Sunday, January 25, 2009

It's that time of year again!

For the Annual Seattle to Portland Yarn Crawl that is! Every year, Charisa Martin Cairn organizes a group of Seattle knitters (and the occasional intrepid husband or two) for a train trip to Portland to crawl the LYS in The Pearl District and the PDX Knit Bloggers (wanting to be good hosts) meet them at Union Station.

Last year, the train was almost 20 minutes early and it was cold and rainy, so this year we decided to show up early if for no other reason than to have time to hit the bathrooms, dry out, and warm up before heading out again.

While the other early birds sat on benches trying to either sleep or stay away, the knitters didn't seem to mind waiting; they had plenty to keep themselves entertained!

Some of the PDXKB gang hadn't met before, so intros were done all around. Joan Schrouder even drove up from Eugene to come crawl with us!

And Deb Accuardi, one of the original members from two years ago (has it really been that long??) came down off her mountain long enough to crawl, too! And bless her pea pickin' heart, she brought me a "hostess gift"!

Would you just look at that? It's a blend of Corriedale and Pygora, from Deb's goats, that she had combed and pin drafted. It's about the size of a small baguette, except MUCH softer! I can hardly wait to spin this up; I think it's destined to become a cowl for moi. By the way, Deb is also putting out a podcast, "At the Kitchen Table"; check it out if you haven't found it already.

And Sara Ferguson came with baby Connor, who was looking just adorable in his little Gnomey hat that matched his big blue eyes.

We all decided that baby books should really have a "Baby's First Yarn Crawl" page. Right after "Baby's First Steps".

Before long, the Seattle train pulled in and intros were being made. I got no pictures of the crowd; Charissa and I were too busy hugging, getting name tags attached to people, handing out maps, and breaking the big group into smaller groups so as not to overwhelm the shops.

Rachel had brought 1/2 ounce samples of fiber from Susan Stambaugh of Abstract Fiber for the Seattle knitters, who swarmed her. Unfortunately, I was standing right next to her and got caught up in the crush (do not ever try to come between knitters and free fiber).

I had a sample of the Autumn (on the left) from Susan at Spinnerati a couple months ago; and I got the other two from Rachel on Saturday. I love Susan's colors; they're very saturated and her fiber is always so soft!

Once our little group got organized (HA!), we headed out for the first stop on the crawl, Dublin Bay.

That's Deb in the middle, trying to escape the camera. And down there is Tami, trying to escape the lure of yarn, which she did.

However, right after I took this picture, I discovered this:

That's a pound of combed Jacob wool from Ireland, natural color. Dublin Bay's regular price is $17/pound - a great bargain! Of course, once Tami saw me comparing colors (there was a nice purple, a denim blue, a black that had been over dyed with jade, and this), she fell down. I know she's going to blame me for it, but really all I did was ask her what color she thought was the best. It's not like I forced her to feel of it or anything. Really, I didn't!

I also snagged up a card of these darling ceramic buttons; hey, they're hedgies, I had to buy them! Fortunately for the ol' credit card, and much to ToolMan's relief, Dublin Bay was giving Yarn Crawlers a 20% discount, so I made a hasty escape for under $25. And they tossed little samples of SOAK in everybody's bag, too!

The next stop on this tour was Knit Knot Studio. This shop is tiny, but what a wonderful place it is! They even have a shop dog who greets you at the door.

Kathleen and Karen were pleased to see StitchJones yarns hanging on the wall. I don't know how Stitchjones does it, but her sock yarns absolutely do not pool! I've seen the same colorway knitted into different patterns, and it never pools or flashes. I think it's magic! Kathleen (that's her in the shawl from our Grand Experiment in Spinning a couple months ago) had a cold and didn't make it to the train station in time, but she met up with us at Knit Knot in time to gift Charissa with a skein of StitchJones Glam Sock Yarn; Charissa was speechless!

I was admiring the chandelier and ogling the scarves when Kathleen waved this under my nose:

Mohair. And anyone who knows me know that the mere mention of mohair lace weight makes me go weak in the knees. This was a real bargain; 560 yards in a lovely heathered green for $9. Knit Knot was giving a 10% discount to all the Yarn Crawlers. In fact, Knit Knot has some very good deals on yarn; I'll definitely be back there again.

By now, it was early afternoon and all of us needed a little "pick me up" so we stopped by Cupcake Jones. It's a tiny, tiny place; so tiny, we couldn't all get inside at once! With cupcakes in hand, we headed next for Cacao.

I had bought a Peter's Chocolate Mint cupcake, which is devil's food cake filled with mint chocolate ganache topped with chocolate fudge frosting, drizzled with mint sauce and topped with an Andes mint chocolate. At Cacao, most of the rest of the group opted for the drinking chocolate, but with all the chocolate in my hand, I decided the perfect thing to wash it down was a good ol' cup of joe. Caffe Americano with room for cream. Honestly, the cupcake and coffee was almost as good as sex. Almost.

Thus fortified, we straggled on to the last LYS on our list, the renowned Knit Purl. You know you've arrived when you see the window with a fantastic fiber art display.

Those are fabulous felted cranes. Each one is a felt square; some cabled, some colorwork, some with embroidery, or needle felt designs; then each folded into an origami crane. Absolutely intriguing!

Knit Purl is a great shop; they carry wonderful yarns from ShiBui, Habu, Koigu, Malabrigo, and Hand Maiden, to name a few. And they always have great knitted garments on display for inspiration.

That's Charissa, blogging me blogging her! I think she'd been overcome by yarn fumes at that point.

I'm a sucker for Hand Maiden Sea Wool. And Knit Purl always has a good selection of their colors. This one came home with me this year. I'm not sure what it will become yet, but I really like the muted colors. The colorway is "Woodland" and the yellowy green in it reminds me of our Pacific Northwest in the spring.

After Knit Purl, Tami and I kept Kathleen company for a short stop in Josephine's Dry Goods. Kathleen makes a lot of her own clothes, and for seamstresses, Josephine's has great fabrics.

By this time, it was after 3:00 p.m. The PDXKB gals had all gotten up early, and we were running out of steam pretty quickly at that point. Most of the PDXKB group wound up at Starbucks across the street from Knit Purl for a rest and coffee or tea before heading home. After a short rest and comparison of purchases, Tami, Sara and I headed for the MAX while the rest of the group headed back north to pick up cars left at Knit Knot and Dublin Bay.
I don't know about the rest of the group, but I was pretty foot sore and muscle sore by the time I got home. ToolMan had a dinner of chicken salad sandwiches and tomato soup waiting for me at home. It really hit the spot after all that walking and no lunch. After dinner, and an Aleve, and an hour in front of the tv, I was ready for bed. I slept like a rock.


  1. Since I met up late, I went to Dublin Bay *after* Starbucks. I saw the hedgehog buttons and thought of you. I'm glad you found them, too!

  2. I've never been to a Westside Wednesday meetup, but based on experiences at yarn events and the tone in which online correspondence is conducted the PDX Knit Bloggers seem a very cliquish group to me and rather unwelcoming to newcomers (which explains, in part, why I've never made an attempt to go to a Westside Wednesday). I'm not saying both sides aren't guilty, but based off of what I've seen in the past I can understand the frustration expressed by a potentially new member on the SNB group earlier today.

  3. Wow, someone who's never met us, never been around us, and has done nothing but lurk in the shadows thinks we're cliquish. Dear, anonymous, I wonder what other things in your life you pre-judge and then avoid. I'm certain that you are missing out on lots of good times and I feel sorry for you because your life must be very insulated and lonely as a result.

    Take a risk. Actually meet people before forming an opinion about them. You might be surprised!

  4. I can't believe all this drama! I think "anonymous" is jealous of us and can't fathom what a great time we have and how fun our group is. I'm sure if they joined us for an evening their tune would change.


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