Home again, home again

 

Here we are, back in Birmingham. After a day of sleep and a day of running errands (including replacing my phone, lost, presumed stolen, in the wilds of Toronto), I’m ready to tackle Mount Laundry, put the luggage away, and get back to work. Though I moved away so long ago, Toronto still feels like home to me: my big city face and fast-walking feet snapped into place like they were just waiting to come out and play. Still, it’s nice to be back where things move more slowly, in the place where I keep my tea things and my knitting chair and my cats and my deck full of plants and my own bathroom with a shower that doesn’t require a pilot’s license to operate. (Seriously, y’all should’ve seen the shower at the last place we stayed.)

In between family time and wedding chuppah-holding and birthdaying (the day after one sister’s wedding was the other sister’s birthday) and such, I managed to visit a few yarn shops, exhibiting admirable restraint (in my humble opinion), at least until the end. Unfortunately, that restraint extended to taking photos, for which I’m kicking myself now. However, here’s the rundown, in the order visited:

  • Yarns Untangled, a small shop in Kensington Market, Toronto, with a gorgeous selection of yarns, some neat project bags, and all the flavours of SOAK. (I’d also forgotten to bring wool wash, so I was most thankful for that.) Everyone here was so friendly that I intended to come back with my knitting and hang out for a bit, but of course, the best laid plans, etc., etc. Next time I’ll make a point of hanging out here at least once.
  • eweknit & fabric works, a beautiful, spacious shop on Bloor St. W. near Ossington, with so many lovely yarns I didn’t know what to do with myself, and such a variety of neat fabric that I found myself wishing I sewed just so I’d have an excuse to pick some up. I came perilously close to buying some Handmaiden Lino here; non-buyer’s regret may force me to order it from their site.
  • Riverside Yarns in Owen Sound, Ontario. Another beautiful store, warm and welcoming, with a wide range of yarns from workhorse to special indulgence. I picked up a couple of glorious pink and purple skeins here for the niece, who’s into finger knitting and crochet, and thus provides her aunt with the opportunity to buy yarn without adding to her already excessive stash. (Thanks, Little G!)
  • Romni Wools, the Mecca of Toronto yarn stores, near Queen St. W. and Bathurst. The last place we stayed on our trip was directly behind this shop, so of course I went in more than once. I kind of had to, because this place is overwhelming: much too big and too full of yarn to take in all at once. If I still lived in Toronto, Romni would be my first stop for sweater quantities of pretty much anything. As it was, I picked up some emergency sock yarn and the latest copy of Knitscene. (Shameless plug: I’ve got a pattern in this issue!)
  • Americo, near Queen St. W. and Augusta, in Toronto.  Oh, Americo, I’ve coveted your yarns since Mags Kandis’s sweater Mothed appeared in Knitty, back in 2010. Americo is closing their brick and mortar store to focus on online sales, so they’re having a big sale in their shop. I fell hard here, scoring 8 skeins of Winter Flamme, 4 in Black, and 4 in Petrol Blue. I feel like I should have bought 5 or 6 of each, though, so I’ll probably call in another order before the shop closes.

As for my ambitious knitting plans, well, things didn’t progress as far as I’d hoped, though more than I really expected, so I’ll call that a win. Hey, I’ll take my wins where I can find them.

After a couple of meditative yarn-winding sessions by the lake, and with the help of my niece’s crochet hook collection (because of course I forgot my bag of knitting tools), I did get the colourwork cowl started.

nascent cowl

I’d managed to add several inches to the handspun shawl before I finally listened to the nagging voice in the back of my head, ripped it out, and started again on smaller needles. That nagging voice is rarely wrong, and I really need to quit ignoring it, because this is a much better knitting experience.

shawl progress-not-progress
Looks like regress; is actually progress.

The big blue shawl is quite a bit bigger, though it’s at the stage where it looks much the same despite the many hours I’ve put in on it since the last photo, so picture the shawl in the last post, only, you know, longer.

The sock repair did get finished (hence the emergency sock yarn above), and the Socks You Can See from Space are back on himself’s feet, where they belong.

new heels

This trip was long overdue: I didn’t realize how much I needed to reconnect with my family and spend some time back among my people, plus it was fascinating (and sometimes very entertaining) to see my culture through the eyes of my very Southern husband. It’s good to be back in my adopted home, though, and now that we know how relatively easy it is to get to Toronto from here, I know we’ll be back up there soon. For one thing, I’m going to miss this view, and I already miss my niece and nephews. (There’s another nephew; he’s not in this shot, alas, for he, too, is adorable.)

A and G on the beach
A & G on the shore of Georgian Bay. These two, I swear.

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