Just a place where I can sit and write my thoughts on my newest passion. . . . . knitting. Hopefully, I will better document my progress throughout knitting and get in touch with others as obsessed as I am!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Knitter's vacation

Ok, Ok, so it wasn't REALLY a knitter's vacation but, boy oh boy, did I ever get spoiled by my husband on this trip! First of all, let me say that I have a great hubby. Before trips and/or vacations he always looks for available knit shops. He's done this kind of stuff for as long as we've been together. When I was a cross stitcher, he would find the XS shops for me. Now that I am a knitter he finds the yarn shops. Oh, and he know that yarn shops vary and has become familiar with the correct terminology necessary in successfully finding quality yarn shops. He knows the names of the yarns I adore (Koigu, Mountain Colors, Manos del Urugua, etc.), he knows that I am a sock knitter, he knows that I enjoy hand-painted yarns and he knows that I like to knit with natural fibers especially merino, alpaca, etc.

So, anyhow, he scouted out yarn shops and find 1 in Williamsburg and 2 in the Outerbanks. Funny thing is, I asked around the blogsphere and only heard of a single shop in the Outerbanks but he found a second one. And he took me to each one of the three. So, let's have a shop review and discuss my take, er purchases, at each shop.

First up: Williamsburg - Knitting Sisters. Here is a shop that is open, spacious and welcoming with pleasant eye-catching displays, a helpful staff and plenty of room to spread out and knit for a while. There is also a corner with seating and magazines for your non-knitters while you shop/knit. Many shops samples that entice as inspire. Oh, and they have their very own colorway from Claudia's handpainted yarns!
So, souvenir yarn? Yep, that would be the Knitting Sisters colorway in the sport weight - 2 skeins no less (well, I might want a small shawl, right?) The colors are so pleasing and I thought this is great. I can make a couple of pairs of instant gratification socks OR I can make a smaller shawl/stole. BTW, any pattern suggestions for said shawl/stole would be greatly appreciated.
So you might think that since I found the souvenir yarn so quickly, I was done, right? Er, that would be a negative. Remember the shop samples I was talking about earlier. Yeah, I fell. So I got 3 balls of baby alpaca brush in the orange color #1004. I am going to make this capelet. I know, I know, you look at the pattern picture and say "Really? She's going to knit that?" but I saw the sample and it looks completely different and was gorgeous. Interestingly enough, I made this plymouth yarn company poncho into this. Again, I didn't like the pattern but I saw a sample in a shop and HAD to make it. I still get comments on it when I wear it. So, anyhow, someday I will be making the capelet and posting about it. Someday. Overall, Knitting Sisters was a great all purpose yarn shop. . . spacious, good variety of yarns, plenty of needles, gadgetry, welcoming staff, multiple classes offered and they were even organizing a knitter's retreat. . . . . Definitely a place to visit if you are ever in Williamsburg.

Next up is Knitting Addiction in Southern Shores, NC - Outerbanks. You want a spacious shop? Then you need to visit this shop. Wow! Open and spacious doesn't begin to describe it. But, it didn't look empty or cold at all. It was a warm welcome shop. The owner was great (and she's a volunteer firefighter - you go girl!) and she showcases heirloom knitted pieces (her mom's baby sweater) knit by her grandma behind the register. Gotta love that! There is a HUGE sit ' knit area when you enter the shop with 2 full sized sofas facing eachother with a big coffee table in between and a rocking chair (or 2?). There are again lots and lots of great shop samples which highlight many Knitting Addiction patterns. The owner designs around the yarns in her shop and then you can either purchase the patterns ($2.50 - $5 a pattern) OR the patterns are free with the purchase of the yarn needed to complete the project. Great way to move stock don'tcha think?! This shop offered many novelty yarns that were showcased with samples using these specific yarns. It helps to see how these yarns were meant to be used - mostly as accent yarns - when trying to sell (as a shop owner) and invision the yarns in use (as a customer). Knitting addiction has a very laid back atmosphere that is extremely inviting (the owner was walking barefoot the day I was there - tee hee). She was a school teacher prior to owning the shop so there are toys and lots of kid friendly books in a variety of age ranges. Extremely kid friendly shop which helps when on vacation or for moms in general. OK, enought about the shop - let's get to the purchases. Here I got the following: a skein of Southwest trading company's "Tofutsies" sock yarn (50% Superwash Wool, 25% Soysilk (hence the tofu references), 22.5% cotton and 2.5% chitin (made from shrimp and crab shells-how cool!) in "Wild Kat" limited edition colorway. Pink and black - you gotta love it. Plus, it was limited edition, right? OK, I needed to get a regular colorway too, right? In comes #731 also known as the "Ten Foot tall" colorway - look for it here. Great color eh? Fuschia, pink, hot pink, pale pink and white. Yeah for pinks. So, 2 skeins of sock yarn enough? NOPE! I picked up a couple of other things. Specifically, Interlacements Toasty Toes in this great blues colorway. Yummy! And lastly I got the coolest thing ever that I had not known of before. Did you all know that Cherry Tree Hill makes supersock yarn in "Potluck" colorways that are one of a kind dye lots??Apparantly, every so often the dyers at CTH get to "play" with the established colorways and make these potluck colors. Well, Knitting Addiction carries these and I just had to get one. So I got a skein in the jeweltones. . . . . it's got mauves, golds, yellows, greys, blues, etc. Beautiful and unique. Yeah! I got 4 knitting addiction patterns for free with the purchases of my yarns.

My last shop review is a second Outerbanks shop located in Manteo, NC - Fine Yarns at Kimbeeba which is a shop unlike any other I've been too. The owner was there and she was so neat. She was a free spirit who talked to you the moment you walk in. The shop had the most amazing smell of lavender the moment you walked in and there was soft nature sounds music playing. Sybil (the owner) greets you and offers coffee, tea, hot chocolate or ice water. I had the best chai latte! The shop is small but there was still a table to sit out which was flanked by her spinning wheel and weaving loom. She had everything from Sugar 'n Cream dischcloth cotton to cashmere from Italy (I think it was Italy. . . .) Anyhow, anything anyone would want at any price range or taste is there. She even had "jelly" yarn that can be used to make waterproof shopping or beach bags. Kinda cool really - but I didn't get any. Instead I got two (2) sweater quantities of yarn.

I first got 8 skeins of Hempathy in #011 Navy Blue enough to make something like this sweater.
Isn't that beautiful? I didn't get the pattern but I got enough skeins so, someday (yeah I know) I could make this or something else. This yarn is so soft yet durable. I think I am really going to enjoy this yarn eventually. We'll see how long this languishes in the stash.Next I got 10 skeins of Ella Rae Silkience in 06 color (lavender). I loved the feel and sheen of this yarn especially when I saw the shop sample of this:
It was gorgeous. So I got enough yarn for that (or something like that). If nothing else, I have enough yarn to make a great cardigan. I let my hubby pick out the colors for both of the sweater quantities and I think that he did a great job. BTW, the shop offers back issues of magazines at $2.50 an issue - great deal huh? Especially when back issues include the last issue - yep, one issue is a back issue and is down to $2.50. At least that's how it was for Interweave Knits. AND, you get 15% off your entire purchase when you buy 10 skeins of yarn or more. Woo hoo!

So, 1 week, 7 days and 3 shops. I would say that all these shops are worth visiting and that I got WAAAY spoiled.

I will get the camera and put together the whole lot of stash enhancement for your viewing pleasure. It's been a busy time since our return but maybe I will do that tomorrow. . . Now that I've written about it all I want to pull it out and play with it again.. You guys want to see it all anyway, right?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Safe and Sound

Aaah. Back home after vacation. Made it early enough to even be able to pick the puppy up for the Vets (they board her for us). Had a great time.

There WAS knitting.

There WAS yarn shopping (OMG - it was bad. Hauls. 3 shops. Sock Yarn and sweater quantities (yep plural) and patterns. OH MY!)

There will be pictures. But not now. Now there is unpacking and laundry and lunch making (tomorrow is after all a work day - bleck!)

Glad to be home.

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