Friday, January 21, 2011

Still Blinking

It's been a crazy week, and I've only just managed to get a chance to think about my vacation last week. I've been home since Monday evening from a short break in Los Angeles. I must say: If you can manage to get away for winter sunshine, it is TOTALLY worth it, even if it is a bit depressing coming back to the cold.

We left last Friday and drove through blowing snow and scary roads to get to the airport, where we ditched our winter coats and ran from the parking lot into departures. From there, we walked around in light jackets and t-shirts until we boarded the plane and landed in L.A. on Friday afternoon. We emerged into the sunshine, blinking and smiling, boarded the rental car shuttle, and shortly after that, we were driving to our hotel. We checked in, hubby checked his email, then it was straight down to the pool. Ahhh...

Later that evening, we decided to head over to nearby Manhattan Beach and get dinner at a pub we'd discovered last year during our last visit. And you know what else is in Manhattan Beach? twist, yarns of intrigue!

"There's a yarn shop in Manhattan Beach. Can we go to it?" I said to hubby.

"Ok, let me look it up," hubby said, picking up his snazzy new smartphone.

Whoa, that was easy, I thought to myself. I had warned him that there were two yarn shops I wanted to check out while we were there, but I always feel a little guilty dragging him around to them.

Thanks to hubby's good navigating, we arrived at twist, where he decided to wait in the car for me. I promised I wouldn't be long, and I really wanted to make sure I wasn't.

I walked into the shop, realized I was the only one there on Friday evening, and turned to the lady behind the counter and announced, "Hi. I'm on vacation from Canada, and I'm looking for yarn that is unique and that I can't get at home." She smiled at me, and I knew I'd met someone who knew what I needed. Her excitement over the yarn was infectious, not that I wasn't excited already! It's always wonderful to meet someone who understands my infatuation with the stuff.

Twenty minutes later, I had four skeins of yarn, three hand-dyed, one novelty.

"Would you like a bag?" she asked. I looked down at my overstuffed handbag and then at the pretty yarn. Then, I spied the pretty paper bags behind her.

"Yes, please," I said, smiling broadly.

"People always love my bags," she said, as she placed them into one. "They're made from recycled material, and they're perfect for yarn."

"Yeah, I don't like to keep mine sealed in plastic bags," I said. "I like them to breathe."

"Me too!" she said.

Ah, I'm not so weird after all! And check out what I brought home: Blue Ridge Pima Cotton. Look at those jewel tones!

Pico Accuradi, in Bleeding Heart. This amazingly rich coral colour is achieved with natural dyes.

twist's own Bamboo Sock yarn, a blend of bamboo and merino. I'm not normally into purples, but I couldn't resist the subtlety of each different tones.

And, something I normally don't go for: A novelty yarn made from cork chenille by Habu from Japan. I was given an amazing pattern for a scarf/necklace that looks like Spanish moss. Fascinating.

I was so happy with my purchases, that hubby caught me dancing around the hotel room later that evening with a skein in my hands. He shook his head, but he was smiling.

The next day, we decided to spend the day in Santa Monica and Venice Beach. But first...

"So... there's another shop I was hoping to visit..." I said, apologetically. But, hubby was understanding, and we arrived at Wildfiber in Santa Monica shortly.

I walked in, and a class was going on. I wandered around a bit, looking, touching, calculating... Then, one of the assistants approached me and asked if I needed any help.

"Yes, I'm on vacation from Canada..." I said.

She led me around the shop, and one of the first things she showed me was some madelinetosh yarn, which I'd heard of before, but had never seen in person.

"This is new in the store. It's called 'Vintage,'" she said.

Oh my goodness, it was beautiful. My hand floated up on its own and picked up a skein of the shimmering red yarn with its dark shadows. Tart, it was called. "Oh my..." I said.

"Yes," she said. "It's amazing, isn't it? It's a treasure."

A treasure. Yes, it is. It's a treasure, one that I think I'll have fun playing with. I have to say, it's hard to photograph, but imagine the deepest red placed in a vintage-style photograph, with charcoal shadows along the edge... I've been daydreaming about designing a scarf with it with calla lily-shaped lace...

Twenty-five minutes later, I had four more skeins of yarn in my bag (two of which were Canadian, but they were on sale!), all of which were hand-dyed treasures. And I couldn't resist taking home two of the Tart madelinetosh vintage skeins...

A skein of madelinetosh light in gorgeous yellow tones...

Pagewood Farm's Alyeska 5 in Fabulous Fall... oranges, yellows and browns...

And, the Canadian yarn: Koigu Kersti Merino Crepe in greens, yellows and browns.

So, I spent a bunch of money on yarn, all within my budget, but certainly more than the yarn you'll pick up in Walmart. Believe it or not, I already know what I'm going to make for most of it, too. People are often shocked at the mention of dropping $20 on a skein of yarn, but I do it. Here's the reason:

These people who hand-spin or hand-dye their yarn and sell them as part of their livelihood are living a life I wish could be the norm: using your hands and your senses to create something beautiful, and getting paid a decent amount of money for doing so. It's something I would love to do, but am just not brave enough to try. I figure that, if I support those who are doing it, people might get used to the idea, more people might be willing to spend their money to support these artists, recognizing quality over quantity, and the possibility of me joining them in that kind of endeavor is greater. Maybe.

Anyway, we obviously did a lot more than hang around in yarn shops during our vacation. We discovered that we could get a free ride in a (tethered) hot air balloon down in Orange County. Free? I'm there!

We walked the beaches. We ate good food.

The one thing I did regret was not bringing a set of needles with me to work on something. I did bring a crochet hook and made a couple of shower scrubbies, but I was soon I bored with them. My eyes kept floating over to the bag that held my purchases, but I resisted the urge to start balling them. After all: I had friends back home who I knew would want to squeeze and ogle them. I just couldn't rob them of that.

And then, on Monday, we boarded the plane and returned to the Great White North. Snowy. Dark. I'd heard one of the flights to Edmonton was canceled due to weather. I was hoping for the same, but no... I'm back in my burrow, waiting for the spring.

I'm still blinking from the sunshine. Oh well. At least, it's been a warmer week here, and soon, we'll be complaining about the scorching summer heat.

At least I've got lots of yarn to keep me company!


YarnKettle said...

I must say I like being a yarn tourist through your blog. Now if my computer just had a touch the yarn application I would be all set. Assuming you did not mind your yarn being squished by a stranger. I believe you made excellent choices. Enjoy them!
Oh yeah and next time bring some needles, how could you resist the yarn that long?

AdrieneJ said...

I have no problems letting strangers touch my yarn, as long as their hands are clean and they don't run faster than me! Oh, I forgot to tell you: the card I sent to you was returned with the message "undeliverable to this address!"