Ask Poops, Please

Putting my two cents in.

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Location: Belmont, New Hampshire, United States

Born and bred in a small New England town, I am convinced that I know something about everything, and that my opinion matters. If only to me. Well, you'll see what I mean. And I love to knit, so you'll see what kind of things I'm doing when I should be vacuuming the living room.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The One Where Poops Meets Vicky

So, you wanna hear what I did this weekend? Of course you do.

Friday morning, we left on a road trip. Me, Sister, Dad and Bonnie squeezed into the RAV 4 and headed for Springfield, Massachusetts, a three-hour tour of sorts.

What's in Springfield? I'm glad you asked! The Springfield Armory is in Springfield Mass. The Springfield Armory is one of the two original armories in the US, the other being in Harper's Ferry VA. I believe they were both founded around the time of the Revolution, but I forget exactly. An armory is a place where they make weapons, and an arsenal is where said weapons are stored. Springfield is both. Springfield Armory was destined to protect and arm the northern states, while Harper's Ferry did the same for the southern states.

The reason my dad was so keen to go here--you didn't think I wanted to go to the armory did you?--is that he is an afficionado of antique guns, especially the M1 Garand rifle which was the weapon US soldiers carried into battle during WWII and Korea. He wants one in the worst way, but they're freakishly expensive to get. Of course the armory has scads of them, but do you think they'd sell one to us? Heck no.

Anyway, we got there about noon and our tour was scheduled for one. We got to see a short film about the history of the armory and the M1 Garand, and we had plenty of time to see all the exhibits and browse the gift shop.

Then at one, our tour started. There were about 10 or 12 of us on the tour. And aside from Sister and I, they were all quite fascinated with the collection. For sister and I, it was a selfless act. Dad enjoyed himself immensely. Sister and I amused ourselves with Park Ranger references.

Here's a picture of Vicky, our Park Ranger tour guide.

If there should come a day that I can't get to sleep, I'll just replay this tour in my head. That should do it. He was a nice guy, and knew his weaponry, but it was just so boring! Well, to the two of us anyway. ("There are over 10 thousand guns in this room and I'm going to tell you about each one of them right now.") Dad thought it was great and the other guys were all asking intelligent questions and oohing and aaahing at what I assume are the appropriate times.

Sister and I were thinking "This way to the cafeteria!" and laughing quietly to ourselves.

The tour, which lasted about an hour and a half--that's right folks, one and a half hours of gun after gun--was all on foot. Here's a picture of the room of death, as I decided to call it after I asked the younger ranger, hereafter known as "Ranger Rick", "How many people do you suppose have been killed over the years by the guns in this room? I mean, what do you suppose the death tally is for this room alone?" Ranger Rick didn't know the answer. I don't suppose they get many anti-gun liberals on the tour. Not that I'm an anti-gun liberal. I often fantasize about shooting people. On that tour, I fantasized about shooting everyone in the room and then myself, just out of boredom.

Now I suppose that wasn't all that funny, what with the latest violence in the news. But still. I think Ranger Rick and Vicky should at least come up with an estimate on the death tally. Just in case a liberal slips through the metal detectors at the door.

So, I guess part of the Armory was fascinating. I found the historical aspect of it interesting, and I do appreciate the workmanship that goes into making a rifle like those that I saw. I saw muskets that dated back to before the Revolution. Guns that were made at a time when each one was made by hand. Some of the handcrafted aspects were truly amazing--hand carved stocks and precision tooled metal with personalized engravings. There were WWII and Civil War rifles that soldiers had carved with their names and units and things like flags and V for Victory symbols and their girlfriend's names. It was kind of like looking back in time through a very small window.

We got done at the Armory at 3. We headed down the road and found our hotel, which wasn't hard because it shares a parking lot with the Basketball Hall of Fame and all signs in Springfield point to the BHoF.

We had a bit to eat--just a morsel, really--at the Uno's attached to our hotel, and went up and rested our feet before deciding on a place for supper.

We had dinner at a nice Italian restaurant that was part of the BHoF. I had gnocci that couldn't be beat. And some wine. And after dinner, we turned in so that we could be fresh for the big day of Yarn Shopping that was to follow. Or as Sister and I thought of it, our revenge for the three-hour Tour O' Guns.

We had breakfast at the Cracker Barrel. I love the Cracker Barrel and I'm so glad they've wandered north. If y'all down south would send up some Waffle Houses, I would be eternally grateful, thanks so much.

After brekkers, WEBS!

Seriously. Those of you who thought that hitting the tent sale as my first visit might be overwhelming, you were so right.

We started in the tent. Everything outside seemed to be sold by the bag. And since I'm not one to make grand projects, whole bags of yarn weren't really up my alley. And I felt a bit disapponted that bags of yarn were all I was going to find.

I was so wrong. Silly ass.

I entered the store proper. I blew off the other yarn vendors out in the rain in their tents. I saw sheep last weekend. I was looking for bargains.

If I have one criticism of WEBS, it's the layout of the store. I couldn't quite figure out how the yarns are arranged. The best I could figure out was that they were in by manufacturer, because they seemed to be grouped that way. Only sometimes there were one of a kind yarns that didn't go with anything else that seemed to be put wherever there was a spot, and other new yarns that were by themselves or with other new yarns, but not with the other yarns of their family.

But really, that's splitting hairs.

I started in a counter-clockwise direction and worked my way up the right wall. I found the bargain corner with lots of closeouts, and headed along the back wall, snaking up and down the aisles. I got to the wheels in the back left corner and paused briefly, but decided that since a wheel isn't in the budget and I've got plenty of fiber to spin with my spindle, I crossed over to the Plymouth Encore, a fantastic acrylic wool blend if ever there was one.

I glanced to my right through an open door.

You know how BJ's and Sam's Club are warehouses with floor to ceiling metal racks full of cases of stuff? Well picture that, but with yarn. Nothing but floor to ceiling racks of cases of yarn. And do you have to buy it by the bag? Hell no! You can get a skein or two at your whim! ("We have over 10,000 kinds of yarn, which I'm going to tell you about right now.")

I think I blacked out for a few minutes. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. At first I felt like I'd never see it all and that I'd miss something or pass on a great deal, or just be too tired to shop properly.

Then the thought of all that yarn made me giddy and I giggled to myself and headed in. It defies description. Anyone that's ever been there knows exactly what I'm saying.

I worked my way through the back warehouse part and filled my basket right up. I did make it back out to the regular part of the store, but by that time the store had really filled up and it was getting hot and kind of hard to move. I still hadn't found a yellow wool that tripped my trigger, and I did want to search for some yarn for the Chinese-inspired baby sweater.

Sister had picked out her meager purchases and Bonnie was toddling off with a garbage bag full of acrylic yarn (Leader yarn, 100% acrylic, buy 3 bags for 15 bucks each and get a fourth one free.) So I sent Sister out looking for a yellow yarn that will felt and that is sunny and makes you feel happy inside. I'm so glad she speaks my language, because she found some right off. I have to swatch it to see if it will indeed felt. It is half wool and half alpaca. Alpaca will felt, right? I figure if it doesn't pan out for felting, it's such a nice yellow it will make something nice anyway, and I'll order up some Brown Sheep or something for the bag. Anyway, it's the first yarn featured here, and it is Valley Yarns "Stockbridge". It's going to be a felted bag for Bug's teacher aide. With pretty flowers on the side.

I was about to give up on finding the red yarn for the baby sweater because I couldn't move all that well, and I was getting really hot in there, and I ducked down a not too crowded aisle to make my way out. And what did I spy? SWTC Soysilk. In all the colors I needed. Not on sale, but discounted on account of the anniversary sale and all that. I was concerned that the label said that it would be too thick for my needs, but it claimed to knit up at 5 sts/inch on size 6 needles. But it seemed thin to me. So I got it. I swatched it up last night and with a bit smaller needle I'm getting the 6 sts/inch called for in the pattern dead on. So yay for me! And it's soysilk from China. How appropriate is that for a new Chinese baby coming to join the family? Very! (You can see I've got the first two rows under my belt so to speak. It's going to be cute!)

And check out all this Ella Rae wool! I love this yarn. It felts like a dream and the colors are so nice and rich. I got eight skeins in all and they're likely to become felted bags or mittens. Or both. Probably both. The best part is that they were originally 5.99 a ball. I usually get them for 5.50 each at Little Knits, but since WEBS isn't carrying it anymore, they were marked down to 3.59 each. Sweet!

As you might recall, I'm on a charity knitting kick. It's really contagious. I thought it would be a good time to stock up on my washable acrylic and blends for baby things. I found two balls of Plymouth Dreambaby DK. There's a multi-color that has white, aqua, blue and pink in it that will blend perfectly with the scads of pink and blue I already have. And I got a ball of the aqua for good measure. That's going to make a lot of baby hats and sweaters!

I also found a skein of a blue and green patterned Encore worsted. Encore is just great stuff. It is soft, the colors are nice, and it's washable which makes it great for babies and kids. And the price is right, usually. I have a ball of a lime green that just doesn't go with much else I have in stock, and it's just a wee bit too green to stand alone, so I didn't know what to do with it. And this ball caught my eye and the colors match perfectly, so now the multi can pair with the green and break it up a bit.

I found two skeins of this elsebeth lavold AL Chunky that I just love. I made messie (my Spring Fling Secret Pal!) a pair of fingerless mitts out of this because it was the closest color to Pittsburgh Penguins gold that I could find. I still have a ball of green that matches in my stash, so I picked up these two just because I like it so much. It's very, very soft!

These five skeins are called "Madrid" and were closeout priced at 2.10 per ball. It's an acrylic/viscose blend, again good for baby stuff. I got two skeins of the multi colored and one yellow, one green, and there used to be a whole skein of the purple but I made a washcloth out of it Saturday night and gave it as a present on Sunday with that bar of handmade rosemary lavender soap I got at NH Sheep and Wool. It was a big hit, by the way. It knits up soft and very bouncy. I like it.

Now, one of the yarns I spied under the tent that I picked up and put down about a hundred or so times was called "Willow" by Tahki. It was a linen and cotton blend and it was only 10 bucks for a bag of 10! Wow! But they had purple and orange outside. Hmmm. Not my favorite colors. If only there was a nice pink. And then, what did I find out in the warehouse? A bag of pink! Hooray! I don't have a project in mind, though I'm thinking of making a tank dress for the Bug out of it. I'm formulating the idea of a fluted hem. I'll have to get back to you on that.

So that's the entire haul from the big sale. I spent just over a hundred bucks for the lot. Oh, and I got a circular needle too, so that I would have it. And now I do, so all is well.
As if we weren't already shopped and toured out, we also hit the Yankee Candle store in Deerfield on the way home. I bought three tarts for my tart warmer, and that was about it. We got home fairly early in the afternoon and like I said, I started a washcloth for my friend's birthday.
It was good to be home, and I stayed up too late as usual. Then I got up too early because I had to pee, and went to church at 8.
And we spent the day on Sunday with friends celebrating two birthdays and talking and playing and having a good time.
This morning was all about updating the blog, taking pics of yarn, and catching up with my Knitters. Now, I'm going to post this and go off to do my dishes and clean up the kitchen. The livingroom will have to wait for later this afternoon.
It's good to be back.


Blogger Macoco said...

As I was reading about your 1.5 HOUR tour of the armory I kept thinking...I hope they don't follow this up with a tour of the BHoF! I almost died when you mentioned it, but then was glad that you were just staying NEAR it.

12:53 PM  
Blogger Macoco said...

Oh a follow-up comment. They definitely need to bring up a Waffle House -- and a Steak & Shake!

12:53 PM  
Blogger Jess said...

I would do the armory thing too, with bells on, if that kinda yarn experience followed! You are such a deal finder. Love the stuff!
I love my mitts. I was going to ask you about the color, because it was strikingly similar... I always fear sounding like an idiot... but that isn't unusual for me.

2:46 PM  
Blogger Zonda said...

Whew!! I'm tired and putting my feet up now! Great deals there! I would still be in the aisles just jaw dropped and glazy eyed! hehehe!

Oh, my hubby would have loved that tour of the Armory!!

I want a Steak & Shake, Crystal Burger, Friendly's, Sam's Italian Sandwich Shop.....I love the hashbrown casserole from Cracker Barrel! (got a good recipe too!)

6:00 PM  
Blogger Bezzie said...

Dude, do you have ANY idea how you were also subconsiously in Bezzieton area? My grandma (the one I'm named after) was born in Springfield and my cool-ass aunt works for Yankee Candle in Deerfield. I get the hookup on all the "test" scents, most of which never hit the store. So Yankee is close to WEBS? That seals it, I am SO visiting cool-ass aunt!

You nailed the colors for the Chinese baby sweater! Can't WAIT to see it!

6:35 PM  
Blogger Batty said...

Yeah, WEBS. The first time I went and saw the warehouse full of yarn, I had a yarn seizure. Looks like you had one too... the kind where you get home, and suddenly you have all this yarn!

10:07 PM  

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