|My 12 yr old: "Mom, is this your dream come true? Coffee|
tea, AND knitting?"
The spinners, dyers and local yarn shop owners are some of the local faves to those who love wool. To those who revel in the amazing S and Z shapes formed by hand spun yarns. To those who know what plies are and how they dance together to help shape knitted fabrics. To those who think of walls and walls of yarn when they hear the word, "epic..." You catch my meaning.
|Inside Knit Purl|
Last weekend, Portland was the site of the annual Rose City Yarn Crawl. And it was epic (insert visions of yarn mountains here...). It was four days of knitted bliss across the city.
There were 19 participating LYS's opening their doors, providing free patterns, giveaways (unbelievable baskets of goodies!) and general goodwill. The stores could not have been this busy even if it were Christmas. There were people in every corner of the tiniest of shops in this great event to promote LYS's citywide.
To give you an idea of the popularity of knitting and other fiber arts in Portland, consider this: There are about 10 LYS's in approximately a 3-mile radius around the Hawthorne area alone, not to mention that there were 3 more within walking distance of each other in the Pearl District in downtown. There were also several outlying shops--which means they were a few miles away, but still close--that were well worth checking out.
The Yarn Crawl event was four days long--Thursday to Sunday--and if you work out the math for time spent driving, time spent in each shop, time spent chit-chatting with other knitters and time spent in front of the fabulous wood stove at Happy Knits on Hawthorne just knitting as if you lived there amidst the books and yarns, it is a wonder that anyone could have seen all 19 shops in any significant way.
|Seeking energy and inspiration in the bottom of an Americano|
Tiny Tina (as we like to call her) and I decided that this was the perfect excuse to do some serious--if accidental--shopping while posing as knitters who just want to support our LYS's. We only had a few hours free on Saturday, five to be exact, so we made the best of it.
|Happy Knits' storefront on Hawthorne Blvd|
We compromised our plan containing delusions of grandeur to be more like a vision of reality. We decided on five yarn shops that tickled our fancies for one reason or another. I had always dreamed of visiting Knit Purl and, after spending a day sitting next to the manager of Happy Knits (named Melinda) at Sock Summit, I really wanted to go there, too. Tina was more open. She had not really ventured out to the LYS's and was glad to go anywhere.
|Tina grins at the thought of yarn|
After a quad-grande-americano-with-room-and-2-sweet-and-lows from Starbucks early that morning, we hit it.
Setting foot inside Close Knits, our first pick, we stopped short. The tiny store was wall to wall people. We paused, taking it all in. In the far corner, there was an antique table set up with examples of a Portland designer's work with exquisite vintage belts, hats and gloves. We could tell there was also a book for sale on the table, too. Nearer to us was a knitting area with a charming golden-toned rug and vintage overstuffed chairs. The knitting area was surrounded with samples hanging from tall shelves of yarn. Glorious yarn.
|Smell the yarn...|
From that moment on, it was a whirlwind of sock yarns, wildly varied hand dyes, single plies with gentle color changes, bubbly looking double or 4-ply yarns...laceweights, clever yarn names like "Wicked" (I bought that one) and just all around good will from so many knitters.
Everyone was orderly and friendly, in spite of the obvious revelry of so many other knitters who occasionally (and absentmindedly) bumped into each other while dreaming alone in such a crowded room. Such an encounter would each time prompt a story, a shared experience.
After a day of bonding with absolute strangers, it felt good to know that one was not alone in the world. That people like those on Ravelry are real. And they are really nice.
|The FOX Tower in downtown Portland|
As we plopped down on cushy couches and put our feet up, it hit us: we had not really died after all. We were hungry. This made us a little sad because it meant the time had almost come for us to end our journey. We headed across the street to McMenamin's Barley and Brew Pub, defeated by the restrictions of mortals. There really was time, hunger and a life to get back to.
As we sat eating burgers and fries, we listened to conversations all around us, and quickly realized they were knitting conversations, that there were still other knitters among us.
What a day. What a great, great day.