Taboo and Yarn Crawling

So, let’s see….

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We celebrated Mom’s birthday last weekend, but the subject is rather Taboo.

No, not because we can’t talk about it, but because the Hasbro game “Taboo” kind of took over. We had had a copy of the original edition from something like 1989, but when our basement was invaded by black mold 5-ish years ago, we had to get rid of it, but Mom’s been regretting it since. So, last weekend, she bought a new copy and we played it Sunday afternoon with my sister and her family. Lots of fun (and Mom and I won by 40 points to 38 which made it pretty much perfect since it was HER birthday, after all).

Then Sunday night, my best friend—who was visiting home after her mother fell and broke her hip—came over and the three of us played. We made up our own rules and just rotated the clue-giving and guessing, and oh, we laughed. I mean, really, really laughed. More than once we had to just stop the timer and pause to regain control of ourselves. Hilarity is definitely the word. (Which was particularly good for Dawn, who really needed the fun break.)

I took Mom’s actual birthday, Valentine’s Day, off from work and the two of us went up to Ridgewood to Crumbs bakery for some fresh cupcakes. (You remember, we bought some in NY when we went to Vogue Knitting Live in January.) I made supper, we all went for a walk … even the weather was perfect. I told Mom that that was Chappy’s gift to her, and that ordering perfect weather was particularly difficult this year, so he hoped she liked it.

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So, remember when I told you about the cracked spinning head for my Majacraft Aura? Well, Majacraft was nice enough to send me a new one. (I do love their customer service!) The unfortunate part is that I haven’t been able to use it yet. I simply can NOT get the whorl off the original wheel to put it on this one. The little one, yes. The inner of the two whorls would come off just fine … except I can’t get the outer one off. At all. I’ve been sending emails back and forth to Glynis, and neither of us can figure out why it just won’t MOVE. The shaft spins inside the whorl, it just won’t move horizontally OFF the shaft.

As a tribute to their awesome customer service, she finally decided to send me a new whorl, which is on its way. Only, in extreme irony, she accidentally sent me a new inner whorl, not the outer.

I’m starting to think this is jinxed (grin).

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Today, though, Mom and I went on a yarn crawl—something I haven’t done in ages. It was an official one, too … the first Northern NJ Yarn Crawl. There were 11 stores participating, but Mom and I just went to 5—which was plenty for one day! And tons of fun.

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We started at the Stitching Bee in Chatham.

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It’s a small store (especially when filled with yarn-crawlers), and since they sell needlepoint supplies, too, there were lots of canvases being displayed which makes it look like there’s no headroom (grin). The people were super nice, though, and the store is clean (which isn’t something you can say about every crowded yarn shop around).

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I bought this gorgeous skein of Jitterbug yarn in the brand new “Evergreen” color. (And I’m kind of kicking myself for not getting two to make a shawl, but let’s not be greedy.)

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As an extra bonus, though, they were giving away grab-bags, and look what I got! This great skein of blue Araucania sock yarn AND a pattern to go with it. That was so generous of them, so thank you!

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I took a picture of the owner, but it didn’t come out very well.

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Second stop was the Blue Purl in Madison, which I love. We found this little fellow waiting outside for someone, and I thought this was adorable. Chappy would have known exactly how he felt, except he was at home staring at the door.

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This is one of my favorite local shops. They’re really nice, very helpful, and the store is just gorgeous with its hardwood floors and even chandeliers. It’s got the rare gift for a yarn shop of feeling spacious. (Mom took this photo, by the way.) I would have felt guiltier about not buying yarn there today if I hadn’t been there just a few weeks ago.

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I was really excited to meet Ann Weaver, too, (pictured with the store owner) who was there promoting her new book, “Craft, Work, Knit.” She was wonderful—energetic and bubbly and so excited about sharing her patterns and showing off her samples. (And, seeing the samples in person made me love them even more.) She was nice enough to give me a copy of the book to review over at Knitting Scholar, and I’ll be writing up an interview with her, too—so don’t miss it.

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Third stop, about which the less said the better, is Accent on Knits.

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Aesthetically pleasing though it may be to arrange the inventory by color (cough), it makes it a lot harder to find things. (And I can only imagine how difficult it would be to find the yarn for a multi-colored project like a fair-isle design!) I thought the owner was unfriendly and while a couple of the sales people were nice enough, I wasn’t impressed. This was the first time I’ve been in their new location and I expect it will be the last. And the store smells of … I’m not even sure … but some strong, perfume-y scent that bothered my asthma and had me driving down 202 with the window open. I have no plans to go back to this store—even if it does have its own parking (which is a small miracle in Morristown).

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At this point, we stopped at Wightman’s to get a couple doughnuts for lunch. Some frozen pies, too—including a pot pie on the recommendation of the Blue Purl owner who raved about them. I haven’t eaten a pot pie since the Swanson’s chicken pot pies Mom used to make when I was a kid, and I hated them. Ever since, anything that involves chicken gravy touching anything like pastry or biscuits, I can’t stand. Chicken stew with biscuits on the side is fine, but no gravy on the biscuits, please! But I’ll give this a try.

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We went to Angelfire Studios in Basking Ridge next–a store that does yarn and pottery. This was the first time I’d been there—hadn’t even heard of it before this yarn crawl. We had trouble getting in the door, though, since it stuck so hard for a minute I thought they were closed! I was sorely tempted by some of the Spud & Chloe yarn they had, but since there weren’t as many skeins as I wanted in the color I liked, I managed to resist.

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While there, I bought a raffle ticket to win this gorgeous art-y shawl. The owner’s husband was in a terrible accident last September and is still in the hospital, and they’re raffling the shawl to raise money. I hope they sold lots and lots and lots of tickets. Mom and I bumped into Kim buying some yarn and tickets for herself.

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I met two more authors, too. Courtney Kelley & Kate Gagnon Osborn, who wrote Vintage Modern Knits, which I reviewed just a week ago. I didn’t know they were supposed to be there, so this was an extra treat because I was able to tell them how much I liked their book. And to see live samples, too, which makes me want to knit some of them even more!

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The final stop was Down Cellar in the center of Basking Ridge. (Yes, apparently the same town as the other shop, but I don’t know how they drew that town line because they were not exactly near each other.)

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This was the only shop of the day that wasn’t in a standard storefront, but in a converted house. Lovely. Great selection of yarn, friendly people, and tons of notions like bag handles and even zippers. Not to mention a sewing room upstairs. And great lighting. You all know how important lighting is when you’re trying to see yarn colors, and theirs was great.

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I fell on my credit card again there and got this skein of Madeline Tosh DK yarn in “Vanilla Bean”—a deep, warm brown with hints of lavender. (The photo’s a little over-exposed, so it looks lighter than the yarn really is.)

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And this, this! From their sale room because she’d overstocked on the color. Eight skeins of Rowan Felted Tweed (color 150, a really lovely red) all for 35% off. I am SO glad I went upstairs! My grand total for both yarns was $63. Woohoo!

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One more “new” thing to show you—these socks. I’ve been working on them for months, because you know what a slow sock knitter I am. This was the first yarn I ever bought from the Blue Purl and I just finished them on Thursday. They are also only something like the third pair that I’ve made that were not plain stockinette stitch and I hope you like them, because I plan on going back to basic socks again pronto. I find that on size 0 needles, with sock yarn, cabling makes my hands hurt, and it’s not as mindless as I like my sock-knitting to be. I won’t say that I’ll never make a “patterned” sock again, but … it’s probably going to be a while.

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Speaking of yarn purchases. Do you remember when Twist Collective had that article about the long-lost “Green Sweater” that Elizabeth Zimmermann had made for her goddaughter? That was recreated by a knitter for the sweater’s owner? (In, ironically, Stix-n-Stitches. One of the yarn shops on today’s yarn crawl that I did NOT visit.) Well, I loved it when I read about it and the pattern has apparently been available at Schoolhouse Press for a while, so I bought it a couple weeks ago. Even as a kit, the yarn and the pattern were only $36 so I really couldn’t resist.

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Remember when I moved my furniture around so that the table is under the window? One of the things I wasn’t happy with was the garbage pail. It was one thing when it was behind the door, but now it looked so … ugly. Industrial metal mesh, with a plastic garbage bag, and being able to see the garbage every time I walked into the room. Ick.

So I did what every knitter would do.

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I gave it a cozy. This was one of the sweaters I was never happy with, so last month I had ripped back the top, down to the underarms and re-bound it off, figuring it would work as a cowl or a shoulder shrug or something. Turns out, it’s the perfect size for my garbage pail. How about that, huh?

And with that, I’m exhausted! G’night, all!

5 Responses to “Taboo and Yarn Crawling”

  1. Send my birthday wishes to your mom!

    The idea of dressing up the bin is fantastic!
    I might just do that for my waste bins.

  2. I haven’t commented on your blog in forever! Hope all is well!

    Sounds like a fun day. :)

  3. I love the trash can cozy. The socks are beautiful!

  4. What a fun day. I am jealous of the Vanilla Bean yarn though. I was at WEBS on Saturday and I picked up and put down a skein of sock yarn in that color. It is gorgeous.

    Love the socks, I must get back to knitting some for me.

  5. You’ll have to let me know what you and your mom think about the chicken pot pie!