Monday, September 18, 2006

Home & Stash Enhancement

I think it has for a while, but I can definitely say now that Pittsburgh feels like home.

I spent the weekend with family in Ohio. (Work unfortunately prevented R from joining me.) They do a great job of making me feel at home and the people that we visit are all parts of my very earliest memories, but there was a certain sense of relief at coming through the Fort Pitt tunnel and seeing "my city". And also knowing that I was a few short minutes from my husband, my house and my cats. But it does make a lot of sense that seeing the city skyline would have a feeling of arrival. All of my time here has been spent living in the east end, and most of my trips have been to the north (buffalo) or west (ohio)...meaning that most of my return trips meaning pass by or through the city to get home.

A month or two ago I hit the point where I had spent more years living here than any other city. And when you consider that I have few memories of my first 3-4 years of life living in Ohio, it's not hard to believe that this feels like the place I've lived the longest as well. (For the record, I'm counting my college years as being a Pittsburgh resident, despite the fact that my drivers license was issued by New York State. Just a technicality in my mind.)

I'm not saying that we'll never, ever leave (ultimatums are dangerous), I'm just glad that someplace has come to feel like home to me.

I'm also not trying to discount my connection to the city where I was born and where my family lives. But given that almost no one there still lives in the home that they were in when I grew up, the visit most likely to send sentimental chills up my spine would be a walk down the street where we lived or a visit to my elementary school playground. :-) Maybe someday.

Now to the YARN.

On Saturday we went to The Wool Gathering at Young's Dairy Farm in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Where do I begin?!?

Let me just say that this was my first fiber festival, and I think it was a good introduction. Not too big, not too small and not so swarmed with knitters that you had to buy what you saw as soon as you saw it (though there was one item that wasn't there when I returned - oh well). Following the example of other bloggers, I limited my purchases to those that I could only get at the festival. And I also didn't write anything down as I went, so a yarn or vendor had to be memorable for me to return.

We took a couple of hours to visit all of the booths after a stop at the duck-herding dog pen. (yes, you read that correctly). We missed the sheep shearing demo - arriving just as they were finishing, and didn't make it back before we had to leave. But we did get ice cream, so all was not lost. :-) During lunch, I strategized a game plan for my purchases and snapped up my yarn fairly swiftly. I did have a couple of color decisions to make, but I forced myself to go with my gut.

I bought 3 skeins (400 yd/skein) of a hand-painted, sport weight wool/hemp blend. It's not scratchy, as you would expect from the blend, and I think it will be enough for a short sleeved cardigan. The colorway is primarily blue, purple and gray, with some pink and cream tones. I'm anxious to see how it knits up.

Just down the tent was an alpaca farm that had sport or fingering weight hand-painted alpaca. (One of my priorities was hand-painted yarn, and there really wasn't as much of it as I had expected.) I debated between two colorways and whether I should buy one (for wrist-warmers) or two (for socks) for a little while. I ended up going with a tan/lavender/pink colorway and getting one...think specifically of Mrs. Beeton, partially because I have been listening to Cast On recently.

The next stop was the booth of an alpaca and llama farm. I chose a skein of alpaca from a shelf that had a photo of the alpaca that most of the fiber came from. No name, but a cute face. :-) It's a two ply, hand spun, where one ply is lighter brown and the other darker brown - natural fiber color. I also bought a skein of a chocolate brown alpaca llama blend. There were many natural color alpaca yarn options throughout the festival, and I'm pretty sure that there were less expensive yarns (and similar) yarns available. But I really liked the woman at this booth and I liked that she had the donating alpaca's photo. ;-)

The last stop was the only knitting shop booth that really interested me. I bought a locally spun/painted lace weight in 95% merino and 5% cashmere. They had some pretty, hand-painted silk which I considered, but none demanded to be purchased for some reason. I was also drawn to the booth because of several tubs of beads. I have been wanting to try a project that includes beads, so I bought a large bag of lavender beads that can be used for Mrs. Beeton and which will leave me enough left over to experiment with a little bit.

My only other comment is that after seeing a spinning demonstration and some of what is involved, I think I would enjoy learning to spin at some point, just to gain a better understanding of the yarn. But I don't see myself taking it up as another vocation. As it is, I don't have as much time to knit as I would like, and I'm not at all dissatisfied with the yarn that I can purchase. I also can't see myself doing any yarn dying - mostly because I have enough trouble keeping the kitchen clean without making a big dying mess!

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