As promised, my daughter took me to 2 yarn shops yesterday. (Poor kid....she had to suffer through mom acting like a kid in a candy shop.....pawing over all the wonderful yarns, books, and patterns. She was smart though, and brought her Chemistry project with her.....knowing ahead of time that I "fall into the abyss" when I enter a yarn shop!). I got both addresses and shop names from Knitty Chick
(Thanks!!!!). One of the shops was absolutely fantastic. The other left us a bit "cold". More on that in a minute.
The first shop, Woven Art
, was in East Lansing. The owner (Nancy) was a very warm and talented fiber artist. Her shop was lovely and contained lots of yarns, patterns, books, needles, fibers, etc. It was a wonderful and welcoming place. At the front of the store was a table and chairs - great for laying out your project or spreading out yarns/books. In the center of the store was a circle of 4 very comforable chairs with a coffee table in the center.....one could sit knitting or sifting through books/patterns quite comfortably. The yarn surrounded you along the walls of the shop and there were a few small yarn displays dispersed around the "sitting area". At the back of the shop was the classroom section. The shop specialized in knitting, crocheting, weaving, and spinning.....so it's your "one stop shop" for all things fiber.
Nicki and I had a wonderful time there.....Nicki worked on her project in comfort while I spent my time checking out all the yarns and fibers. Nancy was very friendly and helpful. One wonderful thing she featured was her own custom dyed yarns. She had an entire wall dedicated to her craft - there was pima cotton, wool, wool blends, alpaca, and about every combination you could imagine - all hand dyed. (By the way, she does custom dyeing.....so if there's a color-way in a specific yarn type that you need and can't find anywhere else, give her a shout and let her know what you're looking for.....I'm sure she'll be able to fix you right up!)
The shop had a nice variety of samples - some of which were absolutely stunning. The owner made a gorgeous sweater jacket out of Southwest Trading Company Bamboo. It was really striking. My other favorite was a stunning wrap sweater made out of Rowan Summer Tweed and Crystal Palace Fizz from the Holiday 2005 Vogue.
The owner also showed me some "works in progress". I'd mentioned that I was going to make the Berocco knitting bag out of the Berocco Suede and she was actually in the process of making one herself! Hers is being made out of the Rowan Linen Print. It's quite striking. I really didn't care for the Linen Print yarn at all while in the skein, but once knitted up, it looked quite different - it's really nice! One of her daughters has even made a skirt out of the Linen Print. (This just goes to show the importance of having samples.....sometimes, the yarn just doesn't cut in in the ball or skein......you really need to see it knitted up!)
All her hand-dye yarns were beautiful! Of course I had to have some for myself! I had to purchase the 50% Silk/50% Merino hand dyed yarn in purples, blues, and green (it reminds me of irises). I also bought 2 skeins (560 yds. each) of superwash merino - one in purples and one in varying shades of blue.
I will DEFINITELY visit "Woven Art" every time I'm in Michigan. It's a MUST stop if you're ever in this area! You'll really enjoy talking to Nancy and sharing her love of knitting and fibers. (By the way, there's PLENTY of parking......it's right across from a parking garage!)
The second shop, "Yarn for Ewe" in Okemos was nice enough, but I just didn't get that "warm and welcoming" feeling when I went inside. There were some ladies sitting at the front table knitting and the store was jam packed with all kinds of yarn. There were several felted bags - since I'm somewhat into that, it was nice to see them in "real life". I also was able to get the Rowan Book 37 that I'd been looking for as well as a couple of Jo Sharp pattern books.
Here's the part that just kinda left us cold. One of the ladies that had been knitting went to the back of the store and used the restroom (you could hear it flush, etc.....so I KNOW there was a restroom back there!). Keep in mind that she was one of the ladies that had stopped in the store with a couple of friends after lunch to just sit around and knit. They were not taking a class or anything. Some of them may have made a purchase or two while they were there as well.
I had my little stack of items to be purchased and had browsed through the yarns, chatted a bit with the owner and other customers in the store. My daughter was sitting quietly at the table working on her Chemistry. I was browsing through the feltable wool intending to select some yarn for a project I'm doing for a friend. There were several brands of yarn to chose from, so the selection process was taking me quite a while.
Eventually, my daughter and I realized we needed to use the restroom (remember.....we'd been in the shop for a while now....looking at stuff and "stacking" up my items to be purchased). I asked the owner if there was a restroom we could use. Her reply was that the PUBLIC restrooms were next door at Quiznos.....we just needed to go out her door and to the right...then straight back into Quiznos. I was appalled on two levels. First of all, I feel it's rude to direct someone into ANOTHER business to use THEIR restrooms. Secondly, I felt that we must not have been part of the "in crowd", and therefore not ALLOWED to use her restroom (remember, one of the knitting ladies used it.....without even asking!) or perhaps she didn't feel that my purchases were considered significant enough to "allow" me to use her restroom (keep in mind that I was purhasing 3 pattern books.....and they aren't cheap!).
I was sorely tempted just to leave at that point and NOT make ANY purchases. Instead, I decided to go ahead and make my purchases of the pattern books (the Rowan one was real tough to find.....I'd looked for it unsucessfully at several other shops....and I don't know who carries the Jo Sharp books). I decided NOT to buy any yarn. I'd ONLY buy the "necessities" - the pattern books. Based on my over-all experience, I do NOT plan on visiting "Yarn for Ewe" again.