Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Road Trip to Marengo

It's hot roundabout Exit 151 – today's high temperature is forecast to be over 100° F (38° C). Too hot to knit. Back to previous adventures in Chicagoland and beyond.

When rain cancelled Plan A, a certain geographically challenged person who shall otherwise remain unidentified cheerily proposed Plan B: a road trip to Marengo. For those who don't know the area, Marengo is in McHenry County this side of Rockford, well beyond Chicagoland, about a three-hour cruise drive one way given the rain and construction on I-90, akin to driving from roundabout Exit 151 to Lancaster, PA. On the other hand, Marengo is home to The Fold. 'Nuff said. Off we went.

For some, the journey is key. Time was when Chicago's O'Hare Airport and Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, both giants of their kind, rose out of endless cornfields. Those bygone farms boasted some of the richest, most productive soil in the world – in some places, the topsoil was 30 feet (9 m) deep. Urban sprawl has largely subdivided and paved over that humble wonder of nature, leaving roadside patches of waste ground colonized by pale green teasel and blue-flowered chicory and nodding Queen Anne's lace. There's the occasional nursery or koi pond or llama farm, the famed Mink Barn, and a few fields of green beans or dent corn, but they are a mere remnant of plantings so vast that on a hot summer afternoon one could actually hear the corn growing.

For others, the destination is all. Bottom line, The Fold is a wonderful shop, well-stocked with yarn and fiber (notably from Blue Moon Fiber Arts), spindles and spinning wheels, and a choice selection of books. Owner Toni and her staff are knowledgeable and hospitable, offering full service to those who like guidance and letting others browse as they please. Plus there's a calm, friendly dog who just about kissed me to pieces.

Having been shut out at MDS&W, I snapped up a skein of medium weight Socks That Rock in colorway Fire on the Mountain, some Wensleydale Handpainted Roving in colorway Panzanite, Summer 2006 Spin-Off, and Fair Isling on Blue Moon. I also twirled a number of Bosworth spindles and petted a lot of fiber. All too soon, it was time to return.

Tourists will have noted the ratio of travel time to shopping time is badly skewed, even given the rare excellence of the souvenirs; Pilgrims should plan accordingly. Happily for both, The Fold offers mail order. Nearby Union has the Illinois Railway Museum, largest in the U.S., should others in the party require additional inducements to make the trip.

Back at home: when it's too hot to knit I cower in the basement, bleating crochet. I started the heirloom crocheted bag by Meta Thompson in Spin-Off, which would make a nifty sock yarn bag or wrist distaff.

Let's all hope the power grid roundabout Exit 151 holds today – it failed yesterday, blacking out most of downtown. Which made me think of a use for Knit Lite needles not in the ad copy, namely basement knitting during a blackout. Hm....

Stay cool, stay hydrated, and conserve energy – and that goes for your little dog (and other pets), too!


--Deb said...

I was thinking about you yesterday when I heard about Montclair's blackout on the news--hope you have power today! It makes drooling over that beautiful yarn and fiber SO much easier . . .

Chrissy said...

I love that bag idea. I think the colors you're using are perfect for it. What kind of yarn is that?