Last week, the Mr and I went to Seattle. The main reason for going to Seattle was PAX Prime, a gaming convention. He’d let me drag him around Sock Summit in July, so it was only fair. I spent some time with him and the other dudes (we went with two friends from here, and met up with a guy from Texas that he’s known online for longer than he’s known me) but a lot of it looked like this:
Me, my PAX badge, and my knitting. This was the first day of the convention, that small piece of knitting in my hands there looks like this now:
I spent the first half day with them, then went out to explore Seattle on my own. And by ‘exploring’, I mean finding yarn shops. I’d heard good things online about Churchmouse Yarns and Teas and decided Friday afternoon that that would be a fun adventure. It’s on Bainbridge Island so I got to get on a ferry for the first time since moving to land-locked Alberta. Did I mention that the first time I saw the sea on that trip that I almost cried? I grew up in the south-west corner of Canada on the coast, which is the same area as the north-west US. It was just so much like being at home. It put me into a very zen state on the ferry ride over – I just sat and breathed ocean air for 35 minutes.
The ferry terminal was very convenient to get to, it’s right downtown (I did this whole trip on foot, we didn’t have a car). The ride was lovely, and then it was just a 10-minute walk into town from the ferry terminal. I grabbed a cookie at Blackbird Bakery next door to Churchmouse before I went in. Then I stepped into Churchmouse Yarns and Teas for the first time.
(image from their website)
It was heaven.
It was light and airy and bright inside, and they had every yarn you could ever want to knit with. It was the perfect yarn store. I immediately decided that I wanted to buy a sweater’s quantity of yarn there, just because the shop was so perfect. That’s where I ran into difficulty. There was so much awesome yarn there, and I hadn’t planned on knitting a sweater any time soon (as I’d just started one back home) I had no idea what I wanted to knit. I wandered the store for a while and fondled all the yarns (Jared Flood’s Shelter! STR in a physical store! Rowan Sheep Breeds! Habu!) but I couldn’t decide. In the end I decided I needed to walk away from the store and think for a bit. Luckily, just across the courtyard is Mora Iced Creamery. An old-world, handmade, small batch ice creamery next door to a yarn store that is next door to a bakery? I’m still surprised I left the island! I had a waffle cone full of lavender ice cream (heaven!) and decided to head back to Seattle and our hotel, and look up some knitting patterns to see if there were any sweaters I wanted to knit. I will buy sock yarn indiscriminately, but I only buy sweater yarn when I have an actual plan. The plan for the yarn may end up changing, but at least I know I have enough for a sweater.
I did some research on Ravelry, and came up with these three contenders:
Little Birds, by Ysolda Teague (from the 2008 Fall Twist Collective)
Owls by Kate Davies
Gathered Pullover by Hana Jason (from the Winter 2007 Interweave Knits)
Saturday I went back to Bainbridge and straight to Churchmouse, with a notepad full of yarn requrements. I priced things out, looked closely at colours, debated about whether I could afford 2 sweater quantities of yarn (answer: I couldn’t), and finally decided. Here is what I bought:
As you’ve probably guessed, I’m going to make the Little Birds sweater. The main body will be grey (Sholmit), the birds will be yellow (Scotch Broom), and the branches will be black (Charcoal). I even found lovely black and brass shank buttons at the store too! I love grey and yellow together so I’m very excited about the combination. I’m being very good and putting this yarn away until I finish my Wollmeise sweater though.
Then as I was checking out, the craziest thing happened to me. The lady ringing everything up asked if I wanted some sort of loyalty card or something. I said ‘No, I’m not local, I don’t know if I’ll make it back ever.’ She asked where I was from, so I told her I was from Alberta, Canada. She said ‘Oh you must meet our owner, she’s Canadian!’. So I paid, and got introduced to the owner, and we chatted for quite a while. Then it came up in conversation that we’d gone to the same university for the same program! And the theatre department is quite small, it’s not like the tons of people studying English or whatever else. We weren’t there at the same time, but some teachers who taught her were still teaching when I went through, and some of her classmates became teachers that taught me! It was a lot of fun to talk to her and find out all the odd things we had in common. And apparently another grad of the same theatre program is behind Handmaiden Yarns! Madness. But it is exciting to think that I too might be prepared for bustling career in the yarn industry, should I ever chose it.
After chatting I headed back to Mora for an ice cream cone for the
road ferry. Mint chocolate chip ice cream that is a lovely shade of white, rather than eye-searing green? Yes please!