Good Company

Going to a yarn event is so much more than the sum of its parts.  Sure there’s yarn, classes, events, and a whole lot of knitters.  And those are all wonderful elements, but what I’m talking about is that intangible feeling, the collective excitement of its attendees, the electric frisson that happens when you’re in a room full of people who just get it.  We all love yarn and making thing with it, and there’s no need to explain why we do what we do. There is both a thrill and a peacefulness brought about by being with your people.

Marketplace line, day 1

Blog/swap friend Carmen!

PDXKnitterati, soon to be featured designer at Stash!

Sock Summit was just this sort of place, made even more exciting for me when I kept running into people I know, either in real life or through blogging.  These connections are very real to me, and I always enjoy filling up my knitterly cup, so to speak.  In addition to getting to spend gobs of time with Stripedsocks who flew out from Connecticut for the event, I got to connect with Michelle, Carmen, a few blog readers (hi again!), and of course Cookie A. and Stephanie.  Yeah, we’re like this.  Especially after Stephanie accidentally stepped on my foot and said “Sorry, sweetie.” I mean, we’re practically best friends now.

And then there was the yarn.  Goodness, there was so much lovely yarn it was difficult to know where to go first.  Fortunately, I had a list of dyers for the shop that I wanted to talk to face to face, so that’s how I stayed focused.  Mostly.  After conducting the yarn business, I was a little stunted as to what yarn to buy for personal use.   I needed to pick out three colors for the Westknits mystery knit along. Then I saw the Catkin shawl on a knitter and knew I had to make one, which led to a handful of skeins from Hazel Knits.  Everyone was wearing beautiful hand knit shawls, by the way.  If I didn’t know better, I would have thought it was Shawl Summit. There were the odd moments when a certain someone dared me into buying a wee turkish spindle.  Guess I’ll just have to keep practicing my drop spindling, eh?  Fairly restrained purchasing for me, but I also know there is about to be a whole lot of yarn coming in to the shop, so I didn’t want to go too crazy.

A Verb for Keeping Warm booth

Hazel Knits swatch towers

All in all, Sock Summit 2011 was a wonderful experience.  Soaking up all that knitterly energy, taking classes and hearing industry legends like Tina Newton and Clara Parkes speak, eating good food and knitting as much as I wanted; all were wonderful ways to spend a weekend.  Now it’s back to life, back to reality, which I am all the more ready to embrace after a delicious retreat like this.



I stayed up late one night last week to finish up this shawl, tucking in the ends and blocking it the next day.  I finished it with almost a week to spare before Sock Summit, and have been dying to share it with you ever since.  Timing (and styling) never quite lined up over the weekend, so we’re just now getting to it.

What a fun knit!  Chadwick is classic Stephen West, with its colorwork, assymetry, and simple stitch patterns.  It was easy to work on while chatting at knit night or watching over a busy toddler; it looks a lot more complicated than it actually is. At one point I was juggling 3 balls of yarn, which got a little tricky, but overall it was great fun.  You can see all the details on my project page.


During the photo shoot I played around with all of the different ways to wear this shawl.  Typically I like to wear my shawls bandit-style (with the point in the front, ends wrapped around the neck), but I think that really hides the features of this one.  I’ll have to go traditional with this decidedly untraditional shawl.

So happy to have this finished for Sock Summit!  I know that in most parts of the US having a new wool shawl for an event in July sounds ludicrous, but around here it’s necessary.  Mornings and evenings can be a bit chilly, and a small shawl over one’s shoulders is just the thing. Plus, what knitter doesn’t want to wear something hot off the needles around other knitters?

I’m heading off to the mighty summit tomorrow, picking up my bestie at the airport in the evening.  This is my first real amount of time spent away from PB, and I am filled with a mixture of emotions.  Elation, excitement, trepidation, and a touch of worry.  Everyone will be fine, I know this.  And in a sense, this time apart feels like a bit of a trial run for when I start working at the shop. Granted, I won’t be gone for a 4 day stretch very often, but it will go a long way for all of us to know that we can function outside of our normal routines.  Besides, I get yarn and she gets swimming lessons.  Win win!

Please come say hi if you see me running around in Portland, I love meeting new people.  And for those of you staying home I will have a full report and lots of photos to share upon return.



Stash Enhancement

I’ve been keeping a secret from you.  Well, not a secret so much as a tender, fragile dream that has slowly grown stronger and bigger over time.  My dream?

To own a yarn shop.

Thanks to the encouragement of my incredibly supportive friends and family, as well as that of my online family (Kathy, I’m winking at you) I am now ready to make the big leap into the unknown.

I am opening a yarn shop!

Stash will be opening in Corvallis Oregon this fall.  The shop will feature yarn, accessories, and artwork created in the Pacific Northwest.  In addition to the retail yarn business, the store will also be part gallery and part gathering space where classes, knit nights, gallery openings, and special yarny events will be held.  It is my intention to create a community gathering place (family-friendly, too!) where people can come together to share knowledge, celebrate each other’s work, and just have a good time in the presence of other creative spirits.  And, yarn.  Lots of beautiful, soulful yarn from talented spinners and dyers from our neck of the woods.  To quote the Contessa, “How bad can that be?”.

There has been a lot of business happening behind the scenes these last couple of months, as well as much navel gazing and contemplating the enormous shift in lifestyle from stay at home mama to entrepreneurial mama.  We have been working closely as a family to come up with a business model and childcare/playschool opportunities that offer flexibility and maximum time together.  It’s important to me to remain very much a part of PB’s daily life, to be able to take her to some of her favorite activities, and to welcome her into my new workspace. I think we’ve about got it figured, which is a huge relief.

And now I’m at a really fun stage in the process: looking for a location and selecting vendors.  I’ll be at Sock Summit taking a peek in person at some of my potential vendors’ newest yarns and colorways.  This is the biggest stash enhancement expedition of my knitting life, and a dream come true!

Look to this space for updates on the progress of the shop.  If you’re so inclined, join the Stash Ravelry group.  And, if you are one of the talented, soulful spinners, dyers, designers, artists, or crafters making beautiful things in the PNW, please email me at sonia AT stashlocal DOT com.  I’d love to take a look at your work.

Let the adventure begin!

Busy Days

It’s been a whopper of a week around here.  Monday I was sick and grumpy.  The day ended with me trying to pull the bed away from the wall so I could plug in the laptop charger, which resulted in me accidentally breaking the bed frame.  I about lost it, and said as much to Sweetie who quietly went in and fixed everything with a ratchet strap and a clean set of sheets while I sat on the kitchen floor whimpering.

Tuesday we spent the entire day in the hospital between 3 different appointments for PB.  She’s fine (her condition has improved yet needs monitoring), but it was a long, slightly frustrating day.  She’s a really resilient kid, and in between behind held down on tables she was able to get excited about playing with toys and exploring the doctor’s offices.  We saw some pretty sick little ones, and I feel so very thankful that PB is healthy; one day at the hospital is nothing in the scheme of things.

While we were at the hospital, I got word that my dear little sister had gone into labor and was in her own hospital about to give birth!  It went smoothly, and I have a sweet little niece to knit for!

Another (slightly less exciting) accomplishment was finishing my spring tee.  I did the last couple of rounds and weaved in ends last night, and now she’s soaking in a bath waiting to get blocked out.  We’re also pug-sitting a little guy named Byron this week, who isn’t quite sure why he can’t chew on all the toys.  Busy week!

Today is sunny and predicted to be in the low 70s.  I think there will be some knitting and gardening time in the backyard while PB plays in her new “tax refund” cottage.

Oh, and registration opens for Sock Summit today; hopefully I can get into a fun class or two.  Anyone planning on attending?