Before my husband and I had Russell, we always said, we would just incorporate the baby into whatever we were doing and wherever we were traveling to. It hasn’t been the easiest thing in the world and, for sure, we have made schedule adjustments to prioritize what the baby needed, but we have still always wanted to “do life” together with the baby, no matter how challenging. So, when this opportunity came up for me to travel to Seattle and Portland for a mini road show, I proposed it to my husband as an experiment to see how well we could handle a road trip with Russell.
The baby just hit 20 months this past weekend and in preparation for the long drive, we finally turned his car seat around so that he could see the road. He’s a solid 28 lbs now and has been super cranky in his rear-facing seat for months now, so we were excited about turning him around. Watching him watch the road was just about the most fun thing ever. Seeing his mind blown by all the stuff happening around him was just awesome.
The plan was to get to Bainbridge Island on Friday night in preparation for our event at Churchmouse on Saturday. I was sort of anxious about the trip because we needed to catch a ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge and we were going to be arriving quite late. I was worried we might miss it! But it was so incredibly smooth and easy to do. We caught the 10:05 pm ferry and by chance, we sat near a girl who was knitting away on a big green wooly sweater. Turns out, this was Tatyana, one of the dyers at Local Color Fiber Studio. She is local to Bainbridge Island and together with her business partner, Emily, they grow their own natural dye stuff and dye yarn from it. Very impressive.
Churchmouse Yarns & Teas
It’s been years and years that this yarn shop has been on my list to visit. Churchmouse is truly a Mecca when it comes to yarn. It’s in this elegant little neighbourhood that is walking distance to the Eagle Harbour waterfront. The store feels warm and expansive when you first walk through those big black-framed wooden doors. There is a tidy winding station to the left of the front door. That’s also where the Brooklyn Tweed and Koigu are kept. To the right of the entrance is a nook with a large wooden table where knitters gather to drink tea and knit on a regular basis. In the back, the teas are meticulously kept in neat rows by vendor. Churchmouse partners with Smith Teamaker to create a line of teas just for the shop. I couldn’t help but bring home some “Summer” tea for making iced tea.
Throughout the shop, the yarns are beautifully curated and arranged. Two skeins per colour. Tags hidden. Perfectly faced. The lighting in the shop is true and there is plenty of it, so you feel like you are seeing a good representation of the colour without having to run to the window. And the white wooden built-in shelving and tables gives the whole place a home-like feel.
The thing that really makes the shop warm and home-like is the staff. I was greeted at the shop by the “churchmice” as they call themselves. Karen. Freshy. Laura. Susan. Kate. And many more. They all impressed me so much with their genuine warmth and attention to their customers. All in all, I was blown away with the shop and staff.
Saturday itself was spent with the great company of Jane Richmond and Shannon Cook (of Marian Rae Publications) who were there to sign books and patterns for Island, Journey, and Seasonless. I love these ladies. Their positivity and joy just beams from them and draws people to them. It was such a pleasure to spend the day with them.
Following the event, Jane and Shannon headed east for their event at Tolt on Sunday, and my family and I headed south from Seattle to Portland. Russell fell asleep at 8:30 in the car after a solid dinner, so I was feeling pretty optimistic that he would sleep until morning. Oh, rookie mama. Of course, he woke up at 10:30 when we arrived at our hotel. And of course, he wouldn’t go back to sleep until 1:30 am. He wasn’t tired! He’d already had a 2-hour nap!
To me, Portland equals food. So upon rising on Sunday morning, I felt like it was imperative that we visit some food carts before heading to Happy Knits. Unfortunately, the chicken place that haunts my daydreams (Nong’s Khao Man Gai) was closed at 11 am on a Sunday morning. The nerve. So we shared an avocado and Tillamook grilled cheese sandwich before getting Russell down for a nap.
Happy Knits is vibrant shop that you wouldn’t suspect, walking down SE Hawthorne. The neon logo sign in the window peeks out through the trees along the street, hinting at the creativity and fun inside. Once you step inside, it is a glorious colourbox filled with natural daylight (they have skylights!). Many shops have similar square shelves, but the way that Happy Knits arranges their colours and yarns feels distinctly like “Happy Knits”. And once you get to the back of the shop, you discover a massive lounge area painted in pimento/lime green, complete with sofas, fireplace, dining table, and multiple chandeliers. So welcoming and comfortable! In this area, one wall is fully covered with featured patterns and another wall has a pinboard featuring handknit swatches in many of the yarns that they carry. Such a help to their customers!
The staff at Happy Knits were also phenomenally warm and inviting. Emma, Beth, Annette, and Nele… and a tiny dog named Roco. The staff made the cakes and scones for everyone so we could have High Tea together on Sunday too! As always, I’m a little nervous when I have to get up an speak (for any length of time) and I always end up forgetting to mention things, partly because I wonder if anyone could possibly be interested. But I was so happy to see MK Nance there. She designed the Fleeceflower Tam and Mitts pattern for us a couple years ago and will have some more things published with us in the coming months. And I met another Felicia too. Felicia of feliciacakes and her super sweet daughter. Such great company for a Sunday afternoon. Felicia turned me on to the Rose City Rollers pattern and it’s pretty much the only thing I want to knit now!
Since it’s a long way to drive from Portland to Vancouver in one shot with a little one, we decided to split the return trip in half and spend part of the day in Seattle at the Experience Music Project. Dan and I have been before and it’s one of my favorite places in Seattle. Full of guitars, music history, and sci-fi stuff. This time, they also had an Indie Video Game exhibit, a Fantasy (think Hobbits and Game of Thrones) exhibit, and an exhibit on the work of Chuck Jones (Roadrunner stuff, meep meep). There’s always something new and awesome at this museum.
Finally, the green smoothie kick has had a hold of me for nearly a year now and we stumbled on this yummy smoothie bar, called Evolution. Hello, it’s a Starbucks company. Who knew! So, apparently Starbucks is getting into the juice revolution and they have three Evolution cafés in the Seattle area. They made me the most delicious breakfast of quinoa, eggs, corn, kale, and random other things plus a harissa sauce. I could eat that every day of my life, it was so yummy. Love or hate Starbucks, their new business is delish.
That’s it for now! I’m sorry I’ve been absent from the blog for the past several weeks, but lots has been going on… and I’ll be able to finally share some of it with you next week! Eeee!
2 thoughts on “Mini Road Trippin’ to Churchmouse and Happy Knits”
I also dream about that chicken!
I also dream about that chicken!