Monday, November 12, 2007

Hop 'til you Drop

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The first ever Atlanta yarn shop hop started last Saturday (the 10th), and runs until next Sunday. I had planned to do some hopping this weekend, since we're going to be gone next weekend to visit The Mouse. I was even going to get to hop with Jean. Then life intervened, in the form of a worship team practice from 11:00-1:00. As Jean said, "That really borks your day, doesn't it?" Since Jean had a date with a mechanic at 3 way up in the wilds of Marietta, it didn't look good for joint hopping. I was much bummed, but when I got home from practice, unfed, DH whisked me off to lunch and a mini-hop from 3-6. I was thinking we'd go to a couple of stores. We started out at the lovely but elusive Why Knot Knit in Buckhead. I say "elusive" because, although I have been there before--twice, even--we drove right past it the first time. In my defense, I thought we were coming at it from "the other way", so I was looking at the opposite side of the street. OK, maybe that's not a very good defense.

I found the most glorious color of peacock blue Misti Alpaca for a freebie scarf pattern I had. When I bought my "passport", the owner, who is a very cheerful person, told us that she had had people coming in that day who had been to six shops already before getting to her!! Yikes!! After grabbing their free pattern for a luscious wrap, we headed to Strings & Strands. This is a nice shop with lots of specialty yarn, and, once again, a very cheerful and helpful owner. There, I found another color of Misti Alpaca to make the same scarf for one of my nieces...a fun pink/orange/rose/brown color, which sounds awful but isn't.

I was excited to have visited two shops, and it was 4:30 (we made a short stop at Pearl to look for movie poster frames), so I thought we were done. Most shops close at 5, but DH said that we could make it to Needle Nook (a shop with a disturbing--as far as the budget goes--amount of lace, cashmere and sock yarn), and I'd have 9 minutes to shop. I actually had 14!! Plenty of time for me to grab the skein of Bali I needed to complete Aline. Hmmm, but that's only $7 and I need to spend $10...I immediately picked up a skein of Jitterbug I'd been eyeing for some time.

Then, I saw it.

A while ago, someone had mentioned she was knitting a Noni bag. I didn't know what that meant, so I immediately searched, and fell instantly in love. However, I hadn't yet seen the pattern I decided was my favorite in any shop I had visited. On my way to the register, lo and behold, there it was! I grabbed the pattern and by sheer force of will let go of the skein of Jitterbug, even though it physically hurt just a little. (Gotta keep the per-store cost down when you may be visiting 10!) Someone at the cash register was asking if all the shops closed at 5. When we got outside, DH asked, "Didn't you tell me Knitch was open 'til 6?" Ummm...not sure...let me check the master list. Oh, yeah! Off we headed to Knitch, which is a Truly Lovely Shop Indeed and has a room upstairs which not only contains about every color of Cascade 220 there is, but also a felting station (i.e., non-front-loading washers) and an area for classes.

I was feeling pretty smug at this point, by the way. After all, I had managed to visit three shops, and only spend about $15 per shop. AND, I had only purchased things that were 1) on my list, 2) for gifts, or 3) to finish existing projects. Pretty swanky. Then I got to Knitch, and purchased this:

Really, it's DH's fault. While I was plowing through Cascade trying to find my colors, I was divulging my brilliant plan to him. "I want to see all the colors together to make sure I like them, but I won't buy all of them here. I'll spread it out at the other shops I'm going to visit so as to keep my total down." I expected the praise every wife does when she is doing something vaguely frugal (I say, "vaguely", because I am, after all, still buying yarn). However, as I often do, I momentarily forgot who my husband was. "Nah," he said, "just get it all here." I'm not going to argue with that!!

Only one small bump in the road...once I pulled the main green and blue, I didn't like them. I'd fallen in love with the way the photo looked, but we all know how inaccurate colors can be in photos. I wasn't digging the real colors, so I started playing around with alternates. At some point someone asked me if I needed help, and when I admitted I was trying to change colors, the response came: "Well, the designer just happens to be here today. I'm sure she'd help!" I dimly recalled getting an email that Nora Bellows was going to teach a class at Knitch about designing your own bag. Since I had never knit one of her bags--yea verily, nor any felted bag at all--I figured that was over my head and immediately forgot about it. Oh, so that was this weekend. My face flaming, I apologized for saying I didn't like the colors!! I've known some designers, at least in the needlework world, to throw hissie fits if someone dared suggest changing one thread color. But Nora was extremely gracious about it. So now, imagine that bag in the first these colors:

We played with turquoise/green variations (and she even liked a combination I proposed that DH had deemed "seaweed"), and then she went outside the box (God bless designers!) and grabbed the most gorgeous shade of royal blue. Really, it's almost cobalt. That and turquoise, I thought, might not look great with the original deep pink flowers (and we couldn't find one of the colors, anyway). At that point, Nora said she has been playing with green flowers lately. She even gave me a bit of Cascade Fizz from her stash to use for the bobbles (flower centers)!! She also showed me some unfelted flowers and explained that it would seem I was doing something wrong, but I should Trust the Pattern. Believe me, I don't have enough confidence in my knitting skills to NOT Trust the Pattern, despite my experience with the cuff. She kind of threw me for a loop by picking three greens when the pattern calls for two colors, but she told me to "play"...and if there's one thing I can do, besides Trust the Pattern, it's Follow Directions, Especially if They're from the Designer Herself.

So as if all this personal attention wasn't enough, when I got downstairs with my fabulous armload of Cascadey goodness, the staff asked me, "Do you want us to wind this for you?" !!!! Are you serious?? Really?? YES, PLEASE!!!

Shop hop=lots of lovely yarn. Nora Bellows=one swell chick.


Anonymous said...

It sounds like a fun day out!

Jean in Georgia said...

So glad you got to hop without me. Sounds as if Michael is even more dangerous to shop with than me. :) Great haul, tho!

TeresaB said...

Great haul! So jealous you got to meet Nora Bellows. She would have to be a bit cool to design such amazing bags.

Richard Cook said...

I said it at Why Knot Knit and I'll say it here - Misti Alpaca sounds like a drag queen's name.

Jill said...

Fabulous! I love the colors for the purse. And after seeing the Misti Alpaca, I might have to make a trip to Why Knot Knit soon!! (Every once in awhile I want something other than purple).

Studio Refuge Photography Blog said...

Thanks again for the jiff notes and pictures. I like your sweater today at church 11/25. Where's it from?

geeky Heather said...

julia...thanks! It's from LaRedoute...think cheap Anthropologie-like clothing.

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