It was a beautiful day in London today - sunny and warm. After school I took the children to the park (along with pretty much the rest of the school it felt like). I sat and knitted while they played. Then Sam fell out of a tree, so I sat and knitted while he moaned and said he was bored and wanted to go home, until I was able to distract him by suggesting he practise his 9 times table. Yes, I have produced a child who enjoys multiplication.
Tonight was a Liberty night. It seemed smaller than usual, but that meant it was easier to talk to people - sometimes it can be hard to get round everyone. I took along some of the US purchases for people to fondle - which they did, with alacrity. Jacinta and I swapped Knit Happens stories. Polly very kindly offered to take the yarn home and look after it for me, but sadly I had to refuse.
Today's sunny weather reminded me of how nice the weather was during my DC visit, so I thought I'd share a few photos with you. Good link or what?
It was cherry blossom time, so of course I had to get down to the Tidal Basin and visit some monuments.
That's the Lincoln Memorial peaking through the blossom there. It's still my favourite, especially the inside.
A bit of Reflecting Pond (or is it Pool?) action never goes amiss. See - not a cloud in the sky and no coats in sight either.
As I hadn't been to DC for more than 20 years, there were quite a few memorials that were new to me. I found the FDR Memorial interesting - a series of 'rooms' rather than a building, with a lot of water features. My mother told me it's spectacular in the winter, when all the water freezes. Here's a photo I picked with Tracy in mind.
And let's finish with another gratuitous shot of blossom shall we?
So, I gather you're all wanting details about my trip. I thought I would do a post about my travels through Virginia with my parents, including interesting historical information about the economy over the last 100 years. Is that the sort of thing you were after?
No? Do I hear a word beginning with Y? Could it be... it can't be... surely not, yarn?
Let me start off by saying that I haven't been to any other yarn shops in the US. But I think I can say that Knit Happens is a great shop! From the minute I walked in, to the minute I left (about 2 hours later, with a shell shocked sister in tow), I had a blast. And that was just the first visit.
Kristine and all the other staff and customers (hey Shanti!) made me feel so welcome. The shop is beautiful - well stocked shelves all around and a big table down one end with lots of space to spread out patterns and pile up wool purchases. In my wool daze/frenzy I didn't take any photos of the shop, but you can see what it looks like on the site. If you're in the DC area you should definitely go; just be prepared for a high level of papal obsession (although that may pass once a new pope has been chosen, but be warned).
If you can't get there, I did get to have a sneaky peak at the online site, which should be up and running any day now. It looks great and will definitely be able to satisfy any yarn cravings you may be experiencing.
So, I did make two visits. The first was just a sort of 'getting to know you visit', where my purchases were small and restrained - just the one bag. My sister even succumbed to the lure of some Kaalund Expressions. She claims it's for a friend, but later that evening (maybe after one of those giant vodka martinis) she did mention she was thinking of taking up knitting again and keeping it for herself.
The second visit, I was flying solo. I got there early, the shop was quiet. Just me, Kristine, Holly and my gift certificate from my Secret Pal and my credit card. Other people came and went, but I didn't notice them.
Before I spill, let me just say this: I went with a yarn budget and I stuck to that budget. Yes, I admit my budget was large (how large I won't say, as my husband does read this blog sometimes and I want to be allowed back to DC) but it was planned and has been financed through stash selling on Ebay and knitting lessons, so it's sort of self-financed. Do I sound defensive? Well, Kristine did say, after ringing up my purchases, that she was happy to close the shop for the day. Was she joking? I'm not so sure. I maintain that the fact my sister had to carry some of the yarn back to the UK for me was due to the size of my bags rather than the size of my purchases.
Where to start? Well, let's start with my lovely Secret Pal, who cleverly arranged for a gift certificate to be waiting for me on arrival. Thank you so much, SP, it was a wonderful surprise! This is what I bought.
On the left, Alchemy Silk Purse (now I just need a pattern for a sow's ear) and on the right, lovely ArtYarns Super Merino in beautiful red/pink/purple mix. Thanks again, Secret Pal!
Then I saw this
As the name suggests, a blend of silk and wool. I have had my eye on this pattern for a while,
and this yarn will be perfect for it. I couldn't choose between red and grey, so I got them both!
I had planned on buying some Cash Iroha, but there was none in stock. Kristine suggested this as a substitute and who am I to argue?
Aracunia Nature Cotton - beautiful stuff. They also do a variegated one, called Patagonia. I'm thinking of doing another Hourglass in one of these. I couldn't decide between green and black, so (are you sensing a theme here?) I got them both!
Imagine the softest thing you've ever felt, then multiply it by 100. Now you're getting close to how soft this feels.
Blue Sky Alpacas Cotton. This is earmarked for a baby blanket for a friend who is due in the Autumn. I'm trying really, really hard not to cast on for it right now.
And as I'd bought the cotton, I couldn't leave the alpaca behind.
For a flash photo, the colours aren't too bad, but the one on the right is less purple and the green is more of a kahki. They are all so soft.
Bringing up the rear, a whole flock of Shepherd's Sock Yarn.
And that, my dears, is that. There were also assorted notions, so such as those cute Clover stitch markers like little safety pins, which I am using on Gemma (there's another whole post to come about her) and which make me irrationally happy each time I come to one of them, but I haven't taken photos of any of them.
Needless to say, the stash chest is full to bursting. I feel replete. My pledge now - to purchase no more yarn until the Liberty sale and after that, Ally Pally. Will I stick to it? I don't know. Keep tuning in to find out more.
PS. Welcome and apologies to any Mac users who haven't been able to leave comments before and a big thank you to Emma for letting me know about the coding error!
Yes, I am indeed back. I had a brilliant time in DC and have lots to tell about shopping, sightseeing and (eating and) drinking.
However, I am also suffering a little. I have the loveliest husband who happily took on the whole household routine for a week, while also trying to run his business and earn enough money for us all. Unfortunately this is the same husband who thought that the best cure for my jet-lag would be to rouse the family at 9am on Sunday to drive to Kent so he and Sam could go climbing for the day. Lovely. I fell asleep in the car on the way back, I wonder why?
Also, I'd like to pass on this tip. Just because your camera's memory card says you can take 350 photos, don't try and take 200 or so of them and then upload them to your PC. You just end up with a weird mess of photos of cherry blossom and photos of yarn and photos of your children climbing that you're pretty sure should be in chronological order but aren't, so you have to try and do it all manually, while watching time slipping away.
So, for now, I leave you with this.
More details tomorrow I promise.
Mind you, I shouldn't be calling my lovely readers strangers should I?
Anyway, here's the thing. I'm off to Washington DC next week to visit my parents. They live there, but I haven't been there since I was 12. I should stress that they haven't been living there since I was 12 and I do see them regularly, just not in DC - this is just a trip to see them, not a reunion after no contact for 20 something years.
Anyway, this is a trip for me, no husband or children coming along. Very exciting! No doubt I will miss them all terribly after about 2 days but I am pretty excited about it all at the moment.
So what I'm looking for is any DC readers out there, or indeed anyone else who's been there recently. Give me the low down - where should I go, what shops/restaurants are good? I know about all the tourist stuff - museums, monuments etc and I will be doing all that with my parents and sister I'm sure. What I'm want from you, gentle readers, is the inside info and anything wool related of course!
I wait with baited breath...