I’ll be honest. As soon as we decided on Portland, ME as our travel destination, I high-tailed it over to SouleMama to start compiling a list of must-sees. A fiber shop (KnitWit), another fiber shop (Purl Diva), a fabric shop (Alewives)..it was an itinerary that prompted me to pack light, leaving room in the suitcase for tactile ‘souvenirs.’ That I would be able to touch one of my very favorite yarns (Quince & Co.) in the flesh at the only two retail locations to carry them was an added bonus. These were my expectations.
What I wasn’t expecting was to pop into KnitWit during their Friday Night knitting group. Of course I had my knitting with me; a quick redirecting of The Mister opened up a window of time for me to sit in on the group and soak up some social knitting time. “So you come to Portland to celebrate your anniversary and one of the first things you do is ditch your husband for some knitting?” one asked me. Yep. I guess so. Perhaps part of a successful marriage is breaking off a bit to replenish the individual. Buy that? Hee. As the conversation evolved, I learned that several of the women there were professional pattern designers/editors. The name of the woman who designed the pattern I happened to be knitting that moment was thrown around enough to give me a sense of her steady presence in the area as well, though she wasn’t present that night. Wowee. I had no idea there was such a hotbed of knitting genius in Portland. Wowee.
Portland is a place where you can knit in a bar. (I tell you this vacation was stellar.) It’s also the kind of place where doing so is likely to land you a friendly conversation with a fellow knitter and a new Ravelry friend. “You knitters…” Andrew said as he shook his head in disbelief as we exchanged Ravelry handles. Yeah. Us knitters, indeed. I expected to walk away with some new skeins of wool. I had no idea I’d also come away with such camaraderie, though it should come as no surprise, really. My home knitting group would be just as welcoming, I have no doubt. It’s how we fiber folks roll.
Can you imagine, then, how strangely exciting it was to walk into a different fiber shop (Purl Diva) the next day, spy an intricate shawl so lovely it made me gasp, only to learn that the pattern was designed by one of the fantastic women met the previous day? Of course I left with enough skeins of linen to work up my own. Wouldn’t you?
Having drunk my fill of fiber, I moved on to fabric. The theme of the weekend, it seemed, was ‘touch in the flesh that which you’ve only ever seen on the computer screen.’ Yes, I was a little star-struck when I saw, then caressed this ubiquitous Nani Iro double gauze. I bought the biggest piece I thought I could manage without prompting a divorce. Or enough to make a shirt, at least. And then I pointed out how much I was saving by not having to pay shipping. Ahem. The lavender/grey and white polka dot cushioning my new yarn (two photos up) was another shirt-size score.
Would you mind if I holed up for a week and pounded out some sewn/knitted garments? I’m asking YOU, Captain Daddio. Smooch.