Harry caught you up on the middle portion of the tour of Washington State (thanks, Harry) and here's the finale: Paradise Fibers in Spokane.
Spokane and Seattle are in the same state, but you wouldn't know it to look at them. To get from one to the other takes about four hours by car. And if you begin in Seattle, as I did, it's shocking to pass the through vibrantly green, rain-soaked mountains and find this waiting for you on the other side.
And I thought the two halves of my brain were a study in contrasts.
Paradise Fibers was ready for me.
I, on the other hand, wasn't quite ready for Paradise Fibers. Sure, they told me it would be...different. But I did not listen. And I was shocked.
In case you haven't been, here are some distinguishing characteristics that make the place Not Quite Your Usual LYS:
- Shares street frontage in a warehouse building with a porn shop;
- Sort of looks from the outside like a used auto parts dealership;
- Has one (1) female employee, the rest (including the owner) being (cute) (straight) males;
- Has enough square footage for the spinning wheels and looms to be in separate rooms;
- Has a sound studio and a race car garage tucked into odd corners;
- Served chicken kebabs to the students in both of my classes;
- Combines excellent, friendly service and an encyclopedic selection with a cool factor that is off the charts.
After teaching two full-to-the-brim sessions of my lace class to exuberant and often far-traveled students (including one from New Mexico and a whole pack from Idaho), I was plumb tuckered out. But these two are so engaging–every bit as cool as the shop they run–that I had to sit and up and chat with them for a while before drifting off to sleep in my beautiful room at the fabulous Montvale Hotel, which I am told once functioned as a whorehouse. Kids, it don't get no better than that.
Yup. I used the words "cool" and "fabulous" to describe a trip to Spokane. If you haven't been there, go see for yourself.
And I'm just back from another trip to the Pacific Northwest–to Knit-Purl, in Portland. (Jet lag now! Ask me how!) But the write-up is giving me a headache because I've been threatened by the locals with grievous bodily harm if I tell you how every good thing you've heard about Portland is true, even the things you would swear couldn't possibly be true. So I have to find some way of telling you what I did in Portland and showing you photos, and not making you want to drop everything and hire a moving truck.
In the meantime, here's a heads-up on another trip coming soon: Delaware. I'm going to be doing two events on October 10 at Stitches With Style in Newark. There will be a brunch in the morning at 9 am, followed by the "Introduction to Lace" class at 11:30 am. Both require that you please sign up, which you can do by calling . So do come, won't you?
Widdle Biddy Kiddie Hat Korner
Remember when I translated the antique baby hood pattern for Knitty and used a grumpy five-day-old model for the photographs, and a contingent from the Society for Mandatory Infantile Lighthearted Expressions (SMILE) marched on Chicago and pelted my front door with Cabbage Patch Dolls and Precious Moments figurines?
Well, the baby has grown, as I am told they do. Aside from the occasional bout of melancholia, she seems admirably even-tempered and free of permanent scarring from the ordeal.
I promised her parents a baby hat*** as compensation for her services. The hat is complete and awaiting delivery. Knitting it was a snap. Choosing a pattern was not. I waffled like a Belgian with a full jug of batter until I saw the Wayna Picchu Earflap Hat from bluegirl knits. And then I knew I'd found it.
Another compulsive piece of knitting, much like the Oliver sock. I think I worked it in three hours. Had me from the get-go, it did. And there's a grown-up version that may wind up on my head this winter.
The yarn? More of that Nordique from Véronik Avery, in oatmeal and chalk blue. (Shut up. I can stop knitting with Veronik's yarn any time I want to. I just don't want to.)
I don't know why, but I'm in love with the tone-on-tone thing lately. I keep swatching with colorways that are so subtle in their variations they're almost, but not quite, monochrome. I have no idea where I'm going with it, of course–but since when has that ever stopped me?
*Yes, they changed the name. No, I don't care.
**You just know that when he gets back from Copenhagen, the beatings will begin. Good luck, Rio.
***We in the word biz call this "irony."