The Stars Did Not Align

We’re actually pretty good at the short trip thing.  We don’t overpack (for one or two nights we just share a super tiny rolling bag).  We understand the importance of snacks.  We have the music situation well under control.  I know all about the care and feeding of car knitting.  We have a system.  Usually, it just sort of works.  But this weekend…this weekend we never quite found our groove.

It started when we woke up on Saturday and found the furnace had given up the ghost.  We have a service plan through our gas company, so we called them and said ‘help.’  They assured us someone would call within 24 hours to arrange a service visit.  We figured we might as well spend those 24 hours somewhere warm, so we headed off to Pittsburgh more or less as planned, though a bit later than we had hoped.

Once there, we stopped in at East End Brewing.  We had a few of their growlers that we thought they might want back.  We’re thoughtful like that.  Though somehow we ended up refilling two of them tasty things and bring them back home…we’re like that too.  Thus supplied, we swung by Natural Stitches (conveniently located just up the street).  I did a bit of stash augmentation (oh Madeline Tosh, your colors weaken my resolve), and we headed off to find dinner.

The plan had been to go to Embury.  We try to go there every time we visit Pittsburgh because they have amazing cocktails.  We drove, parked, walked…only to find a construction site.  The restaurant was gone, and another was taking its place (apparently they’ve moved and will reopen later).  This was more than a bit frustrating, especially as their website made no mention of being closed or of having moved.  Undaunted (or, rather, quite daunted but also quite hungry) we set off to make other arrangements.  We found another option.  They had food.  That’s really all I can say about them.  Or no…I can say that between the unnamed restaurant and the car was a lovely establishment called The Milk Shake Factory (link to the yelp page because the actual page makes lots of terrible noises).  There we found exactly the right sort of chocolate to make up for some of the mishaps of the day.

After that, we headed out to the hotel (getting only moderately misplaced along the way) and turned in for the night.  Now generally, I try to exercise a certain level of decorum in what I tell you about my personal life.  My policy is that you’re not here for the details of my marriage, my digestion, or my finances.  But now, I will break with tradition and tell you something private.  At home, The Boy and I sleep under separate covers.  We each have our very own duvet, and I firmly believe (as does he) that this is one of the keys to our relationship.  At hotels, we usually manage to rig something up so we still each have our own covers.  We neglected to do that this time.  The result was more or less what you might imagine trying to sleep next to an angry badger in a burlap sack to be like.  No one got much rest, and I’m pretty sure we both need rabies shots.  (Please note, I am not casting aspersions on The Boy’s character, I am every bit as much the angry sleep badger as he is…it’s why we don’t share covers.)

After a less than restorative evening, we went downstairs for breakfast.  We returned to our room and noticed that the gas company had not yet returned our call.  I called them again.  They allowed as how someone should have called us.  I agreed completely, then pointed out that alas, no one had called us.  They agreed that this was less than optimal, but had no solutions.  We discussed a variety of possible approaches to this problem and settled on the oh-so-popular continue to wait method. They did eventually call back…with the news that we would need to call again on Monday morning to try and set up an appointment.  Keen.

We packed up and headed out to Ikea.  I managed not to buy any furniture, though I did get an awesome desk pad, a very knitterly blanket, and some marvelous purple trays.  Then we hit up Half Price Books.  I found two new stitch dictionaries to add to the shelf, and The Boy fed his ever-growing collection of sci fi books with really tacky looking covers.  After a quick lunch, we headed over to Knit One.  I restrained my yarn lust (though I did finally lay hand on a few of The Fibre Company’s yarns, and now I know I need to use them in future–there was one skein that I would not have been able to resist if there had been more than one in stock…yummy stuff).  We stopped in at Caliban Books and did our part to stimulate the local economy (and may possibly have tripped into a little game store right next door too).  Commerce complete, we headed off to dinner.

While we were sitting in Church Brew Works we came to a realization.  We were tired.  Really really tired.  Last week had been long.  The night before had not been restful.  It was at least two hours until the concert started, then another hour until the band we wanted to see went on.  Add in another hour or two for the show and you’re up to five hours.  Then of course there was the two and a half hour drive home (earliest likely arrival time, 2 am).  We ran through the math in our heads a few times, thought about what we had on our schedules for this coming week, and did something shameful.  We left without seeing the show.  We just got in the car and came home.  We were tucked up (under lots of covers, as the furnace still wasn’t working) by ten.  I think this may mean I am officially old.  Somehow, I’m comfortable with that.

So with that, I’ll leave you for now.  But I will come back shortly to show you the new sock.  Because despite the otherwise questionable voodoo of this weekend, the sock I worked on seems to be coming out well.

Dash

We’re sneaking off to Pittsburgh for an evening over the weekend.  There’s a concert (shocking I know, so unlike us).  Along the way we’ll visit a yarn store (or two), a book store (or three), and just perhaps the odd brewery.  There’s a plan, and there will be a report when we return.  The only thing we don’t have lined up is restaurants…any suggestions?

And because this is the sort of blog post that is certain to elicit the suggestion that I start using twitter…all I can say is I’m working on it.  I’ve never been what you’d call an early adopter of these things.  I am, shall we say, resistant to change. There’s some grand plan that involves updating this website and adding twitter stuff into it.  The plan got put on hold while the KCC website got beaten into submission.  But it is the next plan scheduled to come to fruition.

But in the mean time, we’ve got several meals to eat in the greater Pittsburgh area…so tell us where to go!

Speedy

I cast on the second mitt as we pulled out of the parking lot to head off to Pittsburgh.  I knit on the drive, I knit at dinner, I knit at drinks.  I did not knit at the show (it was dark and crowded) or at the hotel (we didn’t get in until 2).  I did knit on the drive to Ikea and at lunch.  Amazingly, I actually drove back from Pittsburgh, so I didn’t knit then either.  When we got home, I saw that the new Cast-On was up (yay).  I knit through that, and then for a few more minutes, and then it was done.  Total knitting time, probably about 5 hours.  It would have been a bit less had I not made a couple of silly mistakes because I was knitting in low light conditions.  It took longer to dry after blocking than it did to knit.  I may be starting to see the appeal of thick yarn.

I also figured out my gauge problem with the hat.  Remember how I said “it’s not a matter of blocking, as the gauge didn’t actually change when I blocked it.”  Well, yes and no.  Turns out I had tried the first mitt on a bunch of times, and so stretched it out quite a bit.  That’s why the gauge didn’t change much after blocking.  I didn’t bother trying the second mitt on, so when I blocked it it changed dramatically.  It seems likely the hat will do the same.  I feel better somehow.  Gauge didn’t lie to me.

Wee Jaunt

Sometimes, when The List Of Things That Ought To Be Done gets too long, the best thing to do is pack up and run away.  Not always.  If you always respond that way, nothing ever gets done.  But, every once in a while, especially when The List contains a lot of those guilt items (like muck out the garage and organize the basement and rake the leaves) that don’t really matter all that much in the grand scheme of things, running away is the best way to handle it.

Our favorite band, Jukebox the Ghost was playing in Pittsburgh Friday night.  Our List was long.  If we hadn’t gone to the show, we would have spent the weekend cleaning the house and yard.  The show was a better choice,  so we dashed up to Pittsburgh for the evening.  (As an aside, Jukebox the Ghost are 100% made of awesome and you should immediately buy their cd and begin attending their concerts.)  We stopped off at Church Brew Works for dinner before the show.  The beer, the food, and the service were all fabulous (our waiter correctly identified my knitting project as gloves at first glance — technically I suppose they’re fingerless gloves, but there’s really no way to tell that till you’re at the point where the fingers would be, so he still wins).  There was a bit of confusion about the start time of the show, so we also stopped by Embury to kill a bit of time.  They make the best drinks I’ve ever had — each one takes a good five minutes to prepare and involves the glorious demise of a wide variety of excellent liquors and fresh fruits.  The show was, as expected, marvelous.

The next morning, we headed out to Ikea (Cleveland doesn’t have one, and I find myself compelled to stop by whenever I’m in a city that does).  After that, we raided the local Half Price Books and scored a whole stack of goodies.  Thus fortified, we got lunch and headed over to East End Brewing Company to make sure they were still making good beer (rest assured, they are).  It was almost time to head home, but there was time for a quick stop at a yarn store.

Now we have a habit of finding yarn stores next to breweries.  Since that post, we found one in Maine (yarn store, brewery, and game store all within 100 yards of each other, nifty place that) and now we’ve found one in Pittsburgh.  Natural Stitches is just up the street from East End, and it’s a marvelous place.  They have lots of lovely yarn (I was smitten by some Madeline Tosh DK), quite a bit of spinning fiber, and an excellent selection of tools (including the 2.25mm square dpns I’ve been looking for).  As we usually stop by East End when we’re in town, I have a feeling I’ll be going back to Natural Stitches quite often.  There was some Pagewood Farm yarn I debated getting and then put back.  Putting it back was an error.  I might need to go rescue it.

And I feel terrible I didn’t see Heidi’s comment in time to schedule a trip to Knit One as well.  We were at the concert by then, and we didn’t get into the hotel till 2, at which point I was too zonked to get online.  The next morning we were in a bit of a hurry (having overslept a bit) and I again didn’t manage to get on the computer.  It’s now officially on the list of places to hit up next time we’re in town (which is looking to be early November).  Next time I’ll ask for recommendations in a more timely fashion.