Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Vancouver Trip - My Wonderful Friends

I am blessed with some very good friends in Vancouver. I met KJ and U by way of the About.com Knitting Forum back in 2004, and they generously have offered me lodging on all three of my trips to Vancouver.

KJ lives in one of the suburbs of Vancouver, in a lovely condo development, surrounded by all the lush trees and shrubbery that, to me, says Vancouver. She is a woman of many talents: she knits, crochets and spins; she's been part of the fun at SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) and currently does belly-dancing and other forms of eastern folk dance; and she is now Volunteer Coordinator for the Big Heart Rescue Society, which rescues animals primarily from the northern parts of British Columbia.** She adopted Cory a couple of years ago; he's a big boy, with a particularly noble look to him, courtesy of his part-collie ancestry.

Then last year, as the Society members say, she 'flunked' Fostering 101 and adopted Maddie. Maddie had just joined the family when I visited last year, and she has definitely thrived under KJ's care; she has put on some much-needed weight and is much better socialized with people and other dogs. I have to say that, coming from a feline-dominated household, life with 2 large dogs is quite a change. But Cory in particular seems to like me (or maybe just my tummy rubs!), since he spent most nights sleeping curled up next to me.

While I was staying with KJ, we had a chance to spend a little time with Jayne, she of the very-popular Etsy shop, SeeJayneKnit Yarns. Jayne's yarns have been flying out of the shop as fast as she can dye them, and her newest yarns, hand-dyed in the roving and hand-spun by Jayne herself, are selling even better. We spent a bit of time at lunch with Jayne at one of her favorite pubs, and then she invited us to play in her fiber toy store. WOW! KJ brought home some roving in the tropical-toned Fishy Wishy in a Dishy colorway (she promptly spun it up!), and I scored 2 big skeins of the superwash merino/tencel blend fingering/sportweight in the gorgeous Sand and Sea Glass color. I'd link the colorways for you, but there aren't any for sale right now; they're very popular. Here's a photo of Jayne (left) and KJ, ready to dive into some home-baked cookies.

I spent the last couple of days of my trip in Sidney on Vancouver Island, staying with U. She's a lovely woman, with a beautiful townhouse. Her garden, lush and colorful, has many plants that I'm familiar with, though mine don't do as well as hers, having to tolerate the summer heat here in the infamous San Fernando Valley. I especially enjoyed the honeysuckle vine, which brings back memories of the big trellised plant in my grandparents' yard.

U has traveled extensively, and has great stories of her trips, including some of the terrific knitting cruises she's been on. Besides her fine knitting skills, she's a talented seamstress, and I enjoyed seeing the results, especially the patterns she designs herself, and the ease with which she alters purchased clothing to fit properly. Ripping out shoulders to re-fit them? Ohh-kay.

Sidney has a half-dozen or more general and specialty bookstores (CatBOOKmom, right?), mostly in and near the rather nice shopping area along Beacon St. We stopped into Beacon Yarns, where I spent time fondling the largish selection of Fleece Artist and Handmaiden yarns. Two skeins of Handmaiden's Camelspin (silk & camel) laceweight and a skein of Silk Twist (wool/silk) followed me out the door. (BTW, I still haven't made a visit to the famed Beehive Wool Shop in Victoria; after all the yarny fun I've had elsewhere in the Vancouver/Gulf Islands area, I can't quite imagine my Visa card surviving the experience.) And Salty's, the pub we visited, had hands-down the best fish and chips I've ever had. I think my grandma would have called it a corn-flake batter - light, extra-crisp and not the least greasy. YUM!

During my 2005 trip, I discovered a terrific hard cider, sadly not for sale outside of British Columbia, Growers' Extra Dry Apple (far left). This is dry, dry, dry, with just a hint of apple, and the perfect cold drink, a great choice for many occasions instead of beer.

I have searched in vain for a substitute here in SoCal, though I have to say that Hornsby's Crisp Apple (left) is a decent substitute for Growers' Granny Smith variety (right), somewhat less dry and crisp than the Extra Dry. If anyone figures out how to safely bootleg Growers' to SoCal, *please* let me know!! As if providing me lodging, transportation, and great pub food are not enough, my dear friends pre-stock their fridges with Growers', just for me.

Here on Canada Day 2008, I salute my Canadian friends, their hospitality, their lovely Vancouver area, and their Growers' cider! Cheers!!

** I warn you, if you read the stories about the animals they have saved, you may find yourself in tears. Some of these pets, now loving companions, had terrible lives before they were rescued. But you will also read about the wonderful, generous hearts of the people who take these animals into their homes.


lunadog said...

- blushes-
What a lovely post - I miss you already! My best memory is of us getting lost in Bellingham, right outside a yarn store! (nope, we didn't plan it that way)

Quiltgirl said...

Hi there - found your blog via the yarn harlot and hey - you've been to my town! You've hung out at my LYS. You were visiting U! I know U. Truly, the blogosphere is small place. Glad you had a good time and hope you return north again before long.

Marlyn said...

Try Wyder's cider. I prefer the pear, but the apple is pretty good, too. I get it at BevMo, but I'm sure there are other places that carry it.

Gaile said...

I'm sorry I missed your visit to our lovely city! Sounds like you had a lovely time.

I was in Sechelt, and I have to say there was NOTHING there in the way of a decent yarn store.

smariek said...

What a lovely trip.

Carol said...

Yup, my sister says their is a pear cider out in BC tha tis wonderful. and that she can't get in Ontario, sob.

As for the animal rescue..there is a reason I donate money to my local shelter and not time. I have averysoft heart and the word "sucker" in cat on my forehead, apparently....

Cindy G said...

Sounds like a perfectly wonderful trip! I loved the picture of you with Tonio and his sister.

Lots of yarny friendly fun, you bet.

Firefly Nights said...

How interesting to see Jayne on your blog. I bought stitch markers from her earlier in the year through Etsy.