Quirky & Fun Irish Stuff

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I know, I know. It implies they don’t charge fees for withdrawing cash, although your bank will charge you. Still I posit that this is misleading. I didn’t get any extra cash that wasn’t fully represented on my bank statement!
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Before we left for Ireland my Auntie J shared an article about the popularity of Krispy Kreme donuts in Dublin. I couldn’t quite figure it out. The drive-thru Krispy Kreme was causing such a disturbance to the neighborhood that they shut down for a time. Then when I was at the Christmas Fair at Belfast City Hall and I saw these treats. OMG! So much sugar.
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Retail is suffering in California and stores are not making as much of an effort with Christmas displays. So it was delightful to see these fun window displays in Dublin. Plus it is Harry Potter!
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It is a penguin! Naturally this little figurine caught my eye at the Guinness Storehouse.
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I have so many questions. I just missed it, damn. Are they telling stories with yarn? Or are the stories about yarn? 

 

 

Swatch: Bead + Fiber

IMG_4659If you find yourself in the South End of Boston and you want to mooch around a bead store or yarn shop you can satisfy both urges at Bead + Fiber. It is walking distance from the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center or Tufts Medical Center. It is also in heart of SoWa Arts Center. I discovered it while enjoying the Sunday open market.

IMG_4658I walked in and was offered a giant bone from the shop dog. Quickly someone asked if I minded dogs. Of course not. By the time I left there were three dogs between customers and the shop keepers. I love it.

IMG_4657There was a lot to look at and the shop offered a/c on a 90 degree day with 50% humidity. I love it.

Happy Local Yarn Shop Day!

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My closest store: Rumpelstiltskin on R Street in Sacramento

I am very fortunate as there are several stores that specialize in knit/crochet supplies. Babetta’s is my other go-to if I am in the burbs. Rumpelstiltskin is my closest shop and the one I bonded with when I began knitting 30 years ago. It recently changed ownership and the new management is bringing a fresh enthusiasm to knit, crochet and weaving.

Today is “support your local yarn store day” and Rumpelstiltskin was offering lots of exciting extras. I bought the store t-shirt for just $5 with my purchase. I bought the yarn to make the spring challenge and got the drea renee knits “The Shift” pattern for free! I also discovered a new zine called Making.

I love supporting a local business and getting new inspiration and projects. It is a complete bonus when the store is close enough to bicycle to on a beautiful spring day! My basket was full of cotton yarn on the way home. Love.

Perfect Day in Central Park

Some people would say Central Park is not at its best in January. The greatness of Central Park is that it is terrific year round.

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When the tree limbs are bare and the sun is working hard to shine, you notice the statues more, and without the quacking ducks and geese you hear the horses hooves on the pavement as they pull the carriage by.

My mom and I just enjoyed a weekend in New York City. She wanted to spend time in Central Park. She is 82 years strong, although her knees give out after a third of a mile. So we walked from our hotel to Rockefeller Plaza to watch the ice skaters, then called Lyft.  Our driver dropped us right at Tavern on the Green where I made a reservation a week ago on Open Table.

We slept in because for the first time in I don’t know how long, neither of us had pets to wake us up. And then I walked around the corner to Essa Bagel to get bagels. So it hadn’t been long since breakfast. Nonetheless at 1:30 p.m. we happily dove into cobb salad (me) and crab cocktail (Mom).

 

I expected something much more humble because it had “tavern” in the name. Wow. It is really beautiful and the service is great and the food is great. And it only has 2 $$ on Open Table, which in New York City means entrees are in the $20-30 range. It was so worth it. Even my mom, who has been on Weight Watchers her whole life, said we should splurge on the apple crisp a la mode. The ice cream was incredibly rich and delicious.

When we were done we felt like walking. We set off for the lake to see where Stuart Little sailed his boat. It was iced over and quiet except for the high school kids living out their Glee fantasies. We sat on a bench unraveling a ball of yarn and watching people and dogs.

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We continued but it was very cold, thankfully without wind, so we sat on a few more benches. I realized that Mom needed to warm up. Previously I had researched a few yarn shops. It made sense to head to the closest one where she could sit and get warm and I could call Lyft.

We made it to Strings at 144 E. 74th Street. It would be a super store if the salespeople were friendly. Instead I had a sullen woman act as though my desire to buy yarn and patterns was the biggest imposition. Plus Mom had to walk up a flight of stairs and then back down. You also have to ring a buzzer to get into the stairs. It’s all kind of Upper East Side snooty. I did buy yarn though because they had some yarn I had never seen before.

We rode back to the hotel and Mom rested so we’d be ready for our musical later in the evening. I was worried that she was disappointed with how little we walked in the Park. She was thrilled. She estimated that we walked miles so I’m glad we didn’t have a fitbit to contradict her. I enjoyed our day and the cold didn’t bother us much with an extra shawl for warmth and her special scarf hat and long underwear.

Swatch: Vogue Knitting 35th Anniversary

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My son is 30 years old, so it is easy for me to track how long I’ve been knitting–30 years. When I was learning to knit, I assumed Vogue Knitting magazine had been around as long as the sewing patterns (1899). As a beginning knitter I regarded Vogue Knitting as the hippest, most fashionable knitting resource. Like the sewing patterns, I found the patterns more challenging. Within a few years I stretched my skills to knit entrelac and intarsia patterns from Vogue Knitting.

A few years after that it was with a huge sigh of relief when a yarn store employee remarked that Vogue Knitting often printed patterns with errors. It gave me permission to question Vogue’s authority. All the same I give Vogue Knitting a straight needle salute for inspiring me over the last 30 years. I especially enjoy the knitting events, Vogue Knitting Live, they host in New York City and Seattle.

Check out the 35th Anniversary issue of the magazine on newsstands until 11/7 for US $7.99.

Postscript: Sometimes when I travel I find a favorite food. In New Zealand I always look for Arnott’s chocolate mint cookies. They are as close to the old Mystic Mint cookies that were available in USA until the recession of 2008 put so many cookie companies out of business. The other day I found these TimTam’s in mint! At first I was concerned I wouldn’t have the self control to keep from pigging out on them regularly. However, I can’t remember in what store I found them, so I look forward to my next visit to New Zealand to be able to eat my favorite store bought cookie.

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Swatch: Fine Fiber in Camden, Maine

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I have plenty of knitting projects, especially after shopping in New York City, but that does not mean I can resist a beautiful wool shop. The Cashmere Goat is definitely one of the prettiest and full of tempting yarn. I mooched around looking when a little girl’s sailor jacket by Sublime caught my eye. This led me to squeeze the Sublime baby cashmere silk DK. Mmmm.

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Gail and Wren apologized for the Sublime pattern book #688 being out of stock at the moment. I decided I shouldn’t buy yarn for the project until I got hold of the pattern. After returning to Sacramento I checked with Babetta’s and it wasn’t in stock. The Cashmere Goat made such an impression I am going to order it from them rather than one of the many on-line sources. Afterall, we can’t expect the lovely shops that provide lessons, give us the chance to feel the cashmere and wool, and offer advice and troubleshooting, if we don’t actually purchase our project supplies from them.

Swatch: Midtown NYC Yarn Adventure

IMG_2325I set off in search of yarn stores close to my hotel at 50th and Lexington. The closest stores on Google maps were on 39th and 37th Streets in the garment district. I’d seriously injured my toes in new shoes on my night at the theater, so I was a little nervous that I’d be stuck a dozen short blocks from my hotel. Lyft was my insurance policy.

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Not all of us have as great a coat as my Granddog Dozer, some of us need a sweater.

My list of shops included The Yarn Maven, Color Corrections People, and the School Products Yarn Shop. I sought out and found the Yarn Maven only to learn that it is not a retail outlet. I was a little daunted and I looked up the Color Corrections People on my phone and it turns out it is also a specialty shop for the fashion industry. I didn’t hold out much hope that the School Products Yarn Shop would turn out to be what I was looking for because the name suggested it would have yarn and felt for classroom crafts.

I found 13 East 37th Street and was encouraged by the sign that states “Oldest Yarn Shop in New York City.” I went to the elevator to get to the 6th floor and couldn’t figure out how to operate it. Then I remembered the guy sitting just outside by the sidewalk. Sure enough he was a elevator operator. Soon I was walking into a lovely shop full of cashmere and specialty yarns.

IMG_2326.JPGThe proprietor, Berta Karapetyan, is also a designer of sophisticated sweater patterns. Her book Runway Knits is beautiful. I first fell for the Yak Yarn, then the cashmere for a very cute baby sweater pattern. Oops! I didn’t intend to buy so much yarn.