Yarnista in Seattle

Seattle was the perfect yarnista holiday, exactly what I needed. I had just finished correcting the first semester exams and was looking forward to my first time off since starting the job in September. So I packed up my two sock wips, a skein of lace and the requisite patterns to accompany me. I threw in an extra skein of sock yarn ‘just in case’ I ran out. There was certainly no need for that – I should have kept the space to bring more yarn home. My plan was to relax and knit my way around the cafés of Seattle, touring the yarn shops and museums. I did have some work to do but nothing too onerous, a few hours a day.

I did my research in advance, by reading two articles from Knotions and PomPom. My biggest adventure was taking the ferry out to Churchmouse Yarns on Bainbridge island. I had checked out the Churchmouse group on Ravelry and knew this was a must-do for any fibre craft enthusiast visiting Seattle. I felt like a celebrity when people I’d contacted online came over from the office to say hi. Everyone was so welcoming and I spent half a day there chatting and knitting and admiring all the beautiful yarn. The yarn there was the absolute epitome of luxury. There were two huge antique bookcases with little baskets of yarn on the shelves. An exquisitely curated exhibition of the most rare, unique and artisan yarns. There was a huge selection of Rowan yarns, which are always lovely to behold, alongside lots of gorgeous alpaca yarns (pity I’m allergic). The Handmaiden display was just divine, with the most beautiful sample cowl. I really want to try Seasilk someday. When I saw a skein of Socks-that-Rock, though, I couldn’t put it down. Well, I put it down long enough to pop next door for a delicious muffin in the bakery. I also picked up a really cool DPN-holder and a little hook/needle tool. Knitting in the sun on the ferry back to the city topped off a wonderful day.

Ferry Sun

I read so much about the lovely neighbourhood Ballard and it had been recommended by a few Seattlites I’d met, so I hopped a bus out there one day to visit the Tea Cosy. It came highly recommended by the yarn-guides to Seattle I’d read, and with good reason. I received a warm welcome to a relaxed and friendly local yarn store. The first step was a full browse of the shop. It was overwhelming with so many beautiful yarns, many of which I had not been exposed to before. The Madeline Tosh especially had me swooning. And the people could not have been more nice! I spent half the day sitting at the round table in the window, joined by various other knitters chatting and drinking tea. It was a wonderful day. I know I said that I was going to try and knit up my lace this year, but some MadTosh Lace simply had to come home with me.

I happened by Stitches on my hunt for lunch one day. It’s a fabric and notions mecca, especially for buttons. They had a great selection of Cascade – something I really wanted to try. I was really tempted by the hand-dyed long-striping yarn, especially the Sea-hawks colourways for the Superbowl the next day. However a solid green sock yarn with 25% nylon by Cascade simply could not be refused. I came away with a great lunch recommendation too.

I visited a few other places too but these are the highlights for me. Overall it was a lovely trip, lots of knitting and tripping about. Non-yarn highlights included the Chihuly Glass Exhibition, the Pacific Science Centre and the EMP music museum.

Finally some FOs

You would be forgiven if you had forgotten that I actually do knit. Sure, I may have mentioned knitting a number of times for the past few months, but somehow the completed projects haven’t really been appearing. You nod politely as I talk about lace this and sock that, but in the back of your mind there’s a growing suspicion that I’m just pretending to knit so I could still hang out with the cool kids.

Well, fear not, dear reader, for I can now show you not one, but two finished objects! With the promise of more to come!

The first is the very lovely Monica, knit with Drops Lace in the romantically named colourway, 6410. At first glance Monica looks like a straightforward half circle with a few nuups to bring out the flavour, but if you look closely you can see a band knit perpendicular to the usual flow, with short rows to add to the curve. It’s one of those features that is a lot of fun to knit, although I’m not 100% convinced that it adds much to the design that couldn’t have been achieved otherwise. This was also my first time using the Drops Lace, which came from Queen of Purls in Glasgow which has a good selection of drops and other yarns, plus a lot of smooshy fibre for spinning or felting! Nummy!

My second offering is Katanya. I’ve admired this shawl from afar for a while, but finally cast on with my Lotus Moon Night. This colourway has a lovely slightly heathered quality and I didn’t want that depth to be lost in something very lacy. Katanya has enough solid sections to show off the yarn before it blossoms into delicate lace. Extra bonus points for being nearly a full circle. Super snuggley! This yarn came from Be Inspired Fibres in Edinburgh, which carries several yarn offerings that I haven’t seen much in brick and mortar shops in this part of the world.

So there is my offering. Two lovely lace shawls, all blocked and finished. Next time, floor space willing, I will have two more shawls all done and dusted. Then maybe I’ll be able to show my face in the knitting tree house.

Sneaky guest post

I’m taking advantage of an unlocked laptop to make a guest post to the blog.

Living with someone who is quite yarntacular you get quite used to
seeing balls of wool turn into nice things. Socks, jumpers, gloves,
cowls, shawls, scarves, hats in so many colours and so many styles.
Sometimes with ribbons, sometimes with beads and sometimes only getting
there through blood, sweat and tears. Figuratively I mean.
Well in most cases at least.

But as is the nature with such things time goes by and projects come
and go. This ball of fluff today is next week’s ball of yarn and next month’s
toasty gloves. Many of these projects have gone onto deserving homes near
and far. Some of the pretty awesome ones we only got to keep for a day
or two but I can still picture them just as they were. Others stayed
home and were loved and worn until they became worn but loved.
And a very few went hiding in the bottom of a drawer somewhere. Either
because they didn’t quite work out, or because they were too nice to let wear out
too quickly.

Over this time I’ve been gifted with quite a few really cool things. Mostly
socks (which are a favourite) but also hats and gloves (which are awesome -and-
keep me warm outside).

But recently we’ve been talking about taking things to the next level. It’s
a big commitment. One that I’ve been putting off for a while now, unsure if
I want to make the jump. But we’re married 5 years now, so it’s probably time.
My lovely wife is going to make me a jumper.

It’s something I’ve thought about long and hard. I’ve resisted previous offers
because there wasn’t anything I really liked. And it’s a very big ask
for something you are not sure about. Also at this stage I am under no
illusions on how much time and effort goes into these things. Cables
or no.

So what changed. Did I finally give in? Or was it social pressure from the
knitting community? No, it was something much simpler in the end.
I realised I already liked it. I realised how much I like and wear the
current knits I have. Over the last two days I’ve worn five different
hand knits. They are warm and made with love and are appreciated.
And so will the new jumper be.

But it did make me think about all these things and all the
effort that she’s put into these nice things I already have.
And now I think it’s time for payback.

It’s February now, we have all the yarn-related tools I can imagine within
arms reach (well, plus a little walking). I figure I can make something
nice for Cathy by her birthday in 7 months. This is not something I’ve
done before but I do have some advantages. Needles, books and actual yarn
chief amongst them. But also access to someone with advanced medical training.
Just in case.
So internet, what should I make ?



Lofty Lacey Goals

To keep on track with my stashdown plan it seems like I’ll be knitting a lot of lace in 2015. This will also fit perfectly with my aims to knit more for learning and enjoyment. There are a few patterns and techniques that have been a long time on my list but I’ve been too scared to try them and they keep going on the long finger. So this year I will knit 5 lace things from my deepest stash.

I’ve wanted to knit an Evenstar shawl since Stew was knitting hers, and especially after seeing it finished. I decided I wanted to knit it in a silver yarn if ever I could find the right one. Both Hedgehog Fibres silk lace in Crystal and Dublin Dye silk merino lace in Icicle were in the running, but required buying even more lace yarn. So I put it off that dream until I had knit up some of the lace I already have, which of course never happened! Then last year Stew and I did a lace swap and I ended up with the perfect silver laceweight for Evenstar. It’s Grignasco Merinosilk and I also have it in lilac. I plan to knit Aletheia in the lilac first to practice the circular shawl and knitted-on-border techniques, and to test out the yarn before starting Evenstar.

I nearly cast on Kate Davies’ Hap for Harriett when she first released it but kept dithering over which lace to choose from my stash. The three options were LHogan merino lace in a cloudy blue sky colourway, Debbie Bliss Rialto lace in a cornflower blue or Skein Queen Delectable in a dark teal/forest colour. I have finally cast it on with the Rialto lace and so far it’s going well. The garter stitch body and memorable lace chart make for perfect travel knitting and I’ve knit half of it since arriving in Seattle.

The lace skeins that were passed over for the Hap will become two of Bonny, Nefertiti wrap and Almost Ovals. My remaining lace stash of a dusky baby blue Dublin Dye alpaca silk and some wine Lhogan lace will fight it out to become the left over pattern and a Cold Mountain. Though I am still open to suggestion on those!