Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Why Travel if Not for Yarn

I was off last week to the Romance Writers of America annual conference in San Francisco, but before I got down to the business of writing and working and meetings, I got the chance to hang with my good friend, Debbie Macomber and go on a yarn crawl she organized.

Okay, you haven't lived until you've gone into a yarn shop with Debbie. It is a riot. There are authors who write about knitting and can barely make a purl and pass themselves off as "knitters", and I won't mention names, but Debbie isn't one of those--she LOVES knitting. She adores yarn. She's a knitter's knitter. A few years ago when we were at a conference, she and I ran over to a local yarn shop and I came home with all these projects that I thought were way over my head and she was so encouraging that I think I knit them purely on her faith.

But along for the ride were Candi Jensen--of crochet fame and producer of the Knit and Crochet Today on PBS, and who was our delightful chauffeur and hostess to her hometown, Renata--Debbie's to-die-for right hand assistant, and fellow authors, Christina Skye and Marie Skinner. Here's the whole pack of us at ImagiKnit. (Moi, Christina, Candi, Debbie and Renata.)

Christina and I knew each other years ago when I lived in Phoenix for a year, but haven't crossed paths since, so it was wonderful to see her again. Of course we had to keep pulling her away from big, thick, heavy yarns, since she still lives in Phoenix, a place that really isn't designed for wearing a lot of wool. And who wouldn't like an author who wears her own hand knit shawl in her author photo! Here's Christina trying to make an anonymous entrance into Noe Knit where we both ended up buying the pattern for Artfibers Symmetrical Flying V Shawl and skeins of Blue Heron Yarns Beaded Rayon to make it.

Now this is the sort of project I would probably walk right past in a shop, and quite frankly, I did. Then it caught Christina's eye and she asked the lady in the shop if she could try the shawl on. And when she did, Wow! What a difference between hanging on an armoire, and hanging around one's neck. The drape and pattern were beautiful and we were both hooked on the project. I hadn't brought any knitting with me, hoping to find the perfect project on our crawl, so when I reached to buy needles, Christina insisted I borrow her Knitpicks Options, especially when I confessed I had never tried them. We all joked over lunch, "you can borrow a book and not return it, borrow a recipe and claim it as your own, but knitting needles--those you must return."

Can I just say these needles are incredible?! Where have I been? By the time I got home, I was online and ordering a set. And yes, Christina, the moment my new set arrives (in 5-7 days) yours will be winging their way back to you.

But back to our crawl. We started at ImagiKnit, which I have heard all about over the years from listening to Jenny and Nicole's podcast, Stash and Burn. The folks in the shop are very helpful, overly nice and when they realized Debbie was in the house, brought out all the stops for us. They also confirmed for me that Nicole is as nice and chatty in person as she is on the air. Met a few other Ravelry folks just shopping and since I was wearing my brand new and completely done February Lady Sweater, I got stopped every few feet. ImagiKnit is an amazing shop with floor to ceiling yarns and in every fiber and color imaginable. If you go to SF, it is a must stop shop.

With all our shopping and gabbing, we only got to the two shops (ImagiKnit and Noe Knit) and didn't make it to our planned stop at Artfibers, but Renata confided in me a few days later that she'd snuck out of the conference and hit it and bought a bunch of yarn, including some to die for silk. But then again, she wasn't the only one to bring home more yarn than books from a writer's conference. I also picked up enough of this, Terra in Cornflower to make another Liesl sweater. (Ravel linked). I knit one last week before I went to conference in like 5 days, so I would love to have another because it is so pretty and so much fun to wear.


Margaret said...

How cool is that? To be able to combine 2 things you love doing and make the most of both.

I figured Christina for aknitter when I read about a closet knitter in her latest book. LOL

It looks like you all were having a blast in that quilt shop. I wish we had one that nice around here. We have 3 in Lancaster and they are all cramped and jammed till it's hard to find anything.

I hope you got something from the conference also, Elizabeth.

Christina Skye said...

Hey, Elizabeth.

What a day for knitters! I enjoyed every amazing minute. Debbie and Candi were fantastic tour leaders and great fiber guides. Both of them are soooo knowledgeable! It was my pleasure to provide the fantastic Knitpicks needles. (I never travel without at least one pair in my bag.) They are perfect for the Red Heron shawl, no? I'd gotten to joining the first two wedges when my two cats raced under my feet and I promptly dropped ALL 82 slippery rayon stitches.

Lots of muffled muttering was heard, believe me. So watch for passing cats (or dogs or kids or husbands!) when you get to the joining row.


I'll yarn crawl with you anytime.

tiennie said...

I want to go too next time!

madalyn said...

Sounds like you all had a great time!

One of these days, I'm going to order myself some KnitPicks Options needles... one of these days!