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To the ‘Burgh!
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To the ‘Burgh!

For the past few years, right before Christmas, I have made a habit of asking Kris this question:  “So, would you like to go up to Pittsburgh to see a hockey game for your birthday?” My question is usually answered with a sigh – not because he doesn’t want to go to see our FAVORITE HOCKEY TEAM ever, but because we usually have some other obligation on the plate.  However, this year, in an unprecedented move, he actually answered YES!  And I was so happy about it – since his birthday is the day after Christmas, we rarely do anything special to celebrate it.  Plans usually involve eating leftovers and laziness… this year, we did a little bit of shopping with the family, then we came home and packed the overnight bag in order to head up to Pittsburgh the next morning!

I offered to drive the four hours up to western Pennsylvania, but Kris laughed it off and said “You need to work on my sweater, remember?” Of course, that made me happy because I would much rather knit than drive… so, we took the scenic route, stopping for some lunch and enjoying the beautiful views of the Allegheny mountains.  We got to our hotel and were absolutely thrilled to see that we had a *perfect* view of the arena!  We donned our Penguins gear and were off to see our team play at the famed “Igloo”!

Mellon Arena - The Igloo

Kris & Lolly (and the weird guy behind us...)

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Montreal Canadiens game – 12.27.08

I wish I had photos of the inside of the arena, but evidently cameras with big lenses are verboten.  They told me that they would have to confiscate it because it is longer than 3 inches. I tried to get Kris to take it and re-enter with a different security guard… no such luck…  So, I ran back to the hotel room to drop it off – luckily the hotel was right across the street and we were back in time for the pre-game warmup.  I SO wish that I had brought the smaller lens so that I could have something to show of the game!  Wouldn’t you know that this was the night that we had the most incredible seats?  we could see the players’ faces! (and what fine faces they are!)  The Penguins played a great game, but ended up losing to Montreal 3-2.  I was hoping that our presence would be the good luck charm that they needed… despite the loss, we enjoyed the game immensely.

We woke up on Sunday morning with a plan:  see a few designated spots in Pittsburgh before we had to head home.  My priorities quickly fell to 1) FOOD and 2) YARN.  So, we found some great vegan-friendly eateries to check out…

Quiet Storm Cafe

Quiet Storm is a vegetarian coffeehouse with loads of vegan options.  The staff was friendly and the menu was eclectic – Sunday brunch is a good time to check it out.  Included on their menu was a list of all of the local producers of their food and their wares – even down to the tables and chairs inside the cafe.  It was great to see that level of sustainable commitment.  They had so many different kinds of coffee and tea brews – I had a delicious orange spice tea and the vegan breakfast burrito.  Kris tried the frittata (with eggs) and fresh OJ. 

Next stop was Coco’s Cupcake Cafe for a little treat for the road trip back home… I cheated a bit on my diet with the sugars and gluten in the cupcake, but I didn’t have to worry about the vegan choice – Coco’s offers several “regular” cupcakes as well as many vegan options of cupcakes and brownies.  I got the vegan Vanilla Mint, one of their holiday specials, and Kris got the Chocolate Bliss cupcake. They offered vegan Red Velvet as well as several vegetarian options (buttercream frosting with sprinkles at left). There were just so many options at the shop, it was hard to decide! It was a great cafe.

…and it just so happened that on our way out of town, located right next the interstate highway, was Pittsburgh’s premiere yarn shop, Knit One. I swear, I couldn’t have planned it better.  We got there right as the doors were opening and were welcomed by Julie, who hadn’t even turned the lights on yet (but the door was open!).  A few minutes later, I recognized Lizzytish from Ravelry come into the shop… nice to see you! The shop was huge and filled with so many lovely yarns, books, and knit samples.  Kris even spotted some of my favorite yarns and said “Oh, come over and see this!” And while I oohed and ahhed and felt my way through the shop, Kris shot some photos…

Knit One

Knit One LYS

As he was snapping away, he even caught me in a jawdropping moment when I realized that one of the lovely yarns that I was feeling was actually 30% off… so, the lovely Simply Shetland Silk and Wool yarn – 246 yards per skein for $7.00 each – came home with me.  There were several skeins of the lovely Craignish colorway – a green/brown/rust blend – in the cubby hole, so I put them right into my basket.  It was just too perfect.  Oh yes, I have some options for this yarn too.  I am thinking they would be perfect for one of Connie’s Interweave Knits patterns…the one that first came to mind was the Henley Perfected from Winter 2007 issue.  Just a thought for now…

Oh Pittsburgh! you are a great city.  I look forward to visiting you again very soon!

[See the whole Pittsburgh photoset here!]

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47 Responses

  1. Renee

    What a great birthday! For both of you. :)
    Wishing you both a very Happy New Year too.

  2. Harpa J

    Happy birthday to Kris! You two look so cute together!

  3. MaryjoO

    I read often but don’t usually comment, but couldn’t resist this time — the top photo of you guys is SO great! And the trip to the yarn store … OMG, right after Xmas? Oh my~~

  4. Laura

    Good times! Hockey and yarn, does it get better? I am not a hockey fan in the sense that I care who wins or loses. But I would never turn down going to a Blackhawks game. Two words: Adam Burish. :)

  5. Lizz

    I’m glad you liked Pittsburgh! I can’t believe I missed that Simply Shetland yarn…I think I was having Malabrigo/Manos tunnelvision! Kris really captured the sunny, colorful store well (and happy birthday too!)

  6. Rebecca

    What a fun birthday treat for your hubby! And, apparently for YOU, too. It always amazes me how short the distances are on the east coast to various cities. The yarn shop looks awesome and who can resist a good sale??

  7. Jenna

    I’m so, so happy that you had such a great visit to Da ‘Burgh! I’ll have to follow some of your suggestions and check out Coco’s next time I’m there! The great thing is that you barely scratched the surface of what the city has to offer, so you could have many trips back to see other games and also experience other great museums, restaurants and neighborhoods. I hope that you do!

  8. Kala

    Mmmmm, vegan cupcakes!

  9. Jenn

    It is pretty great here, isn’t it? :) I always like hearing stories about great visits!

  10. whitney

    Sounds like a great trip! What a nice birthday treat for Kris. I think it’s hilarious that he drove so that you could knit his sweater!

  11. Nell

    What a wonderful trip! So glad Chris said yes!

  12. lynnewio

    The picture of the two of you is too cute. Oh, and I’m incredibly jealous of your vegan cupcake experience.

  13. tiennie

    Yay for Kris getting to celebrate his birthday in a special way! You guys look great! Happy birthday to him and happy holidays to you two!

  14. knithoundbrooklyn

    I am incredibly jealous of that awesome yarn score.

  15. Kim K. in Western PA

    My family are all huge Penguin fans. So glad you loved Pittsburgh. Born and raised here. Very grateful for the wonderful city and glad others find it as beautiful as we do.

  16. mai

    it sounds like you had a great time! i’m glad kris had a great birthday. the penguins stadium is so cool looking! the igloo is definitely an appropriate name :)

  17. Sarah

    I’m so glad to hear that you had such a great trip here! I wish I would have known you were coming to town — I would have been happy to give you recommendations or show you around town. (Coco’s is pretty much down the street from my house, too.)

    Now I must go check out your photos and see where else in the ‘Burgh I missed you.

  18. Robyn

    It was a good hockey game! GO HABS GO! (Huge habs knitter over here) (I’m a season ticket holder who knits at games!)

    Looks like you had a good time regardless that the Habs won!

    Happy Holidays!

  19. Preita

    Sounds like a great trip :) You are looking mighty fabu in the penguins gear ;D & OMG Yarn! On. Sale! Must have been fate :)

  20. Lisa

    You were in Pittsburgh, my corner of the world! Glad you had a nice time! I love the Quiet Storm, btw…very cool place. Haven’t been there in a while, now that I think about it. Must go. And Knit One is a great store…I love how bright and roomy it is!

  21. kelly-ann

    That is just the cutest photo of y’all!

  22. Kim


    We’ll be going to see Sid, Geno, and the boys play the Avs in a couple of weeks and we have fantastic seats. It stinks that you couldn’t take your camera in :(

    I’d love to see a game in Pittsburgh but we usually don’t get back East during hockey season.

  23. astrid

    I would never have thought that hockey and yarn could make a combination. What a great yarn shop. Wish it was here.

  24. Kristin

    I just bought some of that Simply Shetland on sale as well! For some reason, it never sold at my LYS, so the owner put it on the sale table. I had been drooling over it since she brought it in, so I came home with enough for a sweater. Yumm…

  25. jessica~

    Looks like fun! What a cute pic of you and Chris. L, you look fantastic!

  26. stacey

    You guys are too cute in your Penguins gear! What a special birthday!!!!! (with cupcakes no less!)

    Henley perfected – perfect!

  27. katebee

    Oh, good times! Next time you’re in town, you might want to check out The Zenith, my aunt’s vegan restaurant. It’s quite tasty.

  28. Heather

    How fun!

    I actually watched that game, it was the Hockey Night in Canada game this week.

  29. amanda

    You know, I’ve driven THROUGH Piitsburgh many times but have never actually stopped to check it out! Looks like you kids had a great time.

    And, I love the stocking you made for your sister – it turned out great!

    Merry Christmas!

  30. knittingnurse

    I had no idea that Kris and I shared the same birthday! Happy belated Kris! I can see that you two had a great time!

  31. Leslie

    Son #2 would be sooooooo jealous of you two going to a Penquin’s game. I think he will be making the long trip from Toronto to Pitts one day soon. OmGosh…that yarn store is amazing!

  32. Leslie

    this kind of wonderful, spontaneous couple time is the kind of thing i always tell you i’m jealous of. :) glad you had a wonderful time!!!

  33. LittleWit

    Sounds like Kris had a wonderful birthday. :) What a great find at the yarn shop!

  34. Alice

    I am so jealous of that yarn you scored AND that you can knit in the car without feeling sick…

    Looks like you guys had a great time. Happy holidays to you and I hope you have a fabulous time ringing in the New Year!

  35. Kyle KUnnecke

    yeah!!! I was in pittsburgh a couple of years ago and there were no yarn shops to be found… I’m glad to know one exists… (and a beautiful one at that!) – looks like you had a great time -


  36. Janet

    LOVE it!! Glad you enjoyed the ‘Burgh!! Knit One is great, isn’t it? The DC yarn shops are all lovely, but I’m afraid that with the price of real estate there, they won’t ever compete with Pittsburgh in shear volume of yarn!

    We have another relatively new yarn shop, as well that you might think about stopping by next time you’re in town to see the Penguins — Natural Stitches is in East Liberty, in the Trader Joes shopping center.

    Also, you were mighty close when you went to CoCos! That’s less than a block from my apartment!!

  37. Tally

    Good for Kris that this year you two had your chance.

    Why do you use the German word “verboten” and not the English forbidden?

  38. Marlyn

    Sounds like a great trip!

  39. Josiane

    Happy belated birthday to Kris! I totally understand how his birthday can somehow be lost in the after-Christmas downtime – though it’s kind of the opposite for me: as mine is on Christmas Eve, it can easily go unnoticed in the getting ready for the big day craziness! I’m glad you could enjoy such a fun trip to Pittsburgh this year – it certainly makes for a memorable birthday celebration! That picture of the two of you is lovely.
    Now, you made me want to go to Pittsburgh too, if only to eat at the Quiet Storm (what a great name!) – the place sounds awesome!

  40. mramichael

    That picture of you guys at the game is fabulous! I was cheering on the Rangers that same night, but was sitting up in the nosebleed zone of Madison Square Garden. Gotta love holiday hockey!

  41. Heather

    Glad you got to visit Pittsburgh, I try to steal away there as much as possible. Your pictures of Knit.1 capture what is so amazing about the place–the view and the light!

  42. gleek

    sounds like a great time! those vegan cupcakes look soooooo good! worth the cheating on the diet :) you look great, btw. your new diet/eating habits seem to be agreeing with you and, i’m hoping, are keeping the lyme at bay. happy new year!

  43. Wendy

    It’s so wonderful to hear when someone else loves that city just as much as you do. I got to spend 2 whole weeks there for the holidays this year. What a treat!!!

  44. cosy

    what?!? when were you in pgh? when were you in knit one?
    so sad i missed you…

  45. meg

    i need, no wait NEED to go to Pittsburgh.

  46. Eliane

    Hi friend! I am completely crazy about yarns.
    Your work is wonderful ..
    Kisses from Brazil

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