Northern fiber stops & an FO
Celtic Braid Socks #157 from Cabin Fever, finished Sunday morning al fresco on the deck overlooking Mud Hen Lake near Grantsburg, WI. These were worked in pewter Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock from Iris Fine Yarns in Appleton. The pattern was ordered by email/phone/mail from Yellow Dog Knitting in Eau Claire (excellent customer service there, folks; Carole can vouch for 'em, too). I'm not so crazy about the color distribution in the second sock (one reason for setting them aside last year), but they're socks -- who else is really gonna care? The pattern and semi-solid yarn were a nice match overall, and I do love them -- especially that braided cable!
I was so happy to add these to my list of projects in the brand new "Knotty Knits" group on Ravelry. If -- when -- you're Ravel-rousing and you share a passion for the cable, whether you are a connoisseur and collector of the cable needle or do without, I hope you'll join, too!
To prepare for our quick weekend trip to the north, but not being sure of our exact route or how much fiber time I'd actually be able to negotiate, I threw together a Knitting In Wisconsin Google Map using mostly my sidebar list of Wisconsin resources (both map and list are perpetual works in progress) (oh, look, here's someone else's map). I left off places along the way that I've been to before and came up with a list of five likely
suspects possibilites in the general area of our destination -- Northwind Book & Fiber in Spooner, Wool Farm Crafts in Grantsburg, Pins 'n Needles in St. Croix Falls, Mrs. I's Yarn Parlor in Osceola, and Highland Hollow Emporium in Elmwood. I'm inclined to think that Pins 'n Needles is actually more of a quilt shop, so in the end I was able to make it to two of the remaining four suspected "yarn" stores.
DH must have read my mind, as he planned our course first across the state, then north on Hwy. 53 to Spooner before hanging a left on 70 for the final leg. I said, "Hey, Spooner's on my list!" We entered town just as roadways were being blocked in preparation for a big rodeo parade, but we persevered, found parking and made our way to Northwind Book & Fiber. I left a happy DH in a very nice book area and made my way to fiber in the rear of the store -- also skirting and dipping into the arts and crafts area a little bit. It's a very large store with lots of room, high ceilings, good light -- one of DH's cousins said that she thought they recently expanded/remodeled. I found a pretty good selection of yarn, needles and tools, including the 5US DPNs on my list, and I bought two hanks of Plymouth Yarn's Fantasy Naturale to make a FN Market Bag. There was also a pretty good selection of related books. There's a nice list of classes for those in the area, and plenty of knitted samples -- in fact, there was a recent class for the Market Bag and the sample is what sold it to me.
By that time on Saturday, the reunion was already well underway and time was short -- I considered myself lucky to have made one stop. We visited with the aunts and uncles and cousins and my-oh-my, there were lots of babies, too! As is the case in many a large farm family, some of DH's cousins are parents to newborns and some are grandparents to newborns (and even older -- like up to 9 or 10). ; )
On Sunday morning, I decided that I wanted to see Grantsburg proper, having been in the area a few times, but never actually "downtown." I truly, truly mourn the loss of Small Town America and crossroads country stores. I'm thankful that freeways and interstates can get me where I'm going (mostly quickly and mostly safely) and that shopping centers and malls are oftentimes convenient -- but not always. I'm not sure that the resulting strings of ghost towns dotting the land isn't really the short end of the stick. Ah, the good ol' days. I'll tell you, I have wished more and more often recently that there was a nice, convenient, small market in walking distance of my home. There used to be a few. Yeah, anyway -- how about another fiber story!
It just so happens that I knew, being in downtown Grantsburg, we were already half-way to Wool Farm Crafts. Imagine that! I also happened to have their address and phone number handy, and a few available roaming minutes, so I had a little chat with Amy regarding whether she was open and directions and then told her, "We're on our way!" I knew that this shop was going to be more fiber/spinning related than yarn/knitting, but I also know that the end result of fiber/spinning is usually YARN. The odds of finding something of interest were good, plus I got to pet some lovely wheels. She was admittedly low on yarn and preparing for the Midwest Fiber & Folk Art Fair in Crystal Lake, IL (July 20-22), but I managed. I couldn't resist a small hank of mixed barberpole, some brazilwood indigo dyed, and some yummy brown alpaca. A few more pics (including close-ups) at Flickr.
Amy will also be at the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival (Sept. 7-9) and already had the book! Which means that I have one, too!