Monday, September 26, 2005

The Spinsters and the Knitters in the Sun

-- William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, Act II Scene IV.

Busy, busy! Last Friday, a group of us took the afternoon off and drove up to Ashland, Oregon for the season's end of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. We saw two shows, Twelfth Night and Room Service. The experience of seeing Twelfth Night in an outdoor theater was fantastic. We bundled up in warm clothes and brought blankets and seat cushions. Our seats were in the balcony; lucky for us the slight overhang prevented us from getting wet during the first couple of acts as a light rain fell upon everyone below. We sipped on hot chocolate while watching a mesmerizing production. The set and costumes were excellent and the acting was superb. Room Service was a completely different play, set in 1930's New York on Broadway about the antics of a play producer who connives various hotel managers to let his actors stay in the hotel and produce his show. It was hilarious, fast-paced and fun.

When we weren't watching the plays, we were enjoying some of the sights in and around Ashland. We hiked a trail up Brown Mountain before shopping in the quaint downtown area. I was keen on visiting The Web*sters, the local yarn store located in Ashland's historical district. I have ordered from Web*sters before for hard-to-find Lantern Moon needles and some books. I was expecting to find a small, charming shop. Instead I walked into one of the largest modern yarn stores I have visited so far with beautiful hardwood floors, shelves almost floor to ceiling, well-lit and easy to move around areas. The variety of yarn made my head spin with high-end name brands like Adrienne Vittadini and Colinette. Their collection of Noro alone took my breath away. I loved that they had swatches of most yarns. Samples of sweaters, purses and scarves were on the shelves or hanging on racks so that you could easily touch, survey and try on. None were for sale but each had a card with the pattern name, yarn, size, yardage and estimated cost to knit.

The store was so large they had a section for artsy clothes and accessories and the front glass counter was filled with jewelry. This was not a cozy store where people could gather to knit. There were no comfy sofas or chairs. There was a huge back room with a large table used for classes but it didn't look like anyone could just walk in and knit. That was disappointing but I can understand why. Web*sters has tremendous foot traffic since it's smack dab in the middle of a very popular, touristy shopping plaza. The prices were not cheap. A little girl of about 8 or 10 was in the store with her mother. She apparently had just learned to knit, wanted to make herself a sweater and asked the sales person for yarn around $3. None were to be had! In fact, the least expensive yarn was around $5 and that was on sale. I felt bad for the girl. I myself was so overwhelmed with yarn choices that I became as useless as a bunny paralyzed with fright. I did not buy huge amounts of yarn, just a Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton pattern book (the one with Klaralund), size 0 Addi's for socks, and a couple of balls of Touch Me to keep company with the matching ball of it at home. However, I hope I don't regret not buying any Noro.

Finally On the way home from Ashland, we took the long way back to Sacramento by visiting Burney Falls and Lassen Volcanic National Park. Pictures will have to come at a later date. I forgot to put batteries in my digital camera after I recharged them, duh, so the only camera I had was my Ricoh 28mm compact. It will take at least a week to get the film developed. I'll save my review of those parks for when I post the pictures.

Hey, did I tell you I did some knitting over the weekend too? Road trips are great for knitting! I am almost finished with Tivoli and I swatched the Alpaca Silk for the Bed & Breakfast Pullover from the Winter 2003 Interweave Knits. I also swatched for the Ballet Pullover from the Summer 2004 IK. There are a couple of other patterns that I want to swatch for before deciding what I'm going to knit next.

Whew, well I have more to write but it'll have to wait for another day. Hope you all are having a good week!


Stephanie said...

Wow. Sounds like you had a great weekend. The yarn store sounds lovely, but kind of intimidating.

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Cyndi said...

Wow - you had quite a weekend! Sightseeing in Oregon, Burney, and Lassen - that's a lot of driving! Did you get to enjoy the new Ridgeline?

The Shakespeare festival sounds neat. Have you ever been to Shakespeare in the Park at Land Park?

kittensmittens said...

busy weekend. sounded very fun though.

(well, if you should ever regret not getting the noro, there is a website that sells it for a pretty good price. Michelle knows it.)

LoriO said...

I love Ashland. Sean and I have dreamed of living there someday. I would be nice because I have a lot of family up that way.

The Web-sters is a great store, and I've always received great service from them both in the store and over the phone. Last time I was there I so so so wanted to buy some Koigu, but I didn't and I do regret it!

Birdsong said...

Isn't Ashland great? I lived there for three years, but was a poor starving student back then;luckily I have had several chances to go back and see plays over the years. I like Websters, but agree about the lack of comfort - there really ARE locals and you'd think they would be encouraging their business as well. It is really aimed at the luxury market, though. Glad you got in the side trip too; I will be looking forward to seeing photos.