Thursday, March 10, 2016


Orange you glad you're here?

Orange, because Morton is “the pumpkin capitol of the world.”  Why?  Libby’s pumpkin—choice of pie-makers everywhere, myself included—is canned here.  But this charming midwestern town boasts more than fall gourds (or, technically, fruits).  It boasts some nifty knitting and other adventures.

Leaves N Beans
213 S Main St
Morton, IL 61550

Start your day at this local roaster’s coffee cafe.  It’s so friendly you can leave your mug hanging on a rack on the wall! Your choice of three omelets (which they’ll make in to burritos at no charge!) or “Eggwiches” give you nice, heartier-than-usual breakfast options.  Wash those down with a wide array of well-brewed coffees, and you’ve got an ideal place to launch your day.

Protein and caffeine acquired, head over to acquire great fiber finds to:

Ewe-Nique Yarns Etc.
110 E Queenwood Rd
Morton, IL 61550

I’m especially fond of stores that manage an open, uncluttered floor plan while maintaining a cozy feel.  Owner Debbie Showalter has created an inviting space in this her third Morton location.  A town resident taught to knit by her Bunco partner, Debbie dove into the knit shop business with characteristic passion to create an enterprise that’s lasted eleven years.

“Our customers tend toward smaller projects,” Debbie says, “so we have a particular focus on accessories.  Lots of shawls and lots of socks.”  That’s my kind of store!

Debbie, Yours Truly, and Jenny

Debbie and her daughter Jenny Johnson have created a large store well-stocked with good quality basics.  You’re not likely to find a fad-yarn destined to lead you astray here.

Debbie and her staff will ensure you have a satisfying knitting experience.  Technique and project classes offer instruction while Open Knit Night every Thursday evening ensures you have plenty of camaraderie as you stitch.  

Ewe-Nique also is one of the sponsors of the podcast Knitting Pipeline’s highly popular retreat.  Worth a listen even if you can’t make the event.

Here are some projects to consider:

Hitchhiker Shawl
Martina Behm’s popular shawl pattern calls for fingering weight to a make long, narrow, asymmetrical accessory.  If you want something with a little more heft, Debbie will be happy to teach you the modifications she’s made to the pattern to utilize a chunky yarn like Cascade’s Eco Duo and 10.5 needles.   Who wouldn’t want a bigger, chunkier one of these?

Hat and Mitts
When you’ve got a great fiber like Dye For Me Baby Llama Glow, you want the yarn to take centerstage.  This hat and mitt set, a Ewe-Nique exclusive pattern, takes only 2 skeins to knit up the set.  The feel is second to none, and the bit of sparkle is a terrific touch.

Three-Color Cashmere Cowl
Cowls can be basic, or they can make a real style statement.  This Joji Locatelli design has a snappy attitude with a trio of colors you choose and a bit of lacework.  I love the extra long length.  Choose 1 hank each of three Cascade Heritage colors (or any sock yarn) and stitch up this light but cozy piece to warm your neck or just add a snazzy pop of color for those cool spring days.

Pumpkin Hats—in All Sizes
Hey, what would you expect from the pumpkin capitol of the world?  Pumpkin hats for everyone, of course!    Jenny’s store-exclusive pattern knits up the iconic pumpkin topper in toddler, child, and adult sizes.  Super fast in Encore Mega, you could whip up a family patch in no time.

Knit A Long:  Clincher Bandana Scarf
I own a lot of scarves and shawls, but I love the clever closure in this pattern by Ash Kearns.  Lacing through a series of loops not only provides for a memorable detail, but or an eye-catching dash of color as well.  Grab a skein of a fingerling yarn like High Prairie Fibers Prairie Spun Journey 100% wool, then pair it with a contrasting High Prairie Fibers “little bits” mini-skein for those lively loops. I’m looking forward to making this unique piece.

Don’t forget to take a peek at the collection of supplies for tatting.  It’s a lost art that seems to be making a fortunate comeback!

Now for some more Morton adventures...

Desserts Unlimited, Inc.
108 E Queenwood Road
Morton, IL 61550

Not that it takes a lot to twist my arm for dessert before lunch, but you’d be foolish not to avail yourself of the amazing cheesecakes mere feet away.   Choose from Desserts Unlimited's wide range of delicious flavors—or you can get a “cake” made from slices of several flavors so you don’t have to choose.  We sampled raspberry swirl and chocolate turtle.  Seriously yummy.

Eli’s Coffee
205 W Jefferson St
Morton, IL 61550

Here’s a one-of-a-kind independent coffee shop that not only serves up great coffee but also a nice menu of wraps and salads. Set up in an old house, you feel right at home here grabbing a spot of lunch.  The staff and atmosphere are wonderfully friendly. I had the Parisian Melt, a sophisticated yet homey blend of excellent bread, turkey, apples, and just-on-the-right-verge-of-gooey brie.  Save some room for their legendary scotcharoos!

The Rustic Junktion
201 Jefferson Street
Morton, IL 61550

Just two doors down the street is an appealing little boutique.  They were closed for moving during our visit, but the raves we heard tell me it was our loss.  Featuring “shabby, rustic, vintage, and retro treasures,” the place looks like one of those places great for poking around to find something truly unique.  We peeked in the windows, and even the decorated front porch told us this would be a terrific store.

Lulu’s on Main
142 S. Main 
Morton, IL  61550

More fun shopping to be had here—and some great sale bargains, too.  Artisan gifts combine with some spiffy clothes and accessories.  There’s a little bit of everything in this stylish local business. I scored a whimsical pair of Christmas owls to sit on my kitchen windowsill next winter, and at a super price to boot.  Or is that to hoot?

Great American Popcorn Co.
126 S Main St
Morton, IL 61550

This isn’t just a store, it’s a taste adventure!  Hit up the enthusiastic staff for a few tastes of some of the craziest, yummiest popcorn flavors like “Pure Evil,” and “Ridiculicious,” not to mention Chocolate Shop Ice Cream flavors like “Zoreo,” and “This $&@!* Just Got Serious.”  It’s as much entertainment as it is snacking.

There you have it—a pair of Peoria-area adventures with enough food, fun, finds, and fiber to make any DestiKNITter happy!

Up next, I cast on the Fog shawl and see how a “knitting recipe” cooks up.

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