Okay, time to wrap this up. My third day of shopping, I braved public transport (the bus system was completely easy and efficient) to go to the Alberta Arts District. It’s across the river and it was interesting to see something other than downtown, especially a more residential area.
First I went to Close Knit, which was a lovely cosy yarn store with a good selection of more mid-range yarns. Lots and lots of Cascade 220, which is a great workhorse yarn, as well as some more high-end brands. I really only wanted to buy a needle (I needed a 40″ size 6 with pointy tips for a lace shawl), but on my way to checkout I was seduced by the “40% off” rack and grabbed a ball of Schoppel Wolle XL Kleckse Cat Print, in the colorway Beerenauslese. (Still within my guidelines – on sale!)
excuse the overexposure – it was the best shot of the color
At the time, I had convinced myself that I would make a pair of socks with this – and I may yet do that, as I’ve never made socks that actually fit, and while I rarely wear socks (as opposed to tights/stockings or athletic socks), having a handknit pair would be pretty nice. However, I think I have other plans (see below).
I also went to a lovely little fabric store, Bolt. I did not fulfill my goal of fondling/figuring out knits, because they had knits, but not a vast selections. But (similar to my experience at Powell’s) it was great to see in person fabrics I’d only looked at online – and of course I bought some. (The best part is that it was day one of their Fall Sale and EVERYTHING was on sale.)
The top is I think a J.Crew fabric? (didn’t know such a thing existed), and the photo turns the dark print black, but it’s actually navy, and a beautifully light and breezy voile. The middle is a Robert Kaufman chambray (with colored flecks that don’t show up especially well here), and the bottom is an Anna Maria Horner crosshatch.
The sale was clearly a big thing – there were a number of customers getting their fabric cut when I first walked in, in a not very big space (but well organized and laid out). While my fabric was being cut, one of the women working (she sounded owner-y or manager-y) was talking about how her son (clearly little) wanted attention while she was preparing for the sale, and so how she had him hold the bolts of fabric on his lap while she put the sale price stickers on, and how she kept checking periodically to make sure his legs hadn’t fallen asleep as she piled more and more on.
Then I wandered up and down the street looking in all the shops, bought my husband a slice of banana cream pie at a pie bar, bought me a Belgian waffle at a waffle shop, and bused it back downtown.
The last full day, a friend of my husband’s joined him and me to re-explore the downtown knitting options, as she is also a knitter and hadn’t had a chance to do so yet. So we went back to Knit Purl, and…um…I bought more yarn (which is still beautifully wrapped so again, no picture). But hey, the husband picked it out, so that doesn’t count, right? It’s Tosh Merino Light in Citrus, which is the world’s greatest orange, and I also bought a printed copy of Olga Buraya-Kefelian’s Tabi Mittens, to make my husband a pair of incandescently orange lobster-claw mittens. (He loves tabi socks.) Even in the desert, it’s probably wise to have one pair of mittens.
We stopped at Pearl Fiber Arts, where my husband’s friend bought some yarn, and then the owner (seeing our Knit Purl bags) asked us if we were going to complete the circuit? Circuit? we asked, and found out there was a third downtown yarn store, not too much further north. Armed with directions, we marched ourselves along to Dublin Bay Knitting Company.
To make a long story short, this was yet another gorgeous yarn store, with yet more brands I’d never seen in person, as well as friendly and helpful staff. As befits the name, there were traditional Irish and British yarns, but also lots of more modern companies as well. I fell madly in love with everything Hedgehog Fibres and bought a skein of their sock yarn in the Typewriter colorway. As with the Schoppen Wolle, I thought, “Eh, I can use a pair of socks, right?” But once I got them home and put them together, I decided that a two-color shawl of some variety might be a much better way to put these two to use:
So that was my crafty tourism in Portland. There are at least three other yarn stores I didn’t even get to, as well as two fantabulous fabric superstores (on the edges of town, so harder to get to on vacation) – so now I absolutely want to move to Portland, where there is lots of yarn to be had, and lots of opportunity to wear garments made from it! (And fabric, too, but you can wear that in the desert without difficulty.)