Yes, you read correctly — one ENTIRE week! I have been known to be obsessive compulsive. And my Secret Pal 8 Spoiler must know so, because she sent me this fantastic postcard. I did not find it until recently when I had dug into the pile of snail mail (all our statements are online, so we generally ignore the paper stuff). Is this card AWESOME? I have it taped to my monitor at work. Click on the photo to read the words in the close up.
Anyway, back to my quest… Trying to find my Lace Swap Pal a pattern she has not done and her requested yarn colors gave me a real challenge. The easy way would be to order the patterns and yarn, but then I would have to wait for the orders to arrive. Plus, checking out a number of stores that have been calling my name seemed like a fun excuse and a great opportunity to talk about the Boston KOAC event. So, if ever you happen to be in Rhode Island, here is a nice synopsis of stores to visit.
The morning and early afternoon was spent mostly with Rich and Mom at her new apartment. We had brunch at the Vineyard Restaurant which was a pretty good buffet. No salads though, but there was fresh fruit. Afterwards, I dropped Rich off at home and picked up Helene to check out the laceweight yarn at Yarnia in Woonsocket. I fell in love with the Great Adirondack Alpaca hanks. Joseph also has tons of laceweight mohair too. Besides the 1200 yards of the Alpaca, I bought three hanks of Misti Alpaca Pima Cotton in pale pink, and a pair of straight needles by Lantern Moon.
Before my Boston Knit-Out and Crochet committee meeting in Borders at Downtown Crossing, I had to return the two Great Adirondack Alpaca hanks (unfortunately too heavy for the Lace Swap) that I bought on Sunday with Helene. Yarnia reminds me of an airy NYC loft with its beautiful hardwood floors, creamy white walls, and vaulted ceilings. Located near the town center off the river, the comfy leather couches beckon you to sit and knit with the owner Joseph (and his mother, if she is there). His selection of Berroco’s Ultra Alpaca is not just limited to a few hanks of each color; he has multitudes of them! The beautiful hanks of various Cherry Tree Hill yarns are also as plentiful. Besides other yarns too numerous to mention, Joseph has Jordana Paige bags, Lantern Moon needles, and other goodies. I look forward to visiting this shop when I am in the area, and his daily 12pm-6pm hours are wonderful because most local shops are closed on Mondays.
Every second Tuesday is Knit Club night at Fabric Place’s Warwick location. This small family-owned chain started with two sisters who wanted more than typical sewing/fabric shop, and has expanded to include yarn-related items in their portfolio. Their book selection is phenomenal! Lots of Berroco, Patons, and Noro are just some of the yarns in the stores. This night was very special for us. Jackie, one of the longtime members, was moving to live in the Chicago area near her older son and his family. She had bought a customized condo and this hip granny was looking forward to the change. Phyllis (from the store and hostess in charge of the club) had thought of the idea of club members knitting an 8-inch square or more in Plymouth’s creamy ivory Encore to make a lap-robe. The single extra square was perfectly sized to make a small accompanying pillow. And you can tell that Jackie just loved everything, if you look closely, you can see the tears in her eyes. We will miss her bright smile and beautiful stories. Please click on Jackie’s photo for a view of the lap-robe.
Manmade by Jonne in Warwick is one of my favorite shops to visit. Jonne’s fiber knowledge is incredible to digest. His spinning wheels, hand spindles, cones of finely spun weaver’s fiber, hanks of rare yarn, and awesome selection of rovings fill this wonderful place. Jonne has a great lesson plan on his Wednesday night classes. For thirty minutes he reviews a stitch or technique; after he is done, general questions ranging from the lesson or other items are answered. Jonne’s brilliant plan prevents the group from becoming unruly and out of line which usually happens during a particular knit group Cathy and I used to attend. His store is a Brown Sheep and Brittany authorized dealer. Unfortunately, he did not have any of the shawl patterns or lace yarn that my Pal asked for. He did advise for me to send the Jaggerspun in the solid Iris colorway. Because if my pal appreciated fine yarn, it would not matter if it was variegated or solid. And he is right: I myself have purchased yarn not for color, but mostly for the fine texture and feel. We both agree that color can always be changed.
During lunch, I visited Knit One Purl Too in Wakefield. Gina’s shop has the classic “neighborhood feel” where everyone visited not only to purchase yarn, but to discuss matching yarn to patterns along with fellow friends. She also is the one who told me about Jonne. Her description of him was, “He is so COOL.” And we both agree that this talented man is AMAZING. The week before after talking to Phyllis at Fabric Place, I had purchased 2 skeins of Plymouth’s Encore in a multi-cream oatmeal color for Jackie’s blanket during my lunch break. On Thursday, when I walked into the shop, one of her employees, Cindy, was stitching up a long 3 (or was it 5?) inch wide strip of ivory Encore with a matching strip of the oatmeal Encore. It turned out that I had purchased the last two skeins of the oatmeal, and the knitter needed the yarn for the crocheted edge around the afghan. Since the 2 squares I knitted barely dented one skein, I offered Cindy to return the unused skein that I bought and was willing to give the rest of the used skein to the knitter. She said she would check with the customer, and I could go ahead and bring in the yarn during my lunch on Friday. Another task to help lessen my stash, woo-hoo!
Obviously, I visited Knit One Purl Too during lunch to bring the Encore. The knitter who was making the blanket was there, and in trade I received the solid tan Encore that just did not work with the color scheme. I assured her that I could use the yarn because I favored using solid colors rather than variegated. Seeing the relief on her face brighted my early afternoon. Of course testing code that refused to play nice kind of dampened it, but I decided to check out another yarn shop when I realized it was only twenty-three miles from the office. After work, I drove about forty-five minutes over the Connecticut border then back to Rhode Island to visit Knitwits in Westerly. This store uses daylight bulbs which makes it bright and airy like Joseph’s Yarnia shop, but with the carefree feeling from being near the beach. Sarah, the owner, has a fabulous amount of Misti Alpaca and Tilli Tomas mixed in with other yarns. I found some Crystal Palace laceweight mohair/merino in my Pal’s requested colors — SCORE! I am looking forward to visiting this store more too.
Determined to find a pattern for my Lace Swap Pal, I had a marathon day. I met Mom for breakfast at the Ground Round, then the hunt began. We started at A Stitch Above in Providence’s uppercrust East Side. Owner Natalie carries a large assortment of Jo Sharp, Jamieson’s, and patterns along with various other brands. It was there that I found Blue Skye Alpaca’s Bobbi Bear pattern and Fiber Trends’ felted alpaca/llama, koala, and sheep patterns. This store seems to be the only local carrier of Lorna’s Laces, and I found a couple of Shepherd’s Sock yarn to knit up as a special surprise gift.
Next on the list was Yarns at Lacewings in Pawtucket. Mary runs a tight and friendly ship in her two stores, and everything is never out of place whenever I visit. She is currently running a sale on Rowan and Jaeger. When Mom and I entered the store, she was not there, but we were offered assitance if needed. Noticing that the lone staffer was busy with other customers, I let her take care of them and grabbed the thick binder of shawl patterns. Unfortunately as before, I struck out. Instead, I spotted Rowan Issue #34 which contains the coveted “Birch” triangular lace shawl pattern, and I knew I had to have it! I also found a copy of Vogue Knitting Holiday 2004, and 3 hanks of Plymouth’s Royal Cashmere on sale at $12 apiece from their normal price of $30. What a STEAL!! I piled the yarn on the magazines at the register to wait for ring-up. Just then, Mary had walked in with her husband Ron, and I also spied the basket containing the rest of the Tilli Tomas colorways that I had purchased at 50% off from her Warwick location back in late June. When I asked Mary if these were also half price, she said that they were not, but had been meaning to bring them to the Warwick store, and said it was okay for me to buy them at the discount. Armoured with more yarn to make my summer Clapotis, I was beaming like a kid in a candy store. My MIL (Mother-in-Law) is too cute. During all this, Mom surprised me by purchasing the two magazines for me with a request. She had discovered the sample for Plymouth’s great pattern of a baby jacket and matching hat in Naturale. And her request? I must knit the jacket for her grandson. 🙂
I think I must have exhausted Mom with the shopping because it was a little late in the afternoon, and she needed to get home.
My last stop for the day was at EJ Yarns in Pawtucket located on Benefit Street. I must have been on yarn shop overload, because everything I saw I already had in my stash, or was newly purchased. This shop had tons of patterns for the avid crocheter and the crocheters I met at last year’s Boston KOAC would be in heaven. Again, no luck in finding the requested Fiber Trends pattern, but I will be happy to visit again.
En route home, I remembered that I had a peach praline pie on hold for me to pick up at Briarbrook Farms in East Greenwich. This wonderful nursery not only has plants and flowers for sale, it also has fabulous baked pies and cookies, fresh fruit and veggies, and an area with antiques for sale. On the weekends, my co-worker/friend Stephen and my buddy Heidi his sister-in-law (who also happens to work at our company but in a different department) work there with their family. Realizing that I will be driving by the Yarns at Lacewings’ Warwick location, I stopped by and found the perfect pattern for my Lace Swap Pal. It was not on either list of what she has made or what she was looking for, but it is challenging and gorgeous. If she has already knitted this pattern, I will have to make sure the rest of the goodies make up for it! And I picked up the book of Folk Shawls too. 🙂
To top off the day, I took a bunch of sky photos for Saturday Sky, and have a neat one that shows off some of the fluffy clouds and jet lines made during the annual Leapfest competition. Maybe I can finish my weekend with a trip to never-visited Bella Yarns in Warren and my favorite S.E.X. shop, Sakonnet Purls in Tiverton? Hmmm…. Sounds like a challenge to me! =:8
Update: More proof-reading means more corrections…