is it a sign of old age do you think, that while i enjoy travelling and being away, i am always so happy to get home? i did have a great time in bendigo, and was very comfortable in the little house that jody chose, with my room mates yarna and bells, but there is nothing quite like the feeling of your own soft bed, your own comfy house, and your own warm dogs. i missed them quite a lot actually, so much so that i nearly tripped over myself to pat a puppy walking the streets of kyneton.
on that note, how lovely is rural victoria? i have not spent a lot of time in that part of the world, so was really glad that bells and i had hired a car and could take our time getting up to bendigo. which we did. bells took me to her favourite coffee spot in daylesford (it was very good) and then we took a number of wrong turns to find the chocolate mill, but find it we did. then we drove through castlemain and a whole heap of rain before landing in bendigo itself. i never knew it was such a huge town, and it took me a while to get oriented, but theres nothing quite like driving around looking for a supermarket to get you familiar with a place. we spent our first night in with pizza and wine and chocolate and knitting and were off to a pretty good start!
thursday morning we headed off to bendigo woollen mills.
i know you can buy their stuff online but i really wanted to check out all those colours that a shade card can never do justice to. and i heard tell of the famous ‘back room’ which did have some very good bargains, including this lovely baby pure wool 3 ply in ‘holly’:
i bought 12 x 50g balls which is more than enough to make a long flowing drapey ‘adrift’ cardigan. at $3 a ball, that is a steal!
when we were done here, we headed into the centre of town to look for coffee. i had done some research on this matter before embarking and was keen to try a little place called the dispensary, which was tucked up a gorgeous little laneway, a la melbourne. this was really the find of the trip for me. we came here three times, for coffee and lemon tarts, for hot chocolate (the best one ive had since florence) and cocktails on thursday night
and for a truly amazing breakfast on saturday morning. even though im not a drinker anymore, i like all the stuff that goes with it, especially good service, and they never put a foot wrong here.
cant recommend it highly enough!
friday was the show day, and i really tried to be calm about my approach here. i didnt know what to expect, and i had list of potential projects to buy for, and was determined not to be distracted by one off skeins of brightly coloured sock yarn or lucious lace weight i didnt need. and i wasnt. i couldnt find exactly what i was after, which was enough of an alpaca blend (in other words, kid classic without the mohair) to make a bruegel with. i settled instead for quite a lot of some pear tree yarn
that was labelled 8ply but might be closer to 10, in a lovely soft grey. it was in a bargain box for $10 a skein and i think it normally retails for around $20. it might not become a bruegel, but i am working up to making something with some very delicate vine-like cables (having never cabled before) so i think this will be perfect. and a nice change for next year after all the lightweight cardis this season. on the way home yesterday we stopped in kyneton where there was a very good yarn store and i bought some buttons to go with the pear tree yarn.
a nice combination! also at the show i managed to snaffle the one and only (when i got there) skein of collinette jitterbug in vatican pie (see, red sock yarn!)
and i also bought 3 skeins from tarndwarncoort, two polwarth/silk for gifts, and one just straight polwarth for me in a darker grey than the featherweight yarn,
this time for a pi shawl. and that is all. grey and red. two cardigans, socks and a shawl. not bad.
now, this was my first time at the show and i didnt know what to expect, and i had a terrific time and was totally glad i went. however, as i walked around, i could not shake the impression that i have been spoiled. almost all of the indie dyers have an online presence. i knew of most of them already, and have bought from some online before and probably will again. there was nothing that i felt i would die if i didnt have, and there were times i put things back because i didnt need them right now and i knew i could get them online in the future. i thought about all the amazing top quality yarns we can now get from all over the world, because of the internet, and i realised how far my knitting has come, in that i am only interested in buying stuff i know i will use or need for specific projects. so even though there was a lot of lovely pretty things there that caught my eye, i came away with ONLY what i knew for sure i would use. does that count for Growth As A Knitter, do you think?
it was an interesting trip in other ways as well. for a lot of people, ‘bendigo’ is about the socialising, and you know i mentioned i wasnt good in crowds, but i had a great time with the terrific people i travelled with or already knew (bells and knitabulous and randomknits and knitterjp and yarna and lyns), and i went some lovely new people that i had only heard of, and finally put some faces to names, which was a lot of fun!
i really do think im getting old though, because if i go again, i would do a few things differently, and would spend more time looking at other things in the area, and enjoying the local produce, and chilling out with mates. one of the real highlights was a short stop on the way out of town to look at the lovely Sacred Heart Catholic Cathedral:
it didnt seem out of place at all in bendigo, and was a lovely quiet way to say goodbye.
oh, and while i might not fly tigerairways again (tinsheds for terminals giving new meaning to the term ‘cattle class’), all that downtime in airports is great for getting some knitting done, see?!:
and now, i must go empty out my google reader and see what everyone else has been up to!