about the essentials of life...knitting, designing knitting, yarn for knitting...you get the idea...

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I'm a knitter, knitting pattern designer, and spinner. I also dye yarn with both acid and natural dyes.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

California Dreaming

July was a busy, busy month! Most of it was spent elsewhere than hot, dry ABQ. First, I went to El Rito, NM for an intensive seminar in natural dyeing. More about that later...let's just say for now, that I'm missing the smell of wet wool!

The Man of the House and I made a repeat trip to CA for the MotoGP (motorcycle race) for him and vacation (stash enhancement and 'market research') for me. Today I'll give you Part I of my report.

But first, a couple photos of the top I finished the night before we left. It's only been designed on paper since December!

I've always been a sucker for voile. I love the texture contrasts in this top and its cool feel. The yarn is Mirto from Filatura Di Crosa (cotton/linen/rayon blend). I think that I got the fit right to allow for cotton's stretchiness.

Okay, first stop on the Great Yarn Tour of 2006. The race was at Laguna Seca, but the nearest place to stay was in San Jose. Day One I went south and checked out the shops on the coast.

This is the front of The Golden Fleece in Santa Cruz. I'd been there last year (organic cotton for a shell, Danish pattern) but I found this year's inventory much more interesting. They must have every shade of Cascade 220! I saw several good, basic lines and some intriguing luxury yarns. The staff is friendly and left me alone to pet the yarns and check out the samples. If I lived in the area, I think this would be my go-to shop. [It says Sash Mill because it's in an refurbished old industrial building - BTW, great restaurant next door with baked oatmeal for breakfast.]

My big purchase - a couple of skeins of Fixation for socks. I've never found this in my LYS.

While in Santa Cruz, I shopped around the downtown district (and explored some neighorhoods - great houses). Last year, I searched for a coffee shop, this year there were loads of them. Also, I checked out the bookstores. There is a very interesting used book store that had a book on breeds of sheep and their wool characteristics, but I refrained (!). I did get Margaret Radcliffe's book because I always learn from her articles and posts to the lists.

Across town, I found The Swift Stitch. Last year, Knit-Listers had told me about a second shop in Santa Cruz, but I didn't find it. This year, I asked at the tourist information booth in downtown and they showed it to me on the map. I recognized the route as the one I had taken before, but I just didn't go far enough. This time, even with the map, I ended up calling for directions. I was a little embarrased when I found out that I was calling from the parking lot!

Here it is - it's in the corner of a plaza kind of place. There is seating in the courtyard for the French bakery and cafe on the front corner. Very pleasant, even though it was a major heat wave day.

The inventory here seemed to me to have a lot of novelty stuff. I did see some yarns that I've seen on the lists, but not in person. The overstock was in a loft accessed by ladder! There were a couple of young women KIPping in the courtyard and the customers were of a similar demographic. I did, though, hear one woman of a certain age tell her friend that The Swift Stitch would be her new LYS.

My purchases here: more Fixation and some silk ribbon. Notions are hard to find in ABQ (buttons and ribbon especially). Here is the ribbon with its intended home - a baby doll type top with a lace skirt.

Next, I drove down the Pacific Coast Hwy to Carmel. Always one of my favorite destinations. As always, I checked out Knitting by the Sea (no web site that I can find. BTW, did you know that there are no street addresses in Carmel? The shop address is: Fifth Ave. 2 NW of Junipero!). I love the Dutch door and that the weather permits it to be open. This store is generally organized by color intead of the usual format of grouping all of a certain type of yarn together. Last year I hated this arrangement, but this year I liked it. Go figure! I talked to the owner and she is wonderful. Hi, Maura! First thing, she complimented me on my glasses. You have to like that!

Here I bought more sock yarn - I think I sense a trend.

This time it's Sockotta - another common yarn I don't

generally see. Isn't the color appropriate for Carmel?

And finally, I leave you with the sunset over the beach, Carmel-by-the-Sea. Enjoy!


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