Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Yarn Shop Run

First let me say that we all know how I tend to ramble.  It has been said that a person will ask me what time it is & 20 minutes later they will walk away with not only the time but a brief history of watchmaking.  You may want to get yourself a cup or glass of something & make yourself comfortable if you plan to read it all   : )

A few days ago in a post titled A New Kind of Stash I wrote about some yarn I recently acquired & my reason for doing so.  Those of you who have been following my blog for a while know that I am cursed with both perfectionism & OCD.  You just have to look inside my fridge or at the dust brontosauruses (dust balls too big to be called bunnies) that tumbleweed their way across the floor now & again to know that these two maladies do not affect every aspect of my life.  They do, however, cause me a great deal of stress at times.

I brought home the above mentioned yarn stash but just didn't feel comfortable with it & therefore I was at a standstill.  I could not begin to knit the things for which it was intended because I knew I wasn't going to be happy with the results.  It began with an uneasiness about the needles I purchased.  It turned out I bought them too short.  Then I realized I was not really comfortable with the needles being made of brass which of course meant they needed to be exchanged for completely different needles.  Then the yarn colors/types started to eat away at me ... the blue Aran wool & the handpainted sock weight to be precise. Although they are gorgeous yarns I just didn't see them as being "me."  It was also eating away at me that these particular yarns were not the ones suggested by the designers.  It has always been difficult for me to go outside the box & substitute a different color or brand or whatever of something.  Anyway, I decided to take back the needles & the yarn to exchange them for something different.

I had bought my stash at a yarn shop in Lexington.  I knew of only two yarn shops there during my last visit but I discovered on Ravelry (an online knitting/crocheting community) that there are actually four yarn shops in that area.  John & I had planned to do an overnighter in West Virginia yesterday which was to include a traipse along a hiking trail but our plans were changed after a deluge of rain on Monday so instead I decided to go to Lexington to do my exchange & to also check out the other shops.  My plan began like this:  Go to Shop A (a previously unknown shop) who advertises the same brand of yarn the designer used for one of the particular shawls I wanted to make & compare it to the Aran yarn which the shop owner at Shop B (where I bought my original stash) said I could use instead.  Please know I was not doubting Shop Owner B's yarn knowledge.  It's just that my OCD wouldn't stop nagging me about the substitution & then I decided I didn't like the particular color I had chosen either.  Moving along ... my plan was to (1) see if the yarn I bought from Shop B matched perfectly with the yarn called for in the pattern in which case I would just return it to shop B for a different color, or (2) if the yarn called for by the designer was distinctly different from the Aran I bought a Shop B then I would buy the designer's recommendation from Shop A & return the Aran to Shop B in exchange for some sock yarn.

Let me first say that Shop A's website indicated that they open at 10 o'clock.  It was not difficult to find Shop A but I was uneasy being in a part of town I had never been in before.  I looked for the address but couldn't spot it.  I parked along the side of the road but saw only parking spaces with meters.  I had no change.  I then left & turned onto a side street thinking I'd just park there & walk back but I only found more meters as well as some Pay & Park machines where you put in money & get a ticket to put on your dashboard.  There was a small parking lot but it appeared to be connected with the P&P machines.  I made a turn thinking I could pull into the lot from that street but no, the lot only had one entrance/exit area so I came around via a fast food lot & then turned into the parking lot only to discover after having entered that you needed a University of Kentucky parking permit to park there.  I had to go around the lot to get back to the entrance/exit area & just before I reached it I noticed a huge amount of glass on the ground which I would have to drive over if I continued on.  I couldn't back up & reverse my direction & other cars were waiting for me to get out of the way so I just drove where I thought the glass wasn't so bad & hoped for the best.  I then parked across the street & wondered what to do.  I decided first to call the shop to make sure it was really there because someone on Ravelry had mentioned that it was moving.  Even though it was three minutes after 10 o'clock no one answered the phone but I did get an answering machine message telling me that the shop would open at 10:00.  I then decided to get out of the car & walk about a block to the nearest P&P machine to see what they were selling these tickets for.  I had $2.00 in my purse which I discovered would buy me two hours of parking.  I figured that would be more than enough time for me to rummage around in the shop.  I got my ticket & then made my way back to the car & only then noticed that a P&P machine was right there on the corner where I had parked!  Sigh!  I then walked over to the street where the yarn shop was supposed to be.  I didn't see it.  Then on my way back up the street I noticed an old brick building which had several signs out front.  The yarn shop's sign was there.  I then noticed some knitting paraphernalia in the window!  Hooray!  I walked excitedly up the stairs & went to open the door of the shop but it was locked.  There was a sign hanging on it saying that they opened at 11 o'clock.  ARGH!!!  What was I going to do?  I knew that Shop B did not open till 11:00.  I walked back to my car with the hope of there being no flat tires & that I would find my way out of there & get back on the street that would lead me to Shop C.  I had no idea what time Shop C opened but it was near Whole Foods where I needed to make a stop so I figured either way I'd accomplish something.  I arrived at Shop C & was pleased to find them open.

Shop C was shown on the Mountain Colors website as being a shop that carries their yarn & indeed they do carry it but not the type called for by the designer of one of my shawls (Mountain Colors Weavers Wool).  They did, however, have Kid Seta Noir yarn which is called for in a particularly dreamy shawl pattern that I didn't have when I bought my original stash.  The KSN yarn was offered in a GORGEOUS color ... kind of a heathery dark lavender ... which I love-love-love & I am pleased as punch with   : )   I explored the store for a while, found some sheep stitch markers which had to come home with me along with a little knitting booklet & then left to return to Shop B which by the time I got back there would be open.  (Incidentally, I had been to Shop C before but only to buy cross stitch supplies.  I knew they had knitting supplies as well but I never perused them during my previous visits.)

My P&P ticket still had an hour's worth of time left on it & as I was driving slowly past the shop I noticed a little area where you could park using the P&P tickets!  I was overcome with joy as I pulled into one of them & walked just a few steps to the shop.  It was a very nice shop & they did indeed sell the brand of yarn called for by the designer of one of my chosen shawl patterns but not that particular yarn type.  The girl working there (not sure if she was the owner) took a look at the ball of Aran I brought with me & said she had no match for it.  She also did not have the Weavers Wool called for in the other shawl pattern but she concurred with the owner of Shop B that sock yarn would be the choice as a substitute.  I found a sock yarn I liked much better for that shawl than the sock yarn I had purchased from Shop B so I bought that along with a keychain pattern & some needles & some other little goodies & walked happily to my car to travel on to Shop B to do my exchanges.

Shop B is less than a mile from Shop A!  How is it that in that area there are two shops almost right next to each other but where I live there isn't a shop any closer than a 50-minute drive?  I arrived at Shop B & brought in my bag of exchanges.  I decided to trade the blue Aran for a pretty heather gray Aran but this was not available.  After searching around a bit the shop owner remembered that she had a pretty gray merino/alpaca mix in her sales bin.  It was beautiful!  I then chose 2 different sock yarns to use for socks & chose some wooden needles to substitute for the brass ones.  (I'm not sure if I'm going to like these particular wooden needles & so I'm a bit uneasy about them but I will give then a try.)  I also picked up a knitting magazine.  

Having happily made my exchanges I then went to have my glasses adjusted (they hurt worse now), stopped at Target to pick up a few Godiva chocolate bars with almonds (a last hurrah before starting my cleansing ritual), & then took care of business at Whole Foods.  Before leaving the Whole Foods parking lot I called Shop D which is in Nicholasville, a little town right outside of Lexington & on my way home.  I only got an answering machine message which told me no one could come to the phone right now.  I ventured ahead.  We usually take the bypass around the city of Nicholasville on our way home from Lexington but in order to get to the shop I had to take the business route.  The traffic was horrible for some reason.  Very few of the buildings had address numbers on them (don't you just hate that?) & although I was looking closely for the shop ... an address number or a sign or anything ... I soon found myself on another block without having seen it.  I then had to drive past the main business area so I could turn around & try to find the shop again.  The shop is on the 600 block & so right after passing a business who had their address clearly displayed on their sign (God bless them!) I pulled into a side street & parked in a bank parking lot.  I knew the bank wouldn't appreciate me parking in their lot while I conducted business elsewhere.  I then noticed that across that side street on the corner there was a little gift shop & it had a parking area.  I drove over there & went inside the shop.  The owner was so nice & she knew exactly where the knitting shop was.  It was directly behind her!  So it wasn't actually on the main street through town but on the side.  Address mysteries!  There was a small parking area in front of the knitting shop so I moved the car over there & went inside.  Although I enjoyed visiting all the shops I enjoyed this one most of all!  It was probably the smallest shop with the least variety but the owner had the best personality ever & I found a LOT of stuff to bring home with me including two books & yarn to make three projects from them.  I would've bought more yarn for more projects but decided to discipline myself   : )

I then returned home after making a brief stop at the grocery store.  Eight hours!  I was gone for eight hours !  I was exhausted!  I hadn't stopped to eat or anything!  I made me & John an egg sandwich, ate a pecan roll, took a shower, climbed into bed at 8 o'clock & slept like a log for 10 hours!  When I got on the scale this morning I had lost 2-1/2 pounds!  I think I need to do a daily yarn shop run   : )

I do have one more thing to share with you concerning my visit to one of these yarn shops but I will save that for another post   : )


TheCrankyCrow said...

You are an absolute HOOT my dear Shirlee!! Midway through the third paragraph I started smiling with that old feeling of self recognition. What is it that makes us LIKE that?! I look at others who substitute things willy-nilly and the finished projects turn out better than the original - but me, no - I have to do "as called for" or it eats at me like a terminal disease.

And whoa Lady - did you score the stash! You do nothing on a small scale, do you??? ;o) Gorgeous, gorgeous, yarns!! Can't wait to see what you create with them. (Did I know you were a knitter???)

Smiles & Hugs ~ Robin (Yikes - how did I get so behind again???)

marly said...

Well.....I'm exhausted too. What a trip. I don't know how you kept track of what shop had what when and where, let alone the parking spots! I would have had a flash with actual flames. Glad you ended up with a good haul.

Dawn said...

You are to funny as always, love reading your stories...can't wait to see the patterns get to work :)

Peggy Lee said...

Oh my goodness girl I know you warned me but I should have packed a lunch!
I know when we go up to the Lexington area we plan to be gone practically all day. In fact, we will be there tomorrow.
I hope I don't have to do that P&P thing. That part confused me!

Vickie said...

Shirlee! Pecan rolls and Godiva bars and you LOSE 2 1/1 lbs!! Not fair. Not fair at all! ;)

LunabudKnits said...

AWE!! You are too sweet! I'm so darn glad you had fun at the shop (D) yesterday. Just so you know, you are welcome to come anytime and just hang out and knit. Hopefully we will have an actual sign by then too:)

And PS... Little Dog was adopted today too:)

Maggee said...

Phew! I am more tired than I was when I got home, just from reading about your trip'!! Now get busy, as someone before me said! Hugs!

Maureen said...

Girl I admire your "stick-to-it-ness!!!" I confess I probably would have abandoned the mission. You came home with a good haul and I can picture you sittin' and knittin' all your cares away. Thanks for the great story!

Anonymous said...

I knew it, I knew it!!! My 10 pound weight gain HAS been caused due to lack of fabric shopping. Off to the fabric store to lose weight;-)

You certainly are determined. So glad you were able to get more yarn and find a nice new to you store.

blessings, jilly

Chris said...

I think I am tired too. But you came home with some wonderful things. Have you started one of your new projects yet?

Sally said...

Wow sounds like you had quite an adventure Shirlee! I wish I'd been with you. Love the look of that Jane Austen Knits magazine and all your wool is gorgeous.

Michelle said...

What a trip you had - lovely post - really enjoyed reading it xx

Isobel -Argante- said...

Dear Shirlee is always a great surprise visit your blog :-)))
Hugs sweety!

Stitchy Mc Floss said...

I love, love, love the shop in Nicholasville. The owner is so kind and helpful. Every time I am out her way, I always pop in....she is just awesome.

Great post. :)