We arrived Le Centre Sheraton Montreal on Thursday afternoon after an easy drive from Belgrade (Maine). GPS took us all the way to Canada and nearly to Montreal on back roads and it was a beautiful day for a drive.
The hotel has been undergoing some renovations and as such, Glenda, my knitting adventure companion, upgraded us to the Club level of the hotel where we would be able to have breakfast in the mornings included in our room rate. There was also an option to have hors d’oeuvres in the evenings but we only made that once. We were busy! The hotel was nice, the rooms were above average and we were able to park the car in the hotel parking so I didn’t worry about it at all.
After we checked in we checked out the Club level and had some hors d’oeuvres before our first adventure. The photo above was the view from the 37th floor of Montreal.
Thursday evening’s excursion was to “knit night” at Espace Tricot. Espace Tricot is one of those iconic yarn shops that you dream about visiting. My friend Michele from The Medomak Fiber Arts Retreat lives in Montreal and her LYS is Espace Tricot. So … when in Montreal … we headed out of the downtown area on the metro requesting a “soiree illimitee” ticket.
Espace Trico is on the second floor of the building and is an attractive, light-filled, well organized space full of delicious yarns. They have their own brand of yarns in addition to many other brands that we don’t normally see down here in the States. There were five women there, a smaller-than-normal group, and the four of us. It was Cindy’s birthday so Michele brought vegan cupcakes. I am looking forward to getting her recipe. They were delicious! (Happy Birthday, Cindy!)
On Friday morning we had classes. Mine was Slip it, Float it, Tuck it with Bristol Ivy. It was a wonderful class and Bristol is a generous, organized teacher. We made a “wonky” swatch of practice stitch patterns but I learned a lot. Slipped stitches do so many different things and make so many different stitch patterns.
Since our official tour guide had to work on Friday, we headed off on our own, Glenda, Cindy and me, to find two local attractions that we heard were not to be missed. So back to the metro we went and headed to a kosher Jewish bakery called Boulangerie Cheskie.
Oh my goodness, if there was a world in which I could have one of each, this is the world! Yummm!!! The bakery was filled with locals who were preparing for the sabbath. Older kids with their younger siblings in strollers, families, and us. We met a lovely older woman who’d lived in the neighborhood for decades. She was warm and happy to chat with me in line. I brought home some rugelach, babka and some potato knishes.
Then off to the “button shop”, Rix Rax, aka the candy store. I’m not even sure that there are words for this place beyond WOW! I’ve never seen so many buttons in one place before. A rainbow of buttons of every size. And the proprietress knew where we needed to look for anything we asked for. It was incredible. I got little orange buttons for the sweater I’m going to make for Sylvie and I got some little navy buttons to replace the ones that I put on my Elton cardigan. I also bought some gorgeous orange glossy shell buttons … guess I’m going to have to knit myself a sweater for them. They’re so special!
We also visited a little yarn shop in the same neighborhood. None of us can pass a yarn shop without going in.
La Maison Tricotee was a sweet little yarn shop with some beautiful yarns. They had the Knitting for Olive yarns that I’d never seen before and never touched. It’s lovely for knitting and particularly nice for knitting for little people. I was saving my money for Saturday so I didn’t buy anything there but I could have.
Saturday we went to the Knit City marketplace.
We had previewed the different vendors and shops and had a “plan” but after walking into the market place, we bought our first yarn at almost the first booth we saw and it was not part of our plan! I bought a 100g hank of peach and two mini-hanks of the same black tweed fingering weight yarn to make a cowl. We both loved the colorwork cowl sample that was shown to us. It was really pretty. I’ll be making the First Snowfall Neck-warmer by Runningyarn.
I also bought a hank of yarn at Mailles a Part which is owned by one of Michele’s friends, Catherine, who we met at knit night. I’m not sure what this yarn will want to be yet, but I was thinking a one-skein shawl. I loved the color! I also bought a beautiful enamel row counter. It has pins on the back of it so you can pin it to your project bag. (Glenda has already noticed that the numbers don’t “lock” so we are. both a bit concerned about how it will really work. I haven’t tried it yet.)
Last, I bought some fingering weight yarn in a gray/pink wool, Nurtured Fine from Julie Asselin. Julie herself rang me out. I loved the sample that they had in the shop in this yarn. It was called Poet by Sari Nodlund. It’s amazing to think that I can make a sweater (although it is a tee and without sleeves) in two cones of yarn. I am looking forward to working with this yarn. And it seems like I’ve got my knitting plans all charted out, doesn’t it? We had a blast at the marketplace and the plan was to to not return because we’d bought our fill.
We both took a Saturday afternoon class with Stephanie Purl McPhee … and she was amazing. Funny and light but also providing lots of tips and tricks as we talk-walked through the process of knitting a garment from visiting a yarn store and choosing yarns to blocking. I had heard that the class was a lecture (a 3-hour lecture) and was prepared to be entertained more than informed. Boy was I wrong. Stephanie’s lecture was totally note-taking-worthy. I only wish I’d taken pictures of her. (And Bristol, too!)
After breakfast on Sunday we went back to the marketplace “to get Glenda’s book signed” and … OOPS!
I got into a little bit more “trouble” (but it’s good trouble!) Wool insoles from Revolution Wool Company for our shoes for obvious reasons. His will be a birthday gift next week. A mug with pink insides and handle and lots of cute knitted garments adorn the outside. It was too cute to pass up. I also bought from the same vendor some stick on/wash off embroidery patterns intended for knitwear. This water soluble fabric stabilizer isn’t foreign to me but I thought this was a good way to try it for the first time. Knitted Bliss Stitching had a really sweet pair of mittens, Framework Mittens, that I’ll knit and then embroider on to give this a try – and she uses embroidery floss! I have that.
On Saturday after we were at the market I learned about special yarn colorways that were made for KCM. I “had” to buy one of each. One was a mohair blend from La Bien Aimee and the other an untreated BFL wool by Akara. I’m not sure what they’ll be yet but I was thinking a shawl with stripes of each yarn. Time will tell. I also bought two skeins of Sonder Yarn Co’s Muse yarn. This will be used to knit a tank top called Staple Linen Top by Joji Locatelli. It’s a relatively simple pattern and the pale peach yarn will be a favorite, I’m sure.
Highlights and Lowlights:
For me the least fun was the knit night on Friday evening. The room was packed to the rafters with people, ten to a table and there wasn’t room to move around and visit with our other friends. Seats were assigned so Glenda and I were away from the friends we really wanted to visit but we met a nice woman (between us) named Kim from RI. There were games and raffle prizes but to me, the music was too loud, I couldn’t hear the emcees well at times and, frankly, I think I’d have rather just visited and knitted with my friends from all around the US and Canada. BUT the high part of the low part was that there were so many younger people there. We were the oldest women at our table of ten. That was thrilling.
The best part of this weekend was the people. All of the vendors, organizers and unofficial city hosts in Montreal (those in the restaurants, the metro, the hotel staff, volunteers, etc.) were so friendly and helpful. And the best of the best was getting to spend time with old friends and meeting new friends. Again, we felt warmly welcomed at knit night at Espace Tricot and everywhere else we went. This “shiksa” was welcomed at a kosher Jewish patisserie by an 80+ year old local … how much better than that does it get? Montreal really showed us what a treasure sits on their little island. (I learned that Montreal is an island!)
We took a GPS-chosen route home yesterday and had some good laughs. We touched two countries and three states in our return trip – crossed into the US in Vermont, New Hampshire and then Maine on what we are calling the avoidance route – we avoided all two-lane roads after Canada’s Route 10 – and yet, we arrived at Glenda’s house in 5 hours. And it was a beautiful day for a drive.
Thank you, Montreal, Knit City Canada and to Glenda for going with me. We will be back next year especially since we are bilingual. (Je pense que non!) Ha! Ha! Ha!