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Saturday, February 09, 2013

The Rest of the Story

Oh, and I almost forgot. I also had eye surgery in November, which also accounts for some of my absence. It was altogether unpleasant (one of the bonus side effects: motion sickness), and unfortunately, was not quite successful. I am facing the possibility of a repeat on one eye sometime in the future, but it requires some serious consideration. I did not tolerate some of the anesthesia and/or pain meds well, which contributed to the overall misery following the surgery. And it was no fun. And it might not work-- again. And it took longer for my eyes to heal than I expected. And my eyes itched like crazy for weeks. And I hate IVs. But, I also hate the issue I would like to correct, so it's a toss-up.

So, back to swag! When I was in Tallinn, I visited two yarn shops. One was packed to the gills with imported novelty yarn. Now, I don't want to get all yarn snobby here--novelty yarn has its place if you want to make fuzzy monster feet baby booties--but I was not about to drag furry nylon home in my already bulging bags. The other shop was tucked in to a little street very near the opera house. They had a tiny loft where they kept the "local" goods: some yarn that looked a lot like Kauni (which was no where to be found on my stops) or Aade, which is very Kauni-like. (Lots of "handicraft" or gift shops had some yarn and often some felting wool. If they had yarn, it was always Aade, but they might only have a colorway or three.) This was similar and may, in fact, be Aade. (It was not labelled.)

I also picked up some naturally colored wool that the clerk told me was produced in a small mill locally. At least that's what I think she said. Her English was limited, though it far, far surpassed my measly six words of Estonian (four of which I have since forgotten.)

In an interesting coincidence, I found some naturally dyed yarn in a lovely handicraft shop (one of my favorites) that was make in Viljandi. I purchased several skeins, as well as a pair of lovely hand knit mittens (knit with the same yarn) and the book Ornamented Journey. The yarn was actually dyed by a friend of my friend, and we tried at the last minute to arrange for me to travel to Viljandi to see her operation, but it didn't work out. Next time!

I also picked up a copy of Designs and Patterns from Muhu Island. Hoo boy. It is a huge book in every way--size, weight, and content. It is so exquisite. I hemmed and hawed since it was so large, and I knew that I would be schlepping it around all day in Haapsalu, again the next day when I walked from my hotel to the train station, in Tallinn on the tram to my next hotel, and home to the US, but after I visited the table the third time (and the woman working the table gave me that nervous smile that told me I was verging on stalker weirdness), I decided to take the plunge. You should read Kate Davies's synopsis here because she captures its essence well.

So if you're keeping track, you will note that I was, by the end of my visit, quite a pack mule: all the yarn in the last two posts, the two books described (plus a copy of Ornamented Journey in Estonian, which I bought before I saw an English translation later), as well as a lovely, lovely cookbook my friends gave me, written by the owner of the cafe I dined at three times in Haapsalu. Yes, it was that good, and it was charming as all get-out, and if I could transport it--and the darling waiter who, by my third visit was giving me the same look as the book lady--here to my neighborhood, I would.) Plus there were chocolates, textiles, domino sets that featured knitting motifs, juniper utensils and cutting boards, a juniper wood mug (it was a "thing" so I got one), sleeves from a super cool store called Naiiv, some fancy schmancy stockings from designer Kristina Viirpalu, and three Haapsalu shawls. (I will try to get photos of the shawls that do them justice. Maybe this week, when it's supposed to get a little warmer again.) I was masterful in my packing, both in planning ahead to allow room and in getting it all back home without having to pay extra bag or overweight fees! A number of the items were holiday gifts, so I'd gotten a good jump on my Christmas shopping. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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