It’s 225 miles to Portland, we got a full tank of diesel, half a thermos of coffee, it’s dark, and we’re wearing sunglasses.

The alarm went off at 3:45 am on Saturday morning. A cup of coffee, a nudge to Knitting Hubby to awaken him. a quick shower and a last minute decision on what to pack for knitting was made. And a phone call to the participants that operation “Yarn Crawl PDX” was a go. And the Empire Builder train #27 was on time! Yet to Warp Nancy, Half Warped Kim, Finished Handwoven Scarf Jessica, Yet to be lured to the weaving darkside Kelly, Knitting Hubby and I were on our way to meet Heide in Portland for a day of fun, rain and yarn crawl. It was Kelly’s first train trip ever. Heide had volunteered to shoehorn us into her mini-van and drive us all over Portland in search of – what else – yarn!!!

The train left on time, in the dark of course, so knitting and spinning really didn’t start till sun up. Yes spinning. Did you really think Jessica was going to travel without at least one of her spindles?

As the sun came up we got serious about knitting, coffee drinking, throwing things at each other over the seat backs and giggling. Kim only hit one non-participant with a wadded up napkin she was trying to bean Knitting Hubby with. So we didn’t get tossed off the train. KH tried the ol” I’m not really with them trick of wearing his iPod headphones.

We got into Portland about 15 minutes early. Heide was there to meet us with an old mainlander tradition. Rather than greeting us with lei’s like they do in Hawaii, Heide greeted us with big candy canes!! We then walked over in the worst rain of the day to Heide’s mini van where she warned us to check our butts when we got out just in case wayward french fries or Mike and Ikes hidden in the seats got stuck to us. The perils of having three children. I called shotgun since I had the maps and my iPhone with its mapping function. We lucked out and got a parking space directly across from our first stop, Knit Knot Studio. It wasn’t open yet. So we piled back into the van and traveled the half mile to Knit Purl, where we got a parking space kitty corner to the store. The parking gods were looking out for us.

Nancy knew of a button store just a block or two south so she introduced us to The Button Emporium and Ribbonry. It would be easy to spend all afternoon there! But I was getting hungry knowing what our next stop was. And just a few blocks over. Yes, we were going to Habibi’s Lebanese restaurant!

So we were sitting there eating our lunch and were commenting among us that the young gentleman at the next table had both a hand knit sweater and a hand knit scarf. We started chatting with him about his knitting and found out that he was Rodger from Abundant Yarn, one of our next stops. He knew by looking what patterns some of us were wearing and told us to make sure we made it to Abundant Yarn. Interesting Rodger posted to my Why Sample blog entry this morning with out me ever giving him the address or clues.

We then piled back into the van for the trip across the river to the Yarn Garden. The Yarn Garden put is Nancy’s old neighborhood. She pointed out her old high school and the store front where her Dad had a store. Again we found a parking space right across the street from the yarn store. Take a look at this great stash buster blanket at Yarn Garden!

We were all giddy from the yarn fumes by now. A couple of us in the front of the van (OK the two of us that could actually see out the window) got a laugh out of the “C.A. Butt” building. Meanwhile the kids in the back were getting tired, asking if we were there yet, asking for fresh air and drinks of water. We were soon at Abundant Yarn and Dye Works. Where we spent lots of money. And had great treats in their cafe.

Alas, our fun time in Portland had to come to an end. Heide drove us back to the train station. The iPhone mapping feature went kind of wonky and every time I asked for the Portand Amtrak station it would give us directions to get to the Vancouver WA station. So we had to play it by ear. We only ran up one curb, drove through a single block of closed off street, I think maybe went a little wrong way on a one way. But our excuse? Heide’s brakes were acting up so we needed to take the most direct route back to the station to preserve what was left of her brakes. That’s our story and we’re sticking with it. We were all pretty worn out from the yarn crawl. As we crossed through the Cascades in the Columbia River Gorge we noticed that the promised snow was falling. It made for a pretty ride back home.

This was our Christmas present to each other this year. Time to hang out with each other, have a good time and an adventure to boot. Thanks again Heide for offering to drive us!!

And yes for the record, I got some knitting done with my own handspun.

p.s. yes, I re-used that title once again.


12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Adrienne
    Dec 14, 2008 @ 21:31:25

    Oh my, that looked like some serious fun! How I wish Amtrak serviced Pendleton still, it’s a fantastic way to travel in the PNW.


  2. heideho
    Dec 14, 2008 @ 22:05:05

    Yeee haaw it was a good time! Maybe I should have passed out blindfolds instead of candy canes. I’ve wrapped my Christmas yarn and it’s under the tree taunting me. I really want to cast on the Seascape Scarf. Glad you made it all home safely. The snows set in here last night and the City of Portland is shut down tight so your timing was perfect. Thank you again.


  3. pdxknitterati
    Dec 14, 2008 @ 23:08:35

    Oh, Button Emporium! Love that place, and all the yarn stores,too. I have a special fondness for Yarn Garden. My uncle had a hair salon in the easternmost storefont of the current shop in the 60’s and 70’s; it was named after me.

    Glad your trip was productive, and that you missed the snow/ice! We really don’t know how to deal with it here.

    Come back soon!


  4. Karen O.
    Dec 15, 2008 @ 00:49:41

    Sounds like a great time! Heide’s a riot–let me tell ya, we were roommates once upon a time! Glad you got out of Dodge before the snows fell–we’re all buttoned up in the Seattle area, too. Lovely stuff! And speaking of buttoned up, I’ll have to check out the button place next time I’m in the area (and I’ll probably have to kidnap Heide!)


  5. Chris
    Dec 15, 2008 @ 06:51:20

    It looks like a fabulous time! Gorgeous stores, too… And your handspun sock is totally yummy!


  6. Karen
    Dec 15, 2008 @ 12:02:35

    Knot a knitter wanted to go too! That would have been fun to just to bum along with you. But yes glad you all got back safe and somewhat sound!


  7. Hazel
    Dec 15, 2008 @ 16:20:51

    Sounds like a really fun trip…reminds me of the fabric shop hops I used to go on…fun, fun, fun. At one time, with a fully packed SUV on the way back from Mpls one of the gals wanted to stop at a wayside fruit stand and we ended up packing in 2 crates of strawberries…after snacking on the way home she barely ended up with enough to make jam!….like I said, fun, fun, fun.


  8. Miss T
    Dec 16, 2008 @ 10:31:17

    That button store looks fabulous!


  9. Kim
    Dec 17, 2008 @ 20:32:39

    SO FUN! I’m still revelling in the experience. THANK YOU Heide, we could not have crammed in so much without your van! Ya know when you did the 4:15 wake up call? I totally thought I answered the phone, but since I have a voicemail from the call, I must have just been saying Hi, Thanks for the call, Up and At ’em for this girl’ to the empty air!! Have fun and take care in Seattle, or send Graham home on the train.


  10. Kim
    Dec 17, 2008 @ 20:33:53

    SO FUN! I’m still revelling in the experience. THANK YOU Heide, we could not have crammed in so much without your van! Ya know when you did the 4:15 wake up call? I totally thought I answered the phone, but since I have a voicemail from the call, I must have just been saying Hi, Thanks for the call, Up and At ’em for this girl’ to the empty air!! Have fun and take care in Seattle, or send Graham home on the train. Oh by the by, the fiber I bought is almost exactly 4 oz, none to spare for stroking by other shoppers before it came home with me.


  11. Kim
    Dec 17, 2008 @ 20:34:37

    Blast it all, I accidently hit submit before finishing the message. Sorry


  12. Becky
    Dec 19, 2008 @ 09:21:26

    I love that movie!

    Sounds like a great time and a great gift to each other. I surely try to avoid shopping for yarn with others. The peer pressure is just too great.


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