Thursday, March 31, 2011

Last part of our trip

Ok, I think I left you after having gotten my yarn at Sarah's and Chris' house, right? I went through my travel journal yesterday, and I just realized I forgot to tell you about something really cool in an earlier part of the trip though, so I'll start with that. On Sunday morning when we were at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington DC, we came to the part about creatures of the sea, and there was this absolutely awesome display of coral reefs. The museum had had a local knitter's guild hand crafting a whole coral reef of yarn!!!

There was one huge display, and several smaller ones, and they were all awesome! Here's a photo of me and Sarah next to the big one, so you can appreciate the scale:

(And yes, Sarah is wearing my Paper Dolls sweater, that fits her so much nicer than me!) The materials used were really inventive as well, we saw stuff knitted from metal thread, plastics, camera film and pieces of drinking straw, among other stuff. So cool!

Anyway, on with the last part of the trip. On Sunday night we all just hung out at Sarah's and Chris' house, and Chris cooked for us. Let me tell you, me and Thomas have been spoiled rotten with all the awesome food S & C have made for us during this week! This night Chris fried shrimp with rice, asparagus and home-made salsa, and we ate til we almost exploded. Yummy! Plus, we got to take home a new (for us) sea-food spice as well :)

On Monday we went grocery-shopping for the week, and this was actually fun for us, as we have barely any of the brands at home that were found in the isles here. I'm very impressed by the selection of gluten-free products too, I guess it helps that eating gluten-free is a kind of  popular clebrity diet as well, and not just for allergics any more :)

Then we went to Douthat State Park, located just a few minutes outside of Clifton Forge, and it was so beautiful! We got to see where Sarah and Chris got married, and the cabin was so cozy and nice! 

The first night we barbecued Steak, which was also awesome, and me and Sarah knitted a lot. You might not be as excited about this part of the trip, as it's been real down-time with slow days spent just enjoying the company and surroundings, but I tell you that this part of the trip was probably the best one for us! We got along so fabulously with S & C, and it was so nice to get to relax a bit after the hectic week in NY and DC.

On Tuesday we walked around the part a bit, and had a look at the lake and surroundings. We also played a game of Risk (a strategic board game), which I'd never played before. I know I know, I'm supposed to be a serious board gamer, but somehow this game has escaped me. It was a lot of fun though, and I think it might find its way into our game collection as well.

On Wednesday we all went into Roanoke to have some last shopping, and we picked up a lot of gifts this day. Thomas bought himself some books at Barnes & Noble:

And I bought some cook books (or rather, cupcake books) for my sister:

She had actively wished for books about cupcakes, since that is sort of typical american. She likes to bake, and it was an easy gift to find. The Babycakes book I picked up at the bakery in NY, mostly because it is fun, but since their cookies are gluten-free, sugar-free and vegan (I wonder what's actually in them?), they seem kind of hard to make, so I wanted to find her some books that she might actually use.

I also picked up my very first Yarn Harlot book:

At Target I got some Reese's chocolate to bring home. Gyus, seriously, this is some delicious chocolate! I think I might have to ask Sarah to start a regular supply line of this stuff to our place! I'll send her Cloetta Kexchoklad (a swedish brand that is actually made in Linköping), and she can send me Reese's. Sound like a deal Sarah?

We passed by the local yarn store (you know we couldn't pass that up, right?), where I got to fondle some locally made yarn. Turns out that the owner of the shop (the shop is called Yarn Explosion, I forget the owner's name) had spent a year in Stockholm (Capital of Sweden), which was kind of fun! I picked up four more skeins of yarn:

Unplanned Peacock Studio Peacock Sock Yarn (75 % Superwash Merion/25 % Nylon, 422 m/100 g) in colourway Hokie (this is a local yarn)

Knit One Crochet Too Crock-O-Dye (65 % Wool/20 % Nylon/15 % Silk, 380 m/100 g) in colourway 535

Two skeins of Cascade Yarns Alpaca Lace (100 % Alpaca, 400 m/50 g) in colourway 1425

And I also got two shawl needles:

We also went to a shoe store (I seem to have forgotten which!), and Thomas found a pair of Converse shoes that he loves:

Actually they're not really Converse, they're Levi's, but they look like Converse. Can you believe that I went into this huge shoe store and didn't buy any shoes for myself?! I managed to pick up a new wallet though, that I really love:

After spending most of the day shopping we were feeling kind of exhausted, so we went back to the cabin to relax in front of the fire place and just hang out. There was a HUGE thunderstorm that evening, which was super neat! We watched it from inside, and just enjoyed the fire even more. Popeye, who was with us at the cabin, spent the evening on a cushion in front of the fire too :)

Thursday was our last day, and we spent it packing up all of our stuff (with all of our shopping we actually had to get a new suitcase!), and played another round of Risk (this time I won!). 

I think we were all feeling a bit apprehensive about leaving, none of us really wanted to go home again! It was so nice to just have a holiday spent knitting and curling up in front of a fire!

On Friday morning we went back to Sarah and Chris' to get the last of our stuff, and it turned out that one of our suitcases was broken in the zipper! Luckily, Sarah and Chris had a HUGE suitcase to lend to us (which they will bring back home with them after their visit to Sweden next year - YAY!), so we could get all our stuff home. And the airport didn't have to charge us any extra either, neither for the size nor the weight! After having done all the last-minute stuff, we all left for DC. Sarah and Chris drove us there, and we started the day at the Air and Space Museum located just next to the Airport. This was a really cool museum! Thomas enjoyed himself thoroughly, and Chris seemed to know everything about all the planes.

(This is the Enola Gay, the plane which dropped the bomb over Hiroshima in 1945. I was feeling kind of mixed emotions over seeing it: Was it cool to have seen this sort of iconic plane, or is it just a horrible reminder? You tell me!)

We ended the day by having dinner at a local restaurant with Chris' sister Jennifer, who was really nice and funny! After dinner we had a quick look at some of the nearby stores, and then went to the airport to go home. Boo Hoo! Both me and Sarah cried a bit, it is just so sad that we live so far apart! I'm still amazed at how well we all got along, and how much we all had in common.

Our trip home was a LOOONG one, with a six-hour wait in Paris, and there was no sleep on either plane as we were just too uncomfortable and the noice was a bit loud. So when we got home to our apartment late Saturday evening (we loose 6 hours on the time difference), we had been awake for almost 36 hours. Talk about tired! We are still a little bit jet-lagged, but it's getting better. 

Ok, now you've heard all about our amazing, wonderful trip to the States! We definitely want to come back, there is still lots and lots to see! 

When I get back next time with a regular post (that is not a part of the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week), I think it will be time for some actual knitting!

/ Jenny

What happened to my green cardigan?

Today is the fourth day in Knitting and Crochet Blog Week! I'm actually kind of impressed by myself, that I've had the energy to blog every day after work this week. That doesn't happen often! 

Today's topic: "Where are they now? Whatever happened to your __________? Write about the fate of a past knitting project. Whether it be something that you crocheted or knitted for yourself or to give to another person. An item that lives with you or something which you sent off to charity."

Since I'm a somewhat selfish knitter, I mostly knit for myself. I could of course talk about the very cute little sweater that I knitted for Gizmo, our previous cat. He was a Devon Rex breed, which has very short and curly fur, so he got cold if he went outside in the Autumn or spring. He accepted the sweater, and during his last month he wore it a lot. We actually chose to have him cremated in his sweater, so he won't be cold in kitty heaven. 

But I think this story is a bit depressing (I'm almost crying writing it, I still miss my little angel very much), so I think I'll talk about a completely different project instead. In October 2009 I cast on for a cardigan knitted from the top down. It was based on a description that can be found in swedish on Tant Kofta's blog, and you can use any weight of yarn (you just count your gauge and calculate the pattern from that). The cardigan was finished in January 2010, and really didn't fit me very well. I don't even have a photo of me wearing it!

The cardigan ended up in the closet, and I never wore it. Then in September last year I stopped taking my anti-depressant pills, and consequently lost the weight that they had put on me. So in January some time I decided to try the cardigan on again, to see if it would fit the smaller me. It absolutely did not, so I decided to frog it to salvage the yarn at least. And now it has become the Asteria Cardigan instead!

This one fits me so much better, and obviously I'm no good without a clear pattern to follow. I'm very happy with my decision to frog the first cardigan, as the new one is one I actually wear a lot!

/ Jenny

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Travel log, part III

I'm not as tired today as I was yesterday, so I figured I'd just get this done. I think at least some of you are probably curious to hear about all of the trip! Plus, there will be yarn in today's tale :) 

Ok, so I think I left you when me, Thomas and Sarah were heading south to Clifton Forge, where Sarah and Chris live. We were going to stay one night at their house, and then the four of us were heading out to a rented cabin in Douthat State Park, just a few minutes from Clifton Forge. When we arrived at the house on Saturday evening, Chris met us in the yard with flowers for me and Sarah and a beer for Thomas. Talk about a great start! Chris is just as awesome as Sarah, we have all just gotten along fantastically. I simply can't believe how much the foru of us have in common!

Anyway, when we came in to the house, we were "greeted" by the super cute cat Popey. And by greeted I mean he ran away and hid, but he warmed up to us after a while and came out and said hello. He is just so cute!

Then I got to see all of the yarn I had ordered. As I knew I was going to see Sarah, I took the opportunity to make some yarn orders from KnitPicks and Eat.Sleep.Knit, to avoid the over-seas shipping costs (and KnitPicks doesn't ship to Europe at all). And let me tell you, there were a lot of yarn!

From KnitPicks I got:

2 skeins of Stroll (75 % Merino/25 % Nylon, 210 m/50 g) in colourway Aurora Heather 

2 skeins of Stroll (75 % Merino/25 % Nylon, 210 m/50 g) in colourway Merlot Heather

8 skeins of Stroll (75 % Merino/25 % Nylon, 210 m/50 g) in colourway Forest Heather

3 skeins of Shadow (100 % Merino, 402 m/50 g) in colourway Forest Heather

13 skeins of Capra (85 % Merion/15 % Cashmere) in colourway Hunter

1 skein of Chroma Fingering (70 % Merino/30 % Nylon, 362 m/50 g) in colourway Lollipop

3 skeins of Bare Merino Wool Lace Weight (100 % Merino, 805 m/100 g), undyed

4 skeins of Palette (100 % Wool, 211 m/50 g) in colourway Black

6 skeins of Palette (100 % Wool, 211 m/50 g) in colourway Currant

6 skeins of Palette (100 % Wool, 211 m/50 g) in colourway Fairy Tale

6 skeins of Palette (100 % Wool, 211 m/50 g) in colourway Forest Heather

6 skeins of Palette (100 % Wool, 211 m/50 g) in colourway Hazelnut

6 skeins of Palette (100 % Wool, 211 m/50 g) in colourway Ivy

3 skeins of Palette (100 % Wool, 211 m/50 g) in colourway Lipstick

2 skeins of Palette (100 % Wool, 211 m/50 g) in colourway Masala

5 skeins of Palette (100 % Wool, 211 m/50 g) in colourway Oyster Heather

6 skeins of Palette (100 % Wool, 211 m/50 g) in colourway Teal

As you understand, this was quite the armful! But we have saved up for this trip for so long, and I figured I might as well splurge on the cheap yarns that I can't really get in Europe! We ended up packing all of the yarn in those vacuum bags that you suck the air out of with a vacuumer, and it really helped to shrink them down to a more manageable size! Otherwise I could never have fitted them in and got them all home.

Ok, the box from Eat.Sleep.Knit was smaller, but contained lots and lots of goodies too:

Fiberphile Hand-Dyed Yarns & Fibers Super Squish Sock (100 % Merino, 402 m/100 g) in colourway Fields of Gold

Fleece Artist Merino 2/6 (100 % Merino, 349 m/100 g) in colourway Blush

Yarn Love Elizabeth Bennet (65 % Merino/20 % Bamboo/15 % Silk, 178 m/50 g) in colourway Warm Brick

Madelinetosh Tosh Lace (100 % Merino, 869 m/114 g) in colourway Rose

Shibui Knits Sock (100 % Merino, 175 m/50 g) in colourway Honey

SweetGeorgia Yarns Tough Love Sock (80 % Wool/20 % Nylon, 389 m/100 g) in colourway Pomegranate

Malabrigo Yarn sock (100 % Merino, 402 m/100 g) in colourway Violeta Africana

Can you believe how luxurious I felt with all this yarn! My plan now that I've gotten home is to actually try to knit up half of my stash before I buy any more yarn. We'll see how that goes though...

Ok, now you've seen almost all of my yarn purchases. With all of these photos, I think I'll have to get back to you tomorrow to tell you about the actual stay in the cabin! There are lots of photos from there that I want to show you too, and lots and lots to tell you, so I think the post would be just too long. I'll leave you for tonight with all of this yarn p0rn instead :)

/ Jenny