We’re Tying the Knot!

Friends, I’ve been sitting on some wonderful news for the last week. I’ve been debating how much I wanted to share here, but then I decided it’d be silly not to tell you something so important about my life and just post about, say, the socks I started knitting on this trip. The real news is: we got engaged!

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We had a wonderful weekend, completely dreamy and romantic. These photos are from Roederer Estate, where Jason proposed and we had a wine and champagne tasting and a basket lunch afterwards.

130525-122606 130525-122445130525-131054I’m sorry; that was a pretty cheesy photo of the ring, wasn’t it? (Yep, literally.) Unfortunately all the arty close-ups I tried to take just made my hand look weird and alien.

Our trip started with my absolute favorite lunch in the whole world.

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My documentation of the weekend started to slide a bit after that; too busy enjoying myself! I did get some pretty nature shots as we walked around Mendocino working up an appetite for Wild Fish, which you absolutely must try if you’re ever in the area. Perfectly cooked seafood in a teeny-tiny one-room restaurant with two quirky British hosts and a view of the sun setting over the Pacific ocean.

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And, my favorite view. I love you, sweetheart!

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I anticipate having some more news to tell you in the coming months. (Hint: we’re not going to be a long-distance couple much longer.) But I promise not to subject you to too much wedding talk! Our regularly scheduled craft blogging will resume next week. :)

In Which Yarn Fantasies Come True

My ears perked up recently when Jason mentioned he needed to go to Seattle for work. About six years ago, I had what I think of as a “perfect” day in Seattle. That day began with a trip to Bainbridge Island and ended with a nearly front-row seat to see Andrew Bird at Bumbershoot. It’s kind of a funny story how I ended up in Seattle that time: I was suffering from extremely bad seasonal allergies, and so I cross-referenced an online allergen map with a discount airfare site and decided to take a cheap last-minute flight to escape my misery. Thank you, internet.

Anyway, the last time I went to Bainbridge Island, I hadn’t yet started to knit, and so that day was actually not as perfect as it could have been: I missed out on Churchmouse Yarns and Teas. Ever since I learned about this store, I’ve been dreaming about taking a trip back to Bainbridge Island. Luckily Jason was game for the idea of a yarn pilgrimage romantic getaway weekend.

Bainbridge Island is a short ferry ride away from Seattle.  We had a few hours to kill before the ferry, so we went first to Pike’s Place Market. So began a weekend of epic eating.

Pike Place Market, Seattle

The ferry ride is very pleasant, if cold. You get great views of Seattle, Puget Sound, and the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges in the distance. The weather forecast was for rain during our visit, but we got lucky!

Bainbridge Island Ferry

I was happy to discover that there’s also a fabric store on Bainbridge Island: Esther’s Fabrics. They had the cutest displays and were very helpful. I picked up a few more prints for my Hawaii quilt.

Esther's Fabrics

And then it was on to Churchmouse. I can only say that this is the most beautiful yarn store I have ever been in. That’s saying a lot, given that two of my local yarn stores are A Verb for Keeping Warm in Berkeley and Imagiknit in San Francisco. But, wow. This store is like a museum. A museum of incredibly tasteful yarn. If you are a knitter, you know there’s a lot out there that is… a little regrettable. I’m not saying there isn’t a place for loud, variegated yarn, but this store is an oasis from all that is crass in knitting. There’s an almost religious quality to it.

Churchmouse Yarns and Teas

This last photo is their collection of yarn from Brooklyn Tweed, which you will almost certainly have heard of if you’re a knitter. If not, it’s a line of two yarns, both spun in the “woolen” style, which makes them very lofty and lightweight, but warm. The wool is dyed before it’s spun, so that each color is made up of many different base colors, with specks you can see close up, and a beautiful heathered look from a distance. Jared Flood, the owner of Brooklyn Tweed, did a great series of posts on his blog about the making of this yarn. I was so excited to be able to see all the colors in person, since there are only a handful of stores that carry this yarn. I’d been planning to get enough yarn to make the Emery sweater in Camper (a pink color), but ended up preferring the look of Old World (a deep blue) in person.

Bainbridge Island Photos

A few other favorites from the weekend:

The view from the Eagle Harbor Public House (photos above) is fantastic at sunset. The clam chowder was yummy but too rich for me to finish. (Yes that is a pat of butter floating in the clam chowder.) We enjoyed trying some local rye called John Jacob Fremont Mischief. According to the bartender at another place we visited, the distilling laws in Washington State have recently changed, and there are more small independent distilleries opening up.

Pegasus Coffee was our home base for several meals.  Our favorites were the baked eggs with chiles and the savory cobbler of the day.

We also made a brief foray into Ballard. We had great cocktails at The Sexton and I did a little stash building at The Quilting Loft on our way to see the Ballard Locks.

Hawaii Dreaming

To preface this post, I need to come clean about something. Recently I’ve been going to Hawaii a lot. As in, maybe once a month. I know it sounds kind of crazy. But that’s what I am: crazy in love with someone who lives there.  (And apparently really mushy too.)

Lanikai Pillboxes

(Lanikai Pillboxes Hiking Trail, Oahu)

Over the past few months I’ve started collecting fabrics with the vague idea of making a “Hawaii” quilt.  Note I didn’t say “Hawaiian quilt,” which is something else entirely.  No, what I want is a modern quilt that reminds me of what it’s like to be in Hawaii.

My “Hawaiian” fabric stash started with some prints from the Cleo collection from Dear Stella.  Since then the stash has evolved a little bit, to the point that only a few of those Cleo fabrics fit with the others.  Oh well.

I’ve also been on the lookout for ideas for a quilt design.  The problem is that a lot of modern quilt designs are boxy, and that’s definitely not the look I’m going for.  I want something a little more organic, or maybe tribal looking. I think I stumbled on exactly the right pattern while I was at QuiltCon, the Marmelade Quilt by Elizabeth Hartman. My plan is to make this quilt with three different colors of diamonds.

Fabrics for Hawaii Quilt - Orange

Fabrics for Hawaii Quilt - Blue

Fabrics for Hawaii Quilt - Tan and Green

Designing Some “Hawaiian” Fabric

The other element I’d like to incorporate into this quilt is some fabric I design myself. My main source of inspiration is the Hawaiian style of tattooing. (Here’s an example.) There is a rich tradition around these tattoos, and apparently if you get one from a real master, they choose the constituent parts of the design based on what you tell them about yourself and your life. Different images have different symbolic meaning. Shark teeth, for example, are for protection. I bought a book about Hawaiian tattoos and started playing around with drawing some of these symbols. As you can see, there are different levels of abstraction, from more lifelike drawings to more simplified or stylized representations.

Hawaiian Tattoo Symbols

I’d like to incorporate some of these into a really elaborate full “tattoo” design, and others I’d like to make into some simple coordinating fabrics.  I think that turtle might look really good just in a simple tiling repeat, for example.  What do you think?!?