Home Again

I woke up last week and a switch had flipped!  It was time to go home.  I did manage a few more tourist stops on the way out though.  New Mexico is a terrific place to drive around.  Especially if you like avoiding interstates!  The landscape is beautiful and there’s nothing but wide open spaces.

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I really loved the drive.  There were a lot of surprisingly perfect places to stop along the way too.  Like the home of Smokey Bear.  Who doesn’t love that bear?

I still remember all the visits from the local fire department when I was a kid.  They’d bring the firetrucks to school and probably told us not to play with matches.  That’s not the part I remember.  I remember the guy in the Smokey suit.  He always said ‘only you can prevent forest fires.’  That’s the part I remember.

Whoever came up with the Smokey campaign was brilliant!  I’m not the only one who got the message…turns out Smokey Bear is the second most recognized international figure, behind only Santa Claus.   Woodsy Owl is totally jealous.  And of course, Smokey was a real bear, rescued from a forest fire after being badly burned.  The marketing campaign came before the real bear, believe it or not!

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It was the perfect little stop.  Visit the Smokey museum, stroll through the little park to stretch the legs.  They even had a picnic spot with a playground for the kids.

My next stop was another science stop.  It was a no-brainer once I saw on the map it had a visitor’s center.  The VLA…Very Large Array.

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It’s a series of 27 satellite dishes each 83 feet across that monitors deep space radio waves. You may recall seeing it in movies like Contact or Independence Day.  Of course, the VLA mission is not to look for alien life but I’m pretty sure they’d find it before anyone in Roswell.

No, their actual mission looks more like this!  They’re responsible for lots of cool deep space images.  This is a recent visualization of the Hercules A galaxy to come from the VLA.  Yay Science!!

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And just to bring it back around to knitting, I did finish my road trip WIP (mostly a WestKnits’ Dotted Rays, I put my own edging on it though).  I thought I found the prefect spot for a quick pic at the Smokey Bear park…

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Looks good, right?  I even picked a bird-poop free spot along the wall!  Turns out, I didn’t even notice the tree sap.  D’oh!  Got home and discovered two sticky spots on the back of the shawl that definitely smell like sap.  I can’t imagine where else they would have come from.  Of course, one of the spots is right in the middle of an angora stripe.  How the heck does one remove tree sap from angora??

I’m going to start with a eucalan soak.  I don’t usually use soap on my knitting but I think it might be necessary this time?

I also visited one last yarn shop, I’ll save that for tomorrow!  :)


 

Yarn & Coffee, Santa Fe

I originally thought I’d visit the Albuquerque yarn shop on LYS Day. Instead, I ended up at Yarn & Coffee in Santa Fe! Turns out they were participating in Casapinka’s Local Yarn Shawl promotion and the Albuquerque store wasn’t. I definitely wanted Casapinka’s pattern.

Yarn tour is a definite success! My plastic backpack is nearly full! I bought a couple skeins of Dream in Color. Not a brand everyone carries, no one in the SF Bay Area that I know of. It fits the ‘something I can’t get at home’ bill. I think this combo, Mesa and Dune will be for the Casapinka shawl.

Overall, I really enjoyed Yarn & Coffee. It felt the most like my living room of all the shops I’ve visited. The owner was lovely. The other patrons were lovely. It was very inviting. I’d definitely shop here if I was a local!

Did a little Sunday driving in the area too. The Jemez Mountains are spectacular! I visited a waterfall above 8000 feet! That thin air is really something!

I’ve got more pics to share but they’ll have to wait. I’m off to see Walter White’s house and then, Roswell! That’s way more exciting than waiting for hotel wi-fi!

Happy Local Yarn Shop Day!

Today’s calendar includes several ‘holidays’ to support your local businesses. It’s record store day so go support your local record dealer. And it’s local yarn shop day. It’s the inaugural year. I’m prone to talking smack about such made up ridiculousness but whatever, any excuse to buy yarn, yes?

Not as though I need an excuse. (First though, notice the snow. Snow!?! It’s been years since I’ve seen snow! Gonna try to avoid it for a few more years now…)

Yesterday’s trip to Purl in the Pines, in Flagstaff, Arizona was highly successful! It’s a super shop. The only thing I’d change…bring it closer to San Francisco!

It’s a clean, bright, mostly uncluttered space, loaded with great yarns. There was room for people to pass each other without tripping over piles of stuff on the floor. The displays were neat. The yarn walls looked great! I know how much work that takes to keep so tidy! It’s worth the effort though. It makes for a great shopping experience.

Anybody else love buttons? They got ’em! Once upon a time, someone told me the guy who sells those buttons is an old school traveling salesman…buttons in his trunk driving from shop to shop, peddling his wares. Clearly, this is what I aspire to. I’ve got the driving around to yarn shops down!

Here’s what I bought! From left to right, that’s three skeins of Mountain Meadow Cody, a Dream in Color Smooshy mini skein, a skein of Mary Gavan hand dyed yarn and a skein of The Croft Shetland tweed from West Yorkshire Spinners.

I’m excited about it all but the Mountain Meadow is what I’m most excited about! It’s a 100% grown & made in the USA product. A wonderful squishy merino from Wyoming and it’s a female owned company too! It’s lovely and soft, a bit more dense than say, Brooklyn Tweed. Perhaps on par with a Quince yarn. It’s rustic but not as a euphemism for scratchy. I love it.

And here’s the whole road trip pile…

Three yarn shops, three different states and a whole lot of awesome!

Happy Local Yarn Store Day! Now I’m off to Yarn and Coffee in Santa Fe! I expect more great yarns!

On the Road Again…

Back on the road again. Goodbye Nevada, Hello Arizona! I saw Lake Mead and I entered giant cactus land! Then it was the Hoover Dam!

I was too late for the tour but it’s still pretty neat just walking around. After that, time for some driving. Arizona has lots of pretty rocks to look at!

Today includes another yarn stop…Purl in the Pines in Flagstaff. I’m feeling good about this one! Friyay, indeed!

Sin City Knit Shop

On my 7th day, I finally made it to Las Vegas’ yarn shop…Sin City Knit Shop. First though, there was a stop at Bad Owl Cafe, a Harry Potter themed coffee shop. I don’t drink coffee (or butter beer) but I thought the understated theme was pretty awesome.

After that, it was off to Sin City Knit Shop. It was a lovely visit to a well appointed shop with friendly staff.

The woman who greeted us (because after my music friends left, a knitting friend showed up two hours later! Woooo!) knew the tourist drill, she instantly showed us to the local yarns.

They had a selection of local yarns (in multiple gauges), as well as some super cute project bags (awesome fabric selection!) It was the fur Pom Poms that really caught my eye though…

…the price, yes. But more importantly, check out that snap! Not only does it give amazing stability, it gives amazing flexibility. A Pom Pom that’s entirely and easily removed or reattached at any moment. Genius!! I didn’t buy any, but I love that they exist.

And then, there’s the shawl wall! All amazing! So many terrific samples!

I did buy a couple things…

The bottom three aren’t mine, just the top four. It’s a great pile though. Mine are a local hand dye, a purple Mirasol yarn for my current WIP, Kiwi from Zealana (a New Zealand possum yarn) and a skein of Cashmere 16 Fine (a cashmere merino blend with a super springy chain construction. It’s so light and lofty. Can’t wait to use it!)

Next stop: New Mexico’s self proclaimed premier yarn shop in Albuquerque! They have wolf hair yarn…super curious!

The Vegas Mid-Point

I made it to Las Vegas but not before I saw a shoe repair shop shaped like a shoe and the worlds tallest thermometer.

I stopped at the worlds second largest open pit mine in Boron, Ca too! They mine borates. It was a neat stop. Then, I finally made it to Vegas.

The Bender Jamboree was awesome! Four days of bluegrass in a fun, intimate setting! I’m typically a back of the room concert goer. I like having space to move and I don’t like the jostling and aggression one needs to hold their space in front. Not a problem here, when bluegrass legend Del McCoury is watching…everyone behaves!

I definitely spent more time on the rail than usual. So many of my favs played, they were all great. I really have to stretch to find a complaint.

I even managed some time to knit, at the pool of all places. There was lots of shade! Whoever designed this pool should get an award! I don’t think I’ve ever been to a pool anywhere that was so lovely. And that mural!! Absolutely love it.

I’m still working on the Dotted Rays pair, I only brought the pink/red one with me. It’s making good progress but I’m running out of colors. Next stop: Sin City yarns!!! I’ve heard rumors of a Harry Potter themed cafe as well…sign me up!

Day One: The Twisted Skein

Road Trip ’18 is under way!

I did pretty good considering I-5 is generally regarded as a road no one wants to drive and Bakersfield, my destination, is a place no one wants to visit.

It was a beautiful day for a drive and I was headed to a yarn shop. No complaints from me!

The Twisted Skein is a great shop! It gets two thumbs up from me! They hit all the things I look for in a yarn shop…speckles, hand dyes, local yarns, gradients. They’ve got a selection of Berroco yarns as well, for the budget conscious.

It was spacious and uncluttered. The staff was friendly (and all male?!) They had a classroom and space to sit & knit, along with Ravelry corner (<-awesome!!)

I picked out a handful of mini skeins from Stitch Together, an indie dyer from Iowa. Not sure what they’ll be. I didn’t bring enough yarn for the trip so I’ll be busting into these beauties soon! And, adding to the pile when I get to Vegas. Sin City Yarns should be a yarn tour highlight!

The cherry on top of my day was dinner at Buck Owen’s Crystal Palace.

It’s a tourist trap but whatever! They have live music! It was a free show…apparently this dude is the last American Idol winner. He was perfectly pleasant knitting music.

Overall, not a bad start to Road Trip ’18. Now, on to Vegas…