Playing Hooky

That’s what the Sow’s Ear employee figured out I was doing, as she added up my (not inconsiderable) purchases. “You’re playing hooky, aren’t you?”


I had a vacation day Friday, and ditched my family, my job and my town and took a knitting road trip to Madison Friday to Saturday!

My excuse was the opportunity, finally, to go to a Friday Late Night Knit Night and meet up with — in particular — fellow knitbloggers Beth and Dale-Harriet, but also the other knitbloggers who congregate as the ‘Hog & Bloggers’.

After getting the usual late start, I had a lovely trip, only marred by the fact I was travelling alone and therefore could not knit. And I had not brought my iPod car adaptor (it was supposed to be in the car) so couldn’t listen to podcasts. But it was a lovely afternoon/evening, made lovelier by the fact that without Mr. Freeway driving, I could take the shorter and more scenic Highway 14 route (Frank Lloyd Wright Highway for part of its course!)

(The interstate is not a direct route, but gives you the illusion that you’re getting there faster because you can drive faster. And burn more gas.) I could turn on the A/C as needed if the 2/60 air conditioning proved insufficient in my little black Saturn. (You know: 2 windows open at 60 mph!) No air conditioning here, or maybe it was 2/10:

I passed (carefully) multiple Amish buggies going there and back, but I snapped a quick picture of this horse and buggy because the horse was not trotting but pacing which I’ve never seen outside a show ring, and going very fast, too. The Amish don’t like their pictures taken, but I was just taking a picture of the horse, not the driver, whom you can’t see. And by the way, both pictures were Kinneared by putting the camera on the dashboard with one hand and clicking without looking, and hoping; then cropping on the computer; sometimes it works out!

I didn’t Kinnear this one; I was approaching Verona by back ways and was on the ridges, on top of the world, near sunset, and got out to take it all in; wow.

Not too long thereafter, I found my way to the Sow’s Ear, and arrived to find the notorious back room in full swing, but a chair could be and was found for me next to Dale-Harriet. I couldn’t get everyone all in one picture; and I never did get introduced to everyone, but here are the Hog & Bloggers!

Now, I should have made everyone go around the table and give me their names, but I neglected to. So if anyone was there and would like to fill me in, please do! But here’s who I know the names of (or had their nametags on, or filled me in later!); in the big picture, starting in the blue at bottom right of center is Dale-Harriet; continuing counter-clockwise, Molly Bee in what I’m gathering was her first Knit Night out since her surgery (having had an ankle tendon repair, I can empathize a bit), Elizabeth SABLE, ? (sorry!), KittyMommy, Beth in the dark shirt (which says, “Kiss my A**” in Gaelic), then JaalaDay, and in the left corner of the first thumbnail, a visitor from Indiana. Jaaladay and Elizabeth SABLE brought issue #3 of their Knitcircus, WHICH I should have picked up a copy of! Forgot. Also.

I had way too much fun hanging out to do any significant stash excursions then; except I did have the mission of finding high-twist chunky weight yarn to play with my No Name Hat patterns, and when I got up to get herbal iced tea, I HAD to walk by the clearance shelves, and lo and behold, there was Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky yarn, which I had never seen! In one of my favorite colors, teal (I am such a child of the 80s) and also a rich grape. I bought up all the teal, and a few balls of the purple.

As Beth mentioned, I brought temporary knitting tattoos to share; one of the employees saw them, asked for one, and came out with the memorable words: “This is SO going on my boob right now!” I believe she mentioned her husband was going to be surprised that night….

So we knit (I on my Wendy’s Kay’s Diamonds and Purls shawl) and jabbered, most of us right up until the stroke of 11 pm, when the Sow’s Ear (which was full of knitters, BTW, not just the back room) closed.

Then to my temporary home away from home, to read, crash, wake up the next morning, knit on the shawl, swatch with my new bulky yarn, then back to the Sow’s Ear to REALLY browse.

I like to have a mission. This time it was to find yarn for the Gothlet’s hat for next winter. She really liked the Pirates hat, but it was itchy in the 1/2 inch above the lining where it touched her forehead. Despite the fact that it’s supersoft Dale Baby Ull. But she has sensitive skin.

Because she liked the Pirates hat so much, and appreciates hand-knit gifts (she really does, since she knits and crochets herself), I was willing to knit her another colorwork hat. The chosen hat: the Bathat (pdf link). I had not brought the info with me. But the Sow’s Ear is internet and Ravelry-savvy, and the employee looked it up for me. It’s written for sock yarn knit at 26 stitches per inch, and says it fits a 9 – 10 year old. The Gothlet will turn 11 in February, will probably be hitting a major growth spurt soon, and I figured I would need to fully line the hat to make it itchproof. All reasons to make it bigger. My guesstimate and the employee’s calculations came out the same: sportweight yarn (24 stitches per inch). I headed over towards the Dale area, of which they have a great selection. I first looked at Heilo, but then saw that Falk, the same weight, was Superwash (a good idea with my Gothlet, not that I’m planning to pop it in the washer, but if something bad can happen to her clothes, they will…) However, I started to question the second color (other than black). She used to be a purple freak, but lately, not quite so much. For the Pirates hat, she had asked for a very bright green. I didn’t see that, but I saw a fluorescent yellow, and I wondered….

Well, The Gothlet was there when I called home on my cell phone. I asked her what color she wanted; after a noncommittal answer, when I described the fluorescent yellow, she was very enthusiastic. The color isn’t in the Falk link above, because it’s discontinued, but here it is. (I bought a skein of the hot pink too, for the eye-searing effect together, though it’s not part of the BatHat.)

I was going to line the hat totally in a synthetic or cottony yarn. But the Sow’s Ear employee, together with a Techknitter tutorial, have me convinced to try lining it with fleece. So wish me luck — sewing is not my favorite, but most of it won’t be visible, so that’s a bonus!

Thus, the shopping excursion was a success right there. As well as the Cashmerino Chunky. But I found a few other things. Maybe a few other bags’ worth of things. (Hence the employee’s comment as quoted in the post title.) I’ll show you a few high points, maybe tomorrow when I’ve had a chance to take yarn pictures.

And then I sat and had some pesto-artichoke quiche and grapes and yogurt/organic granola while reading my new copy of Armenian Knitting, then knitting a little lace.

Passing these pretty flowers on the way to my car, I headed into Madison proper (the Sow’s Ear is in Verona, on the southwest outskirts) to Lakeside Fibers, where I had not been. Another wonderful place!

Also a combined coffeeshop and yarn store (so civilized) though at the Sow’s Ear, you can buy yarn any time it’s open; it’s truly combined. Here, they are intertwined but not truly one. But very nice! Here’s part of inside, more the coffeeshop end:

The only yarn goal I had was potentially to find 1000 yds of DK weight yarn, blockable, soft, not very or at all variegated, for a shawl pattern (Garden Party Shawl by Two Old Bags, a Rochester Minnesota duo). Not that easy, actually. But I found some semisolid Mountain Colors Bearfoot, which says it’s sportweight, two in spruce green, and one in navy, that I can use as an edging; if I do use it for that project. And, while there, I found one lonely remaining skein of Green Bay Packer-colored Artyarns Ultramerino4. Not enough for socks. But enough for a pair of fingerless gloves for my Packer-crazy SIL! I might have found some other things, too….

Lakeside Fibers, as its name implies, has a wonderful view of Lake Monona. I did temporarily leave the yarn and walk down to Bernie’s Beach to take a picture of the hazy Saturday Sky for you.

Yes, that’s the Capitol building there in the distance.

After an excellent light early supper of wheatberry salad and sourdough bread (with Organic Valley butter, go local organic farms!), I headed home with my spoils.

Kinnearing was pretty unsuccessful heading west into the sun, as all the photos show is the bugs on my windshield. But I stopped the car at this farm near Spring Green (the only area I saw any flooding yet, but it was pretty significant) to take a couple pictures.

A Saturday Sky with Silos and flood waters.

And apparently, the grass is always greener underwater:

She had plenty of dry ground in her enclosure, but Nooooo. Well, maybe it was cooler.

Here’s a photo of the Saturday Sky as reflected in what ought to be fields:

Well, I guess there was a little Kinnearing, limited as it was. Some of the corn was looking not too bad:

good corn

good corn

bad corn

bad corn

Some of it had suffered.

And then there was operator error:

bad kinnearing

bad kinnearing

Didn’t quite get the whole ‘sign’, but you get the idea.

Somehow, I think the Preteen would resist a family outing to the Cow Chip Festival.

And I got a decent picture while stopped at a traffic light of this scary truck:

It does give a new meaning to “Monster Truck” shows!

And, at long last, arrived home, where people seemed to have slightly missed me – maybe. Other than the Preteen, who was off seeing “The Dark Knight” with a certain someone. (The cat definitely missed me; no one had fed him dinner….)

Playing hooky, indeed! Today was back to reality (wash the towels, go to church). Though I snuck a little knitting in too.

Thanks to the wonderful knitters and knit shops of Madison for letting me come play!

11 responses to “Playing Hooky

  1. The fleece lining really does work. I used it on felted mittens for my daughter because of itching. Just a tip I used something called runners fleece, it is thinner than polar fleece and has a little lycra in it. The lycra is good to have because if you get a little small it will stretch to fit.
    Remember Hooky is always good for the soul, we all need to take mental health days.

  2. I am SO jealous!!!! Love the pictures!


  3. That looks like so much fun. I love Lakeside Fibers.

  4. What a great trip and post. And pictures! I love the one of the reflected silos; it is beautiful and sad. The cow in the water cracked me up, and the Amish buggy photo is excellent. You are an accomplished Kinnear-er. I have a couple good corn/bad corn photos, too; must blog them. It is great to see the Hog & Bloggers after reading about them on D-H’s and Elizabeth’s and Beth’s blogs. Someday I will meet them, too, the knitting goddess(es) willing.

  5. What a fun trip you had!! You were able to get in a lot more stops and visiting than I ever do when I’m there… I’m always distracted by cute little nephews and/or their mother and/or my daughter. I love the photo of the silos — imagine what that was like a few weeks ago!

  6. Gorgeous pictures – the one with the silos and flood – amazing. Sounds like a wonderful hooky trip!

  7. I hope you’ll give me a hint and a picture when the bathat is done? 🙂

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  9. Great to meet you and excellent picture of the group! I’m in the turquoise T-shirt next to Beth and JaalaDay is on her other side.

  10. I know I’m late – as you know I’ve been gone. Next time you do this (and there will be a next time, right?) please let me know!

    I love the Sow’s Ear – Angie introduced me to it. Although I grew up 20 minutes from Verona and several members of my family to this day do their grocery shopping across the street at Miller’s, I didn’t know of its delights until quite recently.

    Your photos, especially the one of the hillsides as you approached Verona, made me really homesick. I don’t go that way nearly often enough now that my parents are gone.

    Thanks for sharing this.

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