Sunday, January 20, 2008

Yarn Crawl!

Saturday was such an adventure! A group of intrepid ladies - and one very faithful Husband - took the train from Seattle to Portland to prowl the Pearl District in search of yummy, yummy yarn. All I can say is MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

Up at o'dark-hundred to be at King Street Station by 6:30am. Only the lure of Portland yarn shops - where they don't have sales tax - would get me out of bed at 5:30am on a Saturday! I had heard there were about 25 to 30 of us crawling to Portland. In reality, there were about 50! Fifty wonderful people bundled in handknits and outfitted in comfy shoes raring to get on that train. Massive props MUST go to Charisa - probably the most incredibly organized person on the planet! She organized the train, contacted the yarn shops to negotiate discounts and freebies, created maps, and kept us all informed about the trip. She is a wonder, beyond doubt. This woman could have organized the invasion of Normandy!

My first train ride. It wasn't what I was expecting, really. A lot slower than I assumed it would be. I knew we would be making a lot of stops, but hey now. Tukwila, Auburn, Tacoma, Yelm, Olympia, Centrailia, Longview/Kelso, Vancouver and THEN Portland. The Amtrak Pacific Cascades is a nice trip - sometimes it goes along the water and there are some nice views - but this wasn't no Japanese bullet train. Still, it was three and a half hours, where you got to knit and chat, and chat and knit; meet new people and find out about Kristen's (sorry, no picture), knitting injury. She jammed a 10.5 dpn into her foot......lengthwise! Need I say more? ACK! So all of us pussies that gripe about stiff necks and sore wrists because of knitting can hush up! Kristen has Shed Blood for her art!!

We arrived at Portland, and off we went! There are three, count 'em THREE yarn shops within easy walking distance of the train. We broke off into more manageable groups; with Alysa (nearly as intrepid and smart as Charisa!) in the lead, we headed off to Dublin Bay Yarn. The folks there were great, and the owner's mom had made scones and cookies for us. Mom makes some wicked scones! She's a keeper. They had a lot of lovely stuff, a bunch of yarns imported from Ireland. And the Handmaiden! Oh the Handmaiden! I bought a single skein of's MINE, and nobody gets it but me! - my precious - I resisted the urge to buy something I had never seen from Handmaiden....Camelspin. Camel and silk amazingly hand-dyed the way only Ms. Handmaiden knows how. Beyond yummy! Next time, I doubt I will be as strong.

Off to Knit Knot Studio, run by Elizabeth Presiewicz - a lovely lady in a teeny tiny shop with some of the most decadent stuff around. Found a lovely skein of soft, browny, gold-flecked sparkly stuff. Elizabeth had a wonderful simple scarf/shawl pattern for this yarn (offically, Blue Heron Yarn Rayon Metallic in the chocolate colorway), that is now going to become one of the basics in my evening wear wardrobe. Now I just need to buy the dress to go with the yarn.

Then it was off to our final yarn stop, Knit/Purl, home of ShiBui yarn. Here I was introduced to the joys of ShiBui, Habu yarns (silk and bamboo, Yummy!) and the wall of KOIGU!!

This is the entirety of my yarn haul - Habu Bamboo Laceweight(lavender), 3 cones of Habu Silk Laceweight (mossy green), ShiBui fingering weight (the rust colored one - the green one I bought to go with it is hiding), the Blue Heron Rayon Metallic (chocolately), the Handmaiden (jewel colored hand-dyed); and the Zen Yarn Garden sock weight (pinkish/lavenderish hand-dyed). I guess I am knitting a lot of lace real soon.

Theoretically, I should not contemplate buying ANY yarn for quite a while......yeah, right.

Our final stop, was POWELL'S CITY OF BOOKS - otherwise known as "Mecca" to bibliophiles. Apparently, reading and knitting go together, because we ran into a lot of fellow-crawlers at Powell's. Amazingly enough, in the knitting books section! Go figure. This is the second time I have been to Powell's, and I have yet to make it to the second floor (unless you count the trip to the bathroom AND to take this picture.

Imagine.....this bookstore looks like this for three or four floors in a building an entire city block long! Next time, I'm starting on the top floor and working my way down!

Finally, walked, shopped and yarned out, we headed gratefully back to the train station for the return trip. Strangely enough, we were ALL back early. The Crawl was a blast and a half - but too much of a wonderful thing can wear you down.

So, ah, Charisa.....when's the next trip???


KnitterBunny said...

whimper. I want to go to the yarn stores. Shibui and Habu and Handmaiden, oh sigh.

Alison said...

I knit my son's fiancee a Camelspin scarf--it was the best way I could think of to tell her how thrilled I was that she's joining the family in May. Nice stuff.

--AlisonH at

Anonymous said...

I'm absolutely in love with that beautiful browny/gold yarn!! Congrats on the great yarn crawl.

(See? Now you have more than one comment on your blog!)


Anonymous said...

What a good time it was, eh? Thank you so much for sharing pictures. Although I lugged my big camera around for the day, I spend the majority of my time in the luxury of talking to people. OH, what a luxury it was. But I did not get many photos. Thank you for sharing! I look forward to next year! -- Charisa