Sunday, May 29, 2011

Knittin' the Rails - An Urban Adventure

Yesterday was my Knittin' the Rails yarn crawl and, boy, did we have a great time! Thirteen folks in all came along, including the son of one of the knitters who is a student at PSU. His help came in very handy when we had a delay on the train due to a track problem and we got into Portland almost half an hour late. This pushed our schedule back for the buses, so over lunch we decided to skip having dinner at Lloyd Center to avoid missing any of the yarn shops. 

We started by walking from Union Station to Dublin Bay Yarn Company, about 6 blocks away (Portland downtown has small blocks!) and on arrival we were greeted by four staff members to make sure we found everything we were looking for, a gracious spread of Irish biscuits (cookies to us Yanks), and freshly stocked shelves. They offered us a 10% discount on all regularly priced yarns so feverish shopping ensued. I indulged in a  skein of Sweet Georgia sock yarn in the Firefly colorway and a set of hand made ceramic sheep buttons for a future vest. 

From Dublin Bay we strolled down 11th Avenue a few blocks to Urban Fiber Arts. Cindy and her staff welcomed us with mini cupcakes that were so rich and delicious and delicately frosted in different ways. She stocks several lines of roving as well as yarns and knitting supplies so we all had fun items to fondle, sniff, caress, and dream over. I ended up getting some Black Trillium roving in Cherry Blossom Rain colorway, a set of handmade Knitting Diva earrings, and Cindy gifted us with knitter's notepads and pens. Definitely a shop I want to visit again with the beautiful rovings and fiber offerings!

At this point it's time to stop for lunch and beverages so we ambled a block down to The Tea Zone and invaded them for lunch. This is a marvelous shop and cafe for anyone who enjoys a good cup of tea. They have a menu which changes monthly of special teas and blends, including some very rare ones that I thought were only available by mail order from back east or overseas. I brought home the May menu and will be studying it to find some new teas to try out. I enjoyed a pot of Oolong Ginseng tea yesterday, and it was so good I didn't even think about adding honey to it. 

As I wrote above, over lunch we discussed options due to the train running late and it was decided to forego dinner at the Lloyd Center food court to have time to visit all four yarn shops. So as we relaxed over lunch and tea or other drinks, James and I pored over the TriMet schedules to rework our travel times. Since he uses TriMet to get all over town as a college student on a budget, he was very familiar with the website and able to call up different times for bus runs as I had already printed out our original schedule downloaded from the TriMet site and had the bus stop numbers. 

We left and walked down the street and over a block to catch the bus to Twisted, a shop that is legendary for the varieties of yarn, especially sock yarns, that they stock. TriMet works hard to have a clean, safe, efficient transportation system and they do a very good job of it. 

These pictures are from several bus rides, so you can get an idea of our traveling around Portland. The buses are comfortable, the schedules are frequent during the day, and we didn't have to go downtown and then back out to change travel directions, as we do in Salem. There are live security cameras on all the buses and on Max, along with plainclothes security officers. We bought all day passes so we didn't have to worry about the 2 hour transfer limit and could just get on, flash the pass, and find a seat. When we got off the last bus at the Rose Quarter Transit Center, we crossed the street, and our Max train pulled in about 2 minutes later. Our timing was so close that we arrived at Union Station on the bus, walked into the station, and then boarded our return train. Whew! We still had about 10 minutes before the train pulled out, but the timing was good. 

As we settled on the train, the folks going to Eugene in one car, and those of use from Salem in another, we dug into our bags and pulled out snacks we had brought along, or made a run to the Bistro car for a quick meal to bring back to our seats to enjoy at leisure. We showed our loot and treats to each other, answered questions from other riders, got our knitting or cross stitching, in Teresa's case, out and did some work as we rode, chatted, and relaxed. 

By the end of the day, my bag was stuffed full with the goodies I bought. Yarn for three pairs of socks - two for me and one for my DH, roving for a small shawl, pretty earrings to wear to fiber and yarn events, coilless safety pins for my knitting, and sheep buttons for a future vest. By the time I arrived home, I was ready for dinner and an early bedtime, dreaming yarny dreams of my treasures and future projects. Ah, a good day for all!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Cookie A's BFF sock

Cookie A's BFF sock by BlueDragon2
Cookie A's BFF sock, a photo by BlueDragon2 on Flickr.

Used Zitron Trekking Hand Art sock yarn, on size 1 needles.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Heel gusset on first Salida sock

Halfway done with heel gusset.

Sunday evening thoughts

First, the really exciting news - 

Knittin’ the Rails – An Urban Yarn Adventure
Saturday, May 28th, 2011
Join us as we travel by train to Portland’s historic Union Station, then visit several yarn shops in Portland, with a trip to the Tea Zone for a quick break, before having a light early dinner and heading back to Salem on the train.
We will be meeting at the Mission Mill Museum on Saturday morning at 9:30, then walking across Mill St. to board the Amtrak Cascades #504 10:12 morning train to Portland, approximately an hour’s journey away. Leaving the train at Union Station, we will walk and use TriMet buses to visit Urban Fiber Arts, Dublin Bay Yarn Company, Twisted (home of the entire Blue Moon Fiber Arts line!), and Yarn Garden with a quick hop to Happy Knits. We will stop for a snack at the Tea Zone mid-afternoon to restore our energy, before continuing our urban adventure.
About 4:30 we will have an early dinner at the Lloyd Center food court, before boarding the #507 6:15 train for the early evening run back to Salem, arriving in Salem about 7:15.
Important things to know -
Knitters must purchase their train tickets in advance of the trip, to assure their seat on the train. There is a Bistro car on the train which has drinks and light snacks available.
Please wear shoes and clothing appropriate for walking in town and for the weather. Please remember to carry only what you can comfortably carry on the buses. This trip is not suitable for toddlers or young children but babes in arms are welcome! Bags will be checked at the yarn shops for security and to make shopping easier. Remember that Portland has hills but relatively small downtown blocks. And don’t forget your cameras!
Knitters should bring $10.00 in change for the buses. We will be buying all day passes but the price could change. Bring only the bank cards you intend to use, in a wallet you can put in your pocket to avoid leaving it on the bus or in a yarn shop.
Bring a refillable water bottle to stay hydrated – walking is hard work and you don’t want to get tired too soon!
Please contact Helen Burros – or Bluedragon on to sign up and for more information about this fun excursion in ‘green’ travel!

This idea has been running around in the back of my mind for a while now and I finally decided it's time to make it happen. I know not everyone is going to Sock Summit 2011 (really? why not?) so I thought this would be something fun to do ahead of time. I'm hoping for at least 10 folks, if we get 20 buying tickets at the same time we get a group discount!

I hope you've been enjoying the progress pics I've been posting from my iPhone, my life has gotten pretty busy with the classes and making class samples, along with my regular knitting, so my computer time has gotten pretty short lately. Now it's bedtime so I'm out of here, but I hope you all have a great week!