09 October 2013
I love yarn crawls. Unlike last year, this time I had a partner in crime. My friend Chelle (who used to work with me, until her real job gave her a huge raise and massive overtime) picked me up around 7:30 Saturday morning and we were off. Here's the fun thing: Chelle doesn't knit. Or crochet. She does occasionally sew, though, so we might do a craft fair together next winter. Anyway, Chelle decided she wanted me to teach her to knit, so when I invited her on the crawl, she was VERY excited.
Our first stop was In Stitches in Weston. We also grabbed some breakfast before we went in, and then we were off on our first shopping extravaganza together. The shop is interesting. It's on the second floor with a bunch of small rooms that are all connected and all center around the stairs. Most of our visit was spent teaching Chelle how to read a label (care instructions, recommended needle size, etc.), but she also picked out some novelty yarn to use for a scarf. I got a hank of Juniper Moon Farm Moonshine--so soft!--for myself and a hank of Royal Alpaca for another friend who couldn't get out of work to go with us. If you recall (or just check the link from last year), I got this yarn in a different color last year at Another Yarn, and since it's nicely plied I think my friend will love it. Chelle also picked up her first pair of needles here. Overall it was a nice shop, but we were the only ones there. Sometimes it's nice to be the only ones in a store, but the man working there didn't know much about yarn and wasn't much help (he also referred to himself as the stock boy, so I'm not really sure why he was the only one working during a yarn crawl, unless the other staff just wasn't there yet). Luckily I was able to answer all of Chelle's questions.
Our second shop on the crawl was Black Sheep Knitting. I was really excited for this one, because I didn't make it that far last year and because Ana from Toil and Trouble was doing a trunk show. There were a lot of people in this cute little store, with the trunk shows set up in the center of the floor (Ana was sharing her spotlight with Bashful Fibers, Holiday Yarns, and Ellie's Reclaimed Cashmere). That of course made it a little tight, but the store was so happy that it wasn't a problem. Most exciting, though: Ana had some sock yarns in my beloved Hecate colorway (North Shore Crawl, anyone?)! I decided this was a day for a little luxury and went with the Merino/Cashmere/Nylon blend over the Merino/Nylon. This picture of course doesn't do the yarn justice--the colors are much more vivid and the darker color is really a purple, one that looks like a grape lollipop. I can't say no to a pretty sock yarn, so I also grabbed a hank of Flock Sock in Nora's Birthday Confetti. Those colors are beautiful! We also got a copy of a pattern for a cowl (and it's lovely, I can't wait to work it up) as well as cute project bags. I love the Black Sheep store logo.
After Black Sheep we headed out to Creative Warehouse, which was a new store for me. We didn't find anything really special, but we did get to look at a lot of different sample projects. The space was set up strangely and kind of reminded me of when we emptied my grandmother's attic to put in her central air unit. Stuff was everywhere and there wasn't much rhyme or reason to how things were sorted. There were baskets of yarn all over the place with different brands mixed together, and the front room of the store was full (and I mean full) of single patterns, flimsy pattern books--you know the ones, $11 for six patterns and no pictures except on the front and back covers--and a shelf with more substantial books, those more suited for someone learning to knit. It wasn't really the place for us, so after we picked a free gift (Chelle took an i-cord flower pin and I took an extra darning needle) and poked around a bit, we decided to head off to Natick to visit Iron Horse.
It was so nice to go back to this fun little store. Parking was a lot easier than the last time I was there, and the sales were incredible. As we left Creative Warehouse, Chelle wrote down a few things I said she'd need, and she managed to pick them up at Iron Horse. We also each got a copy of Cast On, Bind Off because a book like that is absolutely indispensable (seriously, if you can get a copy, do it). I also got 60 Quick Baby Blankets because I love 60 Quick Baby Knits and blankets are a nice thing to make, especially if you like the parents of the baby you're knitting for (because I won't knit for anyone I don't particularly like). I also got a new braid of roving. Look at those colors! I also learned the history behind the name of the store (and the farm where this lovely wool comes from). I can't remember if the woman who owns the store who sold her house or bought her house, but either way. The farm is solely for sheep now, but it's named for a nearby train and used to have a couple of horses. Fun, right? Because I was really stumped by the name until I heard that story.
After Iron Horse, we drove off to Acton to visit my not-so-local Woolpack. Of course, I told Chelle about my last trip and she was only slightly surprised to hear about the money I dropped. She was more surprised to hear that I had just been a few weeks earlier. This time I decided to behave myself. We put in our names for the raffle and split up to fondle the yarns at our own pace. I'm not sure if I've mentioned, but Woolpack has a big collection of cashmere and cashmere blends. They have these cute little baby booties worked up in 100% cashmere that I just love to pet every time I'm in. At some point I might need to make myself some slippers or something from that yarn. They also have some nice ruffly cuffs on display, cashmere with beads, and such nice shades of purple. Anyway, since I had just emptied my bank account into their coffers so recently, I decided to restrain myself. I wouldn't normally have gone for this shade of green (which is more of a pine green in person), but I've been thinking of my cousins in Seattle lately, so maybe that's why it called my name. Pine trees and silvery fog, maybe? I dunno, I just fell in love with these two colors together. It's a really chunky yarn, but it's also pretty soft, so I'm thinking maybe I'll do a double-knit cowl, or maybe another form of colorwork. I'm excited to plan it out.
We then made the trek back from the far reaches of the crawl and into Waltham to visit Island Yarn. I hadn't been before, but I've seen the gorgeous yarns online and I was really excited to "meet" some of them in real life. It's a really small store (not as tiny as Yarns in the Farms, but small) , so every available surface is covered with yarns. Chelle was looking for bright colors for her niece, and anything she could use to make fingerless mitts, so she was really focused. I was not. I found the yarn on the left first. It's an Aran weight, called Chesterfield. It's a 50/50 silk/merino blend in a color called Saffron. How could I let it sit behind in the store when it was clearly screaming for me?
The first picture doesn't do it justice. Look at those colors! Colors I love, but in shades I don't usually go for. They work really well together. I love it.
The yarn on the right is an unmarked sock yarn, so I have no idea what the fiber content or color name are. Boo. It's very pretty, though. I'm guessing it's a riff on the Saffron color, because they look very similar. The sock yarn is much darker, though. I can't wait to play with it. I also got a braid of faux-cashmere fiber to spin. It is so soft, I can't believe it. Now the fancy part: both of my yarns and my fiber were dyed by the shop owner! So fancy. And then since I spent whatever the minimum was to poke through the book bucket, I got to poke through the book bucket! I saw an old copy of Creative Knitting I had when I was in college (holy crap, those patterns were dated even when the issue was new!), which was really funny, but I decided to go with a copy of The Friday Night Knitting Club instead, since I love a good novel and it's supposed to be a good one.
After Island Yarn we went to Puttin' On The Knitz, but it wasn't anything special. It was tiny, with a lot of unremarkable yarn, and loud 1940s jazz music playing. We were also getting hungry, so we decided to head back toward my house.
Our last two stops were much closer to home. The penultimate shop was Stitch House, which wasn't too packed considering it was Crawl Saturday and it was the middle of the afternoon. I think we just got lucky and stopped in between two large crushes of people, though. Chelle found some fun ruffle yarn in the discount bin. She got a ball in bright colors for her niece and one in shades of gray and black for her boyfriend's sister, so she was a happy camper. I got sock yarn, because there's no point in living if you can't buy more sock yarn than you might ever be able to knit. I got more Tosh Sock, because those colors are so intense but so beautiful. This color is called Vintage Apron (I almost got the same colors in a fiber braid at Iron Horse, apparently I'm drawn to the vivid stuff lately). The other two hanks are Shibui Knits Staccato in Twin Set, a color I've had an eye out for since I first saw it on Emily's blog during a giveaway.
The final store we went to was relatively new, Bead + Fiber in Southie, around the corner from where I once had a job interview. Bead + Fiber is in a sort of shopping center where all the shops open onto a brick walkway. I imagine in the winter it's a bit of a pain in the ass to stroll through and shop when everything's covered in ice and snow, but it was nice in the fall. Not surprisingly, since beads are mentioned first, this store focuses mostly on beads and jewelry making tools. They do carry a lot of local yarns, which is wonderful, but by the time we made it here we were getting a little burned out, plus we were hungry, plus I wanted to sit down with Chelle and show her the basics before I sent her off to do her own thing.
Eventually we made it home and had a fun, though quick, knitting lesson. And now, Chelle's niece wants to learn to knit. I've converted new followers!