Well, the Yarn Crawl was yesterday – more of a yarn amble, really. I took my Garmin along because it’s been years since I was in Geneva, IL. Another gal in Chix drove, and there were three of us along for the ride. Garmin was very entertaining, making us either laugh or spit nails depending on how much “recalculating” she had to do or whether or not she pre-empted driving instructions from the one person in the car who knew where we were going. It was kind of a hoot – from the back seat we’d hear “Turn right up a…” and Garmin would interrupt with a calm, unruffled, “In point two miles, turn left.” At which point, the backseat knitter said, “She’s LYING.” Then Garmin revised her directions, saying, “Turn right and then left.” “AAAAAAAAARGH!” said the knitter in the back. And, Garmin made the driver laugh, which is a good thing, I think.
We went to Wool and Company in Geneva, which is stocked to the gills and rafters with a wide variety of good quality yarn in a stunning range of weights and fibers, along with gifty gimcracks and doodads. I have no pictures from the inside because I was drunk on yarnage. The owners and staff (I have no idea which was which) were delightful. I had a couple of questions on yarn and some premade stuffed knit toys which were for sale, and they answered them promptly, pulled out well-organized pattern books, went in the back to double-check to see if they had some yarn in stock, and they did not hurry anyone. There’s a large, heavy duty table in the center of the store equipped with a ball winder and swift, with several chairs around it to sit and peruse patterns, read through books, consult patterns for yarn requirements, what ever you might want to do. Wool and Company had a very nice supply of patterns from Cottage Creations, the latest and greatest in knitting books, and some old favorites and standards, too.
There were loads of sample items from their classes and made from patterns in stock – dozens of felted purses, clogs, baby sweaters, delightfully crafted scarves, hats, and socks. That was a nice touch – to be able to lay hands on items I have considered making but still felt undecided about.
And the yarns, oh, Lordy, the yarns! Mohair, merino, cashmere, angora, variegated, solids, self-patterning, glittery, lofty, ribbon, and a few novelty fur yarns (but not too many). It was really a good representation of all the yarns I’ve wanted to fondle for a long time, but haven’t had access to, out here in the sticks. The colors were wonderful, and none of the lines or yarn types were represented in a token manner. Sock yarn? Somewhere in the neighborhood of sixteen upright cubes of about 2 feet by 2 feet square, full all the way through. Lots and lots of different brands – Cascade, Koigu, Plymouth, Gedifra, I can’t name them all, but I think they’re listed on the website.
They also had a wonderful, well-stocked array of needles and accessories. I was able to fill in one small blank spot in my needle needs by buying a 16” #2 circular needle for making hats and baby clothes and other small yarn items. They also had the rare, hard to find, glove and mitten needles in small sizes (!), both 7” and 5” dpns, and pretty much any size or type of straight or circular needle you could want, including outliers on either end of the size scale. Lots of point protectors, cable needles, stitch holders, blocking supplies, and several kinds of snips were available, too. It was a really thorough selection of accessories, I thought. I wonder if they do online sales?
We wallowed in yarn for about an hour and a half or more, with no obnoxious intrusions and also without being ignored – a difficult balance, but the staff/owners did it well. The other two gals were more restrained in their purchases, our driver buying enough Koigu to make a lovely shawl, and the other chick picking up some soft Mohair Mist to make a scarf. I had a good stash of cash saved up for yarn binging, so I got myself a big bag full of happy…
These are my sock yarn purchases. The top yarn, of which I bought two, is ZARINA easy care merino extra fine. It's incredibly soft and very gently variegated. There are very short bits of turquoise and cobalt blue in long stretches of baby blue. I think I'll make some socks for Bunny with this yarn. On the lower left is OPAL sock yarn in a colorway which is reminescent of a work of art "Hundertwassers Werk 650 Der Blaue Mond". I'm not familiar with that, but this yarn appears to have lots of lime green and turquoise with bits of gray, red, and cream in it. There's a sock pattern on the inside of the label as well. (This will become socks for the Doodle, and, since I bought two 100 g skeins, something else as well.) On the right is a fairly new sock yarn CHICAGO "Color in Design" in browns and umber. It is almost slippery it's so soft, and I'm looking forward to making socks for Spawn, manly socks, of course, with this one (also two 100 g skeins). Here are some real prizes. All three are 100g skeins of MOUNTAIN COLORS handpainted Bearfoot yarn of 60% superwash wool, 25% mohair and 15% nylon. Two, which are not as red as they look here, are "Bitterroot Rainbow" and the darker one is "Moondance". I can either blend all three together in something wonderful, since it looks like they'll work nicely in combination, or there's enough of each to make socks or a hat or mittens. I just had to get them -- I've wanted to fondle some Mountain Colors for a long time, and it looked like the store might be considering discontinuing the line, or they just sell out quicker than they get replaced. Either way, MINE!!!
These are two VERY reasonably priced wool yarns, the one on the left is PLYMOUTH Outback 100 g Aran or heavy worsted weight in colors of the winter sea -- several blues, a slightly lavendar gray, and green tones. I got four skeins for $16 each (and this is a mondo hank of yarn) to make sure to have enough to make a nice winter sweater for Doodle. Next to it is what is a new yarn to me, NATURALLY NAZARETH aran weight, also 100g, for $8.25 each. Definitely something for Bunny, probably an outerwear set, nice twist to the yarn and while it's not as soft as the others, it's not scratchy or hard, but it should knit well and be durable. The label says 100% domestic wool, so I'll bet it felts pretty well, too.
And, these yarns grabbed ahold of me as I walked by them, screaming to come home with me. Both are SCHAEFER Lola superwash merino, 4 oz. each. On the left is a blaze of autumn colors -- bold orange, yellow, green, and red, all very rich and deep, and on the right is a lush combination of dark blue, dark teal, black, and very deep (not girly) plum. The bright yarn is going to be something happy and snuggly for me, the darker will probably wind up being for the boys. I don't know yet, I just knew I had to grab these yarns and bring them home for a lot of handling!
When we finally staggered out of the store, we decided to go to Little Traveler for lunch. There's a little review of it here, which is dead on. It's a labyrinth of rooms, each one stuffed with large and small doodads on a common theme. Somewhere in the middle is an atrium tea room, where we went for very reasonably priced girl food. It appears to be one of those places where moms and daughters have a family tradition of going for holiday shopping and tea, much as Ellen and I used to go to Field's.
We didn't stop anywhere else, since there was a medical situation in one family, it was a long drive home, and the weather was really threatening. In fact, when we finally did get home, around 3 pm, the clouds burst wide open and it rained like crazy for a long time. We spent that time ooh-ing and aah-ing over each other's yarn, so it wasn't wasted.
Between a Yarn Outing and three doctors appointments with Dad this week, I'm beat. I'm going to put my feet up, cover myself in my new yarn, and bliss out.