A Knitting Annoyance

Little gray yarn ball

Little gray yarn ball

Every knitter I know can relate. You know, when you get so perilously close to the end of a pull skein of yarn, that no matter what you do, the yarn wants to knot up on itself? Yep, that’s where I’ve been, for more than a week. I finally gave in today and wound my loose little skein into a ball, which produced a macadamia nut-sized ball, that has since rolled away from me at least a dozen times.

A surprising amount of knitting can occur with a macadamia nut-sized ball of yarn. I’ve been knitting and knitting and knitting all day, and I swear that it hasn’t gotten any smaller. Not one bit. And, correspondingly, the knitting that I have been working on all weekend isn’t getting any bigger, either. I know this is known as the Knitter’s Black Hole, and I am here to tell you that I have been stuck in its depths for months and this project, I am sure, will just NEVER be done. And still I knit, never giving up hope that someday I can look at this project and say that I completed it. Even if, sadly, it takes me a year.

I know there are those of you who will tell me that having the macadamia nut-sized ball of yarn in the middle of my project is much better than having it at the end, when somehow, the macadamia nut-sized ball of yarn is just inches short of not enough. Sigh… this is true. So for now, I will count my blessings, and keep knitting.

(Not Even) Three Days in Geeksboro

How to make a mini-vacation in a place where you wouldn’t think such a thing is possible:

1. Take the time to go to a nice restaurant in the area. Fast food is fine when you’re on the road, but restaurants can make memories. Absent that, make a memory by just showing proof that you were there.

Family Selfie: Trish, Steven and John

Family Selfie: Trish, Steven and John

Here we are at The Chop House in High Point, NC. Steven likes steak, so why not? It was delicious, by the way, and fancy! They even put a purple flower on my plate:

Steak and mushrooms with purple flower

Steak and mushrooms with purple flower

(How did they manage to make my dinner match my hair?)

2. If the hotel has a pool, stop by, even if it’s just for a few minutes. It’s always more fun when you say you went swimming.

Steven swims while Trish knits

Steven swims while Trish knits

Did I mention? Always bring your knitting. You’d be surprised how much you can accomplish in hundreds of miles.

3. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast watching cartoons, if for no other reason than to block out the horrid news of that particular day:

Steven eats breakfast while watching cartoons tableside

Steven eats breakfast while watching cartoons tableside

4. Find your kindred spirits, go where they are, and embrace them. We can’t hide the fact that we’re nerds. We argue amongst ourselves that there are varying degrees of nerdiness, and that some in our family can raise the Geek Flag way higher than some others. But, we can’t escape it. It’s who we are, and we’re proud. So imagine finding out that Greensboro is actually quite the center for Geek Culture. We found a fun coffee house where “our people” hang:

Geeksboro Coffeehouse Cinema

Geeksboro Coffeehouse Cinema

Geeksboro Coffeehouse Cinema

Geeksboro Coffeehouse Cinema

Find your people:

Steven plays video gamesSteven plays video games

Steven plays video games

John shares stories with a coffeehouse patron

John shares stories with a coffeehouse patron

Partake of the cultural foods:

Caramel Bacon Cupcake

Caramel Bacon Cupcake

Can someone explain to me the geek culture/bacon connection? I don’t quite get it. But, when we got to the coffee house, and saw they had caramel bacon cupcakes in the dessert case, we had to try one! Or, at least I did. It was surprisingly yummy… it was an apple spice cake with salted caramel frosting and bacon on top. Not that I would eat this every day, but when in the land of geeks…

Wishing we could have been there for game night:

Wall of board games

Wall of board games

And don’t forget to take a family photo with the TARDIS on the way out!

Trish, John, and Steven with the TARDIS

Trish, John, and Steven with the TARDIS

5. Keep your eyes open, because when you’re headed to one specific place, you never know what else you’ll find along the way. In our case, there was an amazing comic book store right next to the coffee house, Acme Comics:

Acme Comics

Acme Comics

Acme Comics

Acme Comics

The boys are finding things they like in the comic book store

The boys are finding things they like in the comic book store

Group of campers visits the comic book store

Group of campers visits the comic book store

While we were in the comic book store, some kids from a local comic book day camp stopped in. They were able to browse and ask questions. One kid asked what was the biggest difference between comics of today, and vintage comics. The owner replied that today, comics are mostly produced by one person or a small group, using a computer, and that in the “olden days” it was a multi-step process involving lots of people working by hand. There was a book in the store that explained this process.

John and Steven found a comic book

John and Steven found a comic book

John and Steven found a comic book that they couldn’t pass up, which was a mashup of Doctor Who and Star Trek, the Next Generation. I’ve always heard that you’re not supposed to mess with the space-time continuum this way, but what do I know?

6. If you’re a knitter, follow the smell of yarn fumes. It will lead to magical places:

Gate City Yarns

Gate City Yarns

Gate City Yarns

Gate City Yarns

Gate City Yarns

Gate City Yarns

In Downtown Greensboro there is a thriving artist district, full of galleries and quaint shops and restaurants. This is where one would find Gate City Yarns, which contains a wide variety of yarns and spinning fibers. It is a lovely, comfortable shop with helpful staff and comfy couches, a spacious classroom in back (I peeked) and an atmosphere that just makes you want to hang out a while. I visited the shop on our trip to Greensboro last year, and it was well worth the return trip. Of course, if you’re not a knitter or crocheter or spinner, then waiting around while your loved one shops isn’t really a hardship there:

This is how John and Steven shop for yarn.

This is how John and Steven shop for yarn.

7. Find a restaurant with character to have lunch, instead of eating fast food, and enjoy it.

The nice lady at the yarn store recommended a tavern called Liberty Oak for lunch, and it was yummy! It was a nice place that offered outdoor seating. It was a nice day and not too hot, so why not? Here we are:

Trish, Steven and John

Trish, Steven and John

Trish and John

Trish and John

I have to say I had one of the best sandwiches I’d ever eaten:

Sandwich and fruit

Sandwich and fruit

The sandwich consisted of smoked turkey, Granny Smith apples, sprouts, and bleu cheese/walnut spread on toasted raisin bread. And a lovely assortment of fresh fruit. My mouth is still watering; it was delicious!

8. Don’t forget the real reason you headed to a place like Greensboro to start with. For us, it was that our daughter was participating in the UNC Greensboro Summer Music Camp, and there was a recital on the last day, that we did not want to miss. Diana was first chair flute this year, and had the honor of performing two solos, one on flute, and the other on piccolo. Here is one piece in which Diana had a solo. It’s called “Song for Lyndsay.” As you’re looking at the stage, Diana is to the right of the conductor with the bun in her hair:

Here are some other images from that wonderful event:


As an aside, if you have a kid who participates in instrumental music, vocal music, or piano, we cannot recommend UNC Greensboro’s Summer Music Camp highly enough. The experience is superb, the music is fantastic, and your kid will come away with an experience to remember forever. We are so proud that Diana was able to participate for two years.

9. When in the South, you must eat at Cracker Barrel. The Old Country Store is full of entertaining things:


As you can see, we crammed a LOT into our little trip to Greensboro. Maybe someday soon, we’ll go back and actually set a spell, as my grandfather would have said. Maybe we’ll even stay awhile. We kinda fit right in. :)

Just a Lovely Afternoon (not) Knitting at Knit Group

I always have a great time at knit group, and today was no exception. Except, for some reason, I didn’t knit a stitch. Often it happens that I knit very little at group time, because there’s always food, and conversation, and patterns to search for on the iPad, and all that sort of stuff. Today I think I was more focused on photographing knitting than working on knitting. It wasn’t my goal to show the projects in progress from a technical standpoint, so that you can really get a sense o the project. Instead, I was after the art of knitting, and the beauty of stitches. I only snapped a few today, but I will get more next time. These are the ones that caught my eye today, though…


We also welcomed Kayla and Lily to our group today. Kayla just moved here from Hawaii TWO weeks ago and was already seeking out the company of knitters. I hope she’ll find a home with us! And Lily? Miss Adorable, she is! As you can see in the photo she loves to help her mama with her knitting! (Don’t worry, Kayla, Aunt Marie will have Lily knitting in no time!)

Sometimes, it’s less about the thing, and more about the people. Today was one of those days for me. I am glad to have my knitting friends, and I’m already looking forward to next time.

In the meantime, I’ve got lots of knitting to do! Catch you later!