portlandia indeed

Posted on Posted in book reviews/events, projects


hello everyone, i’m back from portland and have finally cleared my email box and a little space in my day to write. i missed you!

i landed in portland last tuesday afternoon, where i met up with cookie and janel. our plan was to spend a couple of days back in eugene at janel’s place, working and enjoying each other’s company—then heading back to the city for a weekend of FEAST festivities. by the time i landed on tuesday, i felt terrific, having already knit more hours in one day than i had been able to manage for a long time.

i worked on a secret project all the way there—which you will actually be able to see in just a couple of weeks. when i landed, i had just a few more rows to go and then a bind off. excellent progress; the trip was already working its magic in my estimation.

after a coffee pick-me-up, we all piled into the car and headed back to eugene and some much anticipated DINNER. we ate an array of spicy lebanese finger food that night with soups, then hit the grocery store before going home to jump into jammies and watch TV together. haha as you can see from the photos below, we may have purchased some snacks in addition to the ingredients for a curry dinner the next night.

janel has a lovely mid-century home nestled in a tree-filled neighborhood in eugene. it’s perfect for the three of us to spread out and work on projects, patterns, and writing; we can work apart or wander in and out of each other’s company when we need a break. evenings were definitely earmarked for knitting and movies.


over grapes, apples, and cheese, i finished my secret project and then immediately turned my attention to casting on a little scotty hat in our stone soup fingering yarn (i picked the pumice color for this one). i’ve been obsessed with seeing this hat knit up in a natural gray ever since i designed it.


it’s a fast and easy knit; the brim grew quickly and was soon complete. after that the rest is stockinette so it becomes a completely portable project, which i took full advantage of over the next few days, toting it everywhere i went to add a few stitches or rows at every opportunity.


it’s ready now to begin the top decreases, which should only take a few hours. it was the perfect travel project. even though it’s not quite done, i pulled out my button box after i got home to peruse my collection, just to make sure i had what i needed for buttons.


i think these bone buttons will be awesome; i love their tweedy texture, including that slight yellowing, which seems to bring out color in the yarn that isn’t really there—what a great effect. i may do another one of these hats; i can see adding touches of our new slate color by knitting the reverse ridge in the darker yarn and maybe adding topstitching along the decrease lines. or vice versa—knit the main hat in slate and add contrast detailing in a lighter shade.

anyway, back to eugene . . . what a great couple of days. it’s such a lovely town with friendly people, accessible resources, and while were there, beautiful weather too. i got up early each morning and went running while cookie and janel slept in. eugene is a terrific place for outdoor activity, especially running (the nike company was founded there), with good air and lots of local support in the way of wide berms, trails, and careful drivers. the air was magnificent; i felt like i could run forever (haha, though maybe that was due to the good, long sleeps i got there, as well!).

on our last evening in eugene, we had a date with my adorable cousin liz who drove down to visit, knit, and have dinner with us.


i spent the late afternoon hours chopping veggies to prepare for cooking a curry—it’s the best time of year for making fresh veggie dishes. while at the store, i was so entranced with the produce that i didn’t even think to buy tofu or shrimp to go in it. no worries though; the ingredients we had were excellent.


soon we got the fire going under the skillet and began the process of sautéing and spicing them up, mmm; the house filled with the scent of garlic, turmeric, garam masala, and more.


this is a dinner after my own heart—the full range of color and texture represented in a single dish with a blend of intoxicating spices; what more could a girl want for supper?

ok, possibly a little wine to go with, hehe. and chocolate for dessert. maybe with ice cream.

after dinner, we rolled our piggy selves into the living room to knit some more. i worked on my sea pearl sweater, which i realize now you haven’t seen in a while. it was on a break only because i had so much secret knitting to do, but once the september chapter went live, it was the first project bag to go into my luggage. i knew i could make some great progress on it during this trip.


the next day, after a run and then a scramble to pack up my things, we headed up to portland to begin our weekend adventures. we had a dinner reservation that evening at le pigeon, but planned to roam a little beforehand. dinner was awesome; every single thing they put in front of us was tasty. there were a couple items i might not order again, but not because they weren’t good; there were just other dishes i thought were BETTER and more to my taste.

we REALLY needed a walk after dinner so we strolled the neighborhood near the restaurant. later, we even got a chance to meet part of janel’s family, who live right in the city and have a famous pair of rabbits with their own facebook page (i know you have to check that out; i’ll wait . . .).


when we got back to the apartment where we were to stay, we discovered we had a beautiful view of the night sky from the 22nd floor.


the next morning, i could see more of the willamette river from my bedroom window. this is in an area that is under development still, so these wide open expanses probably won’t exist for long, but i thought it was really cool that they sequestered a good part of it for the community garden (lower left corner). there must be 50 or more planting beds in that space; it’s a wonderful way to beautify the waterfront in that spot.


having run hard for the previous four days, i needed to rest my legs a bit but was itchy to be outside, so i went instead for a long, brisk walk toward downtown along the riverfront. it was a beautiful morning and light was amazing.

i looped a little past the portland saturday market, where there is a sculpture park on the riverfront. back near the apartment, i picked up strong coffee drinks and by the time i got upstairs, cookie and janel had joined the waking world.

we really felt like lounging, but had to get moving, because we had tickets to a chocolate tasting panel that was part of the FEAST portland festivities. the chocolate tasting panel wasn’t exactly what we expected; we all wished it was a little more about chocolate, haha. we comforted ourselves with a visit afterward to cacao, a shop that totally made up for what was lacking at the event.

if you live anywhere near there and enjoy hot chocolate, you must try some at cacao. trust me.

after buying too much chocolate (which we all justified by claiming it was for “gifting”), we decided we needed something savory for lunch before our sugar high dumped us by the side of the road. for that we headed to sen yai, the noodle shop associated with pok pok. it was YUMmy and just what we needed. we may have followed up with some pie at the shop next door . . . and then it was back to the house for naps, haha.

sadly, we did not act fast enough to get tickets to one of the daytime grand tastings, but did manage to score some for the evening tasting on saturday.

the place was a madhouse and it was a little too dark to take a lot of good photos, but i think you get the picture—a mass of people all gathered to taste food and wine offerings from some of the best-known chefs and producers on the scene.

we stayed until we couldn’t eat or drink another thing; it was fun. we headed out into the night and home to get comfortable and cozy with our knitting. the evening had turned very chilly and windy; we were due for more typical weather heading in.

on sunday morning we lounged; i got a late start on my run,m which was probably good—the wind was fierce and chilly. good thing i packed that one long-sleeved running shirt. while i was out, janel and cookie went downtown to pick up coffee and a few donuts for breakfast from blue star.


we got back to the building just about the same time and i nearly split a gut when janel rounded the corner with a very large box. she was laughing and explained that if you buy a dozen, you get a discount. and we have two mornings to provide for. i guess the tasting bug was hard ot shake; they couldn’t decide on flavors so they picked all of them.

i think cookie was at least partly to blame for this. that said, i really liked the one with the sesame seeds and salted caramel glaze on top.

the rest of sunday was spent on work, with a late afternoon outing for dinner and a little shoe shopping for janel. awww, our time together was almost over; it went so fast! i just love spending time with janel and cookie; it had been too long.

on monday morning they dropped me off early at the airport and then went on for breakfast. as i stood in lines in the terminal, i was taunted by texts of breakfast noodle dishes and more donuts (seriously, where does cookie put it all?)


i worked on my sweater project all the way home, binding off the body part in the denver airport and getting set up to start the sleeve during my layover. i was holding my breath that it would turn out the right size and everything would be placed as i intended. when a one-piece sweater is on the needles it’s just a big blob for so long; there’s no way to get a real idea of what it looks like—not until you bind off.

when i got home, i finally had a chance to see it on a body—wow, i love it!!


i’m working my way down the first sleeve now and am already much further along than these photos show (yay).

the fit on the bust is lovely, i think; it has yet to be blocked of course, which will almost certainly relax the fabric quite a lot, especially in the bottom half. i think you could probably keep some of that cling if you like it OR stretch the fabric out more for a looser fit if you prefer. ribbing can be manipulated a bit that way . . .


this sweater will have a short sleeve option with a cuff that matches the bottom of the body. for the long sleeve version, the whole area below the elbow will be in the leaf pattern. i’m waiting to hear from chris at briar rose which version she will want for her booth; i will knit the alternate.

i’m knitting with briar rose sea pearl, a merino/tencel fingering weight blend that is one of my favorite yarns. we are far from having a finished pattern, so i don’t know the estimated yardages yet, but for my own sample (38-inch chest), i will probably end up using about 1500 yards.


when i got home form my trip, my buttons had arrived from moving mud. i sent a swatch to sarina a few weeks ago and she made the most amazing confections for this sweater. let’s look a little closer . . .


wow. just—wow. it’s like a little ball of disco swirl inside a clear glass body; i just adore them. sigh.

such a happy homecoming—it was wonderful to see david and be back; today we did a great photo shoot with our new confection yarn at a local favorite ice cream shop. i think we got some really cute pictures to use for its debut next week.

and speaking of work, it’s time i did some; the march of handknits waits for no woman.


23 thoughts on “portlandia indeed

  1. Oh, that sea pearl sweater is truly magnificent. A very special piece IMHO. So so so glad you had such fun and had quality friend time as the year has been so full for you. You look fantastic in that dress BTW. Love it!

  2. Wow! I feel like a had a mini-vacation from this post. What a great trip. I am hungry (go figure) and LOVE the sea pearl sweater. The combination of the pattern, yarn and buttons is spectacular.

  3. fabulous post, anne. the knitting is gorgeous, but oh that portland. david and i lived there in the late 70’s for two years – it was a sleepy little town in those days and it has been fun to visit every year when i go to ashland for shakespeare. your photos captured so much! thanks for the travelogue and the food fest!

  4. The sweater is seriously gorgeous! I have some Sea Pearl set aside for Henley with a Twist; I may have to ‘redirect’ it!
    One day I would love to make it to the Pacific Northwest, and when I do, Portland will be at the top of the list. In the meantime, thanks for supplying the lovely photos !


  5. WOW lots of great treats (including the knitting)! However, I would like to ask you if you have a recipe (roughly) for making your curry dish. I don’t need exact measurements, though that would be nice, just the idea of it. For example do you use oils or coconut milk to make your sauce. The vegetables aren’t important though I usually use root vegetables myself. In our neck of the woods we have a great donut shop, the old fashioned kind, called Suzy Qs. You can smell the donuts cooking at least a block away when you’re approaching the shop. Man, I wish I lived on that street!!

  6. Now that’s a lot of donuts for three skinny ladies……and you still can look adorable in that dress!! I love that sweater and after seeing it can imagine the short sleeve version over a dress or with a pair of dressy pants/skirt and top. Love love love it! Thanks for sharing your adventure and glad you had a nice time.

  7. Those buttons are fantastic, not that the sweater design isn’t just as fabulous. I’m totally ignoring the Portland food discussion (sigh).

  8. Such a great trip for you! Good Times. I lived in Eugene back in one of my other lives. It’s a great town and as you say – very “outdoor friendly”. I remember Portland for being so green. Anyway – I’m glad you had such a nice trip. The sweater looks great. I think this is one of your prettiest designs.

  9. The sweater looks fantastic- I love the design and bet it will be very flattering to just about anyone. Great buttons. Another winner, Anne!

  10. I have loved the cardigan in Sea Pearl since the first picture you posted. Then I saw it on the dress form and thought, “Oh no, I could never wear that.”. Then remembered that having lost 50 pounds, I sure CAN wear it! So, as soon as the pattern is written, I’ll be casting on! (Only one problem, the boobs are the first thing to go lol). Fun post, it was nice to vicariously enjoy your visit to Portland.

  11. Sounds like a super fun trip with great friends. A donut with salted caramel glaze sounds divine. I was diagnosed with celiac disease in May 2010, so I haven’t had a donut in at least that long…
    Also, love the color and buttons of the sweater!
    (sjn821 on Rav)

  12. Looks like you had a fabulous trip Anne. Loved the donut story!! The Indian Print Henley looks just amazing. It’s my dream to be able to wear a sweater like this when my stomach is flat enough to show it off!! The MM buttons are just the most perfect match. I am definitely going to have to get some Sea Pearl sometime, the sheen is sensational. You look tres glam in your black dres too!

  13. Sounds like a great visit with girlfriends! It’s hard not to have a good time in PDX. And the sweater is beautiful.

  14. Wow! You are a little Chatty Kathy this morning – but we all love it. Beautiful sweater, lovely friends, awesome pictures – it’s all good!

  15. Anne, What a wonderful time you Gals had, so nice for you to spend time with Janel and Cookie. When with friends time flies.
    The sweater is great. Guess it has to be on my list.
    So, how is the house remodeling going? More pictures, Please.

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