Knitting in the Blue Ridge of Virginia – Knit Talk 2011/09/06

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The past three weeks (has it really been THAT long??) have been a solid whirlwind that has kept me spinning like a top. Three Wednesdays ago, I drove from the southeastern side of Virginia, into the state’s southwestern area known as the New River Valley. There I was welcomed into the home of Merike Saarniit, who offered me good food and hospitality in the Estonian way. She let me stroll about her home and fondle a shawl that Galina gifted her. I peeked as she opened her kitchen cupboards and I admired her Estonian knife holder. I drooled over her squirrel cage swift and embroidered lounge chair. I doffed my sandals in order for my feet to sink into the Fibonacci striped woven rug her father made out of raw fleece. And I photographed just about everything she let me (if you haven’t noticed yet, the links in this post lead to the pictures), including her bathroom sink!

Merike's custom ceramic sink

After she tucked her oh-so-buttery rhubarb shortbread squares along with the sugar-free dark chocolate cherry cordials into my travel bags, I hopped over to Anna Zilboorg’s home as her guest for the next two days. When I arrived we chatted into the night, and both of us were able to sneak a shortbread square as a snack. Anna had brought out a blanket that she had knitted out of her various skeins of handspun yarn, and I readily see that I will make one in my future.

Anna's handspun handknitted blanket

Early Thursday morning, I took advantage of being back in the Floyd county area and bought a bale of timothy hay for Mischievous Julius and his ladies Zipper and Charro. The last time Julius had eaten this hay from Scott, his eyes lit up and I could swear he was smiling. Yes it may seem nuts that I would buy a bale from a specific farm for his hoppiness. But then, don’t we all do what we can to make our kids happy?

Satisfied that Jules’ hoppiness was in check, I drove to Blacksburg to see my friends in my Thursday groups: my lunchtime knitting group and the Spunsters. I wanted to surprise my cronies who meet at the Easy Chair Coffee Shop, and it was a fun treat to spring on them. I showed them the K102 pullover that I was trying to finish (which I ended up frogging due to running out of yarn) and updated them on the latest fiber industry news and of course information about XRX’s upcoming offerings at STITCHES Midwest.

Before I knew it, I had stayed an hour longer than planned and needed to head over to the Blacksburg Library to see my Spunster buddies. Again it was great to see my friends and catch up on the latest gossip. From what I gathered, most of my friends in both groups have been frequenting the Woolly Jumper in Floyd, Yarn Explosion in Roanoke, and Wyrd Sisters — the new LYS in Roanoke.

As the sun was beginning to show its afternoon rays, I started back to Anna’s with a stop at Lucie Monroe’s for a pound of freshly roasted coffee beans. This coffee shop has become more than just a meeting place for knitters every Wednesday night. It is their haven. After seeing the food specials that have been created just for them, I have to agree! 🙂

Coffee from Lucie Monroe's

Dinner at Anna’s was as amazing as each visit. This time our salad was spinach heavily tossed with strawberries and avocado with a touch of dressing. Giant tomato slices topped with fresh herbs were on their own plate. The salmon patties were perfectly seasoned and cooked. As for dessert, I was in definite heaven. Anna baked chocolate brownies that had a hint of peppermint in the frosting. With all the good conversation we were having, I found myself eating more than I should. But it was worth it!

I awoke Friday morning to the smell of brewing coffee tickling my nose and Anna’s dogs greeting me with earnest hellos. Anna was just about to take them out for their morning walk, so we agreed that I should take the time to clean up and pack up my things. (It is amazing how my bags seem to explode in a couple of days!) By the time they came back, I was ready to eat the waffles Anna talked about making. Seeing that I was getting settled in my seat, Anna promptly pulled out her waffle iron and the ingredients while brewing another pot of coffee.

Waffles made by Anna

At some point of our conversation I pulled out the yarn that I had brought her, a skein of Alisha Goes Around that was hand-picked by Alisha herself. I had met this talented hand-dyer at TNNA Columbus this past June, and when I asked her if she had to select a yarn to represent her company, she choose this brilliant BFL/silk beauty. As Anna petted the skein, I beamed proudly as if I were channeling Alisha.

Alisha Goes Around in the Briton colorway

Just as we finished breakfast, Anna did the same to me as Merike did — she packed me off with a few things to take. Brownies and a cinnamon muffin joined the shortbread’s container. Anna’s extra unused waffle iron was already in my bag. A couple of linen shirts that were just “hanging in the closet doing nothing” joined my wardrobe. And last but not least, a very special top that has its own story to tell…

From Anna to Kimberly

Because I have written almost 900 words in this post on what happened within 48 hours, I think I had better leave that story for the second half of this adventure! 😉

Bunny hugs for now,
Kimberly =:8

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