monicapdx (monicapdx) wrote,

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Catch-up, A Visit To Yarnia, And Ho For The Open Road! I Mean Train. Whatever.

Well, yes, things are finally happening again, and I actually have something to write about. Amazing! Although sorry for no responses to comments the last umpteen times; geesh, my mom would've whacked me. Can I plead sleeping sickness due to new cholesterol meds?

No, I didn't think that'd cut me much slack. <g>

However, thanks all for the comments; much appreciated as always, but I'm going to forge ahead and use that as a blanket thank-you instead of going back and replying individually in comments as I usually do. Otherwise, you know me. I'd likely get bogged down in that, and end up dithering for ages before another post. Although I do have to wave madly at two new people dropping by, bless them. RobinH came over, and so did another Monica - not far from me, yet! - both after seeing a comment from me on the Yarn Harlot's blog. And I have to say hi, of course. Hi, RobinH! Hi, Monica! (And does that make you giggle as much as it does me? LOL.)

Robin, hope you'll try out the kolache some day when you have the time, and thanks for the icing recipe. If you make 'em, you'll have to tell me how that works out with them. Always great to meet another Pratchett fan, too! Thanks much for stopping by. We can raise one of the cries of the Mac Nac Feegle together: "Dere c'n onlie be whin t'ousand!"

Monica-in-Gresham, I read your comment and nearly did literally fall out of my chair laughing. What are the odds? I've only met two other Monicas in person (and one was an Austrian exchange student back in HS); just a couple online; then there are magically two of us living not that far from each other, we both knit, and read Stephanie's blog? Unbelievabobble. So, this means that the next time I'm out somewhere and automatically respond to someone yelling "Monica!"...and turn around, only to find it's not me...maybe I should yell politely, "Um, are you the Monica from Gresham?" Just in case? ::snicker::

Oh, lordy. Truly, I'm still reeling. I love it. Nice to know you're out there too!

I should just warn you; when the PDX Knit Bloggers find out there's two of us, if you ever meet them, you might get some rather wary looks. They know I'm crazy, so after hearing there are two of us, and knowing we have met - at least in cyberspace-- Um, they might think it's a sign of the Apocalypse. And if we got together, I wouldn't be surprised if they immediately make plans evacuate. <eg> Rocky Butte might decide it isn't extinct or something.

However, moving on to current events... As per past mention - for those who remember that far back ;) - I am heading off to Madrona tomorrow, to visit with Ms. Knitingale. We're not taking any classes (darn it). Those suckers are expensive. No, we're going to be hitting the marketplace, drooling a lot, and spending at least some money. So I'm trying not to babble too much in this, seeing as per my usual habit, I'm doing most of the getting-ready-for-a-trip the day before, rather than in an orderly, organized fashion. (What, you didn't think I'd change, did you?) Fortunately, getting ready and packing for a weekend isn't nearly as traumatic as for a week. <g> But I don't plan to be checking email, and doubt I'll be checking here, either. So I'll effectively be incommunicado until Monday. I get back Sunday night, but c'mon; you know me, I will fall with rapturous cries upon Biteme 2, but I'll probably be too tired to do more than read stuff. Any responding will have to wait until the next day. Late. ;) The train gets in at 9 Sunday night, then there's the cab trip home, and after I wind down I'll be crashing.

However, last Saturday I did get out to the new Yarnia store just off SE Division here in Portland. (If you haven't read up on how the store got started, and how things are progressing, go check out the store's blog, the Chronicles of Yarnia.) Several of the PDX Knit Bloggers visited it on opening day, the 9th, but another contingent of us decided to wait a week. Fortunately, Bobbie warned Lindsey Ross, the owner. ;) I mean, any new store owner is obviously glad to have people coming in, but when it's something like 6 or 8 at a time on top of whoever else might be there, a little bracing time is good.

Again, Duffy kindly picked me up in The Red Bug, and we enjoyed the bright sunshine on the drive over. We got there shortly before the rest of the gang. They were all from the Westside, and coming over with Bobbie and ToolMan in their van. (ToolMan is a very brave man. He seems to actually enjoy being with a gaggle of knitters, most of them giggling. Driving a van full of said giggling knitters, though, has got to be deserving of some special medal.)

Yarnia has convenient parking right in front of it. It's a little shop in a retail/business building, down a short flight of steps from the parking lot, with two metalwork tables and chairs on either side of the front door. (I'll bet Lindsey gets plenty of summer shoppers taking advantage of those.) Inside, it's bright not only from the light coming in through the large front windows, but from all the beautiful cones of yarn on display. And more are coming!

Lindsey herself is just as sunny, and tremendously helpful, even with a whack of knitters crowding her shop. Here she is, laughing at all of us trying to take her picture at once:

Lindsey Ross and her magic winding machine

Behind her is the machine that does the magic:

The Machine

You can read the story on her blog, but the short version is that Lindsey got the idea from a yarn store she used to frequent in Montreal. They didn't sell yarn in balls or skeins there. What they did was let people pick out cones of yarn they'd like to combine, then wind them off together to make multi-stranded yarn. No, the machine doesn't ply the yarns, but you don't really need to do that to knit with the results. (Although if you're a spinner you could certainly ply them.) The result is your own custom yarn, with the colors and fibers you want, much cheaper than designer yarns, since Lindsey sells by the ounce or pound. And you can get as much or as little as you want.

As you can see from the following, we were all madly blogging away the first few minutes in the store...while also
eagerly eyeing the yarn.

Bobbie, Karen and Duffy blogging while scoping out the yarn. Note that Karen has a head start on the latter...

We also did some catching up, of course. I got a good shot of Karen proudly wearing her beautiful Noro scarf.

Karen's Noro scarf

Then I started concentrating on shop photos too, before I dived into yarn ogling.

You can get an idea of how the whole idea works just by looking at these:

Front and center in the store, a table with sample cones of wound yarn, for sale or inspiration in putting together your own combinations

Back view of sample cone table

And on either side of you, shelves and shelves of tempting cones of yarn.

Shot of one side of the shop, showing only two of the three shelving units on that side, all filled with cones to choose from. (See the pink cones on the second shelf from the top? I bought two cones of the multi-purple rayon boucle sitting just to the left of those. They're darker than they turned out in this picture.)

And *more* cones on the opposite side of the shop

Lest that isn't inspiration enough, Lesley has sample garments for sale knitted from combination yarns wound on her machine.

Ready-made garments knitted with different yarns wound together. She's planning on getting more finished garments to sell on consignment.

They all looked gorgeous; especially the dark red sweater you can only see part of, behind the blue one on the right-hand arm of the display rack. And look at the wonderful range of colors that can be put together!

After the first flurry of picture taking, we were all hefting cones of yarn and trying different combinations. Imagine the usual wandering around in your LYS, but with even more of a vacant, pondering look, while holding cones in your arms and twisting strands of yarn together. <g> All of us went back and forth...and back and forth... several times. Many were with cries of, "Oh, hey, silk!"; "Do you believe this turquoise?"; and, "Oh man, I dunno... Would this rayon go better with this acrylic blend, or with the cotton from the other wall? What do you think?" Plus exclamations like, "Wool crepe yarn! Do you know how hard that is to find?!", and "Alpaca!!!"

Meanwhile, Lindsey was kept busy winding yarn, first for some other customers who'd been there before us; then for our group. With so many of us there, it's wonderful that she has chairs in one corner for people to relax in while waiting for their yarn. She also had some goodies, drinks, and a big vase full of needles if you wanted to try out a swatch to see how a combination looked.

And those chairs were used, too, because some more customers came in - known to some of us, although I didn't get a chance to meet them; I was busy dithering over yarn. ;) In addition to having the yarn wound, you can also - if you're a spinner <eg> - buy the yarn simply by the cone. Which is what I did. The multi-purple I mentioned in the picture caption above. 2,400 yarns of very fine loopy rayon boucle, which I'm going to ply with some cotton flake yarn that I'll handpaint myself in colors to coordinate with the purple. It should come out like a finer version of Crystal Palace Waikiki.

I don't remember much of what everyone else got - grief, there were too many of us, and you know my memory anyway! But Duffy grabbed a cone of some amazing variegated silk in reds and oranges with touches of blue and other colors, and combined it with a solid rust. She, the speedy one, already had her blog post about the crawl up on Sunday or so, with a swatch for the lacy shawl she's planning to make for her chorus's trip to Florida in a few months. Go take a look. It's going to be gorgeous! And Bobbie got two cones; one to ply with some of her handspun, another to knit a lace shawl. You can see those at her blog here.

We had a wonderful time, and I think Lindsey's going to be a great success. Her yarns are beautiful by themselves, but being able to have your own pick of them wound together, and paying the per-pound cost, are something you can't find anywhere else in town. Or pretty much elsewhere, for that matter. So if you ever come here and go on a yarn crawl, Yarnia is definitely one place you want on your list!

We'd planned to go someplace for some food afterwards, and Duffy made what was an excellent suggestion; the Berlin Inn, not too far from Yarnia. With eight of us, they had to shove the smaller tables together in a little side room, which was just the perfect size. Although from the noise and general hilarity, I'm sure the other customers thought there were at least twice as many of us! ;) We were me and Duffy; Karen; Kerin of PDXYarnHo Knits (it was great to meet her; she's one of the first new-to-me PDX knitters I met on Ravelry!); Katherine of Busy Digits and her daughter; and Bobbie and ToolMan. A wonderful bunch!

The food was fantastic. Kerin found she had discovered the Mother Lode for bacon, which she loves, when her burger arrived:

Berlin Inn for lunch: Kerin's burger and the gigantic bacon

No, that is not an extraordinarily small burger. It's a good-sized burger; just somewhat dwarfed by the bacon.

To heck with the burger, Kerin appreciates the bacon! Or, as she put it: BACON! Yes, we made jokes about the dog treat commercials. It had to be done.

We were all blogging again, of course. I think Katherine was getting BACON pictures here. ;)

Katherine, Bobbie, ToolMan (hidden), and Karen, also appreciating their lunch

The rest of us were happily diving in too.

"Boy, yarncrawling sure can make you hungry!"

I had problems making up my mind, especially since I knew I probably wouldn't be able to eat a whole plate of whatever. (I'd actually eaten some breakfast that morning; highly unusual, but I also knew I'd be needing the brain power. <g>) So Duffy and I split an 'appetizer.' Which turned out to be a gigantic plate of different breads, peppered beer sausage, apple chunks, and a Gouda garlic fondue. Definitely a good choice to split!

Although I did indulge in something else I have a fondness for.

Dark beer. 9%. Mmmmmmmm. Mine!

If you think that looks like a rather large mug, it was. Yes, I drank the whole thing. Yes, I got a slight buzz. However, I sure wasn't driving, so didn't have to worry. ;) I enjoyed every last drop! One of the best dark beers I've had in ages. (Honestly, I've got to get out more. All these beers we make up here, and I hardly ever get to try any special beers other than imports, and that not terribly often. That just ain't right.)

Then we all indulged in some wonderful desserts - I had an amazing hazelnut cake with caramel sauce, oh man - and after recovering for a bit, wended our way back out to the cars and on home. All of us quite, quite happy. Yarn, good food, good company, and lots of laughing...what more could you want on a beautiful Saturday? Not a dang thing.

Ok, I wouldn't have minded taking a 6-pack of that beer home, too. <g>

But now it behooveth me to get this posted and gather together a load of laundry, in hopes of making it in there before anyone else grabs all the machines. I have to be at the train station before 8 a.m. tomorrow, and they kind of frown on you doing laundry at midnight around here. If any of you happen to be at Madrona, I'll be there most of Saturday afternoon in the marketplace. If you see the fat lady with glasses, long dark hair, a Dolores "Virgin Wool Tour" T-shirt and a Ravelry button - give a yell and say hi! Hopefully it'll be me. ;)
Tags: lys, pdx knit bloggers, pdxkb, pre-madrona, yarncrawl, yarnia
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