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.
Posted by Stephanie at August 31, 2004 10:42 AM