Now that I think about it, the wonderful lady who ran that dyeing workshop at Heritage Arts in Texas was called Lorelei, and the Lorelei were beautiful maidens who sat on rocks in the river Rhine and lured sailors to their doom with their exquisite song. White water you'd probably call it now, but beautiful maidens sound rather more pleasing. Those mythic maidens were only trotting after Noro, though. When that Japanese beauty calls, who can resist?
But I'm ahead of myself. I hadn't realised that when I returned, DH had not only been tracking my flight all the way across the Atlantic, but had positioned himself so he could take pictures of my plane at last coming into view, and then landing.
Somehow I found that very touching indeed. You were wishing me home, sweetheart.
We breakfasted near the Flying Boat Museum on the banks of the Shannon at Foynes. And on the way home, as often happens on the winding green roads of Ireland, we found a bovine escapee merrily frisking towards us. He'd been part of a school outing (or so I imagine, since he was definitely underage, so not going on a pub crawl or anything) being escorted to inspect the culture of a different grazing field, but had let the excitement go to his head, and set off to explore on his own.
Everyone of course stopped their cars dead; but what amused me was that while most of the drivers leapt out into strategic positions, to head Brightbrain off from collision with an articulated truck, DH leapt for his camera. Shows the training, I suppose. Eventually the truant was reunited with the rest of Class 3B and rollicked off into the distance, telling his adventures as he went.
And then there were the dogs waiting to welcome me home.
Tasha may look frightfully bored, preferring to have a scratch rather than offer effusive delight, but in fact it's because she knows the other (bigger) two would simply beat her up if she tried to muscle in. She waits philosophically until they've finished and then comes for a cuddle.
But treats were ahead! Angeluna, bless her thoughtful heart, had sent not just one but three toys for the girls. And they weren't long in discovering them!
Tasha, the brains of the outfit, was first to discover the treasures -
- followed immediately by a wildly excited Muffy.
Angeluna, if you had any doubt that Tasha enjoyed her gift, just look at this. She's leaping off the ground with sheer delight. I sometimes think she imagines she's a mountain lion pouncing on prey.
However - SOMEONE was a little nervous of returnees bearing gifts...
I told Sophy it was safe, it was harmless, it was meant to be fun. I told her it had been chosen with love by a dear friend in Texas. No good. Her tail remained obstinately tucked between her legs, and she backed away to go and rest in a darkened room, sucking her thumb. It takes all kinds...
(Muffy has now commandeered all three toys and has tucked them into her private basket. It makes it a little difficult to clamber in herself, but that's OK. Just as long as she has them all.)
Tuesday was to recover (as well as writing frantically to meet deadlines) and then bright and early on Wednesday morning it was down to Kenmare and the LYS in the Far West to see a real, genuine, live Noro representative!
I was so excited I barely paused to check the window display.
- before heading in to meet the man himself.
This is Ian Watt from Designer Yarns in Yorkshire. They've been handling Noro from the beginning and Ian's hoping to go over to Japan next year and meet Old Mr. Noro and Young Mr. Noro and all the rest of the Noros in person. It's still a family concern and the father still carefully oversees all the dyeing which is, as Ian says, how they manage to keep up those superb standards.
It was dizzying to be able to look through those swatch books with the colourways shown in full length. I wish Noro stockists could have these on display always, so you really knew what you were getting in a ball. But then, that's why we buy the Noro pattern books isn't it? (And yes, sharp-eyed Ambermoggie, you certainly did see some of those in my trip haul - experienced hunter Angeluna found some marked down to half price for me.)
I had to remind myself now and again that I didn't own the shop and I wasn't paying the bills, so it wasn't really my show. But Jean and Jo were very sweet and allowed me to express an opinion ('What? But you must! You gotta have that one! Oh wow! And this - and this - and you can't miss that...') The only drawback was that it will be several weeks before the new stock arrives. Noro is in serious demand everywhere and for some lines Ian Watt said you simply wouldn't get a large order even if you wanted it. The good news is that Spin a Yarn is going to stock Silk Garden Lite. It hasn't been seen at all yet in the UK or Ireland so this will be a first. Angeluna and I saw it in Yarns Ewenique in Fort Worth last week, but I avoided buying any because I wanted to get it here. What will I make? What's that got to do with it? I want the yarn, I want the yarn, I want - ok, calm down, calm down. (Noro always does this to me.)
And another exciting bit of news - Designer Yarns, Ian told us, has now taken over Araucania Yarns in South America. Or is taking all the yarns Araucania can produce for the UK anyway. You know, those wonderful natural kettle-dyed yarns in amazing colours?
Spin a Yarn is going to take some of the handpainted sock yarn, and some other utterly delectable ones too - there was a chenille-like silky one that I just wanted to snatch and take away with me. I tell you, this shop is going to be one in a million (yes, they're going to get round to Net ordering, they've got the website so they're on the way, and in the meantime I imagine if you emailed and asked, they'd be delighted to post anything).
After all that excitement it was still only 10 am so I took DH for breakfast in Kenmare (he had an omelette, I had a Wee Irish - well it's half the size of a Full Irish, what do you think?) A happy morning.
Had one of those funny in-between moments yesterday, when suddenly I couldn't think of any projects I wanted to make (QUIET there at the back, and stop laughing you at the side!) Yes, there are UFOs aplenty, but usually there is something exciting tugging at my sleeve and following me around the house pleading for attention, and it wasn't there. That worrying state lasted for all of ten minutes, I think (or it may have been nine). I realised that the eagerly-awaited pattern for the Icelandic Shawl had been posted by Knitting Daily while I was away -
Then Interweave Knits posted a cunning preview of the Fall issue - oh help, this one is a real winner - normally I consider myself fortunate if there is just one item that I'd quite like to make, but here there are at LEAST half a dozen - and socks - and cables - and - oh when will it arrive? Goes on the newstands August 14, that's almost three weeks away - my copy usually comes fairly promptly - have you seen the preview yet? Go look and then come back and tell me what you'll KAL on with me!
And then I started thinking yet again about that crop cardi which was supposed to be made this summer and wasn't. It's the kind of useful wearable that I really wanted and needed. I'd planned an Aran, but nothing was quite right. Then, while in Texas, I saw a pretty cropped lace version in one lace book I don't possess, called, I think, Katharine Hepburn. I took down Nicky Epstein's Knitting on the Edge and looked for something that was starting to tug at my skirts...
See that? It's called Gazebo Lace, and although it's an edging, the pattern could continue right up a cardigan. It would give a slightly ribbed effect too, ensuring the jacket wouldn't gap or sag too much.
I have a very nice, very fine, merino mousse yarn in my stash in blue (I also have it in red, two shades of orange, two pinks, grey, and several greens, if the truth be told - who cares, I'm not in Ravelry yet, nobody knows the extent of my stash, hahahahahaha!) On its own it's about sockweight, doubled it's - well, slightly thicker, but not enough for a cardigan with a bit of body to it. Quadrupled, it knitted up beautifully on 6.5mm needles (don't try this at home, I'm a loose knitter, go for a 7 or 7.5mm unless you, like me, create lace without even trying).
I think this would make a stunning crop cardi. The bobbles on the end are quite sturdy and will weigh it down just the right amount.
The skein of merino-tencel for Rho has been dyed and is drying. On its way to you soon, Rho, and I expect to see the results posted on your page (nothing like a bit of pressure and bullying to take the pleasure out of a gift, is there?) And then - oh it can't be that date already? Got to get going on the next designer yarn - Lunasa 2007. I think August or Lunasa is my favourite month, not just because DH and I have birthdays on adjoining days, me on the 7th and 'im on the 8th, but because in childhood this was summer holidays which meant long days on the beach or on the heathery mountains, and golden meadows with haystacks and the scent of barley blown on the wind and poppies crimson against yellow straw and picnics and - oh everything. In ancient Ireland it was the time when the hay and the harvest were safe enough to be left for a short while and so they held their great fairs and races and gatherings now. Wild dances would go on far into the night as they celebrated the Celtic feast of Lunasa.
I just hope I can do justice to it with my yarn. Down to the basement stash for several days of throwing stuff everywhere and swearing wildly as I search for just the right, the perfect combination...