Behold…the promised yarn.

I will warn you now, that even though I have never been a person who has much money, and that I work very hard at finding happiness without the grabbing, lusty pursuit of material objects, and that I believe that the love of ones family and the pleasure of my morning glories blooming on my front porch has the ability to feed my soul more than any object of possession ever could… I will warn you that for just this one day I have suspended my belief that “Money cannot buy happiness.” I have also let go of “The best things in life are free” and now suddenly reject the words of Paul McCartney and wonder what the heck he was thinking when he wrote “Can’t buy me love“.
Why my friends? Why have I turned my back on my hippy-granola tree hugging existence and now care only for what can be bought and loved?
Fear me. For I have been to Baadeck Yarns.
Before we go any further at all, I’d like everyone to take a moment to quietly thank Camille Chapman. I stayed at Camille’s home in Cape Breton, she drove me to Baddeck (well over an hour away) and she brought her digital camera and was designated the Official Photographer of the 2004 Baadeck Yarn Trip. Without her many of the photographs you will see today would not be possible.
All Hail Camille, mighty enabler of blog and yarn.

Baadeck yarns sits (not surprisingly) in Baddeck, Nova Scotia. The drive there is heart stoppingly beautiful. I wondered, as Camille and I drove there, if maybe I hadn’t made a tactical error. I’d been looking forward to this so much, I’d developed such a good fantasy about it…and I had come to understand that I wouldn’t be getting to Fleece Artist and had proceeded to take the bitterness that I felt about that and use it to make the trip to Baadeck Yarns even more significant. By the time we were pulling into the driveway of the shop it had occurred to me that really…I might have some pretty unrealistic expectations of Pat Fields, her shop and it’s ability to bring me eternal happiness. Could any mere yarn shop live up to my fantastic imagination? Was it possible that I had put it on such a high pedestal that the only way that this could be as satisfying as I expected was if Arachne herself handed me golden wool and offered me a spinning lesson. Was I doomed to spend the afternoon politely pretending not to be disappointed while just below the surface I choked back burning tears?
Nope. This is a great shop. Beyond a great shop. This is a soul filling, happiness creating, weeping with the beauty of it all shop.
I can’t put my finger on why I loved it so much. I loved Pat, the shop owner. You can tell the shop is a labour of love and that Pat’s destined for great things. The shop is in the back of her (stunning) home in one of the oldest buildings in Baddeck. While you stand on the porch, sailboats drift by and the eagles soar by overhead, inside Pat dispenses knitting wisdom the way that toddlers give out sticky kisses. She’ s building a second house out back of the existing shop and plans (be still my heart) to have knitting retreats there.
Look at the look on my face when I saw the Fleece Artist stock.
It was all that I could do to maintain some kind of public decorum when Pat told me that just that morning she had returned from Fleece Artist itself, and had brought with her virtually all that they had. Some hanks were so new that they were drying on the porch. Pat said it was good that I wasn’t going to Fleece Artist, because she had more of their yarn than they did. (Can you imagine? What did I ever do to deserve that kind of luck? This is the sort of Karmic balance that you could expect for someone who pulled triplets and a kitten from a burning building…not a simple silly Yarn Harlot. I don’t know what I did to earn that perfect moment in my life…but I am grateful)
Pat had fleece artist stuff I had never heard of…behold…Solid colours!
and a crazy silk boucle that made me feel like I’d never really known love.
Just when I thought I’d recovered from all of the Fleece Artist stuff, I noticed that there was more to the shop. Way more. Suffice it to say that I was momentarily speechless…and that’s saying something. I staggered up and down the aisles, and had to sort of rest on a display for a moment when I saw the Opal sock yarns. You don’t know this about me, since it has been a pain that I keep private, but I am secretly obsessed with Opal sock yarns. I have wanted some for a long time, but our paths have never crossed. Finally, here in Baadeck Yarns, there they were, resting on a shelf with a sunbeam falling on them… Everything I’d dreamed of and so much more. We had a moment, the Opal sock yarn and I, just before I had to put my head between my knees until my vision was restored and I felt a little less dizzy.
I discovered that Pat and I both enjoy wearing skeins of yarn as decorations,
and I managed to only look a little worried as Pat rang up my sale.
When Joe saw this picture he asked if I was worried that I was spending too much money. Isn’t that cute? (Seriously, after all these years…can you imagine? I am looking at the pile of yarn that I have and I am worried that I have not purchased enough. Turns out that Pat does mail order. That’s right. You heard it here. Don’t all call at once.)
Now I know what you all want to know. In fact, I found Natalie demanding it.
Without further ado…The Haul.
This is Dreadlocks. It is the most stunning colourway in the world and I snatched it off of Pat’s porch (it was still wet) after I decided that telling some innocent guy who was sitting near it that I was willing to fight him if he touched it wasn’t enough of a defense. (I may also have mentioned that I am “short but wiry” ). It was not a proud moment, but the yarn is mine. It comes with a poncho pattern.
This is Curlylocks, little brother to the bad boy above. Same structure, smaller scale, in the same beautiful colours as the Dreadlocks, even though it doesn’t look like it. Enough for a poncho. (I know. Another poncho. Yeah, yeah…the first step is admitting I have a problem….)
This is…. What was this? Some kind of wool/silk combo, tons of yardage. Pat says enough to do a sweater. (I believe every word out of Pat’s mouth.) This is the disadvantage of grabbing skeins of yarn and spiriting them away before Pat can even get labels on them. Hey Pat? What is this? How much is there?
Pretty though. I was thinking about some kind of ribbed 3/4 length sleeve sweater. (See? Not a poncho. I’m in recovery).
This is some Mo, and some Blue Faced Leicester hand dyed in the same colourway. This is a completely crappy picture, the colours are actually way more Autumn. It came with a mitten pattern where you hold the two yarns together throughout…but there’s no telling what I’ll do with it. (Assuming that I can stop using it the way I am now…which is as some sort of bedside table decoration/pet.)
This is a very well controlled purchase of roving and sliver. The top is mohair, the bottom wool. It has gone to live with my other Fleece Artist rovings and slivers in the cupboard. I know it will be happy with it’s many new friends.
(Is anybody sick of this yet?)
These are my new Opal Sock Yarns, (welcome home babies) as well as one ball of Regia that Camille said was Cape Breton colours. She’s right, the green and gold are perfect. I can’t be the only one who buys souvenir sock yarn…right?
Now this…this is pretty cool. It’s a “Narrow Scarf” kit, and the needles I’m using are River John “swing” needles. The needles are like big dpns, with removable ends that allow you to work one row of two different yarns, without the yarn you just used getting stuck at the wrong end. In the photo above I’ve just finished a row with the boucle, and now I want to work a row with the slub. No problem…
Get it? I just moved the direction of the needle (I actually don’t use the “stoppers” when there are so few stitches) and now I can just pick up the slub and go.
These needles accomplish what a circular would (working back and forth) without being a circular (for those of us with an anti-circular bias) and I find it less annoying than pushing 20 stitches back and forth across a cable. Extremely cool. (Again…don’t all call Pat at once.)
It’s good that I bought the swing needles, because I may also have placed an order for a custom-dyed (autumn colourway) one of these. Which is worked with one row of each of two yarns.
What all of this means is that your local harlot is now doing something that she has never done before.
I, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee…aka The Yarn Harlot, do solemnly swear that even though it runs contrary to every stinking bone in my body, that even though it offends my sensibilities and annoys every cell in my being, I will now enter a period of “Yarn Diet” designed to restore balance to my rich and full fibre life. I will acknowledge that I have a great deal of yarn, wool and fleece, and that no harm will come to me, nor will I be starved of happiness if I do not purchase yarn for a little while. I will control myself and use the wonderful yarn that I already have until equilibrium is regained. I will not make a yarn purchase (or “borrow” more yarn) until I go to Rhinebeck.
May the force be with me.

56 thoughts on “Behold…the promised yarn.

  1. Oh… want, want, want! I’ve never even tried to pretend that I wasn’t a shallow, materialistic, acquisitive person… but now I know where to direct my desires! Beautiful, beautiful yarn! While I may scoff at your pledge to refrain from acquiring more yarn (scoff, scoff) I do support it, since I’m eager to see all that lovely yarn knit up, and I don’t want you distracted by anything else. Mmm, ponchos…

  2. Good thing that Rhinebeck is not that far off :).
    What a gorgeous haul! This romp through yarn excess has the advantage (for me) of totally vicarious decadence that causes no nasty after-envy since these colorways please my eyes but do not tempt me in the least.
    I rejoice in pure and undiluted appreciation of Yarn Harlotry at its best!

  3. When faced with a once in a lifetime opportunity it is best to go with it. I’m glad you did. If you need more Opal (had I only known) I’ll see what’s in my hoard, or go acquire some. Just let me know.

  4. Stephanie, thanks for all of the beautiful pictures, scenic AND yarnic. That yarn is to die for! Isn’t buying souvenir sock yarn the norm? That is what got me into this knitting mess! I started knitting again about 3 years ago after 20 years of no needles…. “The Needlework Cottage” in San Diego was about a block from our hotel. I bought a couple of balls of Socka and some #2 needles for something to do. It has been nonstop knitting since then. Everywhere we go, I have to get at least enough for one pair of socks. We won’t talk about the other yarn that jumps into the bag when I am not looking.
    Thanks again for the wonderful trip! It was like being there.

  5. Incredible. I have been in love with Fleece Artist stuff ever since I bought a skein of slub. This is like dangling candy in front of a starving baby’s face! I am truly amazed. Thanks for the humour filled post!

  6. I think you should set up a paypal account so we can all send you money to take us on another virtual yarn shop spree….

  7. Um, while I love the yarn, I think the question resting on everyone’s mind (well, probably just mine) is how much did you actually spend? If you got all this for a great deal (like $5) I’m so there. If you spent your next mortgage payment… then… well… we have to talk. *grin*

  8. I’ve been amused to no end reading your posts about your visit to Atlantic Canada & the Maritimes. I always love to hear how a CFA (come from away) describes my province, �heart stopping beautiful� I think will do just fine. Would you hate me if you knew my LYS (LK Yarns, is a tiny treasure trove of Fleece Artist yarns too, or that I live within a 45-minute scenic drive to the Fleece Artist studio? If so I won�t say these things� even if it is true. Glad you enjoyed your visit to the East Coast.

  9. I’ve been sitting here in front of the comment screen, eyes glazed over, with visions of your purchases sugar-plumming their way through my head…
    The Beetles don’t know nothin.
    You have bought my love, for eternity, I just want to roll around in your house for a while…
    But not now, my heart can’t handle that much joy all in one day….

  10. My LYS owner, who carries oodles of Cherry Tree Hill yarn (out of Vermont, close to Nova Scotia) told me Cherry Tree Hill and Fleece Artist have their yarn made by the same place, they just dye it in their own colorways. Your post proved it. Dreadlocks is the same as CTH’s Jumbo Loop, and Curlylocks is the same as CTH’s Baby Loop. And I buy it by the armfuls. I pet it. I love it. I drape it over bedposts in guest bedrooms. My mother complained that she felt like she was trapped by Arachne. My cat feels like he has a new mother and tries to wean himself.

  11. Aw. The trip is over? We’re back to knitting in Toronto? Aw.
    I looooooooooooooooove that yarn. I don’t see anything wrong with making it all into ponchos. I’ll have the green and purple one, thanks.
    And I don’t care what you think, but you TOTALLY deserve that bit of cosmic luck at Baadeck.

  12. Dreadlocks. I need. I don’t know what I’d make with it, but I need it. Maybe I’d just pet it. I don’t have any live animals to pet, so maybe yarn will work? And I won’t have to clean up after it.

  13. i’m with Nathania. *drool*. this is the post i’ve been waiting for. all i can say is…well, i can’t say anything really. all that comes out are unintelligible sputters and the only part you can make out is the word *want!*. stunning stuff!

  14. Ok, now I’m eternally sorry that Baadeck Yarns had just closed for the day during my last business trip to CB. I’ve just madly flipped through my calendar to check my training schedule. Oh, right there, November 6 and 7, training in CB… that means I’ll be driving up on the 5th with my dept. manager. So, I’ll stuff her in the trunk of the car for 1/2 an hour and run madly around Baadeck Yarns. She’ll be fine and she won’t complain if I make her something pretty. I may have to start my own blog just for that trip!
    I’m still laughing about your trip diary. It’s hysterically funny and I’m trying to imagine how much fun you would be in real life!
    Yay Nova Scotia yarn stores!

  15. He, he, he. I live in NS, where my LYS (Tangled Skeins, Portland St. Dartmouth) carries Fleece Artist goodies. Said LYS is a 9 minute car ride from my house (I kid you not!). Glad you enjoyed your visit to our end of the country Harlot. Come back anytime!

  16. Thanks for sharing the lovely yarn. I promise I only drooled on my screen, keyboard, and mouse. And a bit on the desk. The smudgy fingerprint marks on the monitor where I tried to pet the yarn will come off, too, I’m sure.
    Wow, what a satisfying trip. Sounds like you got your hands on lots of unique yarns from a unique place. Now why can’t all yarn stores have some rare goods?

  17. Laurie wrote:
    What a gorgeous haul! This romp through yarn excess has the advantage (for me) of totally vicarious decadence that causes no nasty after-envy since these colorways please my eyes but do not tempt me in the least.
    And I reply:
    HA! If that’s the Laurie I suspect it is, she wrote that in full knowledge that I, lover of autumn tones, would be sitting here *weeping* with desire over the Harlot’s haul. To which I say: wait ’til the Harlot goes to Rhinebeck and buys BLUES and GREENS. (Hear that, Steph? BLUES and GREENS. Teal. Peacock. Ocean.) Bwahahahahaaaa….
    If it’s some other Laurie–my apologies.

  18. The stash additions are definitely drool-worthy. It’s killing me to not be able to pet your dreadlocks haul. Also, I always buy souvenir sock yarn. That way, even if I don’t find anything great, I’ve managed to help out the yarn store. They’re happy & I’m happy. And the hubster is happy since the haul’s not truck-sized.

  19. Fan-bloody-tastic !
    You want Opal,just drop me a line.I have a subsantial Opal stash,and like to share. :0)

  20. YOU’RE GOING TO RHINEBECK?! I knew there was a reason I spent the WHOLE FRIGGING DAY today getting a room booked! I’m going, too. Last-minute decision. I NEED to meet you. And that’s quite some yarn-diet goal you’ve set up for yourself, Harlot…a whole 47 days!!! Heee, sorta like my chocolate diets that last about 47 minutes!

  21. There’s a reason that lovely yarn was hung out to dry — from all the yarlots drooling over it!
    Opal sock yarn is the *best* — gorgeous colors, nifty patterns (and they are consistent, so you can actually make socks that *match*!), and so soft and squooshy… Aaahhh…
    Thanks for the virtual yarn trip! 😀

  22. not ONE single skein of silken? dear god. are you mad? [i know you’re a wool harlot, but still…you must have seen the stuff. how could you resist?]

  23. Yarnaholic Yarn Harlot, about the yarn diet, are you going to the Kitchener Waterloo Knitting Fair with over 45 of Ontario’s finest yarn/wool farms/ stores? Diets are meant to be cheated on, who’s gonna know?

  24. Oh dear, your pictures are making me giddy with desire. You are a lucky duck. When can we expect to see the fabulous creations you have planned for your haul?
    (BTW, welcome to the ROAK ring.)

  25. Alas, I have been evesdropping on your blog and all the comments for several weeks now and can no longer hide the lust in my heart… for the yarn, the ponchos and, mostly, the socks. I’m ashamed to admit to never having knit socks and am now pleading for a suggested pattern and yarn worthy of that first step.
    (I read your blog at night, under the covers, knowing no one I live with or know would understand the comfort I have found in discovering you and the common love of yarn! Thanks for being there!)

  26. wowowowowowowow
    amazing! i am glad you lived through that euphoric experience… i would surely have collapsed.
    thanks for the inspiration to knit my first socks!
    …AND glad to hear you are going to rhinebeck. if i see you i will expect some enabling.

  27. Fleece Artist yarns are truly inspired.
    I have enjoyed the ones I bought with you, Steph, at Romni Wools.
    The wool/silk is my favorite, I think, and Fleece Artist colors are much superior to those of Cherry Tree Hill, whose colors I find uninspiring.
    Well, hell, yet another fine Canadian product.
    Speaking of fine Canadian products and favorite things, you never did tell us if you got a glimpse (or more) of the fine Canadian product, the lovely green-eyed Alan Doyle.
    I am so chuffed you’re coming to Rhinebeck!
    QJoe’s coming, and Marilyn Roberts, and me!
    You can finally meet Selma the axe-murderer.

  28. Awe inspiring….stunning, simply stunning….I have tears of joy in my eyes…just knowing that such beautiful fibers exsist….sigh…someday, GOD as my witness, I will have these yarns….

  29. I love the fleece artist boucle yarns. I have some rapunzel and some goldilocks:) It’s too bad that you didn’t actually make it to the Halifax area. If you actually go to the Fleece Artist, Catherine has a sale basket of odds and ends that allows me to buy yarn every time I manage to get a ride out there. We sure do have some lovely yarn places out here in Nova Scotia. I haven’t been to Baadeck yarns but as somebody mentioned there are actually a couple of places, one in Halifax (LK Yarns) and also the new shop Tangled Skeins, that carry fleece artist yarn. I have also been hearing great things about:
    (don’t know if that will show up as a link)
    Susanna in Halifax, NS

  30. Oh.. oh… pretty… oh….
    You certainly improved my horrible horrible crappy horrible evening. (Check the blog in a few minutes if you’re curious about my current plague of misfortunes.) Thanks!

  31. You’re not the only one with souvenier sock yarn! My first pair of Opal Socks I think of as my MN socks. I didn’t purchase the yarn in MN, but started the socks on my trip back home to visit and the colors are very much like the colors of MN in early June.

  32. Harlot dear, you’re not the only one to purchase sock yarn as a souvenir — I did so in Vienna last summer, even down to purchasing Opal. Resulting purple striped socks are my current faves, demo’ed on my knitting page. (And if you look on that page, I swear I developed the poncho pattern on top independently!)

  33. Yarn Harlot on a Yarn Diet? I’m not buying it, sister. See you at Rhinebeck. Shall we all wear nametags with proper and blog name?

  34. Lovely lovely stuff-good work, girl! Just a word of advice-I too have some of the wool/silk from Fleece Artist- and you have to know 2 things-#1:wash your gauge square-because before and after are very different and #2-little to no stretch in this stuff-I used a 4X1 ribbing all over-and that was after knitting the sweater once and realizing it will hang like a paper bag. So save yourself-just rib!

  35. Aside from the fact that the yarn is so beautiful I could die a vicariously happy person, I must say, I love the “art hands” holding the souvenir sock yarn. 🙂

  36. ****** sigh ******
    ****** sigh ******
    how well you must sleep at night now with such beauty around you
    ****** sigh ******
    I wonder whether you feel any trepidation to start knitting this up, or whether you could just look at it. A lot. And touch it. A lot.
    ****** sigh ******
    how far is Novia Scotia from Australia…….

  37. Yarn Harlot – I am at this moment knitting my souvenir socks from my vacation to Michigan last year. You rock my world. I always knew I wasn’t alone. I’ve already looked for yarn stores in DC so I can go on my trip this weekend…even though I’m not supposed to buy any more yarn after going to the Stitches yarn market last weekend… Oops…
    Just how far is it from St. Louis to Nova Scotia anyway? I might need another vacation.

  38. Oh. My. God.
    I just returned from a credit-card smoking trip to acquire a new desk and logged on for a bit of, um, “non-academic” reading. I would much rather have blown my monthly stipend with you at Baadeck! Desk-schmesk! I’ll write the dissertation on the floor–there’s yarn to be had!
    Reality check: I’m a couple of days’ drive away from Nova Scotia. School has started. I have deadlines. Phooey.
    I guess I’ll have to continue to live vicariously through you. Keep it coming Harlot! (At least now I know to put on a bib before approaching the computer.)

  39. I think Baadeck & Fleece Artist should give you a nice kick-back. Look at all the yarn lust you’ve created in the world.
    Rhinebeck, hmmm? THIS, I gotta see….

  40. I love the scarf. I made one in the spring and love wearing it. Thanks for the link, now I can purchase more yarn for more scarfs.

  41. mmmm… yarn… *makes gargling/drooling noise reminiscent of Homer Simpson faced with giant donut*

  42. Thank you for taking us on the ride with you. My eyes misted over as I walked through the store with you. Boucle is my absolute favorite, favorite, *FAVORITE* yarn in the whole wide world.
    You are a riot!!!!!

  43. On my feet here at work are my steel-toed Doc Martens with the souvenier rainbow-coloured laces from Ben & Jerry’s in Vermont and the souvenier rainbow-coloured sock-yarn-socks from a conference in Waterloo.
    Mum and I discovered Romni Wools on a trip to TO last month and thought we had gone to heaven in there! Nevermind lunch afterwards at Terroni: fabuloso.
    I hail the poster at the Lace List who pointed me to your blog. Please, knit on!

  44. Wow…what a great find! How can you not be inspired by such wonderful goodies? I love those swing needles! Thanks for showing us your lovely haul….I only wish I too could pet your yarn….looks so yummy!

  45. Thank you! I love that yarn shop, and always go when I visit Cape Breton. In fact, my stepmom now says “So, when do you want to go visit Baadeck?” LOL. Last time I was there, they had some beautiful Nova Scotia wool/mohair blend, pale, creamy white, I think I’ll email her and see if they have more.

  46. And here I thought everybody bought yarn as souvenirs. I remember bringing back Lopi from Iceland, lots of it. The catch being that I was in the Navy then, sailing on one of our great Canadian ships (try not to laugh), and all that stash had to fit into my teeny tiny locker. And try to explain why I wouldn’t open my locker for inspection! LOL

  47. Boy am I glad I popped in on your blog today. I am still drooling over those photos. I have a skein of Fleece Artist that a pal in Canada sent me. I look at it ,feel it , bury my face in it. I think it is some of the most gorgeous yarn in the world. Thanks for you wonderful narration of your trip. Can’t wait to see what you make with all that booty.

  48. Harlot, you are an *evil* woman!
    I want want WANT those needles. And the slubby thick and thin yarn and the scarf…. OK so i can buy online. Anyone wanna trade Oz merino/silk roving or yarn? 😉

  49. WOW !!! what a trip! i have been to the beautiful shop Baadeck Yarns myself, and was instantly transported back there. You can’t help but be inspired by alllll the beautiful quality yarns Pat carries. as you say her knowledge is awesome, and she can make it soooo simple to make your project.
    Thanks for sharing the photos and letting us relive your trip to Gorgeous Cape Breton.
    Knit on Harlot!
    Vann G

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