a week on the west coast
My trip out west was amazing.
Churchmouse Yarns & Teas on Bainbridge Island is a short ferry ride from Seattle. I arrived as the sun was setting and was whisked across Puget Sound by Kit and John, the Churchmouse head honchos.
This picture completely captures what I love about Kit & John. They're amazing people.
What I don't have pictures of is my hostess, Laura, and her amazing house. Laura is the designated [for good reason] hostess for travelling teachers to the shop. She's probably sick of people telling her she should run a B&B, but her hospitality is absolutely top notch. As are her scones. This is where she lives:
It's more amazing than this picture can capture. Thank you for sharing your home with me, Laura!
Churchmouse itself is a rare destination shop...worth taking the ferry over to and spending the day at. They had all the stuff I love to drool over, including some yarn you can't get elsewhere. Their tea selection is delectable, too.
And next door was Mora, the place with the most delicious ice cream I've ever had in my life. The swiss chocolate is now a living legend in my taste memory. "chocolate ice cream with chocolate liqueur, shaved chocolate and swirled dulce de leche." Not just chocolate, but Chocolate proper, rich and perfect. Oh, sigh.
The classes went well and we had a great time. Thanks to those who took a half day off work to come spend the morning with me and Handmaiden!
I also got a peek at Seattle, thanks to Kit and John -- just enough to entice me back for a visit again soon. And the fish throwing thing? Not so much. No fish were thrown and the fish dudes were rather cranky about all the tourists hanging about the stall, not buying stuff. I guess I can't blame them. Instead, we went to the Pink Door and had iced Americanos. A fine day.
Portland started out quiet and built to a pleasant frenzy. Portland Airport has the distinction, IMO, of having the prettiest parking garage, thanks to a lot of draping live greenery. Oregon is clearly lush and alive and I rather loved it right away.
I was whisked from the airport, past the brand-new Ikea, to the fairylike home of the owners of Knit/Purl. Seriously -- at the bottom of a hill, gently kissed in moss, we drive up to their little fairy ranch house, tucked in for the evening. Darcy and Don were most gracious, saw how pooped I was, and let me retire early so I could recharge for the next day's classes.
The next day, Portland proper. This town? Man o man, Cari picked well -- it's just got a really cool vibe and I loved it pretty much instantly. Vintage homes, hilly streets, Vancouver-like weather and foliage, lots of character. NW23rd street is still calling to me [come back! shop here! we have cool stuff!], but with little extra time, I kept my explorations to the 11th street area where Knit/Purl resides. You've already read about my linen-fabric binge. I also am now deeply in love with Stumptown coffee and Powell's books.
Meanwhile, the K/P crew were excellently cool, with special props to Theresa and Kalani, who I just love. The class was HUGE [we couldn't say no to all the people that wanted just to sneak in] and boisterous. I do a hands-on thingy near the end where people watch me work a row of the shawl, using all the tricks I've taught them. It was especially useful here with so many people in such a small room!
We then went across the street for the usual Thursday-night post-S&B nosh -- the happy hour menu includes a huge burger for $1.95. Seriously. And it was delicious. One could question the wisdom of trying to sleep with a stomach full of burger, but I didn't care. I'd saved dinner for it and was starving.
Portland, I'm coming back next May. Can't wait! Also, note for flyers: PDX has free wifi. Yes, Portland rocks hard.
After a crazy-fun day with Portland's knitters, I was off to San Francisco the next day. Airports became a blur. I just kept pinching myself -- where was I and was this really happening?
So I come down the escalator and there is Nathania, one of the triumvirate of partners behind Purlescence, just a shortish drive from SF proper. Nat took me the scenic way home and it was beautiful.
She fed me dinner [oh, yum - perfect angel hair with olive oil, garlic, parmesan and tiny fresh tomatoes from the farmers' market that morning] and then we hung out at the shop and knitted with her peeps.
The next two days we had great classes and knitting in the shop. I was introduced to the secret In-n-Out burger menu [animal style for me, baby!] and feel deeply in love. Peet's coffee, yum. An amazing whirlwind.
Monday, I was kindly escorted around San Francisco [after my first trip on the BART] by Patricia, who is the lady behind the Sea Socks cruises.
Look at that lace!
The big score of the day was the perfect scooter jacket for me from a shop that was closed. Seriously. I'd been directed to the SF Scooter Center [thanks, Carol!], and didn't bother to check their hours. But when we arrived there on Monday morning, the owners were outside poisoning their lungs and the shop door was open. They didn't mind us sneaking in.
I came home with this:
It's a Corazzo hoody in my size. Neoprene exterior, fleece interior, with waist shaping -- a girl's jacket! They'd upgraded the elbow and shoulder armor, but it had seen a few too many trips to the floor under people's feet and was F.I.L.T.H.Y. So I got it for much less than retail. I've washed it twice and it looks pretty fabulous. Thanks to Patricia for enabling, and then listening to me squee about it for the next hour.
[for anyone who cares, I quickly mention that the Tour Master Trinity jacket that I'd preordered has been returned. It's not nicely finished, looks cheap and didn't fit at all, even though I'd checked measurements before choosing size.]
Tuesday was play day for the Purlescence girls and me. You've already seen my score at Artfibers, and Nathania, Sandi and Chloe [and late arrival Kathy] did similar damage. Chloe has been having a rough time of it lately, and decided the perfect thing to end the day would be a visit to Ghirardelli Square for ice cream sundaes.
l to r: chloe, nathania, kathy, sandi
She was absolutely right. Proof here.
I loved meeting Sandi's family & rabbits, spending time with Chloe and Kathy and getting to be 15 again with Nathania. A perfect ending to a crazy, exciting, exhausting and educational week.
Hugs to everyone I met out west. You are all outstanding people and I can't wait to come and see you again!