I’ve been a little bit MIA for a while on the blog, and I apologize for that. The last couple of months have been pretty crazy for me–lots of projects, lots of life, etc. But I’m excited to say that things are starting to calm down now, and I’m really looking forward to an active and fun fall season!
One of the many things that’s kept me busy lately was the 2018 Crochet Guild of America (CGOA) conference, which took place last week in Portland, Oregon.
Several months ago, I taught a coworker how to crochet, and when I told her about this conference, she suggested that we go. Now, I’m a bit of a homebody, and traveling usually stresses me out to the max, but I’ve been trying this year to move further out of my comfort zone. So I said “sure!” and we booked our tickets.
Luckily, one of my dearest friends lives in Portland, and she graciously hosted us in her studio apartment for almost four days (bless her). We arrived Wednesday evening after a long day of driving and immediately went out for some delicious food and, of course, margaritas.
On Thursday, we spent most of the day exploring Portland. We shopped, we ate a bunch of food, and we walked all over the place–it was the most fun I’ve had in a long time.
Particularly exciting was our trip to a yarn shop called Twisted. We spent about an hour there admiring all of the beautiful yarns. Here in the greater Spokane area, we don’t really have a large variety of yarn shops, so it was wonderful to see what other shops in the PNW have to offer.
Of course, I wanted to buy everything. But, trying to stick to a budget (aren’t we all?), I focused in on this beautiful Malabrigo Arroyo yarn in the color “Lotus”. I purchased two hanks of it (about 670 yards), figuring that since it has no dye lot, I could purchase more in the future if I needed it.
I am absolutely in love with the pink and purple hues of this yarn, and the little bits of blue really brighten it up. I have some vague plans for this yarn’s future, and I am excited to finish up a couple other projects so that I can dive in and start working with this gorgeous yarn. Don’t the colors remind you of a unicorn? I think so!
That same day, we also went to Salt & Straw, an amazing little ice cream shop. I had the wild-foraged berry sherbet, and it was delicious. We have some decent ice cream shops in my area, but I think I’m going to have a hard time finding anything that can top that sherbet!
Aside from a dozen other stops along our way, we made the short trek up to Pittock Mansion, a gorgeous home (well, mansion!) that was built in 1914 in Portland’s West Hills. The house was gorgeous, but I think the view from the grounds was far more stunning. Beneath the green canopy of trees were gardens of roses in every color.
On a clear day you can see five notable peaks of the Cascade Mountains: Mount Hood, Mount St. Helens, Mount Adams, Mount Rainer, and Mount Jefferson. It was a little hazy on the day we went (it is
summer wildfire season, after all), but we could clearly see one mountain peak from the grounds. It’s a little hard to see in the photo, but it’s either Mount Jefferson or Mount Hood–I honestly couldn’t tell you which.
You also get a beautiful view of Portland’s skyline!
We also went to Powell’s bookstore, which was, in a word, wonderful. We wandered around the different floors for hours, and I was deeply impressed with the selection of crochet books available on the shelf–or shelves, I should say! I’ve never seen so many crochet books in one place, and my coworker and I had a great time pouring over the different options. I even left the store with a few volumes of poetry by my favorite poets!
Thursday evening, I met up with Julia from Creative Color Works at the Portland Sheraton Airport Hotel to set up our shared booth space. I had planned to try and market my upcoming Graphghan Boot Camp course (which, btw, is 20% off now through August 14th!), but I didn’t actually get to spend much time at the booth.
We had a “market preview” Thursday evening for CGOA members, but I was only able to stay for a couple of hours–I was exhausted and starving, so I left a little before closing. But the short time I stayed was so much fun! There were so many booths and so many things to shop for. Julia (my booth-mate) sold crochet hooks and nerdy journals (both of which were awesome), and others were selling yarn, patterns, and all kinds of different crochet-related things.
That night, I met several followers of this very blog (hi, everyone!), and I had a wonderful time chatting with them. I also got to meet Bethany, the very talented womand behind the blog Whistle & Ivy. I’m a long-time fan of hers, so it was very cool to meet her!
I brought along a few samples of my graphghan work (Maleficent was a big hit) to show as examples of the kinds of things you can make with these “graphghan” techniques. All in all, it was a very fun night.
The next day, I didn’t spend hardly any time at the booth because my coworker and I had signed up to take an all-day class on a technique called mosaic crochet with Lily Chin, who first coined the term “mosaic crochet”.
The class was absolutely amazing, and I can’t wait to put together some projects for you using the mosaic crochet techniques! Maybe I’ll have to use my new Malabrigo yarn for that…
We left Portland on Saturday after visiting the Saturday market which, of course, was absolutely wonderful. The market had such a fun vibe, and there were so many different booths with products to admire. Some of my favorites were a booth that made little fairy houses and another that made lovely hanging bird feeders out of recycled teacups!
I’ve recently ventured into the world of houseplants, and so when I found a pottery booth that was selling handmade succulent pots, I just couldn’t say no–and I didn’t even own any succulents! That wasn’t really an issue though, because there was a booth further in the market that sold succulents and air plants. It was perfect!
I purchased three tiny pots and three tiny succulents, and I am so incredibly pleased with them. I have trouble keeping plants at home because we have really low levels of indirect sunlight only (no direct light at all), but my office has some direct light and lots of ambient light, so I’ve had better luck with plants at work. So now these little cuties live in my window and get all of the indirect sunlight they need. Aren’t they just adorable?
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the CGOA 2018 conference, but I must say that the true gem of this trip was just simply wandering around the beautiful Rose City itself. The people, the atmosphere, the yarn shops…
…is it time to go back yet?
Do you have a favorite local yarn shop in your city?
I’d love to start a list of shops to visit! My home city has just one LYS, and while I like it very much, I’m always on the lookout for other great places to shop! Please leave a comment below with the shop name and the city/town.