Monday, March 27, 2006

Portland. . . The Marathon Post

So I haven't posted for a while because I had finals and then went to Portland for spring break. It was a nice break. I have been to Portland somewhere around 10 times and I had never done anything in Portland, in fact I had only actually gotten out of my car in the actually city once. That is because we are always visiting family in a suburb of Portland. This time, though, I declared it a true vacation and we went all out tourist. (Well maybe not all out, as I forgot my camera, but we did have a map)
So naturally, as a part of any Vacation from Yarnnation, there was a long list of yarn stores to be visited. I actually made it to seven of them. I will outline my experience below, but first, the non-yarn activities. If you aren't interested in the other stuff, I highlighted where I started the Yarn store critiques.

The Orchid Thai: Our first restaurant, we are supper picky about Thai food, we gave it a 6.5, which actually is pretty good, as we have only ever given a 10 to one restaurant.

The Purl District: Supper cute neighborhood, very walkable, great home furnishing stores, a delightful paper store, a cute pet store (and two serendipitous yarn stores- more to come)

Pho Van: YUM, I had Pho (Vietnamese chicken noodle soup-so good) The Duke ordered half a chicken, which he thought was going to be half a chicken breast, not so. . . he was a little overwhelmed, but liked it OK. I told him he should have ordered Pho, he is not very adventureous. Score: 7 (The Duke brought that down a little.)

Old China Town: We may have missed the good part, but I would skip it next time.

Washington Park Vietnam Memorial: Our favorite part of the whole vacation (yes, including the yarn stores.) It was peaceful, sacred, meaningful. A bag pipe player played in the memorial while we were there.

Al's: So the Duke and I have a problem yard. It's just too shady for anything to grow, so the Duke's aunt took us to this cool nursery and even bought us a shade loving hydrangea. It was a very cool nursery. I hope the hydrangea will be happy here in Yarnnation.

Mexican/Peruvian restaurant: I have no idea what it called, Aunt and Uncle took us there, I had chili verde (why do I order things that I am so picky about?) score: 6

Chicks at the feed store: yes that is what I said, live baby chickens, very cute!

The Portland Zoo: We love zoos! It's a good one, but we think we like Woodland Park Zoo better, as a whole, but they are quite different, so it's worth the trip. I loved the penguins, and the orangutan (I don't know how to spell that.) Although, it is hard to see them behind glass, they are so human like, it seems wrong. One complaint- I HATE bats. That's like putting rats in a zoo, who wants to see that, not me and they STINK! YUK!


Now down to the knitty gritty.

1. Knit Knot Studio: Just stumbled on this one in the Purl District. It's a tiny little yarn store, very cute and cozy, good yarns, but the best thing about this is the owner, Elizabeth, she was so engaging even the Duke enjoyed the visit. She also sells her knitted items in the shop. Nothing Purchased (I was being good!)
2. Dublin Bay Knitting Company: This one was listed in the Pearl District walking map we picked up along the way. It was a nice space, had only been open a month and did not have a good inventory built up yet. This could have been forgivable had they had something unusual, but they didn't, or if their staff was super friendly, but they weren't, they weren't rude or anything, but they were the stay behind the counter and make small talk if required type. Nothing Purchased.
3. Molehill Farms: This one is in Lake Oswego, OR. It is in a little house, there was only one woman working there, but she was very nice, she gave us a tour of the store, very cute, but nothing unusual. A LOT of baby yarn. They must carry every color of Stork there is. At least they know their clientele. I did buy a coupld of balls of Plymouth Linen Ilse here, I had never seen it before, so that was a find. I don't know what I'm going to do with it yet though.
4. Wool n' Wares in West Linn. This is the little shop right near our relative house. I can actually walk there from their house. I go there every time I am there, and always have a nice chat with the owner. I was tempted by Cascade's Pima Tensel, but I refrained. SIGH
5. Knit Purl: This is my new second favorite yarn store (after Hilltop of course,) and lucky for all of you that haven't been there yet, they have a very cool website
Supper friendly staff and owner, they have a lovely line of patterns called Shibui Knits. very cute. They also have this to-die-for yarn from a company called Loom In Essence. She is a one woman show and the only place you can buy her lovely yarns, is Knit Purl. I didn't buy any, SIGH, but only because they didn't have the color that I wanted. But it will be added to my outrageous stash in the future. Now don't get me wrong, just because I didn't buy that didn't mean that my stash didn't grow while I was there. I left with some lovely silk from Habu in this gorgeous orange, and four balls of Louisa Harding's new cotton, Nautical Cotton in two shades of green. So pretty.
6. Lint. . . -- So this is a really cool space, unfortunately the staff is also very cool, or cold I should say. I was in there for half an hour and I was acknowledged, somewhat half minded, after about 10 min., and then ignored for the rest of the time. Even when I tried to start a conversation, I was not well received. So sad because this could be a really nice store. I did think they had some nice jewelry.
7. The Yarn Garden - OK, this place is insane. I have never been in a yarn store that tries to carry EVERYTHING! There was so much yarn in this store I couldn't believe it. There were also a lot of people in the store. Merchandising is not their strong point, but you can be pretty sure they will have enough of what you want, if you can figure out what you want. The staff seemed nice enough, but they were too few and too busy. They do have a very nice little coffee shop attached, a nice little respite from the busy store. No purchase, but I will go back.

Whew, well if you actually made it through this marathon post. . . Well you get a cookie. Now go to the kitchen and start baking! (oh and feel free to send me one too!) :)


  1. Nice reviews! There are several shops that've opened since I've been to PDX last summer. Let's pretend that I don't know about Knit-Purl when next I go because it's a little too close to Powell's for Seth to be comfortable travelling to downtown Portland with me. Hours and hours and many, many dollars will disappear in both locations... :)

    PS I hope you know you can comment "anonymously" (w/o having an account) on livejournal. :)

  2. Even though we live so close I feel like I NEVER go to Portland. Your post is inspiring, I really do want to go there. But I can't convince Jesse to go just for the yarn... I'll think of something.

  3. OHHHH Powell's. . . The Duke wouldn't let me go despite my pleadings as we drove past. He told me we would never make it to the zoo if we went in there. It is on our list for the next trip. Kat is Jesse a reader? If he is, there is your bait.