By the time the end of last week rolled around I was seriously in need of a vacation. Erin, my beloved assistant manager had been out of town all week, meaning that when the store was open (and before and after, of course) I was there. So I looked on our trip to Washington State to Kevin's cousin Bethany's wedding as a sort of mini-vacation. But first there was work to be done. As stated in my previous post, Birch, she was finished well in advance of the deadline. I wore her to work on Thursday morning and revelled in the beautiful pink softness. Afraid of snagging her I took her off once I was at the store and pulled on my zipperless Ribby Cardi instead.
As the morning passed I worked on finishing my 4th of July sock. I started this pair at a 4th of July party and vowed to finish them by Labor Day. I'm halfway done, at least. Kate made me pose for this silly picture. The colors are kind of washed out by the flash, but you get the gist of what the Trekking XXL colorway is. This was one of the gifts from my Secret Pal III.
Later in the afternoon the UPS man arrived with 6 huge boxes from KFI. More fall stuff! Some Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, Cashmerino Chunky and Cashmerino Super Chunky came in as well as a whole bunch of Noro, including Aurora. Noro with metallic. Oh baby! None of it is out on the floor yet though. We have to do some massive reorganization before there will be a place to put it. That's one of the reasons we have our White Sale happening this weekend. All cotton yarn (50% cotton content or more) will be 15% off all weekend! Woohoo!
Later Thursday night Kevin picked me up in my minivan, which was already packed and ready to go, and we headed straight out from the store. I changed into my fleecey jammies and rode in the front seat, knitting on my Slytherin House sweater in the dark. It's Rowan CashSoft DK and let me tell you, knitting it in the dark is an experience! It's smoother than butter as it slides through your fingers. I napped off and on between bouts of knitting. We'd just gotten back out on the road after a pit stop in Dunsmuir when we heard a sound. Ka-chunk! Not the kind of sound you want to hear in the dead of night in the middle of nowhere. Another sound took its place: thup, thup, thup, thup, thup. Something had happened to the right rear tire.
We pulled off the highway and sure enough, there, embedded in the tire was a big chunk of metal, about an inch and a half in diameter. We dug the spare out of the floor in my car (Honda's engineering really is amazing) and found the jack.
Kevin took charge. I took pictures. Here he's gotten the spare on and we're almost ready to hit the road again. By morning we'd reached Roseburg, Oregon, where we'd set a rendezvous point with his parents. We met them at Elmer's for breakfast - German pancake! - and told them of our late night adventure. After breakfast we found the local Les Schwab and bought a replacement tire. An hour later we were on the highway again, Kevin sleeping this time. We were making great time. All I could think of was getting to our hotel near Centralia when suddenly there were flashing lights behind me. I pulled over and got my first speeding ticket since I was 18. Appropriately chagrined, I used cruise control for the rest of the time I was driving, never going faster than 70.
To say I was upset is a terrible understatement. Between the tire and the ticket we'd added nearly $300 in expenses to the trip. I was beginning to hate the trip. "You know what you need?" Kevin asked. "No," I replied sullenly. "A yarn shop." He pulled out his browser equipped phone and as we traversed the Willamette Valley he searched for yarn in Washington. He found a couple places near where we were headed. One of them was a small farm, Mountain Niche Farm, which raises Navajo-Churro, Shetland and Leicester Longwool sheep. I called Kimberlee and made an appointment for later in the afternoon. I dropped Kevin off at the church to rehearse the song he was singing for the wedding and headed off the beaten trail in search of fiber. Not only did I get to meet some amazingly cute sheep, I learned a lot about shearing and preparing fiber for spinning. Kimberlee also showed me some of her amazing weaving. It was delightful and just what I needed to rescue my trip from ruin. I returned to pick Kevin up wearing a big smile and toting a bag of two-ply Shetland-alpace blend yarn, enough for a shawl.
We also visited Evie's Yarn in Longview. Longview is a small town and Evie's clientele also shops a lot at Walmart. Her selection is reflective of her customers, though she has brought in some interesting things like Annie Blatt, Cherry Tree Hill and a few other little gems. I bought some Wool in the Woods Gold Dust (rayon/cotton with a touch of gold metallic) in the Lottery colorway. This was one of the companies I saw at TNNA that I fell in love with, but haven't yet ordered for the store.
And then there was Saturday. Kevin had to be at the church early, but we'd discovered another promising looking yarn shop right in Chehalis, where our hotel was. Again I dropped him off and went in search of bliss. I arrived at Yarn & Things (545 N. Maret Blvd. Suite #5, Chehalis, WA 98532 360-748-2134) to find half a dozen people crowded in the front of the little shop, spinning and knitting to beat the band. One gal was using a drop spindle, another was carding fleece. Still others were treadling their wheels. One man sat at the table against the back wall knitting. The shop was a delight. The selection again served a middle income demographic, but care had been put into the selection. There was a tad bit of Noro, some Wool in the Woods, Cascade, Skacel, Brown Sheep and other nice yarns. There was a good selection of patterns. I picked up a copy of Debbie Bliss' book for Noro that I've had trouble getting for the store. And then I spied the Rhapsody Rayon Chenille from Rainbow Mills. It practically leapt into my arms. Both hanks of it in color 893. It's heaven in a skein.
The ladies all admired Birch (worn over a black skirt and a pale pink tank for the wedding) and we talked shop for a while. I told them about the trip out to Mountain Niche and they got very excited. I put them in contact and I hope it'll be the start of some collaboration. And then I learned to spin. One of the ladies had an Ashford Joy single treadle and some Shetland roving. I sat down at the wheel and half a minute later I was spinning. "Good, you know how to draft already," she said and I sent a silent blessing out to my friend Sarah who taught me how to park and draft with my drop spindle while we were in Maryland. I'm now seriously lusting after a spinning wheel. And I can't wait to spin again.
The wedding was lovely. Bethany and Bryan were a darling couple and Kevin sang beautifully. We sat through the ceremony holding hands, giving each other meaningful squeezes, knowing that before long we'll be saying our vows. Then Sunday morning we were up at 2am for the long drive home. Happily we made it without further incident and in time to spend a relaxing evening together, the night before he started his new job. This morning he was off to school and I'm nearing the end of The Shawl. What a perfect vacation.