i began this post
in the middle of the night
in a guest bedroom in scappoose, oregon
with the intention of recounting my day’s activities
and proceeding thusly for the rest of my mini-vacay/retreat from life.

it soon became obvious
that scappoose lacked the bandwidth necessary
to blog on a daily basis, at least if i wanted to show you my pictures.

so now i am home
literally weeks after my return.
and must resort to the recap format for today’s blog

this might take a while.

there was fun with chickens,
DPP_1495DPP_1496DPP_1497DPP_1499DPP_1505DPP_1510which is one of my favorite scappoose-ian past times.

coffee at ristretto roasters
DPP_1515which was the only coffee i had in portland that lived up to the hype
DPP_1518(this mocha was not fucking around)

there were a couple trips to grand central bakery
DPP_1520where i was more impressed by their breakfast sandwich and shrimp po boy (scroll down) than their sweet stuff.

in portland proper,
there was the ubiquitous
homeless/punk/beggar with cute animal entourage.
DPP_1524this group was outside powell’s where i had a pretty amazing haul
the next day,
tina and i went to black sheep gathering
where we saw judith mackenzie judge the fleeces,
a thoroughly delightful and educational experience.
DPP_1536(note: apparently, shetlands are in this year)
DPP_1539(the aforementioned shrimp sandwich)

we ran into beth hansen of hansen crafts
DPP_1543she is . . . a character. if you meet her,
and it feels like she’s making fun of you,
that’s because she is.
it’s totally normal.

i have strong feelings about the miniSpinner,
but this is all i’m going to say about it: i’m a traditionalist.
if you’re not, and aren’t bothered by the electric component
you should definitely buy it;
it’s a pretty fucking awesome product.
i won’t be buying one because
i am a fuddy duddy.

i will also draw your attention to this:
DPP_1545really beth? really?

there was this monstrosity,
DPP_1546which is apparently a spinning wheel.
it needs to be melted down into something less ugly.

i stopped by black trillium fibre studio‘s booth,
one of the only booths i thought worthy of documenting, really.
DPP_1547the problem with all of these shows,
especially the smaller ones,
is that these people aren’t business people.
sure, i bet 90% of them make an amazing product,
but that doesn’t mean they know shit about how to sell it.
you’ve got to make a booth that makes people want to come in,
or you might as well not even bother to show up.

melanie knows how to work with what she has;
simple set up, a few beautiful samples, wide open
so people can get in and out easily.
good job.

similarly, the men at the clemes & clemes booth knew what was up!
these dudes are professional, know their product, work well together,
have their demonstration down, and there’s something to be said for a uniform. this dude had me wanting a fucking drum carder
something for which i have no use or space in my life.
that, my dears, is a salesman!
DPP_1549(sorry for the shitty photo)

there was this cuteness
and this cuteness
and this cuteness.

then i met some west coast knitters
though i can only remember angela davis (the knitting one)
with her amazing mustard eye shadow (right) and parna
(with the broken hand), both of whom i hope to see again.
DPP_1575(sorry angela, not the best photo, i know, but better than the other one)

as we were leaving we saw this dude with his dog and guitar
DPP_1576very huck finnesque.

the next day,
tina took the misses newton, heidi dog, and me to the beach
before which we hit up this joint,
DPP_1577pacific way bakery & caféwhich, was fucking amazing…last year.
but made us a but queasy this time around.
and our waitress?

then we returned for more chicken time, but with a twist.
DPP_1591i don’t know what it is, but i fucking love deer.
maybe it’s from watching bambi as a kid, i don’t know.
but i can not get enough deer.
and i got way close to this guy.

i was then treated to a ________ about which i cannot tell you.
what i can tell you is that it was a moment when i felt
humble, special, and kinda fancy.
because it was fancy.
and more than a little pantsy.
though likely wasted on my middle class ______.


the next day i began the tipsy sock
DPP_1622while hanging out with the falcore-esque heidi dog.DPP_1638DPP_1634(she has no fucks to give)


the whole tripped was capped off
by an amazing meal at cocotte bar & bistro
a meal totally worth live tweeting. which i did.
bread with @depraveddyer
old fashioned
chicken liver mousse with inglehoffer stone ground mustard
the biter
poulet en cocotte
la nella moda
thyme flower and farigoule ice cream
(click pics to read descriptions)

then i immediately hopped on a plane and headed home.

this trip was my vacation,
a flight, really, from my incredibly stressful summer.
there were whole swathes of time when i was not seized
by crippling work-related anxiety.

that level of ease is only surpassed
when i escape to my parent’s house,
or as i still think of it,

tina’s guest room
is a close second.
she’s the kindest host.
i even get my own bathroom.

*there was an undocumented fabulous indian dinner with tina, megan, and deb, friends from three very different epochs of my life, followed by a night out with megan at a former bowling alley dive where, once the lyons’ club bingo night rapped up, we watched the mentally challenged and tone deaf sing karaoke.there’s no picture in the world that can capture that.

and sloe gin fizz

May 26, 2012

my original goal was to blog every day
while i was in the greater portland area.

i also promise myself i’m going to eat better and exercise.

let’s get real for a moment,
and see if i can tell you about my trip.

hmm . . .

day one was a beach adventure/excursion/extravaganza,
a sunny day of photography, sandy toes, and general irreverence.
and of course what day at the beach is complete
without a dead sea lion in a front loader?(sea corpse has a very distinct scent)

i spent the day with tina and her two lovely daughters
who reminded me that teenagers are really just adults
with fewer miles under their belt.
(is that a mixed metaphor?)

when we returned,
i met tina’s other children:
apparently, chickens love to eat kale.
who knew?

the rest of my days were a blur of
cozy fires
and knitting.

i managed to finish up my spruce forest shawl,
and the rain gave way just long enough for a photoshoot.
i even found a couple models to zhoosh up the shot.
the yarn is marine silk sport in the ‘spruced’ color way.
i’ve given up trying to photograph the true color of this yarn;
the silk content and sea cell make it impossible for an amateur like me.
what i love about this color way is that the dye breaks at some point in the process, leaving patches of blue and yellow in the yarn. this process is apparently unpredictable, and therefore the color way has been discontinued. blue moon will, of course, make it upon request. i highly recommend it, especially in this yarn. just make sure to get it all at once if you want your skeins to be at all similar.

this shawl is beautiful when finished,
but the beauty is matched by it’s fussiness.
i do not care for nupp-knitting,
or the bottom up construction.
it was, however, worth it;
the results speak for themselves.

with one shawl completed,
i decided to dust off my shetland tea shawl.
it was the first lace project i ever cast on
and will soon celebrate its third birthday!
i can’t abide its w.i.p. status any longer.
so i grabbed a cat and got to work.
the cat was really there for moral support.
she’s not good for much else.

but even with the support of a cat
i could barely complete a round a day.
those last few rounds have so. many. stitches!

knitting all those stitches
i became hyper aware of the silence,
the sound of the rain falling on the deck,
heck, i could even hear the humming birds at the bird feeder!
apparently, i must’ve had a crazed look in my eye or something
because tina could tell i was getting a little stir crazy.
so she put me to work in the barn.

i learned a heck of a lot in there,
most of which i can’t tell you.
what i can tell you is
it’s fucking hard work.
i can almost guarantee none of you realize how much work actually goes into the whole process, unless maybe you’ve worked in a factory. i worked about a half shift and i was pooped.
it’s basically a yarny sweatshop in there.
(literally. it’s hot in the barn)

that little bit of work really helped me to appreciate just how special hand painted yarns are. we’re lucky to knit in a time when we have easy access to such beautiful yarns. i would much rather give my money to people who are working their asses off to make something unique and special. i know exactly where my money’s going and, to me, it’s worth the cost. but that’s just me.

the next day
i got to play instead of work
and dyed all these rare gems.
it pays to know the lady with a barn.

we ended my visit with a binge at gino’s.
if you live in or around portland,
you must go to gino’s
the tiramisu alone is worth it.
we chose gino’s because deb accuardi owns it and also works at blue moon.
she’s an amazing cook, knows a heck of a lot about gardening,
and had been cracking my ass up all week.
if you meet her,
ask her about her salamander story.
i almost peed in the car when she told it.
(i want that tiramisu recipe deb. stat!)

i think that just about covers it.

i survived an epically turbulent flight,
swung by my parents house to pick up mr. mo,
and am thoroughly ensconced in my apartment . . .

. . .asking myself why i don’t live in portland.

this post is epicly long,
but there’s a nice surprise at the end if you stick with me.
here’s a hint.

i’m back from my west coast road trip.
and all i got was this stinkin’ cold.
and you know, a bunch of pics,
some great memories,

and an ache in my soul since i know it’ll be a while till i get back there to see two of the best people i know, megan and deb.

so let’s get this blog post rollin’
we gotta lot to get through.

since in knew i wouldn’t have much time before we shoved off,
i had to hit the yarns stores in portland asap.
first stop was yarnia, a store that came highly recommended by both michelle and erin, friends from my old knitting group in chicago.

can i just say, that was the coolest yarn store ever.
i have never experienced anything like it.

the premise is “you choose the fiber, color, thickness, and amount, and can have your custom cone of yarn wound for you right on the spot.”
the place is filled with huge cones of every color/fiber combination,
and then you (try) to put together ones that you like.
this is my yarn being made:

the machine doesn’t ply the yarn,
but rather “cones” the strands together.
my cone is one strand charcoal cashmere,
one strand navy silk, and one strand silver silk.
i figured i’d go all out on this guy, who knows if i’d make it back?

i have no idea what i’ll knit with it
but for now, it’s just pretty to look at.

i then headed over to twisted.
that place was SO portland.
it has what megan calls that woo woo west coast vibe.
i mean for god sake they serve tea.

before i left for portland,
i jokingly said i was going stalk sivia harding at twisted,
never once thinking she’d be there when i was.
who comes right up to say hi and take care of us?
sivia freaking harding!

of course i was too surprised to think to get a photo
(i can get a little star struck at times).
she really was the sweetest lady, and (i might have misheard) i think deb and she are going to hang out sometime. how does deb do that?
deb can make friends with anyone.
color me jealous.

it was a modest haul.

but i did good right?

the next day,
it was san francisco ho!
we took the windy scenic coastal route.

deb was mad for foxgloves

and megan had to try on every funny hat we could find

we saw sea lions in the world’s biggest sea cave

(exciting i know)

mostly, we just took are time and soaked up the beauty of the pacific

which turned out to be freaking freezing

but it was truly lovely

we spent the night in a seedy hotel when we just couldn’t drive anymore. megan loved it but i’m still trying to forget.
seriously, it was serial killer worthy.

the next day, we grabbed some caffeine

then checked out some trees older than jesus

(you know, if you believe in all that jazz)

and powered through to our destination.

we woke up in san fran and hit fisherman’s wharf.
this is a cute busker from witchita, kansas.

this is bushman. he hides behind these fronds and scares passersby.

it was kinda hilarious.

the trying on of funny hats continued

we then caught a cab over to dolores park for the pre-dyke march rally

(that’s a lot of ladies)

deb had her first bud light

it’s mandatory that she drink shitty american beer to stay in this country. harsh.

then came the dyke march (and a lot of boobs)

i found this sign to be hilarious

and this one to be sweet

then we danced the night away in the castro

on a truly serious note,
we left mere minutes before three people got shot.
undaunted they still went ahead with san francisco’s 40th anniversary pride parade.

these are some of my favorite pics

(that’s san francisco’s sexy mayor, gavin newsom, and his beard . . er wife)

then i saw this guy

who i hear is in some group . . . the backstreet boys or something.

consider it done sir

i almost peed laughing when i saw these two signs

which i guess is ironic?

it was glorious parade.

we’re almost there people, stay with me!

the rest is a blur but somehow we made it back to portland.
it was my final day so i just had to do something extra special.
luckily, deb and i were graciously invited up for a tour of *drum roll please* blue moon fiber arts!

we got out of the car, and tina greeted me with a hug and sassy look.
i knew right away this was going to be awesome.

she took us over to the dye barn, where we swore on this chicken

that what happens in the dye barn, stays in the dye barn.
so this is what i’ll tell you: everyone i met was hard working and quick to laugh.
joyful industry. that’s what i saw.

that and their banana-eating pet dear

and the wall of every color of socks that rock!!

i was silently shitting myself people. (metaphorically)

then we hung out a bit in the newton house proper

with it’s fabulously remodeled bathroom
(i have photos. it’s gorgeous. trust me.)

the whole time, tina was an open book.
she shared her life, her home, her perspective,
and her freaking awesome collection of all things fiber arty.
all while managing her business; making the calls,
checking on her worker bees, that kind of thing.

she and her team are truly special.
and i feel so lucky to have met them.
thanks ladies. keep working your magic!

and tina,

you hiring?
call me.

whew! i made it through.
how ’bout you bitches?