29 January 2010

A Trip to the Mannings

During the Christmas holiday, the Cuddly Hubby and I went to visit my family in Pennsylvania. We drove up the weekend before Christmas, which was just after the big snowstorm. On the drive north I was wondering if this was such a swell idea -- why hadn't I promised to come visit during a warm weather holiday? But it all worked out very well. Big credit to the state of Virginia, as those folks really know how to clear snow off I-95. And thanks to Audible for the members' free 3.5 hour recording of Tim Curry reading Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Between the clear expressway and the good listening, we made our best time ever from Georgia to Virginia.
For Christmas my mother took me on a surprise trip out to The Mannings. This was a totally awesome Christmas present! My sister and grandmother came along as well, so we got to spend nice time together. The Mannings is a shop out in East Berlin, Pennsylvania that offers classes and materials for knitting, spinning, and weaving. The shop is located between Gettysburg and York a little ways off old route 30. I was glad we took our picturesque outing in my mother's SUV, as there was still snow on the ground. You'll have to go back a one-lane farm road, but it is well worth it! There was a very fine stock of books, yarn, and knitting and spinning supplies. Rarely do you find so many spinning wheels and weaving looms in one place. They had a Louet Jane loom in stock, and I have to admit it is very tempting if I decide to expand into weaving. But that's for another year. My mother gave me a generous gift certificate and I had no trouble spending it and beyond. Some of the things I bought or that my mom bought for me:

  • Color in Spinning by Deb Menz
  • Omas Strickgeheimnisse by Erika Eichenseer, Erika Grill, & Betta Kron
  • Wild Fibers Winter 2009-2010 issue
  • two 4 ounce Louet Northern Lights rovings
  • two half-ounce bags of crystal metallic fiber
  • a cotton sampler kit (at right)
  • an exotic fibers sampler kit
  • quilted tote bag made by a local Lancaster Amish woman
  • one skein Araucanía Ranco solid, to make gloves for the Cuddly Hubby
  • one skein Berroco Bonsai, to stabilize my Coldwater Creek ruana
  • Oat Couture Curlicue Coverlet pattern, to make a shawl for my mother
  • seven skeins Crystal Palace Mini Mochi, for Mom's shawl

You can bet that a trip to The Mannings will be part of my itinerary on future trips to visit family.

The other place I already make a point to visit is Uncommon Threads at 294 W Market Street in downtown York near the historic Golden Plough Tavern at 159 W Market Street. The tavern is where the Articles of Confederation were signed, legally turning the 13 British colonies into the United States of America. This is also an easy place to visit from The Mannings, as Market Street is what old route 30 becomes when it is inside the city. Owner Beth Lutz also has a local alpaca farm. Uncommon Threads is not a large shop, but very good choices have been made about what to stock. I bought three very clever buttons from Zippy Pins. I also found a real bargain in the back of the shop. There was a large basket of loose roving. I suspect some of it was leftovers from practice or class. It was marked at $1 an ounce. I bought all the royal blue, more than 14 ounces of it. There was also a little bit of light blue with it, which should be fun for practicing carding. I think it will coordinate very nicely with that Louet Northern Lights roving.

So, if you find yourself in Pennsylvania near Gettysburg or York, be sure to sample the local fiber offerings.

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