Wednesday, April 25, 2007

New Things of Note

America is a forward-looking country, and so when people come in the shop, they often ask us what's new. Well, we're pretty forward looking too, so usually we have something! Here are a few of the most recent arrivals of yarn and fabric.

We think this yarn would make a fabulous sweater. It does a very, very subtle self-striping. We made a hat from two different colors (the lighter on top, darker on bottom--in a perfect blend). We think it would be fun to combine them even more more:

This is a wearable yarn! (It's also extremely soft, since it's merino.)

And here are the latest fabrics from the Emperor II collection from Kona Bay. The limited-edition prints this year are consistently stunning!

With coordinating ginkgo prints:

Come in and see everything in person. It's all prettier than pictures!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Cynthia and Kim's Most Excellent Adventure
People often ask if we spend time together outside the shop. Usually not so much--but only because we spend so much time at the shop that there is little time when we are both not working or teaching. (By Sunday, when we are both consistently free, we are in collapse mode.)

But one of our lessons learned is that to avoid burnout, we need to balance work with play, so occasionally we try to make time to have fun together outside of work.

On Wednesday, we had one of those days. Amy watched the shop while we were able to go shopping in Harrisburg and Lancaster.

....Yes, it was one of those days.

Wednesday morning, we awoke to the news that the Juniata narrows was closed because a tractor-trailer had overturned. So we found an alternate route to Harrisburg. It took us over 2 1/2 hours to get there on the back country road we found. But every cloud has a silver lining. Kim's was the discovery that there is a little town called Liverpool, PA:

We finally got to Harrisburg and stopped at Wendy's for lunch. We waited in a very long line; apparently two of the workers had called off. We watched many people bail out of the line, but we figured that if we left and went elsewhere, it would take just as long in Total Time Spent to get any food.

After lunch, we continued on our way through Harrisburg. In the distance, we could see huge billowing clouds of smoke. As we got closer, we could see flames. Ah: This explained all the firetrucks that were flying past us while we were eating. We drove by just in time to see a bowling alley in the most spectacular part of a very bad fire.

When you own a business and you see something like this, you can't help but feel a cold, sinking feeling. You know it would be almost impossible to recover from a fire. We were glad to hear later that no one was seriously injured. We hope that the owner of the bowling alley is able to recover his or her business.

Our shopping went well. Around 3:00 p.m. as we were in the midst of it, Cynthia talked to her Kevin, who said that the Narrows was back open. We were happy to hear that. We kept shopping, had dinner at Miller's in Lancaster (chocolate pecan pie highly recommended), and headed back home.

Apparently, Kevin had been misinformed. When we got to the Narrows, it was still closed.

Cynthia called Kevin again, and as we made a right turn onto Route 35, he said that we could take route 235, but that it looked really windy and mountainous. He recommended taking 35 all the way to 104 instead.

As we passed 235, we saw emergency vehicles heading that way, so we were glad we had chosen to go on. We were feeling .... well, even a little smug about how smart we were.

.... Until we ran across a little barrier across Route 35:

The bridge was the road. That is when the giggling fits started. We turned around, having to take 235 after all.

Another 20 minutes and we were back there. But had to slow to a stop. What...the...there was a tractor-trailer backing up toward us. A man with flashlight came over to tell us that a truck had rolled over, and 235 was closed.

Oh, but wait, he said. There was a bright spot! Route 322 was open again!

Cynthia told the flashlight man our tale of route 35 being closed (he didn't giggle like we did), and then she told the man with the flashlight that we had apparently driven around long enough for 322 to reopen (he didn't giggle again like we did), and back we headed to 322. By then, we could see that we wouldn't get home till 11:30 (Cynthia) or close to midnight (Kim), and we had to work the next day.

We spend a lot of time together. We can order for each other in restaurants, and we know what will drive each other crazy, and what will make each other crack up. People who don't know us probably think we are a couple, or sisters. We are both, in a way. A business partnership is a much bigger commitment than either of us realized. (Which is good, or we might have been too scared to try it.)

And we have found over the years that by the end of any day together, since we spend so much time together, there is nothing really interesting left to say, conversation completely deteriorates into things such as telling each other our cat songs.

Our main conversation for the last two hours of our shopping day was Kim trying to convince Cynthia to name her GPS after Liverpool soccer players--Fabio being the name of first choice. Cynthia was leaning toward more normal American names, such as Jasper and Bart. And we discussed the personality of the GPS man who gave us directions for where to drive. (He was consistently persistent that we should be taking route 322 to get to Lewistown.)

Do we look foggy to you some days? Continuous adventures like this are the reason.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Cynthia writes:

Along with writing an entertaining blog and knitting amazing garments, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee produces her knitting books with breathtaking speed. Every time a new one comes out, she does a book tour. I kept missing the opportunity. Finally last weekend I decided it was time to go.

From State College it's an easy drive to Pittsburgh, where I got to see her at Joseph Beth bookstore. Kevin went with me and also enjoyed her talk. Even though we got there early, he stood in the balcony so that he would not be taking up a closer seat that a knitter might want. (That is why I love Kevin so much.) You can see him in Stephanie’s balcony photo. Go ahead and look at him in her photo, top of the page. I'll wait. He is the small blue speck standing just to the left of the big blue post. Find him?

And here is his vantage point:

I'm there too! I am the person dressed in black on the lower-right corner of the photo, immediately next to that display of books. See me?

Stephanie calls herself the “Yarn Harlot” because, she says, she will knit with any yarn--but I have to say that I did notice the word “merino” coming up a lot. I appreciated that.

When she finished, I lined up for the book signing. Here, I had an ulterior motive: To get a signed book for Kirsten, who works in our store on Saturdays and saves our lives over and over again.

So I stood in line. A long line. When it was my turn, we had an awkward conversation about hamsters--the kind of conversation that you might have when you are one of a hundred people in a line--and then Kevin took our picture. I am smiling in the photo because I am relieved to be moving away from that awkward hamster conversation and holding onto some hand-dyed sock yarn:

If you ever get a chance to see Stephanie talk, please go. She is even more inspirational in real life than she is on the blog, and it's a lot of fun!