10

A Churchmouse, A Hilltop and One Bad Woman

I have to apologize in advance for what will most certainly be a boring post.  The subject matter, though far from boring, will most likely not be elevated by my current lukewarm attitude towards writing and blogging.  Which is sad, really, because I had such a lovely day last Saturday with Troy on our own personal LYS mini-tour.  He deserves a much better account of our day shopping together down south and I think that’s why I have hesitated to blog about it yet, hoping that I would find some inspiration to write something deserving of the amount of fun I had on our trip.  But I will do my best and I’ll just tell you and Troy in advance that I had one of the best days ever hanging out with him last Saturday, whether or not you can tell from what I post.  Right up there with kissing alpacas ;)
 
Our day dawned bright and early.  Troy picked me up around 7:15 AM and while R. Darling was out working hard for his money, I was just getting prepared to spend some of mine.  After a quick stop for coffee crack and pastries at the local Starbucks, we hit the highway headed for the Bainbridge Island Ferry.  Our first stop was going to be Churchmouse Yarns & Teas on the island and I was supremely excited.  Troy had amped me up by showing me this blog post he’d found and ever since then, we’d both been trying to figure out the soonest we could possibly go visit.  On the ferry we chatted & knit, me on my mystery sweater for Warm Woolies, and Troy on his scarf from our Luxury Yarn Retreat back in the spring.  Before we knew it, we were there and looking for a parking spot.  The shop isn’t too far from the ferry dock, but finding parking takes a bit on a sunny Saturday.  But we scored a great spot right in front of Churchmouse and made our way inside. (Just a note – I think I’ve finally figured out the clickable photo thing, so all of today’s photos can be viewed larger except for the yarn pics.)
 

Troy entering the tour's first stop

Troy entering the tour's first stop


 
I was stunned at the visual beauty and sheer amount of yarn in this place.  Yet, with the huge variety of yarn present, you never got the feeling that it was crowded in there.  And it wasn’t as if this was a gigantic shop or anything, they just have a very keen sense of space and aesthetic.  We were sort of dazed at first, not knowing where to start but wanting to look at everything all at once.  So we split up.  I only took one measly photo because I always feel weird taking photos in yarn shops, as if someone will come sprinting from the back room and tackle me the instant I point my camera at something.  Why do I feel that shops are off limits to photography?  I wish I could get rid of that feeling.  But I did look around surreptitiously about four times to make sure someone wasn’t giving me the eye, and managed to sneakily shoot this photo so you could see just how lovely the displays were inside the shop.  (Psst – go to that blog post I mentioned up above for better photos.  He’s obviously not afraid to take them!)
 
Gorgeous Churchmouse displays

Gorgeous Churchmouse displays


 
I think we spent perhaps an hour petting yarn, looking at patterns, admiring the sensibility of the place.  There was a lovely gentleman there who was quite friendly and extra solicitous.  I am not used to that much personal attention in a yarn shop, but he was kind and really interesting to chat with.  I wondered if we were getting some special attention because he’d seen me snap my photo and thought perhaps we were important yarn folk of some kind.  Either way, it was a lovely shop and I’m so glad we made the trip over to see it!  Jared Flood of Brooklyn Tweed will be there teaching at some point towards the end of summer and I’m betting Troy will find his way back there since he enjoys Jared’s blog so much :)  So here’s what I bought at Churchmouse….
 
2 Skeins of Curious Creek Omo in "Birches in Norway"

2 Hanks of Curious Creek Omo in "Birches in Norway"


 
1 Hank of Malabrigo Sock in "Rayon Vert"

1 Hank of Malabrigo Sock in "Rayon Vert"


 
Lovely new yarn in hand, my stomach started to grumble.  We decided that rather than eat in Bainbridge Island, we’d try to catch the next ferry back to Seattle and find some place to eat closer to our next stop which would be Hilltop Yarns.  I think we missed the ferry we’d hoped to catch, but stayed in line for the next sailing so as to be sure we wouldn’t miss the next one.  Ferries can be hard to catch on sunny Saturdays in the PNW.
 
The New Hilltop Yarns

The New Hilltop Yarns


 
Back on the ferry, we knit on our projects again and then disembarked and drove around quite a bit (no, not lost!) looking for the way to Queen Anne.  Troy, not being your typical guy, finally stopped and asked for directions and it turns out we were quite close to the shop after all.  Spotting it on the corner of the block, we drove around until we found a parking spot about a block behind it and then made our way up to the shop.  It was much smaller than we’d expected from all the hype, but still nice inside.  To their credit, they were moving the week before we arrived and I’m sure things felt very up in the air for them.  We browsed a little and though I had hoped to find some Hazel Knits Rogues, I was disappointed.  Perhaps at Hilltop East in Bellevue I might have found what I was looking for.  But I did find one color that she hasn’t had in her Etsy shop until the big update on Friday June 26 (at which I scored 3 new colors: Strawberry Lemonade, Stick o Butter & Blacklight).
 
Meet Lipstick 1984

Meet "Lipstick 1984"


 
By the time we finished browsing Hilltop, we were starving.  I don’t know if any of you familiar with the Queen Anne area of Seattle have ever noticed this, but I swear that you could throw a rock, blindfolded, any direction in this area and hit an Asian eatery of some kind.  There are sushi places next to Thai places, next to Asian bistros, next to Japanese places, next to more sushi places.  It was crazy.  I could totally dig it.  We ended up choosing Thai food and boy am I glad that we stopped there.  Orrapin was perhaps the best Thai restaurant I’ve ever been to. Sorry On Rice, but I believe there’s a new standard for you to live up to.  They first served us with a delicious cabbage and broth soup with just a hint of spice, and then our entrees came quickly after.  I had ginger chicken and Troy had yellow curry.  Everything tasted so good I ate until I thought I might burst, knowing that I wouldn’t be able to take it home with me as I normally would.  But still, there was room for coffee afterwards of course!  We filled our caffeine tanks at Caffe Ladro and then began our way home.
 
Commenting on the exorbitant traffic which we assumed was just a normal Saturday in Seattle, we came across a charming old building on the side of the street.  As traffic had slowed to a standstill (which we later found out was due to the Solstice Fair in Fremont) we had the chance to look more closely at what turned out to be one of the best stops of our day.  I desperately wanted to stop but didn’t want to make Troy go if he wasn’t interested.  He said, I kinda want to go in.  And I answered with, It does look cool.  And then, We’re kind of passing it. Then he said, I think we should go in.  So we turned into Wallingford Center, parked and headed inside where we were greeted by one of the most glorious sights I have ever seen – CUPCAKES!
 
Simply Sweet Trophy Cupcakes

Simply Sweet Trophy Cupcakes


 
We decided we would most definitely have to come back for those because I had noticed on the shop directory that we were in the presence of yarn!  With a wistful backward glance at Trophy Cupcakes, we made a beeline for Bad Woman Yarn.  Which, incidentally, was the yarn shop I’d expected to see when I went on my trip to Manzanita, Oregon last summer, but which had been replaced by the T-spot Yarn shop instead.  I found out today that it’s the exact same shop, just moved north!
 
Bad Woman Yarn - Not So Bad At All!

Bad Woman Yarn - Not So Bad At All!


 
The shop owner asked, as we stepped into the shop, “Did you get a good picture?”  I said I hoped so, but it turns out I didn’t take too many great photos that day.  But you get the idea.  I felt guilty carrying my iced coffee in there, but he didn’t seem to mind, just whistled along to the bluegrass playing in the background.  This shop had quite a selection of yarns I’d never seen before and some I’d heard of but had never seen in person, much as Churchmouse had.  We amused ourselves walking through the extensive sale section and up and down the many aisles of cubbies filled with yarn. I could have easily spent much more than I did, but I was trying to be good that day (and there were still cupcakes to buy!) so I limited myself to 4 hanks of Malabrigo Chunky in Pollen and a Norah Gaughan booklet.  Both the owner and the gal in line behind me wanted to know what I was going to make.  I said I didn’t know – maybe a scarf, or a hat and a cowl, or a hat and some mitts (any of you Malabrigo Junkies have some good ideas for something more exciting?).  All I knew was, whatever I ended up making, it was going to be something that would cheer me up on a cloudy day!  Somehow I still ended up spending more than Troy in this shop though (How is that possible, Troy?).
 
Buttery Malabrigo in "Pollen"

Buttery Malabrigo in "Pollen"


 
After Bad Woman, we made our way to one of the coolest pharmacies I’ve ever been to called Pharmaca, and an all handmade shop called Amita.  I would have loved to buy so many things in the handmade shop but honestly, $100 for a skirt?  I really can’t afford that, no matter how cute it is and how much I’d love to support someone making things with their hands.  After much browsing, we finally went back upstairs to get in line for our cupcakes. Would you believe that there were now at least 15 people waiting in line for cupcakes?  At least there were still Red Velvet cupcakes on the available list.  That was all I really cared about. I have never tried one and everyone is always raving about the Red Velvet, so I figured here was my perfect chance.  Halfway through our wait, I felt my chances of tasting this cupcake wonder slip away as Red Velvet was removed from the list.  No!!  It can’t be!  But faith was restored moments later as a new batch of Red Velvet arrived.  I bought 2, one for me and one for R. Darling who I was hoping, wouldn’t want his so I could have two all for myself.  Turns out, he wanted his after all, but that’s o.k. :)  I’m afraid my picture of it turned out terrible, so no Red Velvet goodness for you, but you can see what it looks like on the Trophy Cupcakes site.  Mine is long gone.  It was good, but I don’t get the hype really.  Still, I can say I’ve had one and I might enjoy learning how to make them myself someday.
 
Well what do you know? I guess I had a lot more in my verbiage tank than I’d expected! Hope you enjoyed the small glimpse of our lovely mini-tour of Seattle area LYS’s. And many special thanks to Troy for such a lovely day last Saturday! I had a truly wonderful time with you :)

Advertisements
10

I Think An Alpaca Slipped Me The Tongue

And it might have been a girl alpaca too.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Last Thursday I mentioned that R. Darling was taking me away for a much needed surprise weekend getaway.  It was so nice to have that prospect to look forward to at the end of the week!  So when Friday morning rolled around, we put on our workout clothes and loaded up R.Darling’s kayak on the truck to take to Sterling’s shop.  R. Darling needed a few repairs done on it in time for his next kayaking foray (which happens to be tomorrow) and the shop is close enough that we could take it in quickly on our way to our workout.  Fridays are “long run” days on R. Darling’s marathon workout training schedule so after dropping off the kayak we headed for one of the amazing trails scattered around our town and put in a 6 mile run (I rode my bike).  After cleaning up, packing an overnight bag (and some knitting of course!), we left the house and made a beeline for our favorite coffee stand.

Cool, overpriced, tasty coffee drink in hand, we hit the highway.  All I knew about the day’s activities was that there were creatures involved, it didn’t cost much, and R. Darling had “no idea there was anything like this here”.  My first thought was a whale-watching tour, but since those aren’t cheap and there are tons of them around here, that was sort of out of the question.  Imagine my surprise when I found out we were going to The Outback!  The Outback Christmas Tree & Kangaroo Farm, that is, not the restaurant.  Creatures!  Hooray!  We arrived just in time for the 2 PM tour, paid our $8 each, and wandered around seeing what we could see before the tour started.
 

Awww.... what's more precious than baby duckies?

Awww.... what's more precious than baby duckies?


 
There were several peacocks in the yard, as well as these adorable little ducklings, and it was all I could do to resist snagging one and kidnapping it.  But cute little baby ducks grow into big ducks and we all know what that means – big poops and a lot of biting.  Nobody wants that.
 
The tour started with a cute little introduction and feeding of the resident lemur family, and then we headed back to the wallaby homes.  After everyone received a piece of bread to feed the wallabies with, we were led inside the enclosure and introduced to each wallaby in turn.  I wanted to tuck one of these little guys into my bag too, they were so adorable.  When you feed them they take the bread so gingerly and snuffle your fingers for more afterwards, sitting still for pets and cooing.  It was so amazing to be able to get so close to such an exotic creature!
 
A sweet boy wallaby

A sweet boy wallaby


 
Next, our tour guide tried to wake up “Kangaroo Jack” a young male kangaroo that had been born at the farm.  After poking, prodding, and even good-naturedly wiggling his appendages (gently of course), he finally stood up for us and allowed us to come over and feed and pet him.  Amazingly, kangaroo fur is even softer than wallaby fur and dense and downy like a rabbit’s.  I expected it to be more coarse than that, and was pleasantly surprised to find it wasn’t a bit like I’d imagined.  We also learned that kanagroos have developed a permanent squint due to the bright glare in their natural environment.  What I mistook for a sleepy roo was actually how he protects himself from the sun.  I learn something new every day!
 
Not sleepy, just squinting

Not sleepy, just squinting


 
Next, we were introduced to their Patagonian Cavy (or Mara) which is a large relative of the guinea pig.  This creature was a bit more shy and would come close for bread, but wouldn’t tolerate any petting or too much closeness.  It had the skinniest legs I’ve ever seen on a creature of this size.  No idea how it supports itself on those!
 
Meet the Patagonian Cavy

Meet the Patagonian Cavy


 
After the exotic creatures we met some more pedestrian creatures, though they were no less fun to feed than the exotic ones.  There were miniature donkeys, pygmy goats, regular goats, emus (too mean to feed!), and a variety of other farm animals.
 
Hey, does that shirt look familiar Ravelry fans?

Hey, does that shirt look familiar Ravelry fans?


 
Last but not least, me met Fuzzy Butt and Mr. T, the farm’s friendliest alpacas.  We were told to take a food pellet, place it between our lips, and kiss the alpacas!  I missed one critical part of the instructions though – pick a long pellet.  Needless to say, mine was rather short and Fuzzy Butt got a little familiar.
 
Aren't you going to buy me dinner first?

Aren't you going to buy me dinner first?


 
Not one to be outdone, Mr. T decided he needed a kiss too.  The tour guide assured me that Mr. T would be much more gentle to me than Fuzzy Butt, and he was right.  I barely felt him take the pellet from my lips.
 
Aw, Mr. T., you're so sweet!

Aw, Mr. T., you're so sweet!


 
And with that last alpaca kiss, we said goodbye to the creatures and made our way to our final stop for the night.  I still hadn’t guessed where we were going to stay the night, but once we reached the off ramp I had a good idea where me might be headed.  In sleepy Anacortes, WA we checked into the historic Majestic Inn & Spa.
 
majestic sign

The Historic Majestic Inn & Spa

The Historic Majestic Inn & Spa


 
R. Darling had booked us a package which included 1 night’s stay, champagne and chocolates in our room (which we ended up just bringing home with us – I know – we’re lame), dinner at the hotel, and a massage the following morning.  Truly maximum spoilage!  We checked in, took a peek at our room, then went to the dining room for dinner.  We were hesitant to eat in the dining room, feeling underdressed as we were, but we were assured that we were dressed appropriately enough and ushered to a well appointed table.  Dinner was served by our blonde Miley Cyrus look-alike waitress and we both felt completed sated after an appetizer course of fresh steamed clams, salads, and a main course of prime rib for R. Darling and razor clams strips and chips for me.  Afterwards, we got our things from the car and settled into our room for the night.
 
What a stunning room!  How I wish it was mine!  It reminded me of a summer cottage with shuttered windows and a cheery yellow and white color scheme.  I would love a yellow and white bedroom, or just a yellow and white room in general; it looks so crisp, clean and cheerful.  But I’ve been told that yellow’s not restful so I always shy away from it.
 
Our bright and lovely room

Our bright and lovely room


 
We curled up for the evening with books and knitting, pausing briefly to make some coffee and take a glance at the sunset.  Then we turned in for a wonderfully peaceful night’s sleep and the next morning woke up ready for our massages.  The spa in the hotel is a sister spa to one we’re familiar with up here where we live called The Chrysalis, so we knew we were in for a relaxing visit.  We each had a one hour swedish massage which was lovely, though I found out later that R. Darling got some special heated stone action thrown into his that I didn’t get.  Bummer, since I’ve always wanted to try that. Maybe next time.
 
After checking out, we walked down to Ana Cross Stitch where, if you can believe it, I didn’t buy a single thing.  Then to the Island Cafe for a greasy spoon breakfast, and off to our final activity of the weekend which turned out to be a jet boat tour of Deception Pass.  It was a beautiful day to be out on the water and R. Darling was so pleased for me to be able to see what he sees when he goes kayaking there.  Though we didn’t see as many creatures as I’d hoped, we did get an amazing view of the area in the pass and learned something about some of the history of the islands and pass area nearby.
 
Driving home after our lovely getaway, I couldn’t stop thinking about how lucky I am to have such a wonderful husband who does such unexpectd and thoughtful things for me.  Thank you honey, for everything!  You’re the best :)
 
Because I can never resist hamming it up for the camera....

Because I can never resist hamming it up for the camera....

9

Friday Fill-In #128

bubble tea
 
A couple weekends ago Miami and I took a day trip to Seattle.  We had “noods” (Miami’s name for noodles) at Uwajimaya’s, poked around the Kinokuniya Bookstore for a long time, and goggled at all the asian produce.  I also tasted my very first bubble tea as evidenced by the photo above.  Can you tell that I just threw up a little?  Sorry all you bubble tea lovers out there, but I have to say, this is just about the grossest thing I’ve tasted in a long time.  Those “pearls” are just so wrong on so many levels.  Imagine not-so-delicious gummy bears that taste like absolutely nothing, but yet somehow find a way to be vile flavored, being sucked up into your unsuspecting mouth while you are casually sipping a tasty pineapple slushy.  Quite the nasty surprise.  But now I finally know what all the fuss is about.
 
It’s been quiet here at the bloggy because I’ve been doing 2-a-days with the workout program.  I run a couple miles on the treadmill in the morning and then ride my bike with R. Darling while he runs in the evenings.  It’s not every day, but it does take a lot out of me and I never seem to have enough time during the day to do everything that I usually do.  So, the blog languishes.  But this weekend R. Darling is taking me on a secrety squirrel surprise getaway so I will hopefully have some fun things to share when we get back.  I know there is a massage and creatures involved (but not at the same time, cause that’s not how we roll).  I’m SO looking forward to this.  I sorely need a vacation but we just won’t be able to go on one until much later this year.  This will be a nice substitute.  Thanks honey!
 
And since I’ll be gone, I’ll leave this for you before I head out of town tomorrow:
 

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Friday Fill-In #128
(get yours here)
 

1. I grew up thinking I would never live in my hometown.  Just look at me now!

2. Ravelry was the last website I was at before coming here.

3. Why don’t you be good to yourself today?

4. Massages helps me relax.

5. Thanks for the support here at the bloggy!  All of your kind comments really keep me going :)

6. Rudeness is very off-putting.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight (Thursday)I’m looking forward to going to bed early, tomorrow (Friday) my plans include riding my bike with R. Darling for about 8 miles while he runs, and getting out of town for our secrety squirrel trip, Saturday I want to enjoy my massage and Sunday, I want to spend some more time with my hubby!
 

Have a wonderful weekend bloggy peeps! I’ll be back with knitting news soon ;)

10

Revenge Of The Norwegian Punisher

Getting older stinks. The Norwegian Punisher has bested me already and the only thing I can reliably point a finger at is my diminished bouncebackitude and advanced outofshapeness. How is that possible? I’ve only run on it a grand total of 4 times and I have only logged about 9 miles so far. Somehow I have already wrecked my hip flexor in my feeble attempts to become a shadow of the former running machine I used to be, back when I could do a whole lot of stuff a lot better than I do right now. The jelly rolls must be getting a kick out of all of this. So you thought you could get rid of us honey? Think again. We’re here to stay biznitch! They giggle as they jiggle and they wiggle (Remember this commerical? That’s what I imagine jelly rolls would sing while they mock me). The hard part is, I’m not the type of person who is o.k. with taking it easy. Once I start running it’s all or nothing. Go big or go home. So it’s going to be a struggle to take it slow and allow my hip to heal. I guess the fact that it hurts like hell for 2 days after a run might be enough to make me patient. At least for a little while. Funny thing is, it feels better when I’m running. It’s only after I stop that it hurts like a bitch. WTF.

A lot of you have asked about the Knit Picks Interchangeables. I would love to give you a good answer but, well, they still haven’t arrived. And neither has my first installment of the Magnolia Society Yarn Club. Boo. I’m seriously hating the mailman right now. But at least there was something exciting in my mailbox when I opened it this evening after work:
 

Knitterly Things Vesper Sock Yarn May 2009 Sock Club Colorway

Knitterly Things Vesper Sock Yarn May 2009 Sock Club Colorway


 
Pretty pretty “Wildflower Meadow”.
 
And now – back to The Norwegian Punisher. Don’t worry I’ll only be walking this time. Or, limping rather.