Thursday, November 17, 2005

So Not Me

I checked out Steph's blog today and saw that she had done one of those fun little bloggie personality thingies so I did one too:

Your Birthdate: September 9

You are a born idealist, with more pet causes than you can count.
You prefer be around others, both when working and while relaxing.
Generous and giving, you believe you can change the world one person at a time.
You're open minded and tolerant. People feel like they can tell you anything.

Your strength: Your go-with-the-flow flexibility

Your weakness: Your flair for the over dramatic

Your power color: Pine green

Your power symbol: Circle

Your power month: September

OK, OK. This is not me. I am not go-with-the-flow. I am not an idealist. I like to be alone. Green is not my power color, that would be burgundy or magenta. And a circle? No. I'm a right-angled kind of gal. But the other things are close: I am open-minded, generous and people can tell me anything. And I've been told I can be dramatic ;-)

It's been a while since I posted and I'm feeling guilty. It's the lapsed Catholic in me. The Zippered Cardigan still isn't done but I'm close - I have to sew the zipper and finish the collar. I'm really close! In the meantime I've been totally distracted by knitting for a friend's baby. I was supposed to knit something back in the summer. Doh. The baby is 3 months old now and I'm determined to finish something by Christmas. I've started a very easy cardigan called Baby Baby from Jill Eaton's Minnies using Berroco Plush. This yarn is so incredibly soft, like cat fur or cotton balls. I'll try to post pictures this weekend. Hopefully there will be something to take a photo of.

Until then, here's a fairly recent picture from the archives. A dog day afternoon...

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Yarn Shop Review: Farmhouse Knit Shop

Farmhouse Knit Shop must be the coziest yarn shop I've visited so far. Located in Beaverton, Oregon near the Nike headquarters and tucked in a small neighborhood, the shop oozes comfort, warmth and color.

The shop is actually a converted old house and consists of 4 rooms. Each room except the entrance has a wooden table and chairs in the center over an antique rug, with either a ball winder and swift or stacks of magazines. The sitting room - complete with fireplace and a mantle of knitted goods, comfy chairs - is stocked with handpainted yarns. There's a room devoted to sock yarn and yarn suitable for kids garments. Then there are two rooms of fabulous, luxurious fibers neatly organized in wooden cubbies.

The Farmhouse is decorated in a sumptuous, old country, Arts & Crafts kind of way with dark hardwood, period lamps and chairs and soft lighting. The colorful yarn contrasts with the decor beautifully. Gorgeous sample sweaters, felted bags and ponchos hang everywhere and goodies like delicate Lantern Moon silk needle cases and twinkling glass beads are scattered around in baskets.

According to Sandy, the proprieter, one of her bestsellers is a line of hand dyed yarn created by a local artist operating under the name Blue Moon Fibers. I bought three skeins of "Sock Candy", a cotton/elite blend in a deep blue sea, magenta, forest green and mustard colorway.

I had an interesting chat with Sandy about local yarn shops and the knitting trend in general. In the greater Portland area alone, she said something like 16 stores have opened in the past few years, mostly by relatively new and inexperienced retailers. In the meantime, the knitting craze has started to wane. A lot of store owners have seen their sales go down noticeably. Sandy wondered how long the new shops will stay in business versus those like hers which have existed before knitting became such a fad. I personally had not noticed the knitting thing tapering off (my own funk notwithstanding) but I have observed, with some dismay, the trend of the latest designs targeted at the 25-and-under crowd. There's nothing wrong with that - the yarn companies and designers want to make money - but the patterns in Knit It! and knit.1 aren't for me. When I asked if that target market could afford to buy quality yarn and keep the new shops afloat, Sandy's opinion was, "Credit cards. 18-, 20-year olds can get credit cards and charge the yarn." Whew. Thank goodness I didn't have a credit card when I was that young or I'd still be paying off those bills.

If you're ever in the Beaverton or Hillsboro, Oregon area which is about 45 minutes west of Portland, stop by Farmhouse Knit Shop and say hello to Sandy. You'll definitely be charmed.