July 20, 2005


This year, I took only one knitting project with me for knitting while riding the charter bus out to Sequim's lavender fields:
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I knitted the heel flap, turned the heel, and worked a few rounds of the gusset -- called that a good day's work, and felt very pleased with myself. (What you see in this photo includes additional rounds on the gusset that I've knitted since Saturday -- I finished the gusset decreases this morning!)

Have I mentioned how easy it is to follow the patterns in Betsy McCarthy's book? The directions are all laid out in a table format, and it's nearly impossible lose your place. (Unlike in some patterns where the directions are written in paragraph format.) I'm especially enjoying how the columns of slipped stitches on the leg of the sock line up -- without any fuss or effort on my part -- with the slipped stitches on the heel flap. Betsy's patterns are just that well written.

The yarn I'm using is Shepherd Sock -- and my favorite DPNs, of course!

But, back to the Guild's Lavender Festival Tour and Yarn Shop Crawl:

Our first stop in Sequim was at A Mingled Yarn, a new shop. The owner, Carolyn Cooper, came out to the bus to greet us, and every minute we were there she treated us to fabulous hospitality. She served us lemon pound cake with fresh blueberries, coffee, tea, cider, bottled water. And, to top it all off, there was birthday cake. Yes, one of Carolyn's staff was celebrating that day, as was the occupational therapist, Theresa Bockman, who was there to give us a special class on hand care.

Theresa Bockman is not only an occupational therapist, but a knitter as well, and her mission was to teach us to take care of ourselves so that we could continue knitting on into our nineties. Her recommendations included tips like:

Knit under good lighting. ("Black yarn is not meant for knitting! If you must knit with it, do it on a sunny day near a window.")

Take a rest break -- every hour, if you're a younger knitter; if "you're at an age where you're getting kind of creaky," take a break every 30 - 45 minutes. Theresa demonstrated some stretches for the back, some shoulder rolls, and how to massage our forearms and hands -- all things to do during that rest break.

Along the same lines as having a rest break was her recommendation to switch projects. "You want to have more than one project going," she said. "Knit your socks on those little tiny two's for an hour, then take a break, and come back to knitting a different project with larger needles." (I always knew I wanted to have more than one project going at a time -- but now I know that it's not about yarn lust, but it's actually therapeutic!)

And, for those power knitters who want to make everyone a Christmas gift, Theresa had this advice: "If you haven't already chosen the project, knitted it, wrapped it, and have it put away -- it's too late in the year to start! Give 'em a gift certificate with a little bit of the yarn attached to it so that they can enjoy the color and the fiber. That way you don't make yourself crazy and you don't knit yourself into a tendonitis. And they'll enjoy it [their finished gift] just as much."

Sorry I don't have a picture of Theresa to share with you, but I do have this picture of shop owner Carolyn (at top left), helping Edna to find a pattern:

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Carolyn's hospitality ran even to supplying each of us with a darling paper sack that had tucked inside some flyers about the Lavender Festival, as well as some cookies and an energy bar. Clearly, she wanted to keep us well-fed! One of our members brought her six-year-old daughter, Kai, who was delighted at being given the major responsibility of handing out these goodie bags to each of us as we left the store:

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Happily, Kai hands a goodie bag to Ana.

Our next stop was the Lost Mountain Lavender farm, which had this cool little garden of a zillion lavender varieties. Notice how lavender comes in more shades than just purple:

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There are blue, pink, and even white varieties of lavender. At each farm, there's a gift shop as well as outside tents where vendors sell handicrafts. Also, there's a food booth at each farm, run by a local restaurant.

Next, we stopped at Angel Farm, where the local 4-H-ers had two stalls of alpacas on view, and one of the vendors was selling alpaca yarn. Our final farm was the Jardin du Soleil:

Guild President Wendi Lewis and her son enjoy the open lavender field.

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At Jardin du Soleil, one of the vendors, Gaye, sells handcrafted jewelry at her booth, Natural Jewels. Last year, I saw a black stone necklace that I really liked at her booth; I didn't buy it, though -- and regretted it all year. So this year I was made a beeline for her booth the instant I got off the bus, and immediately snatched up this beauty:

which I think is even more beautiful than the one I passed up last year. Gaye called these stones Botswana agates, and they are intermixed with black stone beads.

I also bought a Lavender Festival T-shirt, and a bottle of lavender liquid hand soap from the Townsend Bay Soap Company.

Then, one last stop to shop before we got on the ferry headed back to Seattle -- and this was at the store Wild'n Wooly in Poulsbo. We were served lemonade and chocolate candies while we browsed, and owner Caroline Perisho treated us to a raffle. I didn't win a prize, but many others in our party did -- and the goodies ranged from bath soaps and candies, novelty yarns, and knitting books -- all items that the shop carries.

All in all, a successful trip. I was pleased with all that I accomplished on my sock -- even if it might have been more therapeutic for my hands to have brought a second project on larger needles. And I was pleased also with the chance to spend a good chunk of time talking and knitting with other Guild members. For some, this was their first-ever Guild event; I hope they'll feel up to attending a Guild meeting next.

Posted by Karen at July 20, 2005 05:40 PM

Thanks for sharing the trip with us.
I am a gardener ,so for me this trip would have been a highlight of my summer!

Currently , my garden is not doing well due to drought conditions , but the last 2 days of heavy rain will help a lot.

I would dry a lot of lavendar and make sachets for everplace I could find!
thanks for sharing the progress of the socks.

I was wondering how that pattern would work up and it looks fantastic!
Since I have the book I think it will be a pattern that I will try asap. I was waiting to see how they would work up, they look like they would be wonderful for a man or woman,,,,,,
I am getting ready for Stitches Midwest as I decided to take a few classes( and shop the huge market of course!!)
I see more classes in fair isle and in the round knitting offered this year.
Next year I do Stitches and the Meg Swansen camp.
( I was worried I would not be as advanced as so many are, I am just easing into fair isle knitting,, have done only a few small projects not a sweater yet,,,,,,,,)

Made up my mind to just DO IT.
Back to knitting a swatch up,,,,I have 2 knit group meetings tomorrow!
and its raining,,,,perfect just perfect,,,,

good knitting to all,
PS. Your roses are lovely,,,,,

Posted by: Pam at July 21, 2005 02:24 PM

The sock looks terrific! The whole heel is good work for one day, even for a fast knitter, so I think you have good reason to be pleased. Lavender sounds like it was a great trip. Will you remind me next year, maybe I will come too.

Posted by: terri at July 23, 2005 08:35 AM

Of course!

Posted by: Karen at July 23, 2005 08:39 AM

Karen, thank you for the report, it sounds like it was a lovely trip. Hope to see you before next year's, but if not, we can make a lavender date :)

Posted by: Angela at July 25, 2005 11:31 AM