Saturday, February 02, 2008

Mining for Yarn

I set off yesterday, rather later than I'd planned, to find a wonderful yarn shop my sister and I visited two years ago, up in the mountains in a funky little former mining town called Jerome. I'd been to Jerome two or three times, but I'd never been the driver, and I didn't have a good sense of how close it is to Sedona. What I did remember was the windy road to the town and my memory was good on that point.

Jerome is about 25 miles from Sedona as the crow flies but no crow ever flew in such circles. The road winds up the mountain--not quite as curvy as the switchbacks up Oak Creek Canyon, but still a little iffy when someone who knows where they're going comes whipping down the other lane toward you.

Anyway, the drive was lovely, Jerome was easy to find, and I enjoyed the trip. Once I got there, I had a few anxious minutes trying to remember where the shop itself is. I remembered that, when we were there before, just about the time Deirdre was learning to knit, we trekked around the town quite awhile before we found the shop, up a level from the street and down a level from the restaurant where we had lunch (Hamburger Heaven). Today I was on my own...could I find the shop by myself?

Here's the view from below the town. You can see the little town nestled up on the hill. What you can't see is the double-S one-way road that takes you through all those little buildings. It's also an old biker haven, and is an interesting mix of restored history and some buildings that look like they haven't changed in over a hundred years. It is NOT one of those cutesy, faux "olde" towns--it's still a little rough and ready with lots of shops and a very welcoming atmosphere.

I parked in an area I thought looked familiar and walked up some stairs, then down some more, and there it was, right in the middle!

Knit 1 Bead 2 is squeezed into a little landing between the street and the hamburger restaurant, on a level that also has a tiny park and playground. If you didn't know what you were looking for, you might never find it. Does it looks unprepossessing? Well, check out the inside!

The shop is about 60% yarn and 40% beads. It's not a big shop, and every single nook and cranny is filled with something beutiful. The yarn is all organized by color, a little daunting at first but fun once you get the idea. When you see 70 cubic feet of fabulous red--including everything from Habu to handspun--it's incredible. And lots of knitted samples. I saw some fabulous shawls that looked like they would probably be too warm for Atlanta but perfect for the cool Arizona days and nights. There was a round sunflower shawl that I meant to get the pattern for but forgot...maybe I can email the owner.

BUT...I had promised myself that I wouldn't buy anything on this trip that I could buy at home. Only local yarn would go home with me. You remember that I got lucky in Sedona with that Sedona-dyed silk noil lace yarn. And I got just as lucky in Jerome. Check this out:

Yes, before you ask, that IS roving in the middle. I couldn't resist...I keep thinking that if I ever have a little time to practice, I WILL be able to use that spindle. It's Jerome hand-dyed. And, yes, that IS sock yarn and yes, I remember that we agreed (well, I agreed) there would be no more sock yarn. But how could I resist yarn labeled "Creatively Hand Dyed by my friend, Diane"? The "my" refers to Knit 1 Bead 2's very creative owner, Erica Raspberry. Unfortunately she wasn't there, but her able assistant Lisa was very helpful and lots of fun to talk to.

(And before you ask, I think that sock yarn would look great as one of those ubiquitous multidirectional scarves.)

I had so much fun schmoozing with Lisa that it was a shock to realize that it was after 5 pm. Dark comes early in the west, and I didn't want to be crawling down that mountain after dark. I bid a hasty goodbye and jumped into the car. On my way out of town, I stopped for a few pictures--I couldn't resist the contrasting views--long views toward the mountains and views of the valley below.

You can see that the sun was getting ready to set on those red rocks as I came back through Cottonwood and home to Sedona.

Today we go to knit with the church knitting group--I'm working on a toddler sweater for the CIC challenge out of some beautiful handspun by one of the church members.

After that, I'll start on my list of "things I absolutely have to do before I leave." I've been here for 3 weeks--how could I still have things to do? Well, you know me...I do.

In Hanami news, blogging about it seems to have had a good effect. Yesterday I sat down on the couch and plugged away and I'm through all 8 repeats of the basketweave chart and I'm about halfway through the transition chart. Then on to Charts A-G. I figure I'm about one-third done, which is about right for something that's supposed to be ready by the end of March. So, maybe I'm back on schedule, or as much of a schedule as I can manage.

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