vacation wrap-up

we actually cut our trip short due to unexpected changes in the weather.

being a southern california native, the husbeast as well, overcast/cloudy skies and rain (even if it's just "spritzing") is not our idea of a vacation. yes i know, what do you expect from a visit to the pacific northwest, but still... summer is supposed to be "better" whatever that means. after becoming cranky after one too many days of virtually little to no hours of sun, we finally realized why we stopped enjoying our time away and we booked the first flight home. we will be spending the remainder of our vacation time on "staycation." we happily returned to smog, traffic, blue skies, about 15 hours of sun and lots and lots of heat. boy is it smoking over here! about 100 degrees as i am typing this. gotta love southern california!

anywho... we didn't manage to take a ton of photos as most of the days were quite cloudy, and it's really annoying to manually adjust camera settings to try to take the "perfect" picture on an overcast day. we did our best and did take a few gems which i will share with you now, along side a brief synopsis of what we did get to enjoy and visit on the few days of sun we had!

if i had to sum up a memory of oregon, or at least what i will remember most about being up there, with a single photo... it would be this:

Forest Park, Portland OR

absolutely stunning. this is a photo of a trail we were walking in at forest park. a natural area, right in the middle of a "big" city. peaceful and quiet. we really enjoyed walking through the many parks and natural areas in the city.

so, to kick things off... i guess i can admit, one of my main motivations for even wanting to visit oregon had to be fiber-related. of course, right? black sheep gathering was to take place the weekend of our 2-yr wedding anniversary and so we tried to pack in a few really interesting, fun events to celebrate this occasion. clouds and rain were in the forecast, but luckily, the bad weather blew threw and we got a chance to enjoy the scenery on the drive down to eugene from portland which took about 2 hrs.

The drive down to Eugene, OR for Black Sheep Gathering
hello eugene!

and these are the obligatory shots you'd expect to see when thinking of a "fiber" festival. not just fiber (yarn and/or roving), but the source of the fiber as well.

Handspinning sheep!
handspinner sheep in their protective garb

More sheep!
longwool leicester sheep

and because sheep photos will get old fast... i'll leave you with the always fun, always interesting jacob sheep!


we didn't see any jacobs with 6 horns, but 4 was quite impressive enough. the husbeast was partaking in a little cellphone photography in these photos (excuse the blurriness) as i was warning him about future impalement from on of the rams that had incredibly HUGE horns. friendly, maybe? still... best not to get too close!

Black Sheep Gathering

we stuck around for a few minutes after going through the market place a couple of times and chatting with vendors and ravelry folks, and caught a little bit of the sheep judging. in hindsight we should've come on day 2 (rather than the first day) of the festival, as all of the sheep that i wanted to see being judged (the fine wools like merino) were on day 2!  doh! live and learn. in terms of my impression of the festival... i won't be too critical. it was my first fiber festival and it wasn't bad. i did for some reason think it was going to be larger, and i came armed with a map of all the vendors locations and a list of what i wanted to check out from said vendors i liked. folks were looking at me like i had lost my mind. i seriously did not need any maps or lists! it was really, really small. we were able to get through the entire fair grounds in about 4 hrs. that was plenty of time to do a little damage, of course.

Black Sheep Gathering 2011 Stash!
sheesh, are all my photos blurry?! argh!

anyway... not too bad. some farm baskets which were lovely, colorful and happy. they will be the new home to many items in my craft room, as well as spinning fiber. some roving, most of which is undyed/natural color and i've never spun with before: (left to right) cormo, targhee, shetland, a skein of "black" alpaca/jacob, merino/silk roving from blue moon fiber arts, merino/silk roving from abstract fiber and polwarth roving from abstract fiber.

i stuck to a respectable budget and early into the trip i decided i would not be making my first fleece purchase. once i did the math (a few times), the potential cost of a fleece seemed a little ridiculous/excessive/exorbitant/[fill in your favorite adjective for expensive] to me (the price included the fleece and sending it off for processing). i just couldn't justify this purchase in any way, although you know i tried. i absolutely understand why one would choose to do the processing themselves, because it could save you a decent amount of money, but the thought of processing my own fiber is absolutely out of the question. i doesn't appeal to me in the least and i am impatient. i'd rather have something already clean and prepped for me to start working on. maybe in the future though... because i would really love a fleece to call my own. a nice soft fleece in a black/chocolate brown color. anyway... *sigh*

here are a few more photos from the rest of the trip. remember, they are a little sparse! these are in no particular order. enjoy!

we found some really, really good eats here at hub: hopworks urban brewery in portland.

HUB Beer List
beer list

sampler - 10, 2 oz beers. my faves: crosstown pale ale, velvet esb, and rise up ale.

ok, i'm not even gonna front, i really don't remember which my top favorites were after i sampled the 2nd beer. here's the thing... the hubster and i have tasted quite a bit of beers and visited way more bars and breweries than many, and the reality here is that after a certain number of beers tasted, it's easy for one to become set in their ways and develop a preference or bias. at this point in life, i unfortunately have developed quite a bias and that was really clouding my judgement to be fair to oregon beer. honestly, i found the beer to be a little meh. most of the beer we had on our trip was meh, which was a huge downer considering this state is known for it's hops and its breweries. we were really excited to check out the brew pubs, but they seemed to be few and far between. but shoutout to bridgeport for blending good beer with good food. nice happy hour selection!

seriously, the best eats on the trip! who can say no to pizza!!!

needed a quick sugar fix, wanted italian bakery eats and nothing was open, so we went back to voodoo doughnuts... one of the locations was open 24 hrs a day. ok...

Voodoo Doughnuts
the voodoo doughnut in the middle: "help meeeee!"

honestly, the first round of doughnuts was way better... as with most things you try the first time. you have no preconceived notions, so things just taste better. second time, it was meh. total hype. we officially tried everything on the list. and no i'm not proud to admit that. the doughnuts don't hold up well, the color fades quickly and they go dry pretty fast. so if you are planning a trip here (the pink location is open 24 hrs a day) only buy what you can eat! avoid taking them home, although 20 seconds in the microwave seemed to help some. 

the roses were nice, but the crowd this location attracted was impressive. i spent more time gawking over the number of people that came to visit the garden than the roses. i'm an observer, so people-watching is my thing. 

International Rose Test Garden, Portland, OR
some great views of the city from the garden

International Rose Test Garden, Portland, OR

International Rose Test Garden, Portland, OR
the massive rose inventory. zoom in on this, it's impressive!

International Rose Test Garden, Portland, OR
look at all the people!

International Rose Test Garden, Portland, OR
 amphitheater in use. folks enjoying the sun :)

the hubster always associates this type of amphitheater with me because i designed one very similar for a school project. i still to this day, love the mix of concrete and turf, hard and soft surfaces. i love that "anything" goes so to speak, because the layout/design is informal. because there is grass, virtually all surfaces can be used as seating. i think it's lovely. we need more of these!

and for you book lovers... the infamous powell's bookstore. 
the name "city of books" is a serious understatement. a small country! good lawd. we went to one of the locations (across the street from their massive location)... and we couldn't believe how massive it was was! powell's is dubbed the largest independent used and new bookstore in the world with a whopping 1.6 acres of floor space! more info from wiki.

Powells Bookstore
the info station... they were on every level. yes, because this particular location was 3 stories

Powells Bookstore
and of course, the knitting section ;)

tanner springs park in the "pearl district"... total hipster-ville. ha!

Tanner Springs Park, Portland, OR
a little history... didn't read it, because i was taken aback by this...

Tanner Springs Park, Portland, OR
a mix of natural area mixed with re-used items from the site (railroad tracks)

Tanner Springs Park, Portland, OR
this fence is killing me. absolutely love this.

there is a little more info on the park here on wiki. but a picture is worth more imo.

last and certainly not least... i tried my hand at vacation knitting, although almost completely unsuccessful. the original idea was to knit the hubster a pair of socks using the 2-at-a-time method. i casted on the proper amount of stitches (without checking gauge *sigh*) and everything looked like it was going good... but then... i don't know, they just started looking funky and huge, so i decided to stop before i invested too much time into the socks. i put that project on hold, and will get back to them and check to make sure my gauge is correct before proceeding. luckily, i brought along another small project. a hat. of course... the circular needles i had were driving me up the wall - i forgot that it is preferable to knit on the 16"/18" cables that i do own when making hats, not the 24" cables *sigh* i managed to get through the ribbing, but was really not trying to keep fiddling with the cords while i was working the pattern on the hat. so i hit up the nearest knitting shop and purchased some bamboo dpns. i was able to get through almost 60% of the hat while we were out of town (in 3 days): the quickest knitting i've ever done! i'll post more info and photos soon of this project.

but on that note...
until next time!

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