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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Brioche workshop and the last few days of my summer break

I am always waiting for my summer break with the hope that all of my million and a half things to do will be checked off my list. That's because it always seems that I will have so much time on my hands. After all I am not teaching and every day I can start doing something right after breakfast. Well, let's just say, it usually does not happen the way I hope.
Except this time it was different and I did accomplish a lot. Not all "million and a half things " that I planned, but... I liked that we broke our summer into three parts. One trip at the beginning of summer. I had a post about TNNA, NY, and Virginia. In the middle we were mostly at home doing all kinds of things. I organized my studio, knitted many, many swatches, worked on some submissions and new patterns, prepared some workshops, and the list goes on. When I realized that I have only 10 days before I have to go to work, I thought that I did not rest enough.
Thankfully, we had another trip ahead of us. My husband's cousin and his wife were going to be in Vancouver, Canada and we thought it would be great to see them after 30 years.
It turned out to be a great trip. On the first day we drove from California to Manzanita, OR with the stop at Ashland, OR for dinner. We love Ashland!
Next morning I had a Brioche workshop at the cutest and funky yarn shop called T-spot Yarns, Gifts and Chocolates.

Olga Tonjes, the owner of T-spot has a great vision of how to make her shop a place for locals to get all their knitting needs met and for visitors who come there to hang around the beach and treat themselves with something special. While I was there for two days I saw many satisfied customers who got some exclusive yarns and patterns, chocolates, or clothes. Everything in the store displayed with style and thoughtfulness. Olga, by the way, was featured in the last Interweave Crochet magazine. The article, that took the whole page, was talking about this store and Olga's dress that she crocheted out of old tapes for a tape recorder. How fun is this!!
I enjoyed teaching there so much! Here are some photos of the workshop itself including this incredible brioche that I bought at the bakery nearby. How appropriate, wouldn't you say?
Below are photos of some of the students at the workshop.

Patricia and Kathy are making a swatch following instructions.

Mitzi and Connie are on a roll with the basic brioche swatch.

Connie, Sage, and Anne. It looks like it was no time for chatting in this class, but honestly, we managed to get some in. We did have a good time.

As you see above everyone wanted to get this brioche stitch down. It was such a pleasure to teach them. They were very happy and wanted me to come back and teach the next level. I might come up with something about it.

Are you still reading? Sorry for such a long post, but I am overflowing with things to say.

The next stop was Seattle, WA. We stayed there over night. In the evening we met up with Alla Koval and her family. I knew Alla through Ravelry, but this was the first time we have met. It was a great visit and we both could not stop talking :) In the morning we went to Cascade Yarns. Yes, they are in Seattle. Shannon Dunbabin met me at the office and introduced me to all the lovely people working there. Now I know the faces of people behind the e-mails and packages I get from them. Shannon took me to their warehouse and... OMG, my heart literally sank when I saw all the yarns going from the floor to the ceiling in all fibers and colors you can only imagine. Talking about inspiration... I got a huge dose of it right there. Shannon gave me some yarn to play with. I was happy I did not have to fly back home. My trunk took it bravely. I want to thank Shannon and the rest of people at Cascade for a wonderful visit.
Next, we had a lunch with my husband's nephew, mathematician from England. We do not see him unless we go to England, but it happened that he was at the conference that took place at the University of Washington in Seattle at the same time as we were there. Very nice young man.
Later that day we took off for the border. It was not the first time for us to visit Canada. We love British Columbia and were very happy to spend a few days there. Mostly we were in Vancouver, but for a day and a half we went to Victoria. What a beautiful place!

My friend, Joanne grew up on the same island and I she told us what to do there to enjoy it. One thing she and our other friend from Vancouver said in unison:"Go to Empress Hotel for an afternoon tea. It's an experience that you will not forget." So we did.

It was a very beautiful atmosphere and the service was outstanding. My husband got his own gluten-free goodies while I, his cousin, and his wife got the real thing.

The three of us shared this 3-tier display. The bottom plate has 4 types of sandwiches, the middle has real biscuits with cream and jam, and the top is full of sweets.I do not think that the queen will say this, but.. "Yum!!!"

There were other wonderful things that we did. In Vancouver we visited our friends who invited us to spend a night in their beautiful and warm house. We caught up on news with their family and had a terrific time with them.

On our way back we stopped for a dinner at Seattle with yet another family of long-time friends, who met as students at our university here and got married. After that we drove to Portland and spent the night there. I was ready to go home in the morning, but my husband mentioned that we did not see Portland yet, so it might be interesting to stroll at the downtown area. I agreed. Marnie MacLean, a knitwear designer who lives in Portland, told me names of some stores in the area to visit. I saw one right away and it was Knit Purl. What a lovely shop! Great people and wonderful yarns. I had a long talk with Sandy and Kristin ofShiBuiKnits yarns and brought some of their yarns home. Some new designs are coming out of this incredible yarn!

Are you tired reading? Well, I am tired writing it. I did not tell you everything, but most of it. So, I better stop now. Thank you for being patient. I hope you enjoyed reading some of it.

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