America’s Finest City

As much as I love living on the East Coast I have to admit that I am down with
the Left (coast). I’ve been in New York for about four years this time around and another four or so in another life back in the early ’90s. I love it here and can’t imagine living anywhere else. But man, do I love going home. I’ve had a horrible case of San Diego-itis the past couple of months and finally was able to carve out some time to get home before I start my new job (which I will talk about later–big news!).

I spent a glorious two weeks with my family going to the beach, drinking beer and catching up with friends, hanging out with my dog, Ron and of course lots of knitting.

Knitting and drinking beer with friends. Ahh.

My favorite thing. Knitting with my dog, Ron.

The knitting started right out of the gate–literally. I agonized for days over what to pack for plane knitting. It really is a challenge to pack for a knitter. Go ahead and laugh, but the whole ordeal caused me a great deal of stress. I had to check a sweater I’m working on that is just a collar away from being finished. Do you know what that feels like? I mean, you may as well just throw your kid under the plane and hope for the best. Your beautiful, labor intensive, merino wool kid.

And then there is of course the carry-on knitting*. Ok, how can I explain this? I think one of the things I hear most often as a knitter is “I would love to knit, but I just don’t have time”. I hate this as it always sounds so condescending and implies that I have nothing but leisure time to futz around with my little crafty indulgence (which has been kind of true this summer, but that’s beside the point). Well, here you go. Five plus hours handed to you on silver tray table of uninterrupted knitting time. A cross county flight is a gift to a knitter. And my flight to San diego was the best present ever.

Knitting on the flight with my crocheting seat mate.

In Flight Entertainment
I had a beautiful cake of Tosh Chunky (I’m becoming a Madelinetosh junky) in the Ink colorway that I picked up at Knitty City. It’s gorgeous yarn and looks like denim. I settled on the Star Crossed beret as my project (with an unfinished sock as back-up) and it proved to be great airplane knitting. In the round, small circular needles and just a simple cable to keep things lively. It was fast and fun. As soon as I was settled, I took it out of my bag to cast-on and glanced over to find my seat mate reaching for her crochet hook!  It happened just as it does when you see another knitter on the subway. A little nod and smile (someone on Ravelry suggested we come up with a gang sign we could flash). We went back to work on our projects and waited for the dreaded middle seat occupant, who, never showed. It was great. We had an empty middle seat for our yarn, full range of motion, stretched out and thus began our own little mile high club of sorts. We talked about yarn shops and patterns, stuff to do in San Diego and as is usually the case with yarn people, the conversation shifted a level beyond small talk to tradition and family. Once again, craft opens the door to world with some depth that is far more interesting than it would have been if you hadn’t had that yarn in your hand. It was a great flight and the time just flew by. I had the hat all but finished by the time we landed. You know what that means–more yarn!

Thanks, Ewe
No trip anywhere is complete without a visit to the local yarn store. I jumped in my mom’s Prius (I really miss driving), cranked the NPR and headed out to La Mesa to Two Sisters and Ewe, a shop enjoying it’s new home in a much bigger location. I hadn’t been there before, but I knew as soon as I pulled off the freeway it was gonna be a good one. It may sound counterintuitive, but yarn shops that are sort of isolated and lacking in curb appeal tend to be really good. Webs in Northampton, MA which is sort of knitting mecca is like this, School Products here in Manhattan is too, and so is Two Sisters. I never would have thought this as a novice knitter and would have probably avoided these stores in favor of a shop housed in a cute little cottage or cool urban studio which, frankly can be hit or miss. Now I get excited when I see a shop like Two Sisters cause I know it’s a destination and must have something special to make it one. It’s in a sort of old-school strip mall and used to be a giant reptile store (Ack!) and, like Webs is neighbors with a bead shop. There is an appeal to shops like this. They make you feel like an insider. I almost wish they required a secret knock or something. Yes, I think we do need a knitting gang sign!

I love this store and once your inside you see the benefits of a space like this. Forget curb appeal–this store has space (and plenty of charm)!

Lots of samples knit up around the shop. I love that.

Plenty of room to house a big selection and really showcase the yarn.
Comfy places to sit and knit and even a washing machine for felting wool.

My treasures from Two Sisters And Ewe–Tosh Merino Light in Plaid Blanket and a few balls of Lana Gatto merino/cashmere. Love.

I wandered around dithering over what to choose for a good hour at least. And was indulged with really great (and patient) customer service from Karen which always makes buying yarn feel special. I’ve cast on for a stripe study and will always think of home when I wear it. So glad I had a chance to visit the shop.

Home Sweet Home
It was great to be in San Diego. Only after being away so long do I really appreciate how beautiful it is. And no matter how old I am, it’s always nice to be home. I got to celebrate some special birthdays, relax at the beach, eat mexican food, spend some QT with family and just curl up on the couch with my dog and my knitting. I heart San Diego and it’s always nice to come home to NYC.

Beach knitting in Coronado

Birthday Boys. My dad (his 70th!) and friend Clay 

Until next time, you stay classy San Diego.

*According to the TSA, “Knitting needles are permitted in your carry-on baggage or checked baggage.” 


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Filed under handmade, Knitting, Local Yarn Shop, NYC

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