Sunday, July 30, 2006

Just a quick addendum to the post below; if any owners have a comment to add, or want to invite me to their shop if it's a little further afield and know how to get there using mass transit or my legs, please email or comment. I do like to give owners a chance to respond to reviews. And of course, it goes without saying these are all my opinions.

Portland Shop reviews, part 1

I'm trying to hit as many yarn shops in Portland as possible, while still giving a fairly in -depth review. You can find lists of shops and websites, and individual shop reviews, but that's a lot of legwork (mousework?) for a relatively simple request.

Portland has a LOT of yarn shops; I'm considering moving here, and I must admit, that plethora is swaying my judgment just a smidge. Today I visited three: Knit/Purl, on 1101 SW Alder was the first. In terms of location, I love it, because it's very close to Josephine's Dry Goods, a Portland staple sewing store with an amazing collection of buttons (I bought some). The shop is not huge, but airy and pleasant, with lots of windows and excellent lighting. Knit/Purl carries a good amount of harder to find yarns, especially Fleece Artist (thrummed mitten kits and BFL, no sock yarn), Handmaiden (Sea Silk), Koigu, Lorna's Laces (nearly all the lines in a good variety of colors), and their own line Shibui. The Shibui sock yarn is especially nice; it's solid, but a kettle sort of solid with rich colors and a soft base (the same base as medium Socks that Rock and Koigu). It costs about the same, however. They do (or did?) carry Blue Moon Fiber Arts, but pickings were scarce since it was all 40% off. I did manage to score a hank of their 100% silk laceweight in Farmhouse and two skeins of semi-solid Sock Candy for pretty cheap, but it didn't seem as though they would be getting more. The shop is a high-end one, but not necessarily in a bad way. The service was still VERY good (and I'm young and wasn't particularly well-dressed). One of the girls offered to wind my 1200 yards of laceweight silk, and when it tangled, she spent the rest of the day untangling it. Some places won't wind lace at all, so I was really happy with this service. (Of course, on a busy day, you may have to wait a while.) The yarns were not overpriced which happens in so many urban shops, and even though they carry almost all higher-end yarns, they're all of good quality - cashmere, merino, silk, alpaca, angora, etc. I would definitely recommend this shop if you have a good yarn-shopping budget. There's also a room downstairs that has yarn that's on sale. Today, it was hanks of llama dyed by Blue Moon. :)

Next, I hit Dublin Bay, at 1227 NW 11th. It's at the VERY end of 11th, so don't give up if you don't see it right away. Inside they have a big-screen tv and comfy chairs for anyone with you who doesn't "get" yarn shopping (I had one today, and it was appreciated). They carried most of the RYC line, some Fleece Artist (Kid Aran, some Sea Silk), lots of Cherry Tree Hill (supersock, baby loop, ribbon, alpaca lace, etc.), Rooster Almerino, which is mostly just found in the UK and compares to Cashmerino, and lots of Regia, among other things. The shop itself had a rareified air to it; very quiet except for the tv and the click of needles. The woman at the counter smiled at me, but I have admit.. I prefer to be talked to beyond just a "hello" and back to the needles we go! I walked around for about 10 minutes and left. No "what are you looking for?" or anything like that. I just found it too quiet. I prefer yarn shops where people talk and laugh, music plays, etc. If you really would like some peace (or it was a slow day for her) this shop may suit you better. I would have preferred that they carry the sock yarn by Fleece Artist since they carry other yarns by the brand, and they had room in the cubicles. All together, I wasn't crazy about it. They do offer coffee and chocolates from 2-4 on Sundays, so perhaps that would be a good time to visit for the first time, rather than right before they closed. They also had a good selection of the RYC books and good quality baby yarn, FYI.

Lastly, I hit Mabel's Cafe and Knittery, on 3041 SE Division, across the river. In a house, with a coffee bar that also serves beer and wine (good pinot noir, btw), Mabel's carries a small but well-chosen selection of wools, cottons, alpaca, and most of Debbie Bliss' yarns. There are paintings on the walls by local artists (I wanted the large cream house painting, but couldn't afford the still-reasonable price tag.) There are couches and tables, good for a spouse or friend who'd rather take a book or journal along and sip while you shop. The woman at the counter (who I am not sure was the owner, but she seemed very comfortable so perhaps so) greeted me several times throughout my shopping. She was never pushy or nosy, just pleasant if I had a question. They carry a good collection of Manos and Manos Stria, Bartlett Yarns, Plymouth Alpaca (Brushed, Suri Merino, and Grande) and lots of Opal, including solids! I liked the place so much that I bought 4 skeins of Debbie Bliss Pure Silk in 12 (Poppy/Coral) to make something dressy and beautiful. I love that Mabel's has long hours, open til 9 pm Monday-Thursday, and til 8 pm Friday-Sunday! The number of tables and the cafe would make it my choice for an after work SNB. If you're in the the area, check it out, though if you only get to hit one LYS you might skip this one since the selection is more limited.

Tomorrow: Hopefully, I'll be heading to Yarn Garden (if I can figure out how to get there via mass transit), Abundant Yarn & Dyeworks, Lint, and Knit Knot (though I must admit I've heard that Knit Knot is quite snotty, I hope to find out for myself and report back!)

Leavin' on a jet plane...

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

In case you haven't already heard, Interweave is having a hurt book sale right now! The pages always load slowly, and things sell out, but a good deal can be found. I waited and watched til the site went live this morning, and got a copy of The Art of Fair Isle Knitting and Alden Amos' Book of Handspinning for half price. The shipping is slow, but I consider it worth it. (Now if only someone hadn't beaten me to that sock book...!) The link is here.

I also got a copy of Yoshitomo Nara's newest book for $22. I've been watching it for a while, and when I found a copy in an NZ bookshop for $100, I figured I'd never get it. But it seems it was remaindered by some dumb store, so I got it cheap!

ALSO, 4 Rowan mags for $20. Sick, I know. Number 30 I already have, but Sara wants it, so I'll send it to her.

I'm leaving for Oregon tomorrow, and won't be back til August 5. I hope all my new books (and yarn, did I mention the 12 skeins of KP Main Line I bought for a song?) is waiting for me when I get back! Maybe I can use my Main Line for the Rapunzel Jacket! I have some white KSH that I could hold with the Main Line, for a softer look, too.

Ah well. Once the office is done I can actually use my camera etc. again!

secret pal confusion

Monday, July 24, 2006

I've been keeping up with the blogs related to the SP8 exchange, and I have to say, it bothers me that so many people complain openly about their pals. Not that there aren't slackers out there, and yes, I've been blessed with great pals both times I've participated. (By the way, pal, your tissues came in VERY handy on the 15th, when we all moved out. SO many tears needed drying, and cute tissues make even the weepiest girls smile.) Anyway, as much as I love seeing what everyone gets from their SPs, I do think it sometimes sets a standard that is unreachable by other SPs. I know my first round, I was not the best pal. I tried to find things I thought my pal would like (it seemed she did) but I did not understand AT ALL about presentation! Cardboard box, check. Yarny gifts, check. No tissue, nothing. My ears burn at the thought now! Anyway, my pals have set me straight, sending me sweetly packaged gifts.

I guess my point is that not all pals "get it" right away, and rather than complain in a public forum, even anonymously, contact your hostess. I know it made me feel bad, and wonder if I hadn't sent my pal enough emails, gifts, etc. Her final package is also very nice (a cashmere theme, y'all. To atone for my previous pal sins). I also worry other people will see it and wonder why their pal sent them something other than cashmere. *sigh*

At least I have a wonderful, kind pal (whose candle I am burning right this second, to air out the "new paint" smell) who reminds me that SP is still a good thing.


Monday, July 17, 2006

So, Governor's School is over. The paycheck is about halved, since I used some of it to pay down my old cc bill (from college. *sigh*) Now it is down to about $200, which I think I can pay off pretty easily by doing odd jobs here and there. BUT, the best part? My parents told me they did not want me to work right now. At all. (I have never been without a job for the last 8 years!) I have 3-4 months of uninterrupted knitting time. Which is good, since I have a massive stash. The only bad thing is not having my own money coming in. I am still teaching privately on the side, which is about $20-30 a week, and I think Meredith at the Knaughty Knitter will need my help from time to time as well. Either way, the remainder of my summer paycheck will go unspent til I go to NY in November. (Flying Fingers and MOMA bookstore, here I come!)

Since I'll be making so little money, I figured it would be a good time to stashalong. The mod of that list is on vacation, but that won't stop me! Here's a list of OTN and upcoming projects featuring stash yarn:

OTN: Pam (towards the bottom) from Rowan 30 in Rowan Wool Cotton (Poster Blue). I LOVE this yarn; it is SO soft and squooshy. I've started on the sleeve, to get used to all the cable patterns, but thus far no problems. Two repeats above the cuff. I know this project will take a while, but if I take TOO long I'll get lost and stuck and never finish it. I'm shooting to have it done and assembled in time for winter (late september/october down here.)

Two pairs of socks are in progress right now. One is Fleece Artist Merino in Wildflower. I'd reccomend this seller for all your FL sock yarn needs. She ships faster than anyone else I've used, and her shipping is comparatively cheap! The other pair is in Jojoland fingering. It stripes similarly to Noro, so you must give up the idea of matching socks. But that's never been a problem for me!

I've got a few projects laid out to start when I finish something else. I guess I do like to have a couple things going at once - usually socks and something else - so for socks, I have a choice of Great Adirondack Soxie in Rosewood (no picture, but it's a beautiful colorway of plum, blue, chocolate and cream), Opal Petticoat in 1291, and some varying shades of KPM and KPPPM. I have some other Opal and things too, but I prefer softer sock yarn! ;) I haven't counted, but I imagine I have sock yarn for about 15 pairs.

As for other projects? The Icarus shawl in some kind of mohair (I have many kinds and colors, though I'm leaning towards white KSH for an angelic look), matching sweaters for my niece and nephew out of All Seasons Cotton, a ruffled, beaded scarf from KSH, a tank top from some cashsoft 4ply... and that's just the beginning.

Like the stashalong, I'll be allowing myself one free day a month. This month I'm saving for when I'm in Portland (no sales tax). But I'm looking for certain things, since money's tight. Koigu to add to my collection (I hope to make a sweater or shawl from odds and ends) and 2 balls KSH in blushes for aforementioned scarf. THis entry's getting long, so I'll go, but I'll be back with pictures of all the things I knit during Governor's School!


Thursday, July 13, 2006

Did I mention I'll miss GSFTA, but I will not miss having to be mean? I don't enjoy it, yet when one of the kids does something totally boneheaded, I can't ignore it. It's my job!! Last night I had to bang on the door of the same two rooms three times each afer 11 pm to tell them to PLEASE GO TO SLEEP BECAUSE I DON'T WANT TO SEND THEM HOME! And then today a kid just doesn't show up for final critique, expects us to just call him. (Apparently he is too sick to come, and must stay in. Note that he did not, you know, CALL US EARLIER, or tell his friend/roommate/girlfriend/whatever, just doesn't show up.) Then when we call his room he doesn't answer. Then he shows up in a class he's not even supposed to BE in, and comes to me fussing like it's my fault and he's going home and boo hoo. I like him and all, but part of college is being responsible for yourself. *sigh*

Anyways, I am still knitting away on Pam from Rowan 30, though it's going slowly. If I remember, I'll take a picture cuz it really is a gorgeous design. ;)

Also, I am going to Phoenix and then Portland on the 26th and will be gone 10 days. I'll make sure to send my pal's last gift, and I have to say, I'm jealous of her! Heh heh... I struggled with wanting to keep her gift for myself, but I won't.

New York, New York

Monday, July 03, 2006

So my mom and dad visited on Sunday! They took me out to Don Pablo's, where the waiter was super cool and knew all the dishes that were veggie/vegan, even though he wasn't himself. That's unusual in a small town like M'boro. Anyway, I have never been to New York, despite the fact that some family lives there and my mom grew up there. But now she's decided she wants to go over Thanksgiving, or pretty close anyway, and has decided to take me. YEAH!! She even brought me a NY travel guide, tho I'm trying to find one for ALL the art museums and things as I'm sure there are tons.

I've not felt like knitting lately. Last night I got blitzed for the first (and last) time. I hate throwing up and I threw up all morning. I hate drinking other than with a meal, and will never do that again!