Yesterday was the start of the lolling-around phase of Spring Break, so we began the day with an excursion to gather provisions for the lolling. The plan was to pick up smaller knitting needles, some DVDs, and groceries. Since we were in need of grains and a friend’s Celtic band was playing at the local gristmill, we figured we’d go there for lunch and then, with all the errands done, come home and settle in on the couch.

So we went to Hobby Lobby to pick up 0 needles, and they did not have any. This was not amazing. I think it is their policy not to carry any small needles — perhaps they just aren’t popular enough. We stopped at the video rental place and picked up movies to watch while knitting.

Then we went here — the hospital. That was not part of our plan for the day, but we got a call from my mother as we went into Hobby Lobby, saying that a friend of my brother’s had a ruptured appendix. They live in the next county, but our local hospital is the closest one for them, and she had checked in there.

We wandered around in search of my brother and his friend. Everywhere we went, they said she had just gone to some other place. The comic effect was heightened by the fact that my brother’s friend’s name sounds like a stage name. I am entirely serious, here. I hadn’t previously known her last name, and when my mother told it to me on the phone, I burst out laughing, even though we were discussing an emergency appendectomy. It reminded me of the Tom Wolfe character Bonanza Jellybean, so just imagine roaming all over the hospital asking for Bonanza Jellybean. When at last we found her, she was sleeping and my brother had gone home. We left a note, and will go back today.

Next we headed confidently into our LYS to pick up those 0 needles.

Nope.

Apparently, in spite of the big craft stores’ belief that people don’t use small needles, there was a great rush on small needles, and there were none in the shop smaller than a size 1. And not many of those, either. The woman behind me in the line wondered aloud what everyone was making. And it is true that sometimes there is a great mad lemming-like rush among knitters to make some particular thing, but whatever it is, I’m not part of it. I just want some small needles.

#2 daughter had a phone call from a distraught friend in Australia just as we arrived at the shop, so she wandered around talking on her cell phone the whole time. I apologized to the shop owner, fondled yarn, and admired some snazzy felted crocheted bunny slippers. They were in a wonderful lavender mohair, and I immediately wanted to make them. Do I know anyone who would wear fuzzy bunny slippers? No. But they were very cute. The lady in the shop didn’t know where the pattern came from, or I would tell you. After all, you may know someone who would really enjoy some mohair bunny slippers.

At that point, it was time to zoom over to the mill for Irish music and lunch. #2 daughter was wearing a sticker that said “I’m not Irish, but you can kiss me anyway,” but no one did.

Both the lunch and the music were excellent, and we had the opportunity to catch up on #2’s adventures, the place of art in daily life, modern courtship patterns and their negative consequences, and how bad those knitted culottes look on just about everybody.

This is the house that goes with the mill. The mill is one of the few remaining working water-powered gristmills in the country.

It still looks like winter, doesn’t it?

 

 

We picked up fresh-ground flours and hot cereals and things. The main thing on my list was their delicious 7-grain cereal, and they had only very small quantities of that on hand. I suppose we could have asked them to grind us up some posthaste in this machine — not an option with knitting needles — but we did not.

We stood for a bit and watched the grinding, and also looked out of the window at the mill wheel. When the kids were small, they used to try out the hand-grinding, too, but we are past that now.

Though we contemplated getting some more exotic grains — spelt flour, quinoa, flax meal — once we had gotten all our favorites, it seemed like plenty and was almost too much to carry. We did get some of that new white whole wheat flour. I intend to trick the boys with it, when they start in to fussing about having whole grains all the time. I’ll let you know how it is.

Then back home through the cherry trees. We watched for a yarn shop all along, and even stopped and looked at a phone book, and asked people, and everything, but I still have no 0 needles. Sigh.

We returned to the LYS and bought a set of 1s, since mine are involved in a lace shawl. I have decided to start the pink Jasmine on them. That way, if it doesn’t work out, I will have ruined my own sweater, not M’s. The new needles are Addi Turbos, about which knitting bloggers often wax poetic. The thing I like about them so far is that they have the size marked on them. I do not notice that I knit faster with them, but we shall see.

We were more successful with our remaining errand.

This is the shop where we went for #2 daughter’s recital invitations.

We had looked at Hobby Lobby for options for making them ourselves, and been able to estimate the cost of doing so fairly well.

Once we saw what these guys could do, and thought realistically about the time available, we went ahead and ordered them. In general, we like to make everything ourselves, but sometimes you have to be realistic.

 

I like this little courtyard.

 

 

 

 

And the angles of the buildings. This is our downtown.

It’s actually part of the gentrification of our downtown. There was some resistance to the process. There were restaurants and such which had been downtown for years, and which could no longer afford the neighborhood after the Arts Center and the snazzy new places were built. I have sympathy for them. I also really like the new downtown. The architects were very respectful of the character of the historic buildings and incorporated as much original building as possible into the renovations. Some of the places that ended up having to relocate were in very poor condition, and there were ruined buildings known for their use as drug dealing meeting places. The downtown renewal project cleaned that up, and was a blessing for those businesses that were able to stay. I don’t know what the solution for that sort of problem is.

Another part of the city’s downtown project was the installation of a bunch of life-sized human statues, including this knitting woman. She sits in a little garden behind the Arts Center. As you see, she is using enormous needles, holding her arms oddly, and concentrating way too hard for the sort of knitting she’s doing. I like her anyway — and all the others. There has been a certain amount of vandalism since these guys came to live here, as you can probably imagine, but I think most of us are very fond of them all.

In any case, we went home at that point, leaving the groceries for another day. We had a couple of pizzas from the Schwan’s man in the freezer, and things for salad, and we decided that that would do for dinner. Imagine our surprise when we learned later that #1 son had eaten an entire pizza for breakfast after we left that morning. So I did actually have to cook, but otherwise it felt like vacation.

Kali Mama sent me the Erin chart which had been destroyed, and I will get started on M’s Jasmine once I come up with a suitable needle. So there may be knitting pictures tomorrow. But I am on vacation, so who knows what I might do?