Happy Birthday

To me!

Much to the disbelief of my mom, I turned 30 over the weekend. The celebration started with friends and margaritas at my favorite Mexican restaurant followed by Veronica Mars. A few of us went out for a fancy brunch the next morning aaaaaaand then I was kidnapped by my sister.

Surprise roadtrip

Surprise, it’s road trip time!

She made me drive and refused to tell me where we were going. As someone who has to plan every stop — Hey, I need to know where I’ll get my next coffee from and a gas station isn’t it (unless it’s a Wawa) — it was absolute murder not knowing where we were headed. We took Interstate 80 through most of Pennsylvania and for a while, I thought we were heading home to Indiana, but then we drove North through the Allegheny National Forest.

It was absolutely beautiful. A little Stephen King-ish in some places, but beautiful. There were adorable little towns and shady gas stations that broke stereotypes by being absurdly clean. One of them even smelled like cinnamon rolls. And then we crossed into New York and arrived at our destination: Lily Dale.

lily dale

Lily Dale is a strange little community in New York that I’ve been obsessed with since I saw the HBO documentary, No One Dies in Lily Dale. There was even an episode of Supernatural called “The Mentalists” that was inspired by the town and I’ve been dying to go there to do research for my novel. I was so excited when we arrived.

But then, we were quickly disappointed when we learned the place is like a ghost town when it isn’t summer. Megan-Anne said the website was very misleading about what their “off-season” was actually like. We ended up cutting our losses and decided to go on an impromptu yarn shop tour across Central Pennsylvania.

Grandma's Family Kitchen

We had breakfast at Grandma’s Family Kitchen in Cassadaga, New York. Their freshly baked bread was magical and the perfect accompaniment to our internet searches for Local Yarn Stores.

Finding yarn stores was almost an exercise in futility. I understand that many local yarn stores (LYS) are run on shoe-string budgets, but WordPress is free. If you are an LYS owner, please do your prospective customers a favor by having an updated website. Please make your hours easy to find and keep them up to date. If you close down for the winter, please note that on your website so that I don’t have to find out when I arrive after driving 50 minutes out of my way just to get to your store.

Of the 10 stores we planned to visit between Sunday morning and when we made it home Monday night, three were closed for the winter, two had outdated hours listed online and were no longer open Mondays, the address to another LYS took us to a creepy farm that clearly was not a yarn store, and one had such awful customer service that we walked out without buying a thing. That means we only successfully went to three yarn stores. Those are some sad odds, but we made the most of it.

Yarn Haul

A sexy birthday yarn haul is my version of “making the most of it”.

In each of the three stores we went too, we asked the owner to point out their favorite yarn. At Stitch Your Art Out in Grove Mills, PA, owners Kim and Cynthia chose a fingering weight by Rhichard Devrieze and Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd’s Worsted Wool. Kathy at The Colonial Yarn Shop in Shiremanstown, PA was unable to pick just one and showed us a skein of Mountain Colors and Baah Yarn. Edna at The Ball and Skein Shop, on the other hand, proclaimed that as long as it was wool she loved it! When pressed, she shared with us a beautiful skein of Plymouth Yarn’s Worsted Merino Superwash. There was a method to our madness and it was more than wanting to discover what was near and dear to LYS shop owners.

We bought a skein of each yarn they pointed out. You can see the delicious fibers in the picture above. Megan-Anne is going to use them for a special knitting pattern for our fall line. I know what you’re thinking, “but Spring is barely here? I don’t want to think about Autumn.” We do though. We actually spent a good majority of our road time talking about the theme of the line, the pieces, and which would be crocheted or knitted.

Spoilers: the name of the line is Kniterary.

The goal was to get seven vastly different yarns from seven different Local Yarn Stores for the project. Since we fell short and still need two more skeins, we’re going to find two more stores in the Philadelphia area. I’m really excited about it. We had so much fun visiting the different stores that we are going to write-up an editorial on each one. Look for the first one about Stitch Your Art Out next Tuesday, March 25th.

road stop coffee

True to form, we drank way too much coffee on our trip and Megan-Anne got a lot of knitting done while I was driving. She’s working on a bag for Kniterary, and some lucky person in the Sherlock Geek Swap on Ravelry is going to receive it in their package in May. Either way, 30 isn’t so bad thus far.

~ Jac
Can you call it AC Moore’s fault that your business is failing when you practically hissed at me as I walked through the door?