Monday, May 26, 2014

Maryland Sheep and Wool

This post is a couple weeks late... but better late than never!  
Earlier in the month I attended the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival

Honestly I wasn't too excited that day and almost didn't go. It was the day after I returned from Copenhagen so I was a little jet-lagged. But the husband asked if I wanted to go and even offered to drive so I figured I had to take the opportunity while I could. He must have missed me a lot to offer to go to a fiber festival! 

The first thing I saw when we got there: bunnies! Fuzzy bunnies!!

This little guy loved getting nose rubs!

I asked how much actual bunny was under the hood and was surprised to hear there is about seven pounds of bunny under there. It's almost all fluff! Too cute. 

Next we went through all the animal barns. I'm still a little kid and get all too excited about seeing the animals. The hubs is more than patient and lets me get my farm fix and lets me run from corral to corral, oohing and ahhing all the fuzzy fluffs.  

I'm always amazed at the number of people at these fiber events! 

The tree cozy was cool - at random spots of the fairgrounds you would find acts of yarn bombing. And a sign indicating this was an act of fiber goodness from the Central Maryland Knitting Guild. Love it! 

I'm always amazed at wood turning. It looks so elegant when done properly (the act of as well as the final product). We purchased a letter opener with a finely turned handle for the mother-in-law. 

I wanted to adopt them... the hubs said no. 

More yarn bombing!

And now for the purchases! Actually I didn't purchase a lot - especially because I just bought souvenir yarn from Copenhagen! 

2-ply lace weight, 115 grams, 630 yards
50% Merino, 25% Silk, 25% Cashmere

As we started looking at the booths with yarn I gave the hubs a task: find me Tardis-colored yarn. And boy did he deliver! I have plans on making the Bigger on the Inside Shawl and giving the hubs a task was perfect. It gave him "something to do" while at the festival. I know he doesn't get excited over fiber like I do so this gave him something to do! Poor guy found some yarn but it was worsted weight so I had to explain to him that I wanted something thinner. Next he found cobweb weight... nope something in the middle. Finally we found a couple different skeins that were perfect color and perfect weight. I had a tough time deciding but ended up with this one because the model shawl in the booth had really nice stitch definition. It says lace-weight but really it's a little thicker. Not quiet fingering weight, so maybe a heavy lace weight. Spirit Trail Fiberworks is local(ish) and is located in the Blue Ridge Mountain area of Virginia. I spoke Jennifer, the owner, another reason why I ended up buying this yarn. She showed me the shawl which made me make up my mind. Stay tuned for my shawl (someday...)!   

4-ply fingering weight yarn
75% merino, 25% nylon
Colorway: Martini and Rossi

I walked into the booth and all I saw was this: 
Image credit:
You know my obsession with self-stripping yarn. Well these are NOT self-stripping! These pool in a way that it "whirls" around the foot and creates a striped effect. Too freakin' cool! 

I purchased this particular color because it reminded me of roses. The hubs gave me a look when I purchased the yarn because it was not a "planned" purchase. But as soon as I told him it reminded me of roses, and the City of Roses (Portland, OR) he was fine. See how that one works? :) 

I actually don't know too much about this small mom and pop company. Their website doesn't have too much about the company. But if you happen to get a chance to see their yarns (or fiber) check it out. It's kinda cool! 

Sheep Incognito by Conni Togel

Oh I love her stuff! Last time I saw her I purchased Knit Wit (below) this time I got Dare to be Different.
Dare to Be Different

Knit Wit

Conni is an artist from South Carolina that had a large selection of original artwork for knitter-kind. But she also had a nice selection of fantasy artwork including fairies, wizards and cute creatures. I've purchased from her before and this time I was SO excited to meet her! She was lovely and kind and if you ever get to meet her, or see her artwork -- check it out!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Copenhagen Fun - Part 2

And FINALLY here we are for Part 2 of my Copenhagen Fun series!

The second shop visit happened by pure chance. One morning during breakfast a colleague mentioned she noticed a yarn shop (apparently people found out pretty quickly about my knitting obsession) a block from our hotel.

How did I miss that during my research?!?!

One evening after we got back from dinner meetings I quickly changed and went for a run around the block (mostly so I could scope out said yarn shop). Sure enough... there was one! Unfortunately my schedule didn't permit another day-time outing (again, that whole work-thang), unless if I had some time right before I had to leave for my flight.

Luckily... I had enough time before my flight for a quick walk and shop stop!

Yarn Shop #2: Wadils
Vesterbrogade 31
1620 Copenhagen W, Denmark

This shop might be new(ish) because initially I didn't find any information about it online. It appears that Wadils has a larger shop (2 floors!) in another location. Maybe next time I'll try to take a trip out to that one. But this one was cute and a pleasant surprise as I didn't expect to find and/or visit another shop while on my trip.  

I loved how the shop beckons you to come in and visit by displaying beautiful fair isle and intarsia sweaters. The yarn in the baskets weren't anything to jump for joy over... but then again I wouldn't put my best cashmere out on the street either.

This shop was a little different because it had more than just yarn. It also had supplies for embroidery as well as clothing items. Felted, fuzzy slippers, knitted ponchos and wraps, and other cold weather clothing were available. I asked the sales clerk if the items were handmade and she indicated that most were. And made in Denmark or surrounding region. So that's cool. 

I also found it odd that it seemed like everything, EVERYTHING, was available for sale in the shop. Even the tables! I asked if they were going out of business and I got an odd look. I dropped it at that. I didn't want to be the "stupid American" so I just took it that this little shop will sell any and all if their patrons want or need something.  

Similar to the other shop I visited the shelves were stocked to the ceiling with yarns! This one seemed a little less organized that the other - but I still found things that I wanted (and more).

Again some brands that we can get back at home. A lot of Rowan. But there were a number of Nordic yarns that I found appealing.  

More shots of the cold weather accessories. 

I LOVE this guy. 

If I could have found a way to stuff this little guy into my luggage he would have come home with me. How cute is he?!?! 

Okay, now for the yarn procurement:

3 skeins (different colorways) of
A 4-ply, fingering weight 100% wool
100 grams, 437 yards

Only 52 projects on Ravelry, and most are in Danish so I cannot read the reviews. But the project pictures look nice! The lady indicated that this yarn is local and it appears that she was telling the truth. It is spun and dyed by Hjelhots Uldspinderi appears to be a Danish company located in Hesselagergard. It looks like they frequently take tours through the spinning mill (how cool!!).    

The yarn itself is nice but I'm wondering if it will be a little scratchy. It appears that others have commented that they love knitting with the yarn. So we'll see! Plus, one of the skeins is a gift for someone (hopefully she'll get it before this post, fingers crossed!). 

View of  homes and businesses along colorful Nyhavn Canal.
Christianborg Slot (Palace) - well a bit of it.
A regular sight: a long line of parked bikes.
I loved how everyone bikes everywhere!
Even the bikes had street lights to obey!
The Little Mermaid
Overall... I really like Copenhagen! The area is lovely (at least right now with the nice weather). The people were polite and patient (even when I couldn't count the money properly). The food was good and the yarn shops I visited were excellent. I can't wait to go again next year! 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Copenhagen Fun - Part 1

I'm back from Copenhagen!

Okay I've been back for a week but between catching up on work and personal matters I'm just getting to this blog post now.

The business meeting was a success - I met many new colleagues from countries all around the world and I'm VERY excited to start working with them on various projects. When I first started this job I wasn't sure about it because it so different from what I originally set out to do - but the more I dive into the position the more I'm loving it. And meeting the other country members and learning about their current initiatives really got me excited for what I could do with my current position and the projects I could start to work on.

Okay enough about that. I know you are NOT here for your daily dose of clinical terminologies. You are here for your dose of fiber. And I'm happy to report... I was able to get a little fiber into my diet while in Copenhagen! In fact the only Danish word I learned was: garn (aka: yarn). Sad, but true.

This is part 1 of a 2 part series. Mostly because I only had time to quickly visit two shops as I was more pre-occupied with working!

So first up:

Yarn Shop #1: Sommerfulgen 
Vandkunsten 3
Copenhagen, Denmark

I read a couple of reviews that said this was one of the best (in terms of yarn selection) and most expensive yarn shops in the city. I have to say, the reviews were pretty spot on -- And I love it! 

The walls were literally BURSTING with yarn! There was a nice selection of high-end yarns. Most of it can be found here in the states. But still very impressive. And very yummy... look at those walls!

The staff were very nice and spoke perfect English (in fact, pretty much everyone I met in restaurants and shops could speak english). Because I didn't have a lot of time I didn't have a chance to speak to the staff about yarns, classes, knitting life in Denmark. Next time I visit I'm going to try to carve out more time so I can learn more about the Danes and knitting!

The shop displays were elegant in taste. Again I didn't have the opportunity to ask about who creates the models - if these are patterns exclusive to the shop or to advertise classes, patterns or show off the yarns. I know - I'm horrible. But really I had no time; that whole work thang... :)

You can't see from these pictures (because I tried to make sure I didn't take pictures of people) but the shop was PACKED with people! I could tell many were tourists (I could here french, English (British and American accents) and a couple other languages I didn't know). But I could tell a couple of shoppers were "locals" because of how the staff greeted them. Love it!

Okay I know you are wondering... WHAT DID YOU GET?! Okay here you go: 

Light Fingering / 3 ply
65% Merino, 35% Silk
591 yards / 100 grams

Design Club DK is a Danish company owned by a knitwear designer named Inger Moldrup Sorensen. After a little bit of poking around it appears that Design Club DK yarns are all spun and dyed in Henrichsens Uldspinderi (a yarn company) in Skive, Denmark. I just really liked this yarn because it was purple, soft, and from Denmark!  

Let's just say, I did my homework prior to my trip. I learned about the famous Marianne Isager, a well-known Danish knitwear designer who also has her own line of yarns. While perusing her designs I fell in love with Diamanten - a shawl, wrap, cloak, poncho-type thing that can be worn 9 different ways! I purchased the pattern prior to my trip and I knew I wanted one of her yarns for this project. So I bought: 

Light fingering weight, 100% wool
100 grams, 667 yards

At first I wasn't sure because it is really not that soft. But I read reviews that rave about the knitting experience and (mostly) the stitch definition in the final product. So we'll see... but really, I can't wait to make that wrap, shawl, thing out of this! My truly Danish project! 

Side note - when I came home and added the yarn to my Ravelry stash I found out that this yarn is sold in a nearby LYS in Baltimore! Made me chuckle... but good to know if I like the yarn I don't have to wait until my next trip to Copenhagen. 

Bonnie by Permin
a 5-ply, sport weight cotton
50 grams, 240 yards

Yes... I got cotton. Me. Yep. And a tape yarn?!?! Crazy, huh? I saw these cute little squishy balls of periwinkle and I needed to get it. I know Denmark (or any other Scandinavian country) is not known for their cotton but I saw this and loved it. These might turn into a light summer top or something.

Permin looks to be a Scandinavian needlework company. I probably purchased yarn equivalent to Red Heart... but I really liked it! So whatever :) Actually this is a lot nicer than what we would find in a typical big box store so I think I'm in the clear on that front.

Finally, I bought this little notion - a tool to measure gauge! Succaplokki is a small company from Finland that creates things (for knitters!) from recycled products. Because I'm all about teaching my students about gauge and knitting math skills I thought I should practice what I preach. And when I have a cute little look like this, how could I not?! Check out Succaplokki Accessories on Etsy - they have a LOT of cute things. Perfect for gifts for the knitter in your life, or for yourself! 

Again I didn't have a lot of time to go sight-seeing. But the little I did see made me really fall for this city... so picture perfect! 
Rosenborg Slot (Castle - okay I learned two Danish words). 
Another view of Rosenborg Slot - not bad when your running route goes by a castle or two! 
Rosenborg Slot Gardens. I think in a couple of weeks roses will be blooming! 
View of the apartments and shops along one of the lakes. My colleague and
I were trying to figure out how we could move here :)  
Frederik's Church - absolutely stunning
Also called The Marble Church is known for it's architecture... beautiful. 
Well, that's all for now. Stay tuned for post 2 - the second yarn shop!