I'm back from a whirlwind trip to Pittsburgh. Man was it fun. My mom pulled off a big surprise and was waiting for me at my cousins' house Friday when I arrived. I couldn't believe it. I actually burst into tears when she came out the front door! She wasn't going to be there till sometime Saturday morning but she took the afternoon off work and drove in from Ohio.
It was a great weekend with family ... I got to see my grandma's apartment for the first time - she's been there since late 2005, after my pap died. It was really cute and she has pictures everywhere of family. It's a little studio apartment. And Saturday, my mom and I went out to Eat n' Park for breakfast with my granddad. He told us lots of funny stories about the college "ding-a-lings" (his word, not mine) that live a few houses down. He seemed to be in good health, too, which made me very happy. And Sunday was the baby shower ... my cousin looked great. She loved the hat and socks!
And of course there was time for knitting and shopping. All I did this weekend was buy yarn and knit:
That's Wildefoote Luxury Sock in Brown Sugar in a basic stockinette pattern. I'm loving the colors ... but not loving the splittiness. I've had to ladder down a couple times to pick up a strand that I missed. I don't want them to snag, you know? A sock that big normally takes me a week or two! I did that in a day and a half. I don't even know where I found the time to make that progress. Well I did get to knit at a play Saturday night. It was theater in the round, and my mom and I were in the very front row and the lights were very bright. I could watch the play and knit by touch. Very fun. It was called "A Tuna Christmas" and it stars two actors in about 20 roles (women and men alike). After intermission, they come out as these slightly skanky actresses who work at the local Tastee Creme, and they've just won an award, so they're coming through the front row thanking everyone for their applause. One of the actors stopped in front of me (sock in hand) and said "are you done knitting me that thong?" It was hilarious!
And I can't speak of knitting without expounding on our yarn shopping!! We went to two stores, Knit One in Squirrel Hill and Bloomin Yarns in McMurray. Knit One was nice - it was in this bright cheery room with exposed pipes and a nice little knitting area. Among their sock yarn offerings, they had Regia Kaffe Fassett, every Sockotta imaginable, some Koigu, Trekking, handpainted Trekking, and, what I ended up buying, Fleece Artist Merino Sock 2/6:
It is the softest yarn I have ever felt. I love the bit of pink you can see through. So much of what I buy is dark colors, I really like this pale yellow. More on the store: It was really busy, which is always nice to see, but it took foreeeevvveerrr to buy the yarn. There were two employees around and the woman at the register came across as condescending to other employee, who was a lot younger than her. Register Employee was asking Younger Employee to interrupt the woman she was with and make copies of a pattern for a customer. She didn't really explain what she wanted, so when Younger had questions, Register was really short with her - she was distracted by ringing people out, but she didn't fully explain her request - and kind of scoffing in apology to the rest of us in line, like 'Sorry Younger doesn't know what she's doing.' Then when I paid, she set my purchase on the counter - no bag - and turned to the customer in front of me (who spent $100 more than me) to talk about pattern errata. At that point I wasn't going to wait for a cute bag, I just picked up my stuff and walked out. That kind of stuff really rubs me the wrong way.
HOWEVER I will say that Bloomin Yarns in McMurray was one of the best yarn stores I've ever been to. It's in a little house on Route 19 - one I saw *every single time* I left work at TJ Maxx (my job in high school) but rarely noticed. There was so much yarn ... and the sock yarn was the best I've ever seen. Shibui Knits, Dream in Color Smooshy, Cherry Tree Hill, Schaefer Anne, Trekking, Lorna's Laces, Yarn Pirate and a whole spinning rack of (I'd conservatively guess) 40 colorways of Claudia Handpainted! I wanted to try some new stuff so I got some Schaefer Anne:
Holy yardage!! 560 yards. My big old feet are going to have a nice tall pair of socks for once.
And Yarn Pirate, of course:
It's also super generous with the yardage: 480.
I've been obsessed with Trekking 100 for a while - it is so gorgeous and rainbowy. When I saw it I literally gasped/screamed!
And finally (whew) - some Claudia's Handpainted in Purple Earth:
The owner, Michelle, was super nice. My mom was trying to remember what type of yarn she's been collecting for an afghan and knew there were pictures on Flickr. Michelle volunteered her computer at the register so she could find it! (Unfortunately it was Encore, which she didn't carry, but still - so nice of her!) My mom bought some yummy green Malabrigo (I'm going to teach her to knit!) and Michelle wound it into cakes and let me watch and ask inane questions about operating a swift and asking about the way different yarns are wrapped up. I will definitely be going back to Bloomin Yarns on my next trip to Pittsburgh.
I got back last night and am off work today ... trying not to think about how I'm working nine days straight ... so it's time to get off of Ravelry and listen to some good music and knit!