Texas Knitting in Portland

If you’re a knitter in a warm climate, like me, you always look forward to visiting someplace that’s colder. Not only does it mean you’ll get a break from the heat, but more importantly it means there will be lots of new yarn shops to visit. Such was the case for me these past two weeks while visiting Portland, OR, to see my five months pregnant daughter and her husband.

Mt Hood
Mt Hood! Always a great sight just before we land.

Though I only got to visit one yarn shop this time around, it was one I’ve had on my radar for a long time: Happy Knits. Such a great shop! I bought three different types of yarn in lovely colors–but it was hard to stop at only three. I can’t wait to start knitting something from those yarns very soon.

Lovely colors of Cascade Yarns from Happy Knits.
Lovely colors of Cascade Yarns from Happy Knits.

Portland is known for its soggy, cold autumns, but I must have brought my Texas skies with me because it only rained one day and sleeted another. Most days were cloudless but cold, and I kept hearing from everyone there, “It isn’t usually like this here this time of year.” I didn’t expect it to get as cold as it did–but I think the entire country was unprepared for that cold blast of early winter last week.

Latourell Falls
Three ninjas at Latourell Falls in the Columbia River Gorge.

I talked my daughter into starting a cocoon for the future baby, and then I taught my son’s girlfriend how to knit (this has been a secret desire of mine for years). After loading up on #13 needles and thick yarn, and teaching her the knit (right) stitch to practice on, she got to work and promptly knitted up a lovely, chunky garter stitch scarf for herself. She’s hooked now (though I’m afraid I’ve lost a customer for life).

Nicole's first knitted scarf!
Nicole’s first knitted scarf!

We also had to make an emergency trip for circular needles for my daughter, and inadvertently discovered a local store the size of Alaska: Fabric Depot. Though mostly geared towards seamstresses, with a huge space displaying row after row of beautiful fabrics, they had a good-sized section of yarns, needles, and books. Best of all, the cashier told us it’s a family-owned business and has been there for years. I haven’t sewn in a long time, but Fabric Depot made me want to start again.

Seastacks at Rockaway Beach on the Oregon coast.
Seastacks at Rockaway Beach on the Oregon coast.

It was a whirlwind two weeks. With trips to the Columbia River Gorge, Rockaway and Canon beaches on the coast, a visit to the Tillamook Cheese Factory, the Portland Farmer’s Market downtown, and a Capital Cities concert (their song Safe and Sound became my personal anthem last year when I had ovarian cancer), I stayed busy. I did manage to knit three warm, wool scarves during the trip, so look for them soon in the shop.

Raspberry and Wine Portland Scarves
Raspberry and Wine Portland Scarves

My last few nights in Portland found Dominique, Nicole, and I curled up on the couch, knitting and talking about life and all the things women talk about when they’re alone. It was a lovely reminder of how making things by hand, and passing on the ancient craft of knitting, can bring us even closer together.

safe and sound tshirt
Yes, I am!

***** These photos were all taken with my phone, so please excuse the poor quality!

Christmas Knitting

Here are two more photos of the scarves I knit for my son, Nicolas, and my son-in-law, Kevin.

Wool cowl
Nick’s 100% wool cowl with a reversible wavy line / checkered boxes pattern
wool cowl
Kev’s100% wool cowl with a small boxes pattern

Fast and Furious

The holiday season has been a blur, with the kids home, our annual Christmas lights Run from our house, and Christmas dinner with extended family, also in our home. I somehow managed to fit in some knitting, but it wasn’t easy.

After the gray cowl with small squares was purchased, which was the scarf my daughter had her eye on as a Christmas present for her husband, I decided to knit another one for him in the same pattern. Knowing he had an upcoming birthday ski trip to Jackson Hole, I decided to use a thicker, warmer, roving wool for the scarf.

Wool Cowl

Then I decided to knit another one, in a different pattern, for my son, who works outdoors. This time I used a reversible wavy line pattern, which has a checkered box pattern on the other side.

Wavy lines cowl
Wavy lines cowl

They were a hit with both guys. I especially like that the scarves are cowls, meaning they can simply double them up around their necks for maximum warmth.

And the girls like that they can borrow them whenever they want and still look stylish!

We ended the year with a beautiful, fun New Year’s Eve wedding of some friends. It was freezing, and I wanted to wear one of my own warm, hand knit wraps, but none of them matched my dress. I’ll have to make sure I work on something for 2014!

Hopefully your holiday season wasn’t quite as hectic as mine, but if it was, I hope it was as much fun as ours. Here’s wishing you and yours a very Happy New Year!