The title says it all, doesn’t it? Well, maybe not quite all…

My lab went to a conference in Minneapolis this week, and my labmate Mariko and I managed to sneak out of the networking dinners long enough to get a tour of the city with Ellen on Thursday night. Unfortunately, I brought my camera to the hotel with me, and then promptly forgot to put it in my purse, so there are no pictures. (Ellen, being better prepared, has a couple of pictures of me on her blog.)

Considering that we were together for just a few hours, we made quite a tour of the city. We stopped at the Textile Arts center, where they had beautiful handmade garments, quilts, and crafted items on display. It’s probably a good thing that they were so expensive (and rightly so), or I might have ended up with a much heavier suitcase on the way back! No pictures were allowed, but I wish I’d thought to at least sketch some of the shapes of the garments; most were a little too haute couture for me, but the lines were good and could easily be modified to fit simpler pieces. The detail was amazing, and all hand-done. The textile center itself was pretty amazing, with space for several guilds and a library, as well as a small gallery and shop. It seemed like a real center for the crafting community, and a great place to hang out.

After we’d had our fill of high fashion, we headed over to StevenBe, which has to be the funkiest yarn store I’ve ever been in, and one that’s truly a reflection of all that’s unique about its owner. His exuberant personality is everywhere you look, from the full-length mirror and the chandelier hanging from the rafters to the cassette tape sweater and handspun art yarn that grace the display hooks. It’s so refreshing to find a place that is unabashedly unique, simply doing its own thing and trusting that everyone that comes in will be charmed (as we were). Definitely a must-see if you’re ever in Minneapolis.

We finished off the evening at the Birchwood cafe, another cute little establishment that apparently doesn’t mind its patrons sitting at tables and painting (as the guy next to us was doing) or knitting while waiting for their food.

In all, it was a very fun evening, and it was great to finally meet Ellen in person after commenting back and forth for something like 3 years. And now that we know it’s only a 4 hour drive separating us, I can imagine that there might be further exploits in our future.

( certainly hope so, and, I will try very hard to remember the camera next time!)