Road to Ewetopia

We pause in the ongoing chronicles of the Wedding Pi Shawl, to bring you this account of a recent road trip to a new(ish) Southwestern Wisconsin LYS.

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Ewetopia is a yarn and roving shop in Viroqua, Wisconsin, about a 45-minute drive from where I live. My friend Lee and I had been itching to check it out since it opened earlier this year, but with family and work, it’s hard to find the time for a road trip. Especially when both of us work a lot of weekends.

The shop is open later on Mondays, and I thought I could get done with work a bit early (NOT, as it turned out!), but in any case, we eventually headed out in Lee’s car, accompanied by her small knitting (and weaving) daughter.

The roadside was beautiful, even though it was cloudy:

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Lee drove (thanks, Lee!) so I got to point my camera out the window as we rolled along. When I wasn’t finishing Fetching.
This is Coulee Country! Coulees are small valleys tucked in between bluffs, which are the remnants of both ancient mountains and ancient seabeds, depending on where exactly you are. Coulee comes from the French word ‘coulée’, from ‘couler’, to flow. (I’m thinking named from the small streams often flowing at the base of the valley. The coulees were carved out by glacial runoff from Up North, but I’m speculating that the French explorers didn’t know that.) The glaciers didn’t make it this far in the last Glacial Period, so the bluffs and coulees result in gently rolling, fertile land throughout the Coulee Region.

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So we got to Ewetopia as it was getting dark. I was so excited I forgot to take a picture of the storefront. But here it is inside:

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The yarn in the low case right in the center, as well as the skeined yarn in the foreground is all locally raised, handspun, and/or hand-dyed/hand-painted yarn. I really value supporting local fiber artists, so was delighted to see these. Of course, I had to put my money where my mouth was. . . you’ll see that later.

They have as much Cascade as I have ever seen in one place, I think:

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This isn’t even all of it.

The owner and her assistant were friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful without being obtrusive.

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Check out the “Our Founder” photograph above them! We kept them there a little late, I’m sorry to say; I got a work-related phone call as I was ready to have my purchases totaled up; and there may have been just a few things that needed to be totaled!

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Here are the highlights. First, some lovely local handspun:

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Then, this Skacel Merino Lace, which I have designs on for dyeing:

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Especially after seeing Astrid’s results with some blue-gray yarn, I’m curious to play with it. And this was $12.95 for 1350 yards; less than a penny a yard, such a deal for a whole shawl’s worth of fun! It’s a nice, soft, light merino which should be enjoyable to knit with.

Speaking of dyeing, this intriguing combination of brights and neutrals by the Great Adirondack Yarn Co. proved irresistible.

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I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do with it. Perhaps “My So-Called Scarf“, which breaks up color runs with its slipped and knit-together stitches. But it’s cool, regardless.

Then this Kid Seta by Madil, which is the same kind of yarn I used for the Pink Fuzzy Cardigan:

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One variegated blue and one solid blue; I’m planning to hold them together and knit a lace scarf.

Then the two purchases I’m most excited about:

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Tiny Chibis! I realize that’s redundant (apparently Chibi means “small in the sense of dwarfed” in Japanese) but I have trouble finding these smaller bent-tip yarn needles, whereas the Jumbo ones (think about that — “Jumbo Chibis”? “Jumbo Dwarfs”?) are much easier to find. It was the last set the store had. . . .

And this pièce de résistance, right after I said to one of my friends that I didn’t see a lot of sweaters in my near future (much like Grumperina), while the kids and I were all as busy as we are in our lives:

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The blue yarn is locally hand-dyed merino in a worsted weight. I loved the colors (china blues, light teals and purples) but thought it might be a bit busy solo. But I had this vision as I looked at it; as the second color in stranded colorwork, the shifting blues would be gorgeous! Set off by white or off-white, I thought (black would also work, but I think I had this Delft thing going on in my head).

So, a little scurrying around the store fondling yarn and comparing weights, and I came up with the Cascade Lana d’Oro, a marvelously soft worsted wool/alpaca blend, which is going to set the blue off beautifully.

So I’m picturing a Norwegian style sweater; probably a cardigan for more wear opportunities (plus it will be WARM with the alpaca, and I think a sweater would be too hot for usual indoor wear). Yoke, hem and sleeve edge patterning; I’m not sure if I might do a ljus pattern on the body (probably not, that will make it less drapey and even warmer to wear, and might be too much visually; on the other hand, that means miles of unrelieved stockinette. . . .). I’ll keep my eyes open for a pattern I like, but might design it myself.

I think this could be my first steeking experience. Yikes. Not until after the holidays, for certain. But this would be pleasant to work on in the depths of the January chill. The blues remind me of the blues of the sky and of the blue shadows on the snow in January. But without the subzero part.

Speaking of chill, we still have not had a hard frost, which is freaky, but it was close this morning at 33 degrees F. There was frost on the mom-car frost-on-the-minivan.jpg [which actually my husband drives]) . Anyway, here are the finished Fetchings to ward off the fall chill for The Preteen!

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Knit in RYC Soft Lux, pattern from Knitty.

Mods (of course there are modifications, I can’t stand to leave well enough alone!)

I decreased down to a K3 P1 rib for the body of the glove, as people seemed to be reporting this running big, and visually this made the ribbing the same width as the cable. I haven’t cared for the look of the picot bindoff as written , truly; it to my eye just ends up looking a little loose and sloppy . So I had decreased to K3 P1 ribbing again for the edge then cast off in purl. I could have done a sewn casting off too, but this was faster when you have an impatient Preteen waiting for them. Plus, I was just coming down with this virus as I cast off the second glove; managed to weave in the ends even though I was not very competent in any other way right then; but simple was good.

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Also, I did the afterthought/forethought thumb, but I’m not sure I like it for a glove. With the tighter hand-hugging fit of a glove vs. a mitten, and the fact that one is potentially doing tasks requiring manual dexterity (hence the actual need for the fingerless glove), I find this way of making a thumb rather binding across the thumb side of the palm in real life. So I think if I knit this again, I’d do a thumb gusset instead. I do always like this technique in and of itself, though; it’s knitting magic!

Here they are on the pleased recipient:

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(How do you tell when a Preteen is pleased? It can be difficult, but when she puts the gloves on immediately and wears them out the door even though it’s 20 degrees too warm for them — and even says “Thank you!” — that seems like a pretty good indication.)

Thanks for the good health wishes! I still sound like Marlene Dietrich, without the accent, and felt poorly enough to stay home from work yet again today. This is what I’ve been doing for the last two days:

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But my brain is a little less mushy today, so I got some lace knitting in and this post done — by doing a little at a time, and taking a break when I needed to. That’s how we need to take all of life, eh?

Like this little guy. A blade of grass at a time.

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And here — this bud’s for you.

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7 responses to “Road to Ewetopia

  1. Miind-reading dept: I too thought “Delft” the second I saw those lovely blues with the white, and a couple of lines later there it was. I can picture the sweater, too – there’s a beautiful steeked yoked cardigan, in much these colors, modeled by the young Meg in one of the EZ books. I think it’d be a stunningly felicitous pairing. (Simple and classic, and it haunts me. I’m fated to make something like it one of these years.)

  2. I love that kitty cat picture!

  3. Oh, sure. My sister used to live ten minutes from Viroqua. Now that this lovely shop is open, she’s in Iowa. Bah!

  4. So much beautiful stuff in this post — scenery, yarn, a Delft sweater-to-be, knitting, drapey kitty, cute bunny, rose bud.

  5. I changed the Fetching to a combined gusset/afterthought thumb. It was a consequence of altering the pattern from one big tube to something that would fit my small wrists. So I started small at the wrists then increased (muckily) for the palms/thumb, creating a gusset.

    Went ahead and used the waste yarn/afterthought method for the thumb itself instead of… I guess for a typical gusset thumb you set some stitches aside and then cast on more over them? I preferred to use as little brain as possible on this project.

    I agree that the picot binding looked messy. I have yet to knit a successful picot bind-off. Always end up subbing in something cleaner.

  6. Mini-chibis? 🙂
    Mini-dwarf sized?

  7. Well i’m a preteen and I don’t tell that i like something like the gloves by using it immediately, i just keep talking to my parents a bout how wonderful it is!!!!!!!!!!!

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