Saturday, August 4, 2012


What was I doing again? It has been so long I can't remember.

The spring went by in a blur--four trips in four weeks that really kept me on my toes. First conference in Vancouver, then a quick trip to Mexico City, followed by a foray to San Francisco to visit my favorite customers, and finally an international sales meeting in Berlin.

The olypic torch on the Vancouver waterfront at the convention center

There is a ton to catch up on, including the end of my flood construction, but first a little story about Mexico.

Way back in 1989, I visited Mexico City at the start of a work-study program and had the time of my life doing a whirlwind tour in 2 days with some fellow students.  This is the first time I have been back since then, and I had shared some of those great memories with our local rep.

This is Octavio, our Mexican sales rep and my guide and chauffer during the trip.

I had told Octavio about my earlier trip, and a particular restaurant we had visited that I had loved, so during the second day of my visit, we finished work early and Octavio surprised me with an impromptu tour of the zocalo and a visit to the Casa de los Azulejos for my favorite enchiladas suizas and fresh guacamole.

Palacio de las bellas artes, Mexico City

Casa de los azulejos
 Octavio is one of nine children, and is so named because he is the eighth.  He's a great guy, and very sharp.  Over lunch, I was asking about his family, and he mentioned one of his sisters had been an archeologist, but had retired from the field and decided to start her own business.  And what type of business might you ask? Turns out, she opened a yarn store. I must have started involuntarily drooling at that point, because Octavio paused his story and asked "Wait--you wouldn't want to go see it, would you?"  I gave the most emphatic 'yes' that I could muster with a mouth full of enchiladas, and off we went.

After a short drive through downtown, we arrived at Fil to visit Octavio's sister Rosio. I knew right away I was going to like this place :)

Octavio confessed that his wife, mother, and mother-in-law were avid knitters, and he asked if I had a basement full of baskets filled with yarn that I never intended to use.  Technically, I do not have a basement, but the rest is pretty accurate. Bottom line: Octavio gets me.

Fil is a light and colorful little shop, and I had the time of my life. Rosio had some wonderful custom cabinets for yarn storage built for her by another brother, and I was drooling over those as much as the yarn selection.

Rosio was kind and incredibly knowledgable, so when I asked if by chance she had some locally sourced yarns she would recommend, she pointed me to some real gems. 

I discovered Estambre del Bosque, a little free-trade company located near Aguascalientes, and a wonderful new linen/viscose blend called Natura Marina.  The natural colors were beautiful, and it had a drape like many very expensive linens I have found.  The best part? A little under $3 USD per skein!  I am not kidding.  I could not find yardage listed anywhere, and I cannot even find the yarn on line, but I am guessing it is somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 yds/50g.  I bought all she had of a light silver color, and am hoping against hope that is enough for a summer tee or sweater. Just in case it is not, I also picked up three more skeins of a darker gray and will resort to stripes if needed.

My other gem was Omega Nilo, a cotton/silk/linen blend that had the same texture as some Riveting I was eyeing not too long ago.  I don't want to make any of you jealous, but let's just say I left with sweater quantities of 2 yarns and spent less that $50 USD. Best. Yarn. Shopping. Day. Ever.

Rosio also gifted me with a small skein of some local handknit. We were changing subjects quickly and I am the first to admit my Spanish is a bit rusty, so I didn't quite catch whether she spun it or it was spun and dyed by one of her patrons, but it is handspun from some local raw wool.  It has some great character, so I will have to find something cool to make from it.

I was so entranced with my Estambre del Bosque, I left it in my suitcase for my back-to-back SanFran and Berlin trips (I only had one day in between DF and SF, and left straight for Berlin from SFO, so one less thing to unpack was welcome) and cast on the Radian Yoke sweater the second I finally finished my second Grace socks. 

After Berlin, I had to put it down for a couple of weeks while I attempted to put my house back together, but I picked it up again last week and am racing to the finish so I can start my Olympics project.  I was concerned about having enough, but I am past the waist increases and am only about 1/3 of the way through skein 4 (I have six total, plus three of the dark), so I think I am going to be fine as I have only vents, hems, and sleeves remaining.

Next up, the aftermath of the flood, and I seem to be craving wool.