Thursday, March 14, 2013

Yarn Stop

This past weekend, our family had a little traveling to do.  Our junior high-aged son is part of his school's math team, and they came in 3rd at the regional competition, so they were going to compete at the state MathCounts tournament near Chicago.  As you might imagine, a math competition isn't something that really goes well with having an audience, so my husband, daughter and I had a nice chunk of time to entertain ourselves on Saturday.  We had made plans to meet up with a college friend and his family, but we still had about an hour to kill before we were supposed to meet them at IKEA (I know - do we know how to party or what?)  So, thanks to the "Knitting and Yarn Shop Locator" app on my iphone, I easily picked out a nearby yarn shop for us to explore.  I knew it would be a hit, because not only did it appear to be a really nice yarn shop (which I would love), it was also a coffee & pastry bar (which I knew would appeal to my husband & daughter!)

Knitche in Downers Grove did not disappoint.  It was in their cute downtown area in a lovely historical building that was a blacksmith's shop once upon a time. Where a more typical yarn shop might have a few stuffed sheep strewn about, they had bit of horse decor as an homage to the roots of the shop.  Anyway, the downstairs area was packed with dk & bulkier yarns in all sorts of brands.

I explored the second floor a bit and found a couple rooms full of yarn that wasn't my favorite.  It was mostly cotton & acrylic, which I don't usually gravitate towards.  There was a class going on upstairs, too, so I didn't poke around too much.

I gathered three different types of yarn and made my way to the register.  I was a little confused because they didn't seem to have much selection of fingering or lace-weight yarns.  I asked about this as I put my selections on the counter and the woman asked me if I had found the room of lightweight yarns upstairs.  I told her I had seen the rooms of cotton & acrylic, but she told me I had missed a room.  

She led me back up the stairs and we squeezed past the class that was still going on, and I saw the motherlode.  Yes, I definitely had to re-think my purchases after experiencing this room!

This first skein is some Jitterbug Fingering-weight yarn.  It's not super, super soft, which gives me hope that I could make something like socks with it, and they wouldn't wear through in a matter of a few weeks.  

Look closer.  See the little flecks of color?  From far away it looks like a tonal brown, but up close there's blue, orange, green, and a little yellow.  

It was all I could do to resist their crazy-bright hot pink color way with little bits of black & yellow in there.  I don't know what it is with me and bright pink yarn, but I'm like a magnet for it.  Then I think for a moment about "what would I actually make from this pink that screams so loudly?" and I can't come up with much.  It's just too intense for actual use!  (Well, for me, anyway.)  

So, who's next?  Yes - Dream in Color's Everlasting Sock.  This one is also not super, super soft (in the skein), but in my limited experience with Dream In Color yarn, it washed up WAY softer than it was while I knitted it.  So the real feel of this still waits to be seen.

I must have been in a blue phase on Saturday, because 3/4 of my selections were mostly blue.  This one had some browns, beiges & grays in with it though, which made it really interesting to me.  I have no specific ideas for this one right now, but it'll be good inspiration yarn to look at for a while.  It'll definitely be some sort of winter accessory though - this colorway screams "winter" to me.

Another brand I was excited to find was Fleece Artist.   I have been listening to the Fat Squirrel podcast, pretty much from the beginning, and she has made several references to yarn from this company, so I've been interested to have a chance to pet it and see what I thought.   I purchased a skein of their Basic Merino Sock yarn.  It was in the color of the day - a blue-y, green-y combo with lots of lighter & dark tones all mixed together.  This yarn is really tightly twisted, which should help it wear well if I do make socks from this 100% merino yarn.

Then, the grand finale!  I would have loved to take their entire wall of Handmaiden yarn home, but, alas, I'd also like to continue to be able to feed my children.  So I had to settle on one spectacularly gorgeous and soft-as-a-baby's-fragrant-head skein.  (Remember how when your kids were babies, you'd put their little heads up to your face and sniff their hair?  Buy some Handmaiden.  You'll want to do the same thing.)

I do know what I want to do with all 437 yards of this Sea Silk (70% silk & 30% plant fiber...they call it "sea cell", but is it seaweed?)  My idea is of a definite style of accessory, but I don't have the specifics pinned down yet.  It's really taking every ounce of my will power to continue working on the project I have on the needles right now instead of tossing it aside and playing with this loop of loveliness.  Of course, this skein is far to beautiful to "play" with.  I'm sure I'll swatch and maybe even knit this project in the closest yarn I can find in my stash to this stuff before knitting the "final" pattern sample with the Sea Silk.  I've not worked with a yarn with such a heavy silk content before and I don't want to take the chance that it doesn't frog well.  (For all I know, it might frog beautifully, but for over $40 a skein, I'm not going to take any chances!)

I'm glad you could come along on a little yarn crawl with me today!  I hope you get to go on one of your own sometime soon!


  1. I loved your yarn crawl. I particularly loved the pictures of the shop (outside and inside). I wish I had a yarn shop like that where I live in Brisbane, Qld, Australia. I also love posting about my yarn crawls on my blog too.