Knit East 2019

Last weekend Mom and I headed east to St Andrews by the Sea, NB, CA. There is something that feels adventurous when you need your passport to go away for the weekend. On one hand, you are just crossing a river, not far from home. On the other, once you do that, time changes, the dollars look like play money, all spelling rules change, French is on all signs, and people speak with a distinctly different accent. Oh, and all speed and distance road signs are in kilometers. The landscape is the same, but everything feels different. Adventurous!

We traveled very uneventfully the 2.5 hours from home to hotel on Friday, arriving in mid-afternoon at the beautiful Algonquin Hotel. We have seen it on past trips to St Andrews, but never stayed there before. It really is as elegant and comfortable as one would expect, definitely lives up to its reputation. Our room was at the end of a wing on the top floor, and except for the hike to everything, was perfect. Two comfortable beds, two comfortable chairs, plenty of room. The bathroom was small but so well arranged, better than most in that it wasn’t dominated by a giant marble counter. On the whole, we were quite happy with the place.

After we got settled we checked out the marketplace. I was kind of amazed at how they fit everything in. There weren’t a huge lot of vendors, but there was an abundance of yarn and fiber and knitting related things. As nearly as I could tell, most of the vendors were independent businesses from eastern Canada. The end of the room was turned over to Cricket Cove, the yarn store hosting the event. They had set up an entire yarn shop! Not all of that yarn was local, but it was all good.

My plan was to just scope it out and shop later, but I couldn’t resist a few skeins for a shawl. ūüėČ

Then Mom and I headed back to the room for a nap before supper. It turns out that knitters had invaded the place, and we couldn’t get in to the pub for supper , so we ordered room service. Probably the wait was the same, but it was quieter in our room!

Saturday morning brought our first class, lecture style with Stephanie Pearl-McFee. She was as wonderful as everyone says, smart and humorous. I can’t remember the name of the class, but she walked us through selecting yarn, understanding different yarn characteristics and fibers, right through choosing a pattern, swatching, knitting a sweater, making it up and blocking it. All in three hours. As she said, once you get the knitting out of the way, you can get through a lot more material. We already know how to knit!

I did pick up some useful tips, and never will skimp on swatching again. ūüėČ. Mom took lots of notes, and now understands why I always make her swatch and wash it before I will do the math on her patterns for her. So that was good!

After class we went to town for lunch, and to the grocery store for snacks for supper. And while there we found a treasure. A big display of Briggs and Little yarn, at half the price of the marketplace version! Naturally, I got a sweater’s quantity. They didn’t have the color I wanted, but they had natural, and I can dye it. I never thought I would get a sweater’s quantity of wool for $45 Canadian (I think about $35 US) but I did! I should have done what my friend A did and cleaned out their natural. But I was remembering the marketplace and wanted to save some cash for that.

Mom dropped me there on the return trip and it was much less crowded this time. I managed to buy a couple of amazing skeins of sock yarn. The dyer uses song birds for inspiration on her colors. It was very hard to choose just two! I eventually settled down to think about what colors I needed, and got a skein each of cardinal and ruby throated hummingbird.

I was tempted by so many things, but really was trying to behave, since I have a lot of yarn and plans already.

That’s all the yarn I bought, plus the swag. Not bad!

Saturday night they held a fashion show, which normally we would have skipped, but friend A had told us it was fun and there were valuable door prizes. She wasn’t kidding! There must have been 100, everything from darning eggs to Lucy Neatby videos to sweater quantities of yarn to complete sets of Addi and knitters pride needles! Naturally, we won nothing, but A’s friend did win a sweater’s quantity of yarn!

The fashion part was interesting. I liked seeing things knit up, and there was one shawl that I added to my favorites, for someday. Marianas is a lovely thing, I nearly went back to the marketplace for a kit, then realized I probably have yarn for it in stash. Such restraint!

It was fun, but a little overwhelming for these introverts, and it kept us up way past bedtime.

Sunday morning we had another class with Stephanie, this one on color theory. Oh, my, I learned a lot! How to use the color wheel, and be able to tell what goes with what. Again, she made it loads of fun to learn about analogous and contiguous colors, primary, secondary, tertiary, etc. The time flew!

Mom and I got ourselves checked out and loaded up, had one last lunch in town, and then headed back across the river, to a place where we know what time it is, the money is all one color, there is an “h” in “schoodic”, and the speed limit makes sense. It felt good to be in more familiar territory, but sad that such a wonderful weekend had to end.

Cottage Craft

When I lived further east, Mom and I used to go to St Andrews by the Sea, New Brunswick on an irregular basis. But whenever we went, we always went to Cottage Craft. It is located right on the harbor and always had colorful skeins tied to a huge old rope fence. It was bright and cheery and made me want to knit all the colors. The little shop sells hand knits by locals and also locally produced tweeds with matching yarn in a gorgeous array of colors. Two weights of yarn, a one ply and a two ply, so roughly a fingering and worsted. The yarn is a bit rough, with hay bits in it, but that alway seemed to lend authenticity. And with washing and wearing, the garments I have knit with it softened up beautifully.

I have not been in several years ¬†but I have “some” of their yarn in my stash, and have made several sweaters with it.

Lately I have been contemplating a sweater, and so this week with time off I went stash diving. I found five of the Cottage Craft two ply skeins in a color way called “Live Lobster” and just sat and ¬†loved it for a while, in all its blue-ness. It is a dark inky blue with purple undertones, and with bits of teal and red fibers. ¬†But I would be playing yarn chicken if I made a sweater for me with just these 5 skeins, I know.

I kept digging in the stash bins and then I found it. Three quarters of a sweater. Knit with Live Lobster single ply held double. I briefly considered finishing it but then realized it would be way shorter than I want now. Which says something about when I started knitting it. Can you say 90’s cropped sweater? It’s so old it is way, way, way pre-Ravelry.¬† ūüôā¬†¬† I decided to frog it and wash the yarn for reuse.

cable-guy-about-to-be-frogged-for-web

That is one of my major crafting projects this week- carefully pulling it out, winding the yarn into skeins and washing it to get the kink out.

image

It is a bit complicated by the fact that I held it double, so the winding means I do two separate skeins at once. ¬†And it is “woolly” wool so it wants to stick to the other piece. But I love the results! In fact it looked so nice that I also washed the 4 unused skeins that were waiting for me to finish up the sweater.

imageWhile I waited for it all to dry, I looked for a pattern. I am determined to knit something from “New England Knits” this year – I think it’s the only 1+1+1 goal I haven’t hit. None of the ones I like call for fingering weight, of course, so I think I will be holding the yarn double again. I have narrowed it down to the Derry raglan pullover or the Augusta cabled cardigan. I do love cables but I think Derry has a slight edge, as I also was thinking I wanted a pullover… And that cute cowl would make the perfect gauge “swatch” a la¬†Elizabeth Zimmerman and her swatch hats.

But I probably won’t completely decide until I swatch and actually cast on. Because you just never know where the yarn will lead you.

And now now I am wondering what I will make with the 5 skeins of two ply I found? ¬†I suppose I could wash it and de-stash it… Or I could go back to St Andrews by the Sea and get a couple of skeins in either red or teal (or both!) and do a pretty color work sweater. That might be the plan. I wonder if Mom is up for a road trip?

reasdy-to-go-for-web

 

(Sadly, I went to look for a link to Cottage Craft to share with you and learned that the building had been sold, was being renovated, and burned to the ground last month.  Not sure what will happen to this wonderful old business.)

I promised you photos

These aren’t great, but they ARE photos. The hats are the ones I have done for Nest (http://nestmaine.blogspot.com/), and as soon as I have a box full, they will go off to keep some folks warm. The other is the sweater I knit with the St Andrews NB yarn. Hard to see it, but it is a basic, unstructured sweater in a deep bluey-green. With a DEEP turtleneck. It should keep me warm this winter.

birthday weekend in St Andrews by the Sea

St Andrews is one of my favorite places to visit – but amazingly, I have never stayed there over night, just always made the mad dash up, shopped and driven home.

Well those days are OVER! A and I found the cutest little place to stay – Seaside Beach Resort – catchy name, right? (www.seaside.nb.ca) It is just outside of town, at the edge of the historic district.¬† The proprietor has restored a whole compound of houses and barns and built little cottages – all with pine interiors, very compact, but with all amenities.¬†¬† If I had to guess, I would say there are boats in his background.¬† And yes, that is a guess.¬† But beyond really cute little cottagey apartments and cabins, there is a huge expanse of green lawn, new and mature plantings and trees, decks that go right down to the water (OK, at high tide.¬† To the beach the rest of the time) and the world’s most comfortable wooden chairs and tables along a short board walk.¬† And it is all in the prettiest seaside town with the nicest shops and restaurants.¬† By my reckoning, anyway.

Best part?¬† Cottage craft yarn store is still there, still unbelievably underpriced, AND there is a brand new scrapbooking¬†store directly across the street from the cottages.¬† Yes, I was in heaven! I got yarn to make a sweater – 100% wool.¬† $35 american.¬† I don’t know if he did the exchange rate backwards or WHAT, but I paid the money and took the yarn. Scrapbooking¬†store was totally a surprise, and thus, unfunded.¬† A gave me all the Canadian money we got back from an ice cream purchase, and I made that $13.50 go FAR.¬† The young woman running the place just opened it in December, and she already had a sale bin – yes! It is a nice bright room over her garage, not a huge selection, but good variety of items.¬† Lots I wanted.¬† Made me wish we had paid for the ice cream with a $50 or something. (http://hendersonscrapbookingcompany.blogspot.com/)

And the sun was shining on Saturday, we did all the retail therapy we wanted, had a good lunch at the Gables restaurant on their wonderful shady deck,¬† checked in to the “resort” and sat on the board walk reading for a few hours.¬† There was a heavenly breeze, so not hot, no bugs.¬† Had a supper of snacks in our little cottage, and flaked out early.¬† But not before we walked on th beach, tried the water (too cold to swim in, even for me) found lots of sea glass, but only clam shells, and scoped out all the empty units. Some of the floor plans are strange, but clearly the place was designed to meet the needs of travelers with families who love the shore. Today we were going to sit and have breakfast on the board walk before heading out, but awoke to low clouds and the threat of rain, so after a walk around town early, ¬†we ate a restaurant (the Chef’s Special)¬†and then headed out.¬† No sweat returning to the US – new border crossing very smooth, easy to navigate, pleasant border patrol guy. He even let me keep the pumpkin seeds I forgot I had with me (bought in the US, never taken out of the package, but still not allowed!)

I have already warned A we are going back, and thought about how I would keep her entertained if we went for more than one day.  Of course, I think there is plenty to do, but we might have to bring a bike and a couple of kayaks!

The best part of all this?¬† Low season rates apply until 6/15 (they come back into effect after Labor Day, too!), so we got it all at a discount.¬† Exchange rate isn’t great, but even so, it wasn’t that expensive a trip.¬† Gotta love it!

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