Oh that was such a great trip over to Quadra and Cortes Islands, off Campbell River. If I have to spend the next year in dire gloomy straits, meditating over a bowl of thin gruel (what is gruel anyway, I always wondered when I read A Christmas Carol - and that reminds me - but no, leave it till later in the year), it will have been worth it. We were rather relaxed about setting off as Fun Knits didn't open until midday, and barely made the 11.30 ferry for the ten-minute ride to Quadra.
Isn't it great arriving at new islands? The little wooden houses peering out of the trees, the tiny tidal beaches, the sense of another, more secluded world?
It actually took a whole lot of time to find Fun Knits, which was tucked away on a side road (they're going to move into the mainstream shopping area though soon), and then I discovered that they'd actually been open since 10 that morning! Two hours of yarn hunting wasted!
It's the most divine little shop, packed full of yarn and, on this particular Saturday morning, people.
As I rushed in, anxious to make up for lost time, I was greeted by a chorus of 'Are you Irish?' This took me aback for a moment until Donna (mother of Shelley who was over on Cortes Island for the day at a knit-in) explained that her daughter had left notes about my impending arrival and instructions that I was to be treated well. Wasn't that nice? Here's Donna herself, coping with a shopful of madwomen very calmly and good - humouredly.
The crowd of ladies in there were from Qualicum, further down the island, reconnoitring for a spinning and weaving retreat they're planning to hold there in the spring. They were lovely friendly folk, and one, who I think probably had more than a trace of Irish blood, insisted on dancing a jig with me to celebrate the occasion.
We tore ourselves away (Richard was having great fun capturing all these images) to catch the Cortes ferry. Oh of course I didn't leave empty-handed! This place has Cherry Tree Hill and Sweater Lady and Fiddlesticks and the most gorgeous sock yarns... Tell you further down.
Cortes has very few roads and was rather quiet as we drove around, with hardly anyone or anything to be seen. Since petrol (gas) was getting low we decided to head back for the ferry - but then spotted this poster on the island noticeboard.
Now could you resist that, whatever the ferry timetable? Nope, neither could I, so off we went on another treasure hunt. Finally we ran Marnie's Books And Homespun to earth.
It's the quietest most charming little place with books and woolly things jostling for space. And there, hanging proudly on their own rack, were the socks!
Did someone really knit that argyle pattern on the left. Hats off to whoever did. I think it was Marnie, who however wasn't there that day (probably at the same knit-in as Shelley). There were wonderful bags of alpaca for spinning, cones and skeins of homespun - and this...
The most beautiful handmade niddy noddy in a dark polished wood with a little peg to keep one arm in the place you wanted. How could I resist that? DH, the adorable, bought it for me on the spot. No, of course I don't deserve such good treatment but I wasn't going to refuse such a gift.
Then it really was time to rush for the ferry back to Quadra, drive across that island and catch the boat back to Campbell River. While waiting to board, Richard found a belted kingfisher perched casually right next to the boat, almost as if it knew he had to leave and couldn't get out tripod and long lens. He didn't do too badly though.
He swears that the kingfisher winked sardonically as the ferry slid inevitably away from his perch. The one that (almost) got away!
So here's the haul from Quadra and Cortes.
Not much, you say? In yarn size, maybe, but in credit card punishment, quite enough for one day! At the back, on the niddy noddy, is a huge skein of hand-dyed silk/wool from Fiddlesticks which will be wonderful for trying out that Swallowtail shawl in Interweave. On it are lying two balls of Opal variegated sock yarn with a hint of glitter, and one of Cherry Tree Hill in emerald greens. OK, so Cherry Tree Hill are disgracefully expensive and I should resist them, but I can't. In front is a ball of Online wool/cotton which I am going to use for Aran swatch experimentation since it looks as though it would give just the right sharp stitch definition. And there with this bundle is Elsebeth Lavold's Viking Knitting. ONE of you - you know who you are, although I can't check right now with my time on this laptop limited - threw down the gauntlet on this one and I couldn't believe I'd found it right there in Fun Knits.
Now when R had done that picture he said, 'You can't just leave the niddy noddy like that, they'll want to see it in more detail.' See? He's getting involved! So he took another one of me holding the beauty.
There is a very ergonomic handle at one end, and a dear little peg on the arm at the other so you can size to suit different skeins. And yes, I'm wearing the Campbell River vest, finished on the ferry crossings. About time you saw something I'd finished, yes? Really really simple, since the yarn is telling the story here. Oh the niddy noddy - it's labelled Cortes Island Homespun - Wonderfully Woolly Things and the price was really incredibly reasonable. What a day of discovery! No, really really I will endure a long damp dark winter with gratitude and contentment, I promise, I promise. (Still two days to go, though...)