Saturday, July 30, 2005

Silk Garden Dreams

Thank you to all for the congratulations! We had a good time being together as a family.

Drea, you're not crazy -- I also dream in fiber.

Amy, you can get sling rings at or Nestmom is less expensive, but there are also less choices. You may not even need this, but the best info I found on DIY slings is here.

Yesterday, Sparky and Mr. Fiberflash went on a road trip with Mr's dad, brother and cousin to Cabelas. My mother-in-law was working all day, so I decided to scour the area for...need I say?

First, I Googled a search for yarn stores in any town I could think of that was nearby. Then I called them to see if the online info was current, and if, indeed, they were a LYS. This turned up two more stores than I'd found previously! So Max and I set out for a day of sensory overload.

First stop was a place called both Yarns 'N More and A to Z Vacuums. When I pulled up, all that I could see was a vacuum place; industrial looking, with the whole front made of glass. I almost turned right around to go, not wanting to waste my time. Then this door to the left of it all caught my eye. I looked in to see that the door was blocked by...baskets of Rowan! Reading a tiny sign directing me to enter through the vacuum store door, Max and I walked into the most amazing little room.

The light was off, so the only illumination came from the sunlight through the (blocked off) glass door. From the ceiling to the floor, yarn was grouped according to brand and texture; two cushy chairs were tucked into one corner with an unfinished project out on one. It wasn't the variety of yarn that grabbed me so much as the sheer quality, and the exquisite taste that had stocked this miniscule shop.

Suddenly I noticed she had rosewood needles on one display. I've never felt them in person. Would you be shocked to learn that my heart raced when I picked one up? The smooth weight of it, the dark luminous surface...ah! Who, I wondered, is responsible for this place?

I noticed a sign on the front table that directed me to take any purchases to the vacuum place for purchase, just as a young guy walked in. Apparently his dad owns the vacuum store, and his mom (who, as it turns out, was out on errands) owns the yarn place. He turned on the light for me, and confirmed that any purchases should be brought to him. Unfortunately I only had $20 to spend (payday was today, so NOW I have money), and still had two more shops to check out.

There wasn't any bargain bin to just get a "token" skein of something, so I peeled myself away, still musing over the unusualness (is that a word?) surrounding the store.

Our next stop was a place in downtown Endicott called Cornucopia Yarns. Once again, there was no (very) visible sign. I knew the address, and saw numbers close to the one I was looking for, so I got out, put the baby in the sling, and walked back and forth till I found it.

The store is structured like a long, wide hallway, as though the space had been sectioned off as an afterthought. From what I gathered, they will be remodeling soon, which is good. They had tons of local, handspun, handpainted yarns, which I liked. It's always good to support local.

The proprietor, Arline, is a tiny bit hard of hearing, but once I figured out what decibel my voice needed to be we were good.

She took me on a tour of the store, talking with me about projects I'm interested in, discussing the different fibers. One thing is certain -- I would never have found anything on my own. She knows every single thing that she stocks though, and is a great guide to figuring out and finding what you need. She has a penchant for knitted vests, but I was willing to forgive that for her friendly helpfulness in all other ways. =)

There was a big bargain table right at the front of the store, but once again, I made no purchase. I was headed to Spin A Yarn, and I KNEW they had good stuff. Sucks being on a budget, but I wasn't going to blow my cash bit by bit! She did tempt me with two $3 hanks of unbleached, ropey cotton, but I knew I'd never hand-dye it, and the texture wasn't calling out to me, so I let it be. Certain things are just no use in building one's stash.

Last but certainly not least enjoyed, we met up with my Grandma Claire at Spin A Yarn. She'd been cooped up in the house for the past two weeks, feeding chickens, taking care of a large dog and putting up with my crotchety grandpa, so I knew she could use some time out. I also hoped that the visit would inspire her.

When we walked into the store she actually gasped. It seems that in "her time", there were never so many choices, so many beautiful fibers, and the bamboo needles -- oh!

We wandered around groping every skein we came across, and she engaged the lady employee in much discussion about knitting socks in her youth for the US soldiers in WWII.

To my surprise, Grandma had brought along a project she'd started: a beautiful, cabled scarf with seed stitch border. She'd been using my cheap, cast-off acrylic yarn, and in lieu of her missing cable needle had substituted a broken pencil. After her 15 year hiatus from knitting, her stitches were perfect. She told us that she learned to knit when she was 4 -- 70 years ago!

FYI: Spin A Yarn has a clearance ROOM. That was a nice discovery.

We came across a table of hats, and learned of the chemo cap project being conducted there, and Grandma immediately knew she wanted to be involved. You buy a ball of yarn, knit a cap, donate it back to the store, and they give you a $1 coupon to use on your next purchase.
I am so glad that she has chosen to do this. It'll be so good for her to have something like that, and I know she'll enjoy it.

What made the trip even better is that at checkout, my grandma decided to buy these for me:
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It's Silk Garden Noro, made of kid mohair, silk and wool. I think I'm going to try my hand at a feather and fan scarf. Any other ideas for it?

After a full day of being buried in yarn, I resurfaced refreshed and happy. Not only did I end up with some killer yarn, but I had inspired my grandma to start again the thing she's enjoyed for most of her life.

To complete our day, after dinner my husband rented Napoleon Dynamite, which we watched with his whole family. It's the second time I've seen it, and I think it gets funnier with repetition.


Drea said...

Gosh, seems like you had a wonderful time searching for yarn!
That is some pretty yarn your grandma got you! I can't wait to see what you knit with it.
LOL That movie was on cinimax last night, yes it get funnier everytime. We have it on DVD and I'll have to say I think I had to get use to it cause I didn't really like it the first time. But it's grown on me.

Amy Boogie said...

Sounds like a gorgeous outing.
Thank you for the links. It will help so much since the last time I made a baby sling it was so uncomfortable I never used it.


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