The Life and Times of Florence Knitingale

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Teeny Tiny Donuts and the Bloggers Who Love Them

Mr. K and I decided today that we had been too much indoors. It's easy to do during any Seattle winter--the skies stay mostly gray and rainy, the streets stay wet and dirty and, even though it isn't cold, the wet starts to just seep into you. And this winter with its ice and snow and tree throwing-well, let's just say that a person might be forgiven for growing a taproot that goes through the couch right into the floor (but thankfully has enough slack to reach the yarn stash). Realizing that we were both beginning to develop something akin to prison pallor, we planned an adventure.

The first part of the adventure was the University of Washington auction, held several times per year, and somehow attracting a multitude of folks who simply can't resist the call of an entire pallet of computers without hard drives or a dentist's chair or an infant incubator (nope, not kidding. They really auction that stuff off...along with equipment for glass blowing, milling machines--if the U used it, you can probably bid on it). Mr. K can resist most of that stuff, but the milling machine was calling his name, so we went there first. Having never been to a live auction, I sat in my chair like a mannequin, convinced that just scratching my nose would end up making us the proud owners of half a dozen lap top computers without keyboards. Mostly, I stared at the floor, just in case. The milling machine went for about $1800 which was more than we wanted to pay, so we headed out.

(I did wonder, though, what a knitters auction would look like. I mean, knitters are without a doubt the nicest, most unselfish group of people I've ever met. Forget cutthroat bidding--I can see it now:
"Well, I was going to bid higher...but what were you going to use the item for? I mean, I like it and all, but if you already have a plan for it, you should have it!" or "Yes, I won this entire pallet of yarn-- but you tried so hard for it. Let's just share it." You know, I can totally see myself doing that. Now if I can just find an auction with pallets of Mountain Colors yarn.)

We stopped at Weaving Works yarn store where I petted and oohed and aahed and generally drove the shopkeepers nuts...but stayed firmly on the wagon. Okay, so if the brilliantly dyed Collinette sock yarn had had just a few more yards for the $20.50 price tag I would have actually nose dived right off said wagon...but c'mon. We can at least PRETEND that I have real self control. Oh, and we can also overlook the fact that I have planned a serious face plant off the wagon next weekend in honor of the Madrona Fiber Festival. (Remember, I did allow myself 2 - 3 mulligans.....and don't you love how I put "2 - 3", like I'd really stop at 2 if 3 were an I actually kidding any of you? No, I thought not.)

From there we went to the Pike Place Market and here I planned to have absolutely scads (which I believe is slightly more than an assload) of stunning pictures of our market and our Sound (Puget Sound, for the unitiated) and the big brass pig in the market and oh--just everything. But here's the thing: remember when Martha said to be sure your colander has holes in the bottom? brain apparently has plenty because the idea of bringing the camera fell right out. Rolled across the floor and is currently languising under the bed with the dust bunnies. Or dust gorillas, possibly. I'm not all that obsessive about cleaning under things. No camera.

Here is where I'd have put the photo of all the silver fish gleaming on ice at the market where the guys throw them to one another as they prepare your order. I don't eat fish and the smell kind of gags me...but the sight is pretty awesome and anyway, I think it's against the law to live in Seattle and not think the fish guys are cool. I don't even like to tell natives that I don't eat the fish.....a girl could get run out of town for a thing like that. Thank goodness I drink the coffee.

Here is where I would put the picture down the length of the market where the vendors sell all manner of things--from huge, bright colored fruit and vegetables to lavender honey to rocks etched with inspirational words to coarse woolen knits from Norway to Marionberry and Jalapeno jelly to...well, almost anything you can think of. And it's always crowded. I don't know how this works, quite, but no matter which way I walk down that passageway, I'm always swimming upstream. (See, I can talk the talk...just can't eat the little buggers.)

Here would be the photo off the pier, with the thin January sun lancing off the water as the ferry glides by...and that one seagull who watched us for the longest time, standing on one leg as he tucked the other up against his belly to keep it warm. It's chilly down by the water, and my eyes watered a bit in the wind but it's the same Seattle that called me to live here--all colors and sounds and that water lapping softly against the pier.

And here is the donut place. Now, I don't normally eat donuts and I wouldn't generally think of them as nectar of the wool gods or anything. But these...well...these are to donuts as cheap acrylic is to cashmere. Truly. See, there's this machine that was actually built in Seattle and it's been there forever in the market, turning out tiny, miniature donuts behind a plexiglass screen so you can watch the dough make it's way from the batter bowl to hot oil to the pans. The line, incredibly, stretches all the way down the length of the booth to and past the end of the next one. It's that way every time I go past, never seeming to shorten. Eventually, I can't stand it and I wait in line until I can finally collect my treasure: a fragrant, brown paper bag into which the man has tossed a dozen (they really are tiny--I'm talking no more than 2 bites) fresh, hot donuts and then sprinkled in a generous amount of cinnamon sugar. He shakes it once and hands it to me and those donuts....oh, those donuts. They melt in your mouth. It's like being a kid again. Bet you didn't know we had a fountain of youth here but I swear--if you can eat these and not run around gleefully with sugar around your mouth and a goofy smile, well, then I just don't know about you. (And I did share them with Mr. K....I thought that better than just taping the damned things to my ass, which is where they surely would have ended up.)

Oh, and we stopped here, too: The Crumpet Shop. And no, we didn't eat our way through the city or anything...but you just HAVE to go to the Crumpet Shop. They sell real English crumpets (and I know because I lived in England briefly and I've had the real deal--and these are them) which they serve in a stunning variety of ways. Truly, this is where the similarity to their British cousins vanishes because although you can get them with jam or marmalade as is appropriate, you can also get them with ricotta cheese and smoked salmon, English cheese, tomato and cucumber, green eggs and ham (eggs cooked with pesto), cream cheese with maple butter and walnuts, peanut butter, nutella--you name it. They also sell divine chicken sandwiches on Scottish groat bread and you can actually buy real quality tea there as well as dear little teapots that are so round you want to pet them. Or cuddle them. Or something. I was kind of enjoying my city may have made me a bit weird. (Okay, okay--weirder.)

I hung around the booth for the Sequim Lavender growers until I think they wanted to banish me and I smelled everything (I'm pretty sure I didn't get snot on anything...they didn't make me buy anything, in any case) and I listened to street musicians (there are always tons of them, even when it's cold) and I remembered how it was that Seattle seduced me over the mountains to live here.

I forgive her for throwing trees. This time.


  • At 5:37 PM, Anonymous MonicaPDX said…

    Oh man...That was just as good as photos! Absolutely wonderful; great job! I love your idea of a knitters' auction. And those donuts - ok, dammit, I am now pining for donuts. Thou art evil. But even worse--


    Sorry. I've had crumpets only up in Canada, and I simply adore them. The last two times I was up there, it was for Highlander fan conventions, we were stuck in hotels most of the time, even visiting Granville Island I didn't run across any crumpets, and it's been years, and, and... ::sobs:: I wonder if my brother would ship me some??

    Oh. Yarn sale enablement, even for those of you on the yarn diet... sock yarn doesn't count, right?... w/Ms. K's permission. Feel free to edit this out, Ms. K, if you want.

    Deb of Fearless Fibers ( is having an Orphan Skeins sale on Monday and Tuesday (22nd & 23rd). She rainbow-dyes gorgeous Merino 2-ply sock yarn, plus laceweight cashmere and the occasional heavier wool yarn. Most of the sock skeins have incredible yardage, 410-550 yds.; and are only around $14.50 to $18, tops. Sale prices (for sock yarn, at least, dunno on cashmere) should be starting at $9 or so, from what I remember of the last sale. Deb's the first person I bought sock yarn from, and is right across town from me, so no sales tax! She's on a mini-vacation right now, so the Etsy store doesn't have any listings at the moment, but the sale yarns go up around 8 a.m. PST Monday morning. No, I don't get a kickback - it's just that I get all excited! Like at auctions. [g] Guess where I'll be Monday morning?

  • At 7:43 PM, Blogger Marianne said…

    Oh, I love those little round teapots, the ones you feel you should cuddle.
    What a fabulous day!

  • At 1:07 AM, Anonymous angie Cox said…

    Don't place bets on my good behaviour at a yarn auction ..a whole load of silk-garden and I'd get real mean . There is more than one knit blogger who relishes being known to have the personality of an angry Rhino!.
    I really would have loved those pictures so like a good radio broadcast I'm conjuring it all up ..Cabot Cove come into it at all? When I was a teen my best friend was Polish and she made fresh doughnuts that were heaven . I know Colinette yarn is a fortune in the U.S .I havn't tried any of their new yarns because even though a big fan even I find their silk expensive and I really like a silk mix. I have fallen head over heels with C.T.H's loopy boucle silk/wool mix . I don't knit socks yet but if I do I think I'd go for Capricorn mohair's smooth mohair .I bought some of their socks and I adore them .Sorry Mr K. didn't get his mill ..a saw-mill?

  • At 11:02 AM, Anonymous Jill said…

    Mini donuts are the only reason I go to the Klondike Days/Exibition here. Rides scare me, and big crowds scare me, but its all worth it for the mini donuts!

  • At 11:48 AM, Blogger Jo said…

    Sounds like an enchanting way to spend the day!


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