Monday, December 05, 2011

Da Valley*

I got back last evening from a quick but very fun trip to the place where I grew up, Wilkes-Barre (also known as the Wyoming Valley, or da Valley).  Little Miss was bringing cheer to little children by participating in a mini-version of the Nutcracker at her ballet school, and thus unavailable for this trip, so I took the boys with me to spend a night with Nana.

We arrived Saturday afternoon, and inspected my mom's front window.  A few nights ago, some jerk through an egg at my mom's front window, and even though it wasn't hard-boiled, it was hurled with enough force to break one of the panes of glass in the front window.  There was egg on the curtains and floor, and since it happened at 10:30 p.m., it freaked poor Nana out.

By the time we saw it, my brother had replaced the broken glass with a temporary covering, and the mess was cleaned up, but Nana was still really happy to have some company.  So we hunkered down, got us a bucket of KFC and watched teevee (I knit, of course).  The boys love being spoiled by their Nana and it's the sweetest thing in the world to see a big teen boy snuggled up with his Nana on the couch.

Bright and early I was up and ready for my class at Gosh Yarn It!, a relatively new knitting shop in Kingston, which is just over the bridge from downtown W-B.  This is the first time I can remember there being a knitting shop in the Wilkes-Barre area; in the past, you either had to drive a ways to the nearest shop outside Scranton or go to a big-box craft store for knitting supplies.  And the folks in W-B are lucky, because they've got a top-notch shop with gorgeous yarns (everything from Madeleine Tosh to Debbie Bliss to Noro to Lorna's Laces to Cascade to Dream in Color, and more).

Perhaps because I'm fighting a cold, I didn't have the presence of mind to take any photos, but the shop is big and bright, with lots of inviting chairs to sit and knit in. There was a separate classroom, just right for my class.  I taught "Making Friends with your Handpaints" and my students were great -- eager, enthusiastic and really friendly.  I think they really liked the fact that I grew up in Wilkes-Barre, too.  We played the "who do you know" game, and immediately discovered that the dad of one my students had gone out with my cousin Barbara.

I managed to make it through the class without losing my voice (damn cold), and then had a chance to hang out with some of the regulars, who do an informal knit-in on Sunday afternoons (regular Knit & Spin is Thursdays) and they were so much fun.  We discovered that one of the knitters knew my dad, as her husband's family owned the sporting goods store my dad shopped at all the time.  (I can still remember the way Danoff's smells:  gun oil, leather, with wood floors....)

The owner of the shop, Jill Schwartz, was great, and the manager, Ann Ross, could not have been nicer or more helpful. I had brought a big batch of BBF spinning fiber and yarns for a trunk show, and I was thrilled that so many folks wanted to take home a skein or two to try.

If you are in the Wilkes-Barre area and are looking for a yarn shop, I highly recommend you stop by Gosh Yarn It (their blog is here).  You'll have a good time and you'll probably leave with lots of gorgeous yarn.  I'm really grateful that they asked me to visit and I hope I get to teach there again soon.

*If you are curious, there are some fascinating local slang words and dialect n the northeast part of PA. One of the most prominent is the word "hayna" or "haina," used at the end of the sentence, kind of like "n'est-ce pas," perhaps derived from "ain't it".  More on haina-speak here.

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