Monday, May 30, 2011

Knittin' the Rails: an Urban Yarn Crawl

As though fiber festival season weren't enough... let's have a yarn crawl!

Organized by our own Helen, master organizer, our crawl was a "green" crawl, using public transportation to get a whole flock of knitters up to Portland and around to various yarn shops. With the assistance also of my son, who goes to college at Portland State, we all got to where we were going to, no one got lost, and we made it back to the train station on time with all of our loot.

Here's the Salem contingent, waiting at the Amtrak station for the train to arrive. Our Mother Duck, Helen, is on the left in the red aran cabled sweater (her own knitting, of course):

And heeeere comes the train! Huzzah! The Eugene contingent was already aboard and ready for adventure.

Yay, all aboard the train and on our way to Portland, where you can hardly throw a rock without hitting a fabulous yarn shop.

I've been on planes, ridden city busses and light rail, taken the Greyhound, and driven cross-country, but this was my first time on Amtrak. What was fun was seeing the same areas I'd driven through hundreds of times, but from an entirely different angle. Sometimes it was people's backyards, sometimes it was views across fields. Here I was trying to get the falls at Oregon City. Got the top of the falls, anyhow:

The train going around the curve and across the Steel Bridge in Portland:

And here we are, an hour later, at historical Union Station -- currently undergoing renovation to make sure it doesn't become history:

The well-marbled interior with the grandeur of a past age, still gleaming:

We met up with my son James, our secondary guide and scout. Being a college student and car-less, he knows all the ins and outs of the TriMet transportation system that will get us around Portland.

The first stop -- and I almost forgot to take any pictures, so here's a quick and almost-in-focus shot, was Dublin Bay. It's just a short walk from Union Station. They had goodies laid out, and a nice discount for yarn crawlers. And such pretty stuff! I was highly tempted by the baby camel and silk blend, but I didn't want to blow my whole yarn budget at the first shop.

From Dublin Bay, we walked up the street to Urban Fiber Arts, which carries not only yarn but a good selection of spinning fiber, much of it from local suppliers and dyers:

They, too, had a discount for us, and cupcakes. While the shop is smallish, the selection was gorgeous:

Lunch was just a block away at The Tea Zone, where there's more really, really good tea than I think I could drink in a lifetime. A huge BLT and a pot of Lychee tea fortified me for the afternoon.

From there we boarded a TriMet bus and crossed the river, over to explore the wonders that are Twisted:

Oh, lovely, lovely stuff, including the famous wall o' sock yarn:

Another jump onto the busses, and we had our choice between two shops within shouting distance of one another. I went with a group to Happy Knits, as it was the one of the two that I hadn't visited before, where they were unpacking new boxes of gorgeousness as we wandered among the shelves:

The other half of the group descended on the Yarn Garden. As the Happy Knits group got there just before Helen rang the bell to signal time to ring up the purchases and go find the bus, I didn't get a chance to get a shot of the interior and its multiple rooms of yarn:

James and I wait for the bus that will take us to the MAX light rail line that will take us back to Union Station.

And here we are back in Salem, all well-supplied with fresh new fiber-licious goodness:

My haul: eight skeins of purple heather Cascade Sport, eight balls of Rowan CashSoft that was on sale, a hank of merino/yak spinning fiber by Abstract Fiber in deep, deep purple and black, a project bag and matching needle case, and a needle felting tool:

Now I can't wait for the school year to end so I have a little more time to play with my new toys!


Janel Laidman said...

ah, so lovely to see our day all over again. It was so nice to meet the Salem contingent... I hope we meet up again some time!

Lizzie said...

Now that is a fun Saturday. Our local independent yarn shop closed its doors today after a month of sales. We were all upset as it was run by 2 lovely women who decided after 4 1/2 years to go their separate ways so now we'll get 2 yarn shops! They'll both be open by the Fall and perhpas I'll have made something with all the reduced yarn I bought! Happy summer knitting.


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