Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Yarn Overdose

As I mentioned in the prior post, I hit four yarn shops before I even saw the ocean on my trip to the Outer Banks. I even showed admirable restraint in not going to a fifth. But pretty much that was ALL the restraint I showed.

First, you have to understand, I have no local yarn shop (known in knitting parlance as LYS). The closest ones to me are close to an hour away, and for the most part, are closed when our studio is closed, and I am therefore free to visit them. So getting to actually go to a LYS and fondle the yarn, see the color without wondering if the monitor is changing it, contrast and compare and ask questions, is pure heaven. And so I did, DH frequently wandering to neighboring shops, but returning to act out his Sherpa duties. :::wink:::

I found the differences between the shops to be fascinating, because at two I felt right at home, and at two, while perfectly pleasant, I was not comfortable. And my purchases reflect that.

The first shop I visited was in Richmond, The Yarn Lounge. I had liked their website, an important necessity in this day and age. I walked into a shop that had yarn all around the walls, not tons, but a nice selection. A few needles and tools, and a huge central table. I felt welcomed, that they were interested in me, and not pushed. We talked about A Fine Fleece and one of the ladies showed me the front and back of a sweater from it that she was doing in a yarn called Imperial Stock Ranch. Amazingly, she'd only used two skeins for a 44" bust cabled sweater. This yarn says 200+ yards in a skein, but it has to be considerably more. It's from Oregon, made from Columbia sheep. I got four skeins of it in 2 ply in a shade called Canyon Shadow Blue. I also got two skeins of Malabrigo worsted in Tuareg, a color I also have already in their lace weight. Here's a shot of what I got. The colors are a bit washed out, so I encourage you to look at the website.

My next yarn shop didn't hit me nearly as well. It was Knitting Sisters in Williamsburg, which I found entirely by accident when we stopped for coffee. It's in a cluster of very artsy fartsy shops called Village Shops at Kingsmill. Although the help was quite polite, they weren't warm, you know? I'm always irked when a shop has a sample out that they don't have the yarn to make. I fell in love with a colorwork mitten that was solid with tiny insets of multicolored yarn. They had tons of the multi, almost none of the solid. But they tried to push a kit on me for another, totally different mitten. Nice, it's in Vogue and I liked it, but not what I wanted. When I asked about another yarn, they didn't have it and waved me toward another that wasn't really similar at all. The shop was busy, and the staff was helpful toward most everyone, but I just didn't feel the love. I cannot pin it down better than that, but I can show you that all I bought was two skeins of Noro that I think are destined for some mittens.
This is showing a bit brighter than actuality, but you get the idea.

The next shop was recommended to me by the ladies at the Yarn Lounge, and bless them for it. It was my favorite. Called Knitting Addiction, it's a wonderful, roomy shop, as the picture on their home page shows. They even kept their pretty cat away from me, since I'm allergic. I fell in love with the colorways of Ellyn Cooper, and found a shop pattern (free with the yarn) to make a vest with her Cotton Ripple in Blue Hydrangea plus some Mission Falls cotton. Here you see half what I bought to make it.

All the solid shades of Mission Falls appear in the Cooper yarn in the center. While I was picking them out, the shop owner had already wound the Cotton Ripple!

I saw another quickie pattern, a shrug, that looked perfect for keeping winter chill off in the office, and got it with some Plymouth Brushed Baby Alpaca. It's a lovely gray.

Last, I visited a shop on the Manteo waterfront called Fine Yarns at Kimbeeba. This was a smallish shop but with some nice yarns and another very good website. Again, I didn't feel as at home here, but I did get helpful service. She didn't have the Berroco yarn I wanted, but showed me a couple good substitutes, and even showed me one yarn, an Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, that would be about half the others, especially once I got her 15% off for ten skeins or more.Unfortunately, I felt pressured by the shop attendant (owner?) to purchase some very nice Noro sock yarn that I didn't want or need, and that was off-putting, but she did toss in an entralac pattern which was nice.

Thinking back, the thing my two preferred shops (and I emphasize, all four were nice and had helpful aspects) had over the less-preferred was that I didn't feel condescended to. I am pretty yarn-savvy. I run three knitting lists, but in the two shops where I was less comfortable, the staff ASSUMED a lack of knowledge on my part. It seems to me to be a healthier attitude to assume I have a yarn background, and if I have to ask more questions, then go more in-depth with explanations. Or simply ask how much help understanding various yarns I might need.

Assume I'm smart. I'll like you better. More important, I'll spend more. *sigh* Probably more than I should.

1 comment:

'Kolai said...

We love "Knitting Addiction" too!
Note that they've moved down to Kill Devil Hills if you go to the "Banks" again, just in case.
(Collington Cafe is yummy for dinner, too!)
Fun blog, beautiful and creative retouching!
Enjoyed reading...
_Babeth :)