I didn't have any classes at Madrona on the Friday, so it was a day to hang out, go around the marketplace, fondle fibre, and generally blow the budget. I did restrain myself on the fibre and yarn, but made up for it in bags and needles. First was the trip to the Tom Bihn store; they only have one and it was more or less on the way from where I was staying to Tacoma. Tom Bihn has a ton of useful bags; I could have got more but restrained myself to a small messenger bag that I use as a purse; they call it the small cafe bag.
Tom Bihn bag
Tom Bihn bag, closed
Just the right size for my assorted bits and pieces, fits over my shoulder easily, and is hard-wearing.
For my knitting I treated myself to a Namaste pleather (i.e., fake leather) bag. I think I would have preferred the turquoise, but the stand at the marketplace only had green and pink and pink is Definitely Not My Colour. This is the Laguna in lime, it has lots of room for everything I need and enough pockets to keep things usefully separated without having too much choice to put things in.
Namaste Laguna knitting bag
I added to my collection of needles; after I frogged the tiger hat I decided that maybe some bamboo needles would be useful for colourwork, to help keep the stitches stretched the right amount on the needles. I also fondled some of the gorgeous glass needles and specialty wooden needles and crochet hooks (the ones from Asciano made out of rosewood were especially interesting) but ultimately couldn't justify the cost to myself. I noticed though that the most useful sizes were gone by Friday afternoon, so lots of other people obviously could.
It was fun sitting in the knitting area outside the marketplace, watching people carry out their bags of goodies and then dive back in for more; I got a certain amount of knitting done while chatting to people, talking about yarns and colour choices. I've decided I've got a reasonable eye for matching colours although I wouldn't call myself artistic; I often manage to come up with ideas for colours to go with some yarn that others might not think of but that seem to work. Mind you, it is hard with some of the multi-coloured yarns around, since what they look like in the skein and what they look like knitted up can be two quite different things.
We had our fortnightly Ravelry get-together this afternoon, which was fun. Since DH is out of town, I took the toddler in the stroller, in the hopes that she would get her afternoon nap that way. She's starting to get too big for the stroller and, not surprisingly, only slept for about an hour. I did get some knitting in on a sweater for DS, it's reasonably mindless. Marina made a comment about my knitting a real project, rather than swatches. Right now I just don't have the mental energy to work on those TKGA swatches, it's easier to knit on something where I don't have to think.
After a while DD woke up and I amused her and the rest of the knitters (though probably not the other people in the cafe) by reading Derek the Dinosaur, a story about a knitting dinosaur who's the hero of the day when the ice age arrives. The link there is to an Australian bookstore; all the US and UK ones I tried only had books that were inordinately expensive or no longer available. And that's the version I've got anyway, so it seemed appropriate. The pictures of dinosaurs wrapped up in woolly hats and sweaters are awfully cute. In some countries the title is "Derek the Knitting Dinosaur"; that's what it's listed under in the Vancouver Public Library, for example.
We talked about this and that, including the problems you find when you renovate an old house (discovering live electrical wires in the walls and support posts that aren't themselves supported by anything seem to be common issues). Some of the others are going to the Fibre Fest March 7-8, but I got enough of a fix at Madrona (not to mention spending enough money).
And then it was time to go, back out into the sunshine, one of those rare, warm, February days.
Today was just Not My Day. It started with the toddler spilling my orange juice at breakfast, then my mother is stuck in a house in Saskatchewan with a blizzard blowing. Not even my knitting went well, since I had to frog the second version of the TKGA level 1 hat twice. I had almost finished the first version when I noticed I had the colours round the wrong way, and given that part of the test is whether you can read a pattern correctly, I couldn't send in that version. On the second version I forgot the increases in the last ribbing row and had already cut the yarn. On to the next try, where I found I'd twisted the join after knitting two rounds, this after casting on a number of times to get the long-tail cast-on in pattern to work out right. Sigh. At least it was the Ravelry get-together today, so I could knit and drink coffee while making my mistakes on the second version of the hat, and it was sunny this afternoon, contrary to the weather forecast. The weather forecast for Saskatchewan for the rest of the week is better, so my parents should be able to get out of the house tomorrow. Maybe my knitting brain will do better tomorrow as well.
For a change, the Ravelry group I knit with decided to go on a field trip, and it didn't take much for me to convince them to try Homecraft Importers. The web site is new, and obviously still has some problems, but I do like the store. It has yarns, threads, and other supplies for knitting, crochet, and needlework. Supporting that range of fibre crafts is rare here in Vancouver, most of the LYS really only have knitting yarns and maybe some crochet hooks. We had fun looking at the brilliant rayon and silk stitching threads, the different yarns, and tried our best to enable each other to buy more. I was quite restrained and only bought enough yarn (superwash merino, nice and practical) for some hats for the kids. Not that I know when I'll get to knit them, of course, but I have hopes.
And one day maybe I'll have an excuse to make something out of some of the more exotic yarns there. Bamboo, or maybe that Bouton d'Or Ksar, a really soft yarn with camel and wool. It was gorgeous!
Then down to Country Beads for all the people making the Ice Queen shawl (no, not me, I have enough on my project list right now), followed by coffee. We even got lucky in the weather - grey and gloomy of course, but no rain. Which is all you can hope for at this time of year.
I'm sitting in a hotel room in Portland (the Vintage Plaza), listening to the rain and relaxing. Tim and I came down for a two-day get-away, time to relax and catch up on sleep without the kids. This morning we went to Powells and I added to my library with Deborah Newton's Designing Knitwear (Powells link, Amazon link) and Ann Feitelson's The Art of Fair Isle Knitting (Powells link, Amazon link) as well as looking at some others that I'll put on my Christmas wish list. We also added some non-knitting books to the library of course!
Lunch at the Rogue brewpub, followed by a visit to Knit Purl, lots of lovely yarns, friendly service. I got some Baby Ull for a cardigan for my daughter that I'll start after the New Year, it will be my first Fair Isle project - I've always been a little nervous of colourwork so I figured a size 3 cardigan was a good place to start. I also stopped in at the little needlework shop next door (The Playful Needle, no we address), also very friendly service, even though all I bought was a magnetic chart-holder for my needlework charts. Apparently they do blocking and make needlework into cushions, bags etc, so maybe I'll do that with some of the needlepoint I've had languishing around the house for years, to finally get it into a form where it's not just sitting in a cupboard.
Only one person knitting in the cafe where we had coffee; not many coffee shops around downtown apart from the ubiquitous Starbucks. And although I have nothing against Starbucks, I do like patronising the smaller places where possible. I must look on delocator before we go out tomorrow.
It's still raining outside, but even so it's time to venture out again.