Friday Gauge Check: Rose City Yarn Crawl Edition

Ladies and gentlemen, there will not be a proper Friday Gauge Check from me this week.  I dumped a lot of what was going on in my post earlier in the week, and not much has happened between then and now. I bought some fabric in an attempt to make a skirt, and then I cut it wrong, so I bought some more.  I went to the library. I knitted a bunch more on the new socks. The thing that kept me going, though, was the knowledge that this weekend was the famous Rose City Yarn Crawl, in which the dedicated fiber nerds of Portland (and surrounding environs) attempt to visit nineteen different yarn and fiber shops over the course of four short days.

As I am a new Portlandian (technically a Vancouverite, but I claim it in the way that I claimed to be a Phoenician while living in Tempe), this is my first attempt at this mighty event.  You can follow along on Twitter (I’m @amberswansong) or stop by every evening for a recap.

The other thing?  I’ve raved before about how wonderful my partner is at length, and I’m sure you’re all bored of it, but do you know how wonderful Jack is?  He’s taking half of Friday off to come with me.  This, my friends, is the man I’m marrying.

Today I took a sneak peek of the yarn crawl, visiting one shop for a needle felting demonstration. Needle felting was something I’ve been marginally interested in, particularly after someone suggested that needle felting could be used to fix holes in socks.  (I have performed this magical feat this evening on the Nutkin socks, and can verify that this is true.  Amazing.)

Rose City Yarn Crawl: Day 1: The Preview

There are more than 19 yarn and fiber shops in the greater Portland metro area. (At least 21 that I’m aware of; there may be more.) The way they all survive, despite the economy, seems to be aiming at a particular fiber niche and filling it well. Portland is a city of neighborhoods, each with its own kind of people, and the yarn shops seem to mesh neatly in with them. There are 19 yarn shops who feel comfortable enough with their competition to work with them every year to put together the Rose City Yarn Crawl, a whirlwind four-day tour, including trunk shows, demonstrations, special patterns, and more fiber than you can shake a sheep at.  (Stop shaking that sheep right this minute.)

Gossamer, Burnside & 24th
Pattern: Playground Duty Hat (obtained)

Gossamer seems to be a shop aimed at Waldorf parents. It features mostly natural-dyed and undyed yarns, and a wide variety of crafting supplies, including felt, roving, embroidery floss, beeswax, and Waldorf doll making supplies.  Roving comes in dyed and undyed, multiple sheep breeds, and weights ranging from tiny amounts for needle felters to one-pound balls for spinners and dyers. They have a small collection of books, many of which seem to be aimed at kids or parents. The shop itself is decorated in a wide variety of needle-felted art, including tapestries bigger than I am and a basket of gnomes.

The atmosphere is very friendly and welcoming; I arrived half an hour early for the demo, spent a little time looking around, and felt more than comfortable curling up on the couch with my sock. I had a pleasant conversation with the owner, Rose Sabel-Dodge, and the needle felting teacher, Jessica Peill-Meininghaus.

And then I learned to needle felt, which is a craft that can give you a finished object in twenty minutes.  Obviously you can spend a lot longer on something, but: twenty minutes. Also, insanely fun.  Some crafts are relaxing, even meditative; I’ve talked about how spinning has that effect on me.

Needle felting is not like that.

Needle felting is fantastic for those days when you just want to stab things (or people).  Pull up a chair, grab a foam pad, and think horrible things about your boss or your sister-in-law or your downstairs neighbor’s dog that has been howling for an hour while you stab a sharp object into a yielding one over and over and over.  It’s very therapeutic.  And at the end, you’ve made something!  I guarantee you won’t have the same results punching a pillow.

So that’s my sneak preview of the yarn crawl!  Swing back by tomorrow and I’ll tell you about my adventures downtown!

Oh, and just because I’m not doing a formal gauge check this week doesn’t mean that you aren’t allowed to. Let me know how your week’s gone in the comments.  Also, if you’re a yarn friend and you want me to look for something for you? Drop me a text or shoot me an email. I ship.

~ by Amber on March 2, 2012.

One Response to “Friday Gauge Check: Rose City Yarn Crawl Edition”

  1. Pictures!! We need pictures!

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