Hitching a Ride

Last Friday, I was scheduled for a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Workshop (for continuing education credits) at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Since this is in Mr. T's NC territory, between a couple of dealerships in Raleigh and Durham, I hitched a ride with him on Thursday...and we made a three-day trip out of the ride. He had to work on Thursday, so he dropped me off in downtown Cary, NC, to let me wander...which I do quite well, if I do say so myself.


I had looked up yarn shops in the area and found one called Shuttles, Needles, and Hooks, in Cary. Although the reviews were a mixed bag, I thought I'd try it out anyway. Hmmmm. We entered the address on Chatham Street in Maggie (the name we've given his Magellan GPS) and, when she finally announced "you have arrived," we were a bit suspicious that she'd goofed. That house that appeared to be being devoured by some kudzu (photo on the left) couldn't possibly be a yarn shop...could it? The sign out front was faded and in need of a fresh coat of paint...indeed, the entire place hasn't seen a paint brush in quite a while...but, what the heck? What harm could come to me if I just went up on the front porch to check it out? Such a risk-taker, I am (NOT!).

While grimacing at the rather partisan "GOP" notice on the exterior bulletin board (uh, does this owner not realize that we Dems knit...and spend money in her shop...too?!), I ventured inside...and felt like Alice falling down the rabbit hole. There were cupboards and bookshelves everywhere...and boxes and crates and bags, to boot...filled, not with empty jars of Orange Marmalade, as Alice experienced, but with more yarn than I've ever seen in one place in my life. Several rooms of yarn. Front door-to-back door yarn, and some more on the enclosed back porch, where the outside vines were growing through the window appearing to be trying to join the eyelash yarns inside. Floor-to-ceiling yarn, and some more in the finished (?) attic space up the tiny, narrow stairs. Skeins of yarn...cones of yarn...balls of yarn. All sizes, textures, and colors of yarn. I'm not sure exactly how it was all organized, but does a drunk care how the bartender organizes the liquor? I was inside for at least an hour, ignoring the heat (the only cool air was provided by a couple of rather anemic window units...and it was a hot, sticky day outside)...and trying to make sense of the fibre-overload I was experiencing.

I finally decided that the tiny skein of rainbow-colored silk yarn from Colinette in Wales (Tao, colorway "Mardi Gras") which I found hiding in a bowl of Colinette, but with no price tag (didn't seem to be anything priced in the whole place) was going home with me (photo, right). I could see it as a Skinny Scarf. I hadn't brought any size US6 needles with me (the recommended size on the yarn wrapper), so I got a pair of those, too. The owner, who was helping another customer with her project when I walked in, was very pleasant and readily agreed to wind my yarn for me...and even suggested using a dropped garter stitch for the scarf. (I'll write more about creating this scarf in another post.) I would definitely recommend this shop, but I think it should come with a warning label: get ready for a wild and woolly yarn trip!

Down the street was a quilt and NC pottery shop, which provided me with another hour of visual and tactile oohing and ahhing. I stand in awe of quilters, who can stitch such intricate patterns in cloth. I keep saying that there is at least ONE quilt in me, but I haven't been moved to make it happen yet.

After a morning of feeding my fibre-soul, I was in need of sustenance for my stomach. Both shop owners had recommended a sandwich shop called the Food Factory across the street, so that was my next stop. Had a tasty Pastrami Reuben with pasta salad. Then, as storm clouds appeared to be gathering, I began the "one-block up, two-block over" walk to the library where I knew I could wait out the weather in cool, quiet comfort...and possibly do a little knitting, too. Along the way, I strolled through a couple of art shops and popped into the Once in a Blue Moon Bakery, where I bought two yummy-looking Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese icing to share with Mr. T later. He picked me up after he finished his work, and we headed to check into our home-away-from-home, the Homewood Suites in Cary (photos, below). The one with the covered bridge on property. All-in-all, a lovely day indeed.

Friday started early, when Mr T dropped me off on Raleigh Street in Chapel Hill on his way to work. My day was spent at UNC in the Great Hall of the Student Union building with about 30 other coaches and counselors who are interested in new ways of using the MBTI in their practices or offices...and in getting CEU credits to maintain their certification status. My instructor was an acquaintance from my days at Scientific Atlanta (11 years ago, this month, when I got my original MBTI certification), so I felt right at home in the workshop. She always does a fantastic job! I loaded up on new publications (at a nice discount), so now I have quite a long reading list to work through.

Mr. T picked me up just as the rush hour on 15/501 was getting started, so we opted for an early dinner while the traffic cleared. We found a neat Irish pub called Hibernian, in Cary...where we both enjoyed some mighty fine fish and chips with our Sam's Summer Ale. Then, back to our comfortable suite. Those cupcakes were calling!

As we headed out the covered bridge (left) and toward home on Saturday morning, we tried to take in a day lily farm in Moncure (Holly Hill Farm), only to find that they were "closed for the season." Too bad. We obviously haven't found a replacement for our favorite YEAR 'ROUND day lily farm in Missouri yet. Oh well, must keep looking, right? Sounds like another good reason to hitch a ride with Mr. T another day!

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