I have been away. Last Friday, I took a much-needed day off and my motley crew of friends spent several days in Ft. Bragg and Mendocino, California. We rented a lovely house located right on the bluffs in Ft. Bragg and had a perfect view of the ocean, a blazing sunset, whales spouting and fishing boats coming home after the day's catch. This was literally a few hundred yards from the house. My friend McGinnis almost had a heart attack because he thought I was going to fall off the cliffs while taking pictures. Unlikely. When I'm in that mode, I am invincible. One "feature" of the bluffs was that it was a favorite spot for abalone divers. In the mornings we would see them park by the cliffs, dive and then haul up their catch. And then they would give us a show of removing their wet articles of clothing. They entertained us with many moons.
We hiked a really nice trail through Russian Gulch State Park to a waterfall - the day was overcast with a bit of fog, all the flora were wet with raindrops. After that hike, we visited the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens where again we walked to more bluffs like this one with wildflowers .
There was a "secret" vegetable garden that had the most amazing purple-headed broccoli I had ever seen, plus the rhododendrons were in cascading and luscious bloom.
But what about the yarn stores?? YES. I dragged my friends to 2 of them. Navarro River Knits in Ft. Bragg was such a wonderful surprise that I practically swooned when I saw the store (or so I was told, anyway). I was expecting a small shop tucked away in an alley. Instead, it was in a renovated historic building - The Company Store - and featured a variety of Australian and New Zealand yarns. They even had some merino/possum blends. The store owner was friendly and informative. The second shop was the Mendocino Yarn Shop. This cozy store next to the post office was just filled floor to ceiling with yarn and books. My friend Conny picked up a handful of to-die-for skeins of Rowan because she decided she would go ahead and knit socks...you know, for the heck of it even though she'd never done it before. Conny, who is German, has to get a sock pattern from her sister-in-law in German because the English patterns are confusing. I thought this was interesting; I'd never really thought about the translations, but knitting patterns, even in English, are rather cryptic.
Speaking of socks, I started my first pair over the weekend. These are just practice so I'm not even going to post a picture of them yet, but I'm using a beginner's pattern from Knitting Pure and Simple using lightweight worsted. I'm doing OK, but I'm not crazy about 7" DPNs. I had practiced with some 4" DPNs on the plane back from Oregon last Thursday and they were much easier. I now have a small stash of sock yarn too. My yarnmoire is bloated. I just cannot justify buying any more yarn or needles. At least for the next day or two. I stopped working on Diane for the time being, but finally finished the neck of the Shapely Tee. That's coming up for April, I decided. I should be finished this weekend if not sooner and it will be available for your inspection by then! In the meantime, my question to you: how do you hold your dang DPNs comfortably without feeling like they are poking in every direction but the one that you need??