have a way cool Polk County water bottle, given to me by a high mucky-muck in Polk County herself!
With an excellent built-in handle, which you can’t see in this photo, but which is great for those of us who don’t have ham hands big enough to grab some of those water bottles you see. I know how jealous you are. You should be.
Worth driving 3 1/2 hours for all by itself, wouldn’t you say?
Actually, as you heard, my husband and I were stealing some time together — but we ended up spending some of it ‘alone together’ with kmkat and her husband!
The Kat(tm) and I spent part of the afternoon knitting at the Osceola Coffee Connection, which has a delightful deck (no pictures from that afternoon before some rain drove us inside, but here it is the next day from outside).
(That’s OUR umbrella you can see there! Well, it was until it failed to keep off all the rain, not really being designed for that sort of thing.) Her husband wasn’t there yet from work, and when my husband’s eyes glazed over at a bit of knitting esoterica, we sent him off to Wal-Mart and continued with our knitting and chatting. Despite conversation-induced occasional knitting lapses, progress was made on my Spring Forward Socks, and it seemed on the Summer Raglan as well (much further along than shown on the dress form who stuffs; you’ll have to nag Ms. Kat for progress photos!). And I was furthermore gifted with local llama yarn, MMMMM! So soft and pettable. It makes me need to sing the Llama Song. (If you do not know the Llama Song, you need to click that link. You may curse me later. But it is still necessary.)
But then we all convened for a lovely dinner, at which point the Y-chromosomes bonded over Chicago neighborhood stories (they grew up not far from each other, a few years apart, but separated more so by the bussing that my husband was subject to in the 60s, leading to different schools).
Sadly, Osceola is a reasonably fur piece from where The Kat(tm) and spouse live, so they needed to depart near dusk and we headed to our B&B, the St. Croix River Inn.
It overlooks — what else — the St. Croix River, where in the morning, I sat and stitch by stitch, double yarnover by slip-slip-knit, tinked my pink shawl.
And that was even before coffee. Now, I’d hoped to just have to tink two rows. Two reverse rows got rid of the scary loops of lace spaghetti I had trapped on a stitch holder, which I had created in my ill-advised attempt to fix a faggoting mistake. But I realized the mistake would still be there — it was related to some very odd weirdness from the row before, which I couldn’t sort out. So two more rows will be required to reverse the madness completely. Well, I’ve come this far.
So I had some coffee and an excellent breakfast
and tinked some more. (Still not quite there yet, as of this writing.)
Then, after checkout, I had to check out myself – the local yarn shop, Mrs. I’s Yarn Parlor.
I was unprepared. The population of Osceola is 2500. Granted, that’s just the town, not the outlying areas, nor the seasonal population.
So picture me, quite surprised, in a yarn shop which has yarn I’ve never seen in person yet, and some delicious yarn I’ve never heard of!
Also, the owner is a strong advocate of local yarn, so I came back with some Blackberry Hills yarn which is a llama/wool/mohair blend. The animals are all raised by a local woman; she handspins the blended yarn; and then hand-dyes it. Hard to be more local than that! And it’s so cool! I also bought another farm’s Wisconsin alpaca, naturally chocolate brown and so soft. I love local yarn!
But I got my first sight in person of nettle yarn (bought some to make market bags for Christmas presents, though I suspect it will be hard on the hands; it should make great bags), and I found some gorgeous wool from a Michigan mill, Stonehedge Fiber Mill; aran weight, so soft, with some heathered shades, worsted spun. Like Cascade 200, but softer. Apparently, the mill owner has done commercial fiber milling for some time but not long ago developed her own yarn. Today, a friend to whom I showed it, heard it featured on Lime & Violet’s podcast! Wild. I love it. I bought several shades because it cries out for colorwork or something similar.
There was even more I’d never seen in person, and a couple yarn brands I’d never heard of, but I’ll stop now (no pictures, I got home at dusk today — penance for a day’s vacation from work!) But if you happen to be in the Stillwater (Minnesota)/St. Croix Falls/ Interstate Park/ Taylors Falls area, take the short drive to Osceola and check out this LYS — well worth the drive (relocating upstairs to a bit bigger space as of September 1, 2008, also).
Back on the road, more sock and tinking time; then back to reality. Dang. I want to play with yarn and meet up with fellow knitbloggers as fun & nice as kmkat every weekend!