Thursday, February 27, 2014

Words and Wool (the Wool bit)

A couple of months ago Christina came up with the great idea of going on a Yarn Crawl! A number of central Indiana yarn stores had organized the "Roving Indiana Yarn Crawl" and we jumped at the chance to participate!

Saturday morning we met at Christina's and got in the van to make our way to as many stores as possible. Those who weren't driving worked in their WIP's (works in progress). 

Our first stop was Starstruck Cat Studio in Greenwood.

None of us had ever been to the store before.

Inside we found a large, bright store with lots of yarn -- we especially loved the wall of Cascade yarn.

How could I resist taking lots of photos.....

Wouldn't it be fun to have a wall like this at home -- ever ready for new projects?!

It was inspiring!!!

It was nice to have our very own knitwear designer and yarn guru on hand for all kinds of advice! I know we are spoiled!!!

Janet found a gorgeous skein of yarn to take home. 

And of course I could not resist taking pictures of adorable Arthur at every turn!

I mean, how cute is that? He actually looks at the camera when his mom takes a picture of him?!

My favorite part about this store was the stacks of wool fabric they had for rug hooking. Ooooooo.....I do love wool fabric! In fact, I couldn't resist. I chose two pieces to bring home to make wool roses with.

I also couldn't resist buying a very reasonably priced rug hooking kit to make the cardinal below. I bought it for James who is always eager to try whatever new craft I spring on him. He was so excited that he already has half of it done!

Here is a bit of a "big view" of the store. Christina is going to type up a proper review of each place we stopped, but we all agreed this store had many great things going for it!

Next we headed south to Sheep Street in Martinsville, Indiana. What could be better than a yarn shop right in the middle of a sheep farm???

Inside we were greeted by the familiar sight of one of Christina's own patterns, helping to advertise the Alpaca with a Twist yarn that has its home here in Indianapolis! That was fun to find!

Then came the best discovery of my day -- an entire wall of Cotton Classic!!! This is the yarn I use to make all those baby hats and it has been nearly impossible to get for several years. I was about to give up any hope and you can't imagine how happy I was to find this wall. Even better -- the shop will ship FREE to any Indiana address. Yahoo!!! I am home free! I can keep knitting baby hats til kingdom come!

Sheep Street was a large shop -- and they had all kinds of spinning wheels and looms for sale as well as lots and lots of fiber to spin.

This was certainly a shop to revisit!

The owner demonstrates some of her blending techniques.

Christina couldn't resist a few lilac colored "batts" to spin -- especially since the price was so reasonable!

Outside the weather was unbelievable -- reaching nearly to 60 degrees which seemed almost impossible in the midst of our crazy winter. We had to visit the sheepies before we left....

Aw, they were too cute! (Almost as cute as Arthur!)

Back in the car, we headed to Bloomington and a shop called In a Yarn Basket.

The shop was smaller but filled cubbies of lovely yarn. 

It is hard to resist yarn when it is so beautifully displayed! The shop was quite crowded (that picture is not shown) and I think this was the shop I didn't buy anything in but Janet and Christina picked out sock yarns.

While waiting on our lunch reservation in Bloomington we stopped into this baby store. What I couldn't get over was the sheer number of cloth diapers displayed in this place! Wow!

When our turn came we headed to Feast -- the most amazing little cafe I've been into since I don't know when! Of course I had to get some Arthur time in.

And Arthur had to get some eating time in! Such a sweet picture -- and that yellow kerchief of Christina's (her Daisy Chains pattern) was driving me crazy all day -- such a perfect color for spring and I definitely need one!!!! Not to mention that it goes so well with pale pink, and it also goes incredibly well with teal.........

When our lunches arrived we were in for a treat! Here is my burger on gluten free bread with the rosemary French fries.

And here is Janet's BLT with avocado, roasted tomatoes, goat cheese, lettuce, and bacon. Wow!

Honestly, it was one of the best burgers I've had. And look at those zucchini pickles on top! I was seriously impressed with this restaurant.

By this time we realized we had only time to hit one more store -- it would be the Clay Purl in Nashville, Indiana.

This store won the prize for warm and cozy feelings. And the owner was so lovely and friendly.

It was very inviting inside:

And the linen yarn was so pretty!

Being a fan of Susan B. Anderson, I was excited to see this entire version of Spud and Chloe on the Farm!

And it was very fun to discover that the owner's husband is a pastor and writes novels! I love it! I was a bit scared by the title (smile), but will have to read this one day......

We even made it home just as the last light of day was fading from the sky -- isn't it lovely that the days are getting longer? What a special day it was! Good fellowship, good food, and good yarn! Coming after a number of very difficult months health-wise, it was a huge breath of fresh air -- and the weather was that literally!

And look what I'm working on now:

I remembered I had some yellow sock yarn in my stash so I pulled it out and grabbed the Daisy Chains pattern and I'm making myself a spring neckerchief! Yellow was my favorite color when I was a little girl so it holds a special place in my heart. I don't wear it a lot, because most yellows don't look good on me, but I do love a bit of it here and there. And I love the yellow in this painting -- one of my very favorite paintings. It's a picture of my mom when she was a little girl and the colors in it go so well with the colors of my house (you can't see the wall behind it well but it is painted a light lilac). Everything about the picture is perfect for spring.....

Now I must save my books for a separate post because they were far too important this week to tag on the end here. So, hopefully tomorrow......

For more ideas on knitting and reading you can visit Ginny's Yarn a Long.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Scotland: Our Cottage on Skye

 We all loved the little cottage in Digg that we called "home" for several nights while on Skye. It was the typical "but-n-ben" style -- a bedroom and living room downstairs with a hall in between. This cottage had a lean-to addition on the back so there was also an adorable kitchen, a handy laundry area, and a full bathroom. There were also two bedrooms upstairs.

Trip planning from afar is not always easy, and you have no idea if the nice things you see on the website might be surrounded by ugliness when you arrive. All you can do is research and pray!

So, we were pleasantly surprised to discover we were staying in one of the prettiest parts of the island!!! (And, best of all, just up the drive from the best tearoom ever!!!)

 Look at the glories of the summer sunset from the front of the cottage! Far in the distance can be seen the mountains of the mainland.

The cottage was in lovely condition. The bright, sea foam green seemed appropriate and there was a tiny little entrance to leave wellies and wet coats.

The children could roam about to their heart's content.
If the weather was poor, they stayed inside and played in the wee living room.

Every night the washing machine and dryer were kept busy trying to keep up with our laundry!

Here is a little view of the length of the cottage from the downstairs bedroom through the hall to the living room.

From the back you can see the lean-to addition with the skylights for the bathroom, laundry, and kitchen.

The children loved having the upstairs rooms to themselves.

These dogs must be named "Gog", and "Magog," don't you think? (Anne of Green Gables in case you aren't familiar with that....)

 Our first evening there it seemed like we should sit ourselves down to a proper Scottish dinner of three courses.

Andrew helped me get the kitchen up and running to its full max!

Michael set up the portable dining room table and collected chairs.

We started with tinned tomato soup and toast triangles:

Then moved on to a curry with stir fry and naan bread (these curries come in bottles and you just add chicken). And I think there were store bought meringues with real cream and raspberries for dessert!

Best of all, we were gifted with two gorgeous days of weather while on the island -- a real treat! I just couldn't get over the beauty everywhere we looked!

Digg is just the most adorable little hamlet!!!

And that was our cottage. Up next: Sheep Safari!