Friday, July 31, 2009

Canada Trip, Long Version

As mentioned in the previous post, I took my first trip to Canada last weekend for a wedding. It was a trip I'll never forget. First of all, I get a little irrationally nervous in security checkpoint situations. We drove across the border, and this had the major benefit of allowing me to knit while going through customs. The border guard noticed and asked me what I was knitting, and I showed her my new scarf-in-progress:

Buckland Scarf

This is one skein of Berocco Ultra Alpaca in a lovely dark brown with reddish tints, and my skein of handspun Hello Yarn falklands wool in the Buckland colorway. I used the same pattern for my Apollo scarf, knitting one strip from the Olive's Afghan pattern in Knitalong. The scarf got finished yesterday evening, and I'm not sure if I love it too much for it to go in the gift box...

Back the the trip: I was traveling with the significant other and his sister to see their cousin get married. It was a very sweet, small gathering full of love, fun, dancing, playing camera, and a gorgeous view.

L'Hirondelle Wedding

We had four days after the wedding to tool around Vancouver, and I was extremely lucky that my traveling companions both understand the yarn obsession and were willing to make side-trips to see yarn and fibery places. We spent an afternoon at the Granville Island area in Vancouver, where I found two fiber shops. I say fiber shops because neither really matches with what I'd call a local yarn store... these were more like artist's studios with a shop attached. One was closed (we were there on a Sunday), and appeared to sell hand-dyed yarn, spinning fiber, and weaving supplies. The other, called Silk Weaving Studio, sold exclusively silk products: everything from spinning fiber to jaw-droppingly gorgeous woven scarves and jackets. I bought two skeins of silk singles, about 170 meters each. The yarn feels very similar to Alchemy Silk Purse. Delicious.

Silk Weaving Studio Yarn

The newlyweds also organized a two-day excursion to Victoria on Vancouver Island on Monday and Tuesday. I took my first ride on a ferry that can carry cars. Loading the cars is a surprisingly simple setup: you get assigned a lane when you go through the gates, then 15 minutes before departure everyone drives on, one lane at a time. The ferries were huge boats, holding about 150 cars each, and we were able to park the car and roam around the other decks during the 90-minute trip.

Victoria Ferry

The scarf and I enjoyed the views and the fresh air. We saw some beautiful flowers and fabulous topiary in the Butchart Gardens:

Butchart Gardens

and then had dinner and a stroll in Victoria. I find it endlessly pleasing to find little bits of brittania peppered throughout Canada:


I visited another great yarn shop near downtown Victoria, Beehive Wool Shop. I got some awesomely plump and squishy Canadian yarn from Tanis Fiber Arts (blog and Etsy shop).

Tanis Fiber Arts Yarn

We drove around the island that afternoon, and stopped at a shop selling First Nations art. I found a hidden treasure, a spinner and knitter:

First Nations Spinning and Knitting

The craftsperson was kind enough to allow me to take pictures of her work. You can see a hand-carved drop spindle in the corner of the shelf, behind a pair of handcards. It's huge; the whorl is about 8 inches across. Here's her workspace, where she was probably knitting away before we all walked in to the shop:

First Nations Spinning and Knitting

This photo shows about one quarter of the sweaters on display. It was probably about 100ºF outside, and just looking at them made me start panting, but I was infinitely impressed with her output. Despite the heat, I came very close to buying some of her handspun yarn. We got back on the ferry, and were treated to more cool breezes and an amazing sunset.

Canadian Sunset

It was a really great trip, one I would heartily recommend to anyone looking for a four- or five-day vacation. It has all the fun parts of traveling to another country without the hassle of a 12-hour flight or a foreign language. On the other hand, I was exhausted when the trip began. It's going to be nice to stay in one place for a week or so. After I've unpacked and had a few days to wind down from the whirlwind of the past 6 weeks, I am definitely looking forward to finding patterns for my new yarn, washing some fleece, and sewing up a sweater.


Tracey said...

isn't the beehive great? my parents live in victoria and i'm happy i get to go there for the holidays.

Karyn said...

When I was in Toronto, some of the Canadians I met recommended checking out Victoria. It sounds awesome! I hope I get to visit soon. Glad you had a great trip...can't wait to see you!

KnitTwit said...

Here's my 2¢ for whatever it is worth: I was born in Vancouver, but I live in Ottawa now (Yes, more than half way across the country! I am Canadian.). If you ever get to go to Vancouver again, try going to West Vancouver, which has beautiful communities that still have that feeling like a small town. Feeling a little peckish, we were shopping at a street market for fruits while on our way to lighthouse point, when I sniffed out a yarn shop called The Knit and Stitch Shoppe. They're at 2460A Marine Drive (Dundarave)West Vancouver; 604-922-1023. Mind you, their photo on the internet looks different that the shop did when we were there...

All I can tell you is that the yarns there were positively eye candy!

Glad you enjoyed your trip to our fair country. It certainly is beautiful out there!

PS: Give yourself a real treat (make time to do this) and go to the beaches at Long Point in Tofino.

Jana in Ottawa