We dropped Ethan off at college on Saturday, and headed to Decorah, Iowa to see the exhibit of Elsebeth Lavold’s sweaters at the Vesterheim Museum. I had read about the exhibit on Ravelry, and wanted to see it while it was at the museum. A few years back, this same museum had another knitting exhibit, but I couldn’t swing the drive up there. If I had known about this earlier, when Elsebeth was there teaching workshops, I would have surely made the trip. We stayed at the local hotel in the downtown, built in 1906, and renovated recently. Only 30 rooms, adjacent ball room and opera house from the same period. The downtown was gorgeous (with the exception of the bank building that had most likely torn down something beautiful and historic 20 years ago), lively, and very well preserved. And, as my husband said, full of stores that you would actually like to buy something at. After checking into our hotel, we headed straight to the museum, with a stop along the way at the local knit store, Blue Heron Knittery. I had very little time to shop there, as I was anxious to give myself time at the museum. It was the cutest shop, wish it were near me. They had a lot of Elsebeth Lavold yarn, and yarn for stranded knitting (!!!), spinning wheels, and great sock yarn. I purchased 3 skeins of sock yarn.
Dan picked out this yarn Zauberball for socks for himself. I tried to talk him into a more understated colorway, but this was his choice. I am anxious to knit this up.
Then, I saw the Poems Sock variegated yarn (looks a lot like Noro, but MUCH softer, and finer guage), and thought of the Bandalier socks knit up with this in a solid, so I also bought black sock yarn Heritage by Cascade. Both are very soft. I have never used either of these yarns, but the shop owner said that the Cascade was her favorite sock yarn. So, I am interested to try this.
Then, on to the museum, where I saw the exhibit. It made me want to knit up some of her other patterns. I do love the silky tweed yarn. It was fun to see the exhibit, but I am glad that there were other things that I loved about the place, as it was not fabulous. I might otherwise have regreted the long drive. We loved the Versterheim Museum, Dan had a great time looking at everything but the knitting. It didn’t help that in the Lavold room, the heat was on, and it was unbearably hot in there. I went down to look at the gift shop, and see if they had any knitting books. One of the women working there showed me the new Norwegian Handknits book that had arrived only the day before. I have been ogling over it for the last 2 days, there is a pair of knee-high colorwork socks that I really want to make right away, and a simple shawl that I think would be beautiful in Koigu. I got it at the pre-publication price of $24:
Then, she told me to go down to the craft shop that they also owned, and they had knitting books at 1/2 price. I scored on The Children’s Collection by Alice & Jade Starmore, Best of Rowan (which is very dated 1980’s patterns, but interesting, and it has another version of the Foolish Virgins Sweater in it that I am very interested in), and Fancy Feet by Anna Zilboorg. These books have all been out of print, and expensive on the resale market—obviously the staff did not know this, just thought that they had been around for a long time. I am very excited about these.
We then went on to see the historic district of Decorah with some really lovely homes, a fresh air museum (Norwegian buildings rebuilt on the site, and furnished–you looked through the windows), a beautiful park on the buff, and Dan’s favorite, a historic brick kiln. We wondered what it was about this town of 12,000+/- that made it so lively. WalMart had been unable to kill the downtown in spite of the monstrosity on the outskirts. Was it that there were no large cities close by? Was the small college in town a help? Or is it the Norwegian heritage that keeps working, and supports local?