The long weekend in celebration of Dave's birthday, er, President's Day afforded us the rare opportunity to 'get the heck outta dodge'. We both needed a break and had vowed with the start of our 'real jobs' to take advantage of three day weekends to do something fun. And TOGETHER.
Back when we thought we'd be leaving California for other adventures, we made a list of all the things we wanted to do in the state before we left. Hearst Castle in San Simeon was right at the top. So we went.
The 'castle' is actually an estate built at the top of a hill in the coastal range where the Hearst family owned a large ranch and used to camp in tents. William Randolph Hearst, of San Francisco media mogul fame, built the estate as he got older and, apparently, tired of tents. The ranch is still a working ranch, and we were lucky enough to have *perfect* weather to enjoy the vistas from the hilltop 'ranch house'.
We saw the outdoor pool,
and the indoor pool.
We (and by we I mean mostly me) goofed around in the gardens, which were stunning.
We went down to the beach and stood out on the pier where ships unloaded all the building materials and art that eventually made it to the top of the hill. Looking out at the Pacific Ocean never ceases to impress and amaze me.
On the way back home we reveled in being Californian and drove with the wind in our hair through some absolutely beautiful country. We are lucky, indeed.
What does this have to do with crafting? Not much, admittedly, but there was a yarn shop in Cambria, just a few miles down the highway from our hotel and Dave was a lovely person and took me there. He was even lovelier and bought me yarn. And to cap the trifecta, he was super awesome and helped me pick out yarn. I'm lucky in so many ways!
This particular shop, Ball & Skein & More, had Manos del Uruguay yarns in just about every color they make, if not every color. Which surprised me because I didn't see a whole lot of solids in fingering weight wool. So I settled on this beautiful skein of Alegria that Dave picked up. He's good at finding something I wouldn't normally pick and saying something like "honey, look it's like the sunset we watched last night" to make me see it in a completely different way. He was right, these are the colors of the San Simeon sunsets we saw over the ocean out our hotel window. I'm a sucker for sentimentality.
Before setting foot in the store I told myself I needed to pick a project for the yarn I would surely purchase. Getting the yarn in a destination is great, but actually using it for a project that will remind you of the place is even better. Laura Aylor's Litchfield Shawl has been on my list for a while, but I've been holding off on buying more yarn to make it happen. The designer's version is pretty beachy and makes me want one for coastal evenings like the ones spent that weekend. I originally wanted to use sandy neutrals, but really a San Simeon sunset is pretty good, no?
I found this beautiful dove gray/brown to go with it, and I think I have enough of some other yet to be determined color in my stash to serve as the accent stripe color. Possibly the rest of the light blue from my Independence. shawl. So I will manage to have some beach-inspired neutrals along with my crazy sunset hand painted yarn. I'm not sure how the colors will pool, and I'm a little nervous I'm not going to be wild about it, but given the confluence of all other factors I think this yarn has to be this shawl. So unless it's really awful, onward Litchfield.
I am, however, showing at least some restraint and not casting on until I finish at least one of the projects I have going right now… for now. Mainly it's because the lady at the shop seemed really overwhelmed when I asked if she could wind my skeins for me and so they're still all twisted up. But shhh I'm not telling anyone that part. :)