Monday, May 10, 2010

Of Gardens, Yarn, and Bacon: A Mother's Day Tale

I found it! I found the door to Yarnia!

Not this Yarnia:

And not a snowy land with big cats and evildoers behind someone's abandoned wardrobe, either:

No, Yarnia! But... I'm getting entirely ahead of myself. This is a Mother's Day story, so let's begin at the beginning.

The beginning was brunch at Marie Calendars with my own mother and family, where we filled up on eggs and potatoes and sausage and waffles and fruit and... well, it was a good thing that I made reservations because it was that good and the place filled up fast.

Afterwards, hubby, son, and I went to the Oregon Garden, where there were trees to lie under and look up at the sunny sky:

And there were pot people to meet... erm... I mean people made of pots... flower pots...

And gorgeous flowers to admire -- the iris were just starting to bloom at that elevation:

After wandering the garden and taking lots of pictures, we piled back in the car and headed north to Portland. To Yarnia!

Once you find the place (hint: follow the directions on the website and go down the stairs), and in through the magic door where you find this:

And then you turn around and see this:

Yarn! Yarn? It's so thin, so thread-like, so... so... cone-shaped. It's... proto-yarn.

So you go around and find the colors and textures and fibers that appeal and pick up to six of them that you like and that look good together. Some are thinner than sewing thread, some are nearly laceweight. You take them to the counter and the nice lady will cut and weigh a sample to tell you the approximate weight that the finished product will be. Put four to six strands of the thread-like stuff together and it may come out to fingering weight. Begin with the thicker stuff, and you can get up to bulky weight.

The nice lady behind the counter loads the cones onto a machine, and that's when the magic of Yarnia happens:

The singles from all six cones get wound together onto one cone -- not twisted to ply them together, but lying side by side, ready to knit with nonetheless.

And here is the finished product:

500 yards of bulky weight "yarn" made up of purple wool, blue wool, purple bamboo, blue bamboo, black alpaca, and one super-thin strand of bright green rayon. This will become, in time, a Shalom cardigan.

By that time it was well into the afternoon. We'd had brunch so we hadn't been hungry for lunch. Now we were hungry, but it wasn't quite time for dinner. So what meal were we having? Linner? Dunch? Um... tea?

Whatever it was, we had it at the Petite Provence in Portland. That was where both James and I decided the house BLT sounded good: bacon, lettuce, egg, avocado, and tomato. I guess that makes it a BLEAT. Mmm, BLEAT on a croissant! Now, I like my bacon crispy. Crackly. Can-stand-in-a-corner-by-itself kind of crispy. Can't stand un-crispy pork fat. Crispy is what I got. Mmm, yeah, that was a BLT to remember. I finished it off with a fruit tart, while James downed a Napoleon.

Got a shot of James and Glen:

And a shot of the man-child and me:

By then it was time to think about more prosaic things like getting the grocery shopping done. We gathered up the complimentary long-stemmed rose and Mother's Day chocolate croissants that came at the end of the meal and headed home.

Ah, gardens, yarn, and bacon. A Mother's Day doesn't get much better than that!

ETA: More Oregon Garden pictures over on my garden blog.


Sara said...

The garden looks beautiful. Yarnia sounds so cool and the yarn you created is gorgeous. Can't wait to see the Shalom.

Linda B said...

Oh, my gosh, Yarnia! I would go nutzo there! Must be a great destination for weavers.
What a great day you had!

Iron Needles said...

Ummmm....I need to know what that iris is named....

And color me oblivious. I didn't know about your gardening blog.

Also. How cool is that? Make your own yarn?! Wait...I kind of do that, but not like they do. That is all kinds of awesome!

Cindy G said...

Sound's like an absolutely perfect Mother's Day! (I like my bacon crispy, too).

FWIW, I'm pretty sure that Iris variety is "Batik", it surely is a beauty.

Cheryl said...

What an awesome Mother's Day. Thanks for the heads up on Yarnia - what a cool idea. Can't wait to see the FO from your custom blend!

Missus Vonkysmeed said...

OMG! Wow, if I am ever in the area I'll definitely have to stop by that shop, who knew you could design your own yarn that way!


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