Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Block of the Month in Czarist Russia?

One of our many ports of call was St. Petersburg, Russia.  As we toured the Hermitage, Peterhof, and the Yusupov Palace, I was probably the only person taking more pictures of the flooring than many of the other amazing architectural wonders and works of art.  But I kept wondering, did Catherine the Great belong to a Block of the Month Club?

Saturday, June 8, 2013

In Touch with the Past

When we arrived in Aarhus, Denmark, we were greeted by this charming young woman with information and an invitation to visit Den Gamle By.  We'd already chosen this outdoor museum as our destination for Aarhus, so we didn't need to be sold on the idea, but noticing the beautiful shawl, Nancy and I had many questions about the possibility of finding some yarn there.  The young lady had knitted this traditional shawl herself and assured us we wouldn't be disappointed.  We weren't!

I was able to purchase a kit for this traditional tie shawl at the museum store.  The directions were all in Danish, but included an email address to get the "recipe" in English!  They sent it along with good wishes for my shawl knitting.

Here are a few pics of the sights at Den Gamle By that concerned fiber processing and sales in the past.  Hope you enjoy them!

This flight of stairs led to the looms above.  I don't want to hear any more complaints about my stairs at the shop!

Finally, my favorite picture from Den Gamle By ...

Thursday, June 6, 2013

On the Sea Again

European additions to my stash
My husband Bob, sister-in-law Nancy, and I recently returned from a fantastic "trip of a lifetime."  We crossed the Atlantic from Fort Lauderdale to Cobh, County Cork, Ireland.  From there we had stops in England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, and Russia, finally flying home from Vienna, Austria.

Nancy and I decided to give the "Knitters and Natters" group on board ship a try and were the first to show up at the appointed spot, 30 minutes early.  Though they were an interesting group of women, Nancy and I both agreed the amount of "nattering" wasn't conducive to too much knitting.  In fact, we both ended up frogging our work from that meeting.  Several of us were a little horrified when one woman told us she hadn't brought her knitting because the yarn would take up too much space in her luggage!  We were ten days at sea before our first stop - I can think of any number of items that would be ditched before my yarn and needles!

Of course, my search for local yarn shops and locally produced yarn continued on this trip.  We made a return visit to Vivi's Trading Company in Kinsale, Ireland and picked up a couple of skeins of "Soft Donegal" and had the chance to see how Vivi's has grown in its first year and as you can see, it's doing well!

Inside Vivi's Trading Co.

My favorite stop on the cruise was in Tallinn, Estonia.  Right on the dock are a set of shops that give a taste of what a tourist may want to bring home.  At my first stop, I met and chatted with the owner and knitter, Mary Ann, a delightful woman.

Mary Ann in her shop at the Tallinn Dock

Most of the knitted goods available in Tallinn are machine knitted and extremely well done. At the end of the day, I returned to Mary Ann's shop to purchase one of her beautiful sweaters for myself and a couple of Christmas gifts.  From the dock, we headed to Lower Old Town where, in the shade of the town wall, knitters set up stands to sell the products of their hands and machines.

Such a treat to be able to meet the women who have created such lovely items.  They know the worth of their products, set a very fair price, and don't bargain!  My kind of women!

While in Tallinn, I was able to find the colorful ball of yarn on top of the pile in the picture at the top of this post.  It apparently is a popular colorway as it can be seen in most of the shops.

From inside Kalliver, a "linen" shop in Lower Old Town Tallinn 
Next up - Den Gamle By, Aarhus, Denmark!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Two Years Later

Anniversary roses from my brother, Austin.  Every woman should be so lucky as to have a brother like him!
Just after I'd set out lemonade and cookies as a little opening celebration (grand doesn't really apply here) on June 1, 2011, I opened the door to The Quilted Purl.  Then I stood around somewhat nervously, waiting.  For those of you who've never been in the shop, you enter a small vestibule then climb 20 stairs, when you are already at an elevation of 8519 ft.  For the first few weeks it was a bit unsettling to me when I could hear people before I saw them, or worse yet, when I didn't hear them and they just quietly appeared upstairs in the shop.

Vestibule and 16 of the 20 steps 

My first customer that day was a woman who'd just flown in from Chicago that morning and suffered from COPD.  By the time she made it up the stairs, her breathing was so labored I thought I'd be greeting the Clear Creek Rescue folks any minute.  Fortunately, I'd placed a rocking chair at the top of the stairs and quickly had her sit and catch her breath while enjoying the lemonade and some water.  She recovered, and made the first purchase at The Quilted Purl.  There are now two rocking chairs there, emergency water, and a bowl of chocolates.  I call it my "recovery station" and it gets a great deal of use.

The Quilted Purl Recovery Station

Over the past two years, I've had the opportunity to meet people from all seven continents and from all walks of life.  Many of those who make it up the stairs have a story to tell.  The two antique sewing machines I have (thank you Linda and Karen) seem to evoke the past for most visitors to the shop.  As a former history teacher, this delights me.  So many folks have fond memories of a mother, grandmother, aunt, great-grandmother, or some other loved one knitting or quilting.  That they want, or even need, to tell me their memory honors me.   It never fails to amaze me how wonderful most people are and how fortunate I am to meet them.

So, year three for The Quilted Purl begins.  Many thanks to all who have supported and encouraged me over the past two years, especially my husband, Bob.

What's new at The Quilted Purl?  How about these beautiful skeins of Mountain Colors Twizzle in their 5 new colorways!  Come by, climb the 20 stairs, rest for a few minutes, have a chocolate, and then tell me your story!