Portland Goodnesss: Part Two

A few days before going to Portland, I came across Yarnia's Facebook page. Intrigued, I went to the website and dubbed it the coolest yarn shop ever. Yarnia, "Portland's only DIY yarn store," has tons of different fibers that you choose and combine to create your own yarn. Awesome, right? Furthermore, they charge by the pound, so it's pretty good bang for your buck. My Portland companion and middle school friend, Toby (Hi, Toby!) agreed to go during my visit.

Tucked underneath and between other businesses, Yarnia was a bit hard to spot, but we found it eventually. Once inside, I was awed by all of the different colors and fibers. It was a virtual mecca of yarn.

About half of the fiber selection.

I wandered around pondering colors and fiber content and started picking cones to make up my special yarn. As I wandered, I noticed a few awesome things:
  • A color stranded knit banner with the store name, which I really wish I had a photo of.
  • A pitcher full of multi-colored knitting needles for customers to knit a swatch with their yarn, before it is combined, to ensure perfection.
  • A healthy selection of knitting books for reference.
  • Examples of knitted projects and the cost to knit them with yarn from Yarnia. You can see one of these in the photo above.
After about half an hour, I had chosen my yarn: different blue and turquoise wools, a navy rayon, and a single strand of silver Lurex. The shop owner helped figure out how much I wanted by my fairly abstract description of "Enough to knit a hat and scarf," which I figured would be a decent amount to be able to knit most small projects. It turned out to be about a pound and a half, and I paid under twenty dollars for all that yarn. It took about ten minutes for the yarn to be spun together and onto a cone, and then we were on our way.

My precious.

On our way out, Toby and I noticed another cool shop sign in the window, which was embroidered with yarn:

Yes, those letters are yarn. Impressive!

Everything about this store was so nifty. It was like the owner had thought of everything that a fantasy yarn store would have, and made it happen. Overall, it was a fantastic way to spend an hour, and I had so much fun playing with different possibilities, not to mention spending so little money for so much custom yarn. I'm really looking forward to going back next time I visit Portland.

Another One Bites the Dust

I have a new obsession: the Twilight series*.

I was able to avoid it for long enough, but eventually my curiosity got the better of me, and I downloaded the Twilight audio book to entertain me on my drive to Portland a few weekends ago. I figured, if I didn't like it I could listen to something else, but I wouldn't waste any time that I could have been spent doing something else - and driving is boring, no matter how you slice it. I was skeptical for the first hour or so, but then got so involved in the story that I barely noticed the subsequent highway driving and had a grand time. I couldn't wait to get back in the car and make my way home so I could hear more. The audio book was longer than a round-trip drive to Portland, and I've been listening in snippets as I drive to and from work and school, occasionally spending lunch hours in my car with Bella and Edward. I was hoping to finish it by the time Twilight came out on DVD, and I barely made it. On Friday, the release date, I went to a Redbox first thing in the morning and watched Twilight twice that day.

Now. Don't get me wrong, I get the criticism that the movie was really slow and angsty and pretty awkward in places. That's mostly true. It probably won't win any awards, but I was still captivated by it. Compared with the book, it goes much faster, and a few plot points are changed. Also, I wish they'd have developed Bella and Edward's relationship a bit more. In the movie, it went from Edward detesting Bella to being consumed by her in about five minutes. Overall, I really enjoyed both the book and the movie, but I think I like them in different ways.

Now I've begun New Moon, again in audio book format. This one is much longer than Twilight at around twelve hours, so I think it'll take me more than a month of tooling around town to get through it. Maybe I'll have it done by the time the movie version comes out.




*I know I'm late to the party, but if you love Twilight and want to gush over it, drop me a line.

Portland Goodness: Part One

This weekend, I spent the better part of two days in Portland visiting friends. Though we did a lot of really fun things, I have two that I really want to share, The Portland Museum of Contemporary Craft being the first. They had two amazing exhibits (for free!) that kind of blew my mind:

1. Dare alla Luce by Mandy GreerPictures via the Museum website

The museum's website doesn't have any photos of the entire room, but rest assured, it was breathtaking. Huge orbs of crocheted and knitted strands intertwined with beads and other media (one we looked at up close had plastic, something that looked like embroidery floss, and a few different strands of yarn) hung around the room - there were four, I think, in different shades of green. Upon examination, you could see all of the different yarns and fibers used - there was boucle and eyelash and what looked like acrylic and maybe some bamboo. In the orbs, there were also sewn things. In the first photo up top, you can see some leaves and baubles that were sewn together and detailed. The sheer magnitude of planning it must have taken, not to mention the time it took to spin all of that together, AND how many, many skeins of yarn must have been purchased... well, suffice it to say that there are an incredible amount of elements making this astonishing. To be fair, there was also a bird and some stars, which were also awe-inspiring - they had different types of beads, glass, and found objects stuck to them, while the bird was made up of different textures and types of black fabrics and had its own trail of black yarn, beads, and baubles - but what struck me the most were the hanging spheres.

2) The Large Works 1999–2008 by Darrel Morris
Pictures via the Museum website

These were bedsheet sized works of embroidery. They were mostly basic line drawings but with shifting perspectives and sometimes a creepy feel. Again, the sense of how long each of these must have taken is stupefying, but also how much deliberate work. In one of the pieces, there was a hill that was textured with thousands of tiny stitches, each going carefully in a different direction to look like sloping grass. The most astounding thing to me was that with embroidery, you can usually tell when a stitch has been made and then removed, there are telltale holes. There were no holes of this type in any of the pieces we examined. Can you imagine? It must have taken millions of stitches to complete each of these works and each of them was on purpose.

Bonus: Andy Paiko's FUNCTIONING Glass Spinning Wheel

The Museum gallery featured a glass spinning wheel in their window. While looking around at the various items for sale, I saw the wheel, and, thinking it was just a sculpture, walked on... Until I saw a video of the spinning wheel in action. I can't believe it works. Look at it! It's really pretty and delicate! It looks like it shouldn't function, but it does. Cool, huh?

...So I have something else, probably equally as exciting, which I will wait to tell you about until I upload the photos from my camera. Until then!

Currently... 3/4/09

Making:
Real Simple's Chicken & Vegetable Pot Pie

Listening to:
"It's Not Me, It's You" by Lily Allen

And:
Twilight: The Audiobook

Hoarding:
Cadbury Mini Eggs

Reading:
Watchmen

And:
The Reader

And:
One Hundred Years of Solitude

Abusing:
Henckels 7" Forged Santoku

Watching:
Mad Men, Season One

And:
Sopranos, Season Four