out.  The dogwood was blooming in the woods. It was really a gorgeous trip down to the hotel, which we found with no problem.  Thank you, GPS.  Sorry, MapQuest, I won’t ask you for shortest route again.

Saturday dawned gray and dreary and raining.  We had breakfast with one of Mom’s classmates and his wife, and I left her with them to enjoy her day of reunion activities. Then I settled down to await another highlight of the trip – meeting up with a blogger in the real world!  Slipped Stitches Weblog is a blog I have loved since I found it, Maryanne is hysterically funny when writing about her adventures with her little dog, her knitting and the calamities that befall one at the hand  (or paw) of the other. We are friends on Ravelry and our blogs, so I knew she lived in the general area, but was nervous about suggesting a real life meeting.  I was so excited when she was not only willing to meet, but willing to come to Poughkeepsie to meet me!  I wondered if we would find enough to talk about or if it would be awkward, but the minute she walked into the hotel lobby I knew it was her and we just jumped right in, sharing current WIPS, stories, talking about our lives.  It was like seeing a friend I just hadn’t met yet.  🙂

I used the app Yarn Places to locate a local yarn store, and the kind desk clerk told us how to find it, so we went there to start with.  We spent quite a bit of time in Walkway Wools checking out the bright colors of yarn she had packed into her tiny shop (the owner is the dyer behind Mother Frogging yarns, check them out if you can).  Keeping in mind that I had only $7 left in my yarn budget, I tried really hard to be good.  But this yarn was too pretty to pass up!

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I have been wanting to try linen, and the price was just right.  I am thinking that someday I will make this into a shawl, but meanwhile, I am just enjoying the color. And I only went $8 over budget, which if you think about what I could have spent this weekend, was kind of like a miracle.  🙂

From there we went through the rain to lunch and gabbed for a couple of hours before Maryanne returned me to the hotel.

I am so glad that she was willing to take a chance to meet up with me and that she gave up a rainy Saturday to do so.  I am pretty sure that she could have been chasing the dog through the mud, around the pond, and down the lane as he ran off with her Shetland lace shawl, or something equally entertaining instead.

Saturday evening Mom and I went back over to her school to have a fancy dinner “with musical entertainment.”  There were a total of five from her class at this reunion, so with spouses and a daughter, we all fit at one round table.  I heard a lot of funny tales about kids at boarding school in the late 1950s. There (apparently) was lots of smoking behind buildings, and some panty raids, football games against giant farm kids, and other memorable moments.  After dinner, we went back to the hotel and hung out in the lobby for a few hours chatting with one couple until it was really time for bed if we were going to make that long drive home again in the morning.

I think Mom had a wonderful time, and is looking forward to the 65th reunion.

So – we got back to the room, mapped out a route (using a real, paper map with indicators fro things like pavement) that would avoid all major cities and be pretty and get us home reasonably quickly, and hopped into bed, where we slept like babies until 2 am when the fire alarms went off.

Have I ever told you about my hotel curse?  I have rarely stayed in a hotel more than one night that I didn’t experience the fire alarms going off. Sometimes I even manage to do it on a one night stay.  It is darned annoying.

We were up on the fifth floor, so we donned shoes and rain coats, (yup, still raining) and did take the time for a speedy bathroom break.  And I DID grab the car keys.  If the hotel was burning up, I wanted to be able to leave! And down the stairs we went to the dripping parking lot.  I was sort of surprised at how full the parking lot was and how few people came out of the hotel.  I guess they could stand the noise and didn’t mind burning up.  Hmmm.

We sat in the car, watched the big hook and ladder trucks come in with sirens blaring.  After a few minutes they all left and we went inside.  Seems an overly steamy shower was to blame, so at 3 am we climbed back into bed to stare at the ceiling for a bit.

Naturally we got off to a later than planned start Sunday morning.  At least it was sunny!  We headed back up the Taconic Parkway to Route 90, by which time it was raining again, and all the leaves were still only thoughts and the world was gray and dreary again.

Our new route seemed a bit longer than the other way, though the drive time turned out about the same – 8 hours or so to mom’s house. And no Worcester, Hartford or any of those other traffic nightmares.  It was after 8 when I finally pulled into my driveway, and I was really ready to be home!

This weekend I have an different sort of an adventure planned.  I’ll get up and hit the road around 4:30 Saturday morning, and drive to my sister’s, in Portland.  Together we will travel down to Connecticut (she will drive, I will knit – see, it’s different already!) to visit an aunt who lives down there, and our dad and step mom.  Then we will drive back to Portland, and I will stay over night in there with her and her family.  Home fairly early Sunday morning.  At least that’s the plan.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

And next weekend?  I am going NO WHERE.

We are off on an adventure   27 comments

The first of several this summer – yeah!

Mom graduated from high school in 1957.  She had plans to attend her 60th reunion with her old roommate, but then plans changed.  Mom decided not to go if her roommate couldn’t.  Too long a trip.  So of course, I offered to drive her, and this weekend, we are headed off to Poughkeepsie NY.

While she spends the day remembering old friends and crazy times, I plan to meet IN PERSON a blogger who’s become a friend, Slipped Stitches.  I can’t wait to get to put a real person with the imaginary one in my mind.

But before we get to that on Saturday, Mom and I have decided to break up the drive on Friday by stopping in Northampton, Massachusetts for lunch.  And um, well, you know, going to WEBS.  In person. The real store.  I have wanted to do this for years, and I am pumped.  I want to touch all the yarn.  It is the one thing I hate about buying yarn on the internet – if I haven’t seen it elsewhere, I have no idea what I am buying.  So I plan to do a  lot of touching, and perhaps a tiny bit of buying.  A conceded that I have been exceptionally good in the yarn buying department these last several months, and we worked out a budget we can both live with.  Woot Woot!

I am looking forward to this trip.  I am sure to have lots to share with you when I return on Sunday.  And I think you will care more about it than A will.  🙂  She is happy to be staying home playing with cats, I think.

And guess what?  Next weekend, another adventure – but more on that later.

 

 

What? New software?   14 comments

Since coming back to work on Monday, I have been immersed in learning the new software the IRS is using.  Trying very hard to think of change as good, but there is that learning curve thing that just gets harder and harder as I get older.

Have to start helping other learn it soon, so I need to get it. Rather be knitting…

The good news?  Yesterday we went to an all day training, and while it was too crowded for me to knit during the training (rats) I was able to get a good 3 hours in on the drive, as I was a passenger.  That Christmas knitting is moving right along, although the one tedious project still feels pretty immense.

I also ordered some more fiber from Three Waters Farm – I think between TWF and the Purple Fleece, I will never need to look at fiber out in the world – they both have so many lovely colors!

I actually did 2 orders from TWF, the first one arrived and I went on Etsy to do something with my shop, and saw that there was a sale page. I could not resist one of the braids there, so ordered another.

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And now I need to stop doing that.  I have lots of spinning to do!  The most recent Purple Fleece Roving of the Month is begging me to cast aside Cadillac Mountain and spin it instead, but it has to wait it’s turn… Check this out – Alpaca – and I have 2 braids because I signed up in October and got a special promotional extra braid, oh my.  🙂

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I finished two turbans this week, and am working on a third in a lighter weight yarn. I want to knock these out fairly quickly so I can move on.  The pattern is so nice and simple, it really is fast.

I tried one on and sort of like it, but not sure I would ever wear it, really.  But maybe I need one to see?  Later, later…or, if the girls don’t buy all these, maybe I will keep one.

(Stop planning more knitting, Salpal, you have knitting for Christmas and shops and Christmas cards to make and spinning to do. Oh, and some software to learn to gear up for tax season!)

 

****

I started this post late last week but didn’t finish it, lucky for you, you got to see all the fiber I acquired!  And you get to hear about the weekend.

Saturday I got the snow tires on, just in time, as it was snowing as I headed down to Stockton Springs for knitting!  I spent the afternoon working away on hats and things, and made good progress, finishing another secret project and ignoring the last secret project which is boring me to tears.  🙂   Cast on another turban (a good thing as that is the one one of the girls really wants, it turns out.)

Sunday, A and I went on an adventure.  Last week she was in Georgetown (Maine) for three days, and this week, she is in Edgecomb for two, one of them very long, so she was going to stay over night.  Then she got this great idea – stay over two nights, and I go along for a day of adventuring, and stay there one night with her.  The ladies in Georgetown had told her about their tree lighting ceremony, so we decided to check it out.

Bright and early Sunday morning we ventured forth, in two cars ( waaah, no knitting for me!) and met at our hotel, the Cod Cove Inn, which is very nice and comfortable.  Looks like it has beautiful gardens, but they are put to bed for the winter now.

Then we had lunch in Wiscasset at Sarah’s Café, no dieting this day! and ventured off to Bath for shopping.  We managed to mostly buy things for ourselves, but did get a couple of Christmas presents, and found a lovely, huge shop filled with Maine-made things.  I could have spent a fortune there!  I did notice some baby veggie and fruit hats and they were $40!  Maybe I need to adjust my pricing and head back over there with some things… I went into Halcyon to check out their spinning fiber, and came out empty handed but with lots of info for the future.  🙂

From there we headed down the Georgetown peninsula to Reid State Park – I had never been there, and it is beautiful!

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It was cold and windy, and there were some kites flying (you can see the edge of one at the top right corner of the photo) but no one was in swimming, lol.

Then it was off to the tree lighting ceremony.    The town pier is absolutely beautiful, of course, what with being on the coast of Maine and all.  🙂

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And it was soooo coooooold!  They had hot chocolate, and we thoroughly enjoyed it while waiting for the tree to go from this

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to this.

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Sorry it is blurry, I guess the phone doesn’t like low light situations.  🙂

We were so cold that once this was done, we skipped our plan for a nice dinner and a trip down to Boothbay to see the lights, and went back to our hotel room, where we dined on left over lunch and watched sappy Christmas movies on the TV, while snuggled under warm pretty quilts.  🙂

And now it is a new week of learning software and teaching people how to use it.  One more week of work after this and then we are on vacation AGAIN.  I love it.  🙂

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