Well, I am back from my trip to California. Mostly work-related, but I did get to do some sightseeing in San Francisco and some hiking in East Bay. Here's the knitterly update:
* my mom's scarf - got done so quickly I didn't even get to take "in progress" pictures. I'll block it some time soon and post those pictures.
* after planning for days and days what kind of knitting to take with me (what if it's too much? what if it's too little?) I had a perfect plan. It was going to be perfect. Unfortunately, I forgot most of the knitting at home! I only had Notre Dame de Grace with me, and only one skein of yarn. Fortunately, the trip was exciting enough that I didn't have much time for knitting. I finished the one skein during the flight back. I will definitely run out of yarn on this sweater, it's just a matter of "where" and "can I make it look like I planned it that way".
* the Arctic Diamonds stole did a superb job keeping me warm in airports, on planes, in chilly California evenings and in air-conditioned lecture halls.
* the pink scarf also did a great job keeping me warm in the evenings and elegant throughout. I might be known as "the scarf lady" in certain circles. Anyway, I felt very sophisticated in my lacy handknitted items.
* I was spending a few days in San Francisco, so I pulled some yarn store addresses and reviews from the web (knittersreview, to be more precise). Having a few key destinations is a fun way to explore a city, since you see so many interesting things along the way! "The yarn store hunt" took me to a sunny neighborhood park, to the top of an amazing hill, to a yuppie neighborhood and to the heart of the financial district. I was particularly impressed by Art Fibers: they custom-spin their own yarns, and they let you swatch these yarns in the store - they provide samples and needles and comfy armchairs. The lady working there was quite knowledgeable and never pressured me to buy stuff; great place. And did I mention the fabulous yarn? I got a couple of cones of deep red yarns in gorgeous fibers. I'm sure I'll figure out what to do with them.
Not all the stores were that amazing. At Noe Knit I was completely ignored: the staff didn't even say hello, despite the fact that I was the only customer in the store. Needless to say, I left fairly quickly. ImagiKnit had a great selection and some beautiful sock yarn; the staff was friendly and let me wander around for as long as I wanted. I spent so much time choosing stuff that I didn't buy anything in the end. I do understand though why it was such a popular place - the place had a great vibe.
And that was the trip. Back to regular knitting now, and hopefully regular posting.