Zarzuela Knits and Crochets
My blog about my knitting, crocheting, and anything else I feel like ranting about!

Back to reality... (long and photo heavy)

Another bassoon camp is in the books and I am finally back in CT after a short stay in NJ to do laundry and put my stuff away and another short stop in NY to deal with car issues. If you aren't into reading about people's vacations, you can skip this post now.

I started out my vacation by taking Simba to stay with her grandparents in NY. She is not a happy kitty when it comes to car rides, but we managed to make it without much incident and very little crying. I couldn't stay long because I had to be in NJ that night to load the car since we were leaving for camp the next day. I made my first trip to NJ without a problem other than thinking there was going to be a rest area and gas on I-287 when there was none. Luckily I managed to make it to my exit and there was a gas station shortly thereafter. The funniest part of that trip was the fact that I needed directions to my own apartment! I still haven't quite got things in NJ figured out, but I'm getting there.

After HWJF got out of work we packed a few things in the car, got dinner, and then tried to prepare for the arrival of Gail Warnaar who would be staying with us that night. She runs a B&B in Vermont and also a sheet music shop specializing in double reeds which she transports to camp every year. Her drive was significantly longer then ours, so we offered her a place to stay in exchange for staying with her daughter the following night.

Sunday morning we finished packing, got our usual weekend Panera breakfast and it was off to camp! We drove to Gail's daughter's house in Harrisonburg, VA which only turned out to be a 5 hour drive from NJ. It was a pretty easy day and HWJF drove the whole time so I actually got to knit the whole time! We had a very nice evening in VA and we left Monday morning to finish off the trip, about another 7 hours. We arrived at camp around 3pm to find rather hot and muggy weather with very little breeze. Something quite unusual for Little Switzerland, NC. By the time we unloaded our own stuff and then helped Gail with hers, we were more than a bit hot and sticky. We had just enough time to clean up and head off to dinner where camp really begins.

The first night starts with dinner where we get to start catching up with old friends and start meeting new ones. Then we have our first masterclass with Loren Glickman. It was a bit of a funny moment when HWJF and I sat down next to each other and started taking out our bassoons. We both kind of looked at each other and said, "Hey, you play the bassoon TOO?!". We rarely play together and although we both know that we are bassoonists, he thinks of me more as a librarian and I think of him more as a music store manager, so we both had a good laugh. After the first master class is the traditional welcome to camp party. I always find these
events amazing mostly for the fact that after you have been there a few years, it always seems as though you just pick up where you left off last year with people, whether you had any contact with them during the year or not. It's like coming home.

Tuesday we had plans to pick up my friend Marta (whose wedding I was in last fall, check the archives) from the Asheville airport. Since we were going to town and I had already done my research we went straight to Earth Guild first. (You knew the yarn adventures were coming, didn't you?). What an amazing store! This place basically has anything you could possibly want for a very large variety of craft projects including weaving, spinning, soap making, paper making, wood carving, knitting, crocheting and any number of others that I can't possibly remember. HWJF and I walking in a both kind of went "Whoa!". Since we got there not long after Marta got to the airport, he was nice enough to go get her and bring her back to the store so that I could have a good look. There was a great selection of yarns, everything from Noro to acrylic, and also a great selection of spinning wheels. I was able to talk to one of the store workers who explained a lot of the differences between the wheels and I got to treadle them all. It was interesting to see the differences, such as the Lendrum was very smooth but the orifice seemed a bit low for me. I really liked the way my body fit the Kromski but the action was quite a bit rougher than the Lendrum, etc. Unfortunately I'm not ready for a spinning wheel just yet, but when I do I'll definitely be looking back on my experiences at this store. After quite a bit of
looking, I came away with this:

The books is Spin It which has a lot of great info. about hand spinning, an old issue of Spin Off magazine, another size 1 addi turbo for socks, some trekking in a great blue colorway, and some split ring stitch markers that I thought might be good for socks.

There were several other knitters at camp this year and I spent a lot of time with one named Jerri. She is the spouse of one of the campers that comes back year after year. As we knit and chatted I noticed that she had the most interesting knitting accessory that I had seen in a while. It was a hand thrown bowl with a little hole in the side, the purpose of which was to put your yarn in the bottom, run it through the hole and have your project yarn flop around inside the bowl instead of falling all over the place (or having your kitty chase after it in my case). Obviously I had to know more and it turns out that the caretaker of Wildacres, whose daughter is a professional potter made it! So a day or two later Jerri and I went to her studio to check out the knitting bowls and a variety of her other pieces. Needless to say, Sarah is also a knitter and happened to know about a very cool yarn store in the neighboring town of Burnsville. So the three of us went off to go yarn shopping after Jerri and I made our purchases at Sarah's studio. Yummi Yarns is actually located in the back of an art Gallery where local artisans display and sell their works. You'd never know there was a yarn store in there if you didn't already know about it.

But what a yarn store it was! The first thing you saw when you finally got to the yarn area was an old refridgerator full of silk garden on one side and a grand piano on the other! Apparently one of the workers plays piano and can occasionally be found practicing when business is slow. Yummi Yarns is definitely an appropriate name since there were so many wonderful things there. I ended up zeroing in on this:

Enough Cascade Fixation for two more pairs of socks (I told you I had more planned in that last post!) and some Online Supersock. I had heard about this yarn before but hadn't seen it in person. It's very soft and the colors are really interesting (more so than the picture shows) so I'm really looking forward to trying this out during the Summer of Socks. And here's a pic of the knitting bowl I chose:

I just think the glaze and the whole idea is just so interesting. And while I was doing some work on other projects at camp, it really came in handy! There may be another one of these in my future after the moving is done and I get settled in NJ. Here's a pic of Jerri and I with our bowls:

The rest of camp I alternated between participating in the usual camp activities and just taking time to sit out on the porch and enjoy the glorious weather (we only had that bit of muggy weather the first two days and one day of rain. It was just heavenly) while knitting or crocheting either alone or with others. On our day off, HWJF and I took a quick trip to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville.

What an amazing place! It really boggles the mind to think of how hard it must have been to build something like that in the late 1800s, not to mention the fact that the Vanderbilt family used to travel back and forth between there and NY on a regular basis. The gardens were beautiful:

And the winery was fun too! :-) I think this was really my first wine tasting of this type. It was really nice to be able to try things out before deciding what to buy. We ended up with three nice bottles of differing types and a couple of glasses to go with them.

We also managed to find the local yarn shop:

Another beautiful store! There were all sorts of different types of yarn and a huge selection of needles. But what really stopped me in my tracks was a huge display of Koigu. I almost couldn't believe it when I saw it since every place I've been to in recent memory has been lamenting how hard it is to get now. Obviously I couldn't walk out without some:

And as you can see I also ended up with an Addi Natura (my first) and some sock yarn that HWJF was drawn to although I don't think he wanted to admit it.

Another highlight of the trip for us was what we affectionately refer to as drive through ice cream:

It's apparently an old BP gas station that's been converted into an ice cream shop, only you can't go in, you can only drive through. It was also the site of our first "date". :-)

And for those of you who have been reading this little 'ole blog for a while now, I did get to wear the sweater and even got the pictures I was hoping for:

All too soon it was time to head home. We left shortly before 10 am and since HWJF had to work Friday evening we went all the way back to NJ in one day, arriving around 10:30 pm. A very long day for sure, but when we checked the mail, look what was waiting:

More yarn! Koigu at that! From Beth for winning her caption contest a couple of weeks back. Thanks so much Beth! :)

So tomorrow it is back to work and the five hour commute from CT to NYC. Ugh. My only consolation is that I only have three weeks more of that before I'm finally in NJ for good. Of course that means a lot of serious packing in the meantime, but (as Scarlet O'Hara would say) I'll think about that tomorrow. You can expect a couple FO posts and some project updates throughout the week, but don't be surprised if I'm a bit slow with things. I think the 5am wake up call tomorrow morning is going to hurt in more ways than one. Thanks for reading this far and I hope you all have a great week!