The story of how I found my Local Yarn Store.

Oh yes, knitty friends, I now have a local yarn store!

I’ve had bad luck with previous stores, with both of my two favorites closing on me in a matter of months. That was a while ago, and I haven’t had a local place to go look at stuff since. It’s probably been good for my pocketbook, but bad for creativity.

However, I should back up to how this all came about. I’m telling the story out of order and that’s bad. But first,

MOM STOP READING NOW OR ELSE.

Okay! I’m going to talk about Christmas, more specifically what I’m making for mom, and I don’t want to ruin her surprise. She actually likes my surprises so she won’t peek. (unlike SOME people.) Well, I’ve started planning Christmas presents, and I decided that mom is going to be this year’s big winner. She is very appreciative of handknits, and goes around telling anyone who will listen how clever I am and listing all the stuff I’ve made her and how it really makes holidays special to get something handmade. Of course this behavior ensures a steady stream of handknits forever, even though she lives in Texas. It’s actually quite funny, my mom is one of those people who can’t sit still. Even if she’s watching TV, she’ll fold laundry or do crunches or something. So when I’m curled up knitting, sometimes she looks at me like I’m some sort of exotic creature, because she doesn’t understand why someone would stay in one place for so long. However, we are more similar than you might think, because knitting is what I do so I can sit still. I hate sitting still and doing nothing! Knitting makes down time feel productive. It’s pretty much a win-win.

Anyway, back to my mom. I knew that I wanted her to have something really lovely for Christmas, and I was thinking a nice, light, drapey cardigan. I did some research, (read, I cruised Ravelry for HOURS) and I finally settled on the Wispy cardigan. It’s a lovely piece, and would look equally good over a top and jeans, or a pretty dress. Also, my mom is quite stylish, and it just has a sort of effortlessly chic vibe. I realized that for this pattern, I could use yarn from one of my favorite companies, MadelineTosh Yarns. Their laceweight single ply yarn Prairie had exactly the right yardage in ONE SKEIN to make this cardigan. How perfect is that? (after the holidays I will make myself five of them.) I started cruising around online looking at colors, and I was wracked with indecision. Yarn colors can look very different in person, and I wanted this to be perfect. I was also leaning towards blue (because I like blue and my mom has blue eyes) but none of them felt right. I decided that I needed to hold the yarn in my hand, and that would help me make a decision.

So I looked online, and I found a place that might have some, Stitch House in Dorchester. I decided to drop by for a look and DID THEY EVER. What a beautiful store. There was yarn, but also sewing stuff and buttons and so many kits and patterns and I loved it. The staff was pretty much perfect too. They asked me if I needed anything when I came in, but they were neither pushy nor aloof. I was told to “come in and fondle anything,” and then left alone until I needed something. (it’s hard for a yarn shop to strike the right balance for me. I can be a trifle touchy when contemplating buying something.) Eventually I did ask for their opinions, and they were perfectly nice! I picked out nine possible color choices, and the owner told me to “Bring them over to the table and don’t worry about the mess,” because the light was terrible in the corner where I was clutching skeins of lovely yarn to my chest. So I did.

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This was only a fraction of the colors they had. The staff told me how each one knit up, and I finally settled on one of them I thought would look smashing on mom. (I’ll show you which one later) I then pulled out the Fair Isle baby sweater I’m working on so I could choose buttons, and they helped me settle on a color there as well. When the owner asked me if she could touch the sweater and then flipped it inside out to check my floats (they passed muster, I’m happy to say) I felt right at home. (For the non-knitting, “Fair Isle” is when you use two colors, alternating stitches in each color based on the pattern. “Floats” refer to when you’re carrying the color you’re not using in the back of the work, and it’s bad for them to be either too tight or too loose because things look funky.) Last but not least, I mentioned that I was a spinner, and it turns out that one of the ladies who works there is also! When the owner told us to “go make out in a corner” in a mock-exasperated tone of voice, I started to giggle helplessly. This store has a cool, chill vibe, lovely stuff, and the prices aren’t totally jacked up like the store on Newbury street! (nicer staff too) They do knit night on Fridays with snacks and beer, and you better believe that I’ll be going.

But you guys really want to see what I bought, don’t you?

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Lovely, no? It’s the Wicked colorway, which from far away looks brown, but close up you see that it had purple and green undertones and is basically fabulous. It will look beautiful on my mom. The cream-colored buttons are for my current project, and the others were just irresistible. PINK HEDGEHOGS PEOPLE. I mean come on, how could I resist?

OKAY NOW NANA STOP READING.

Also, that thing you see in the background is an old-fashioned inkwell that my Nana randomly sent me because she knows how I adore such things. There’s a reason why she’s getting a shawl for Christmas.

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6 Comments

  1. Nothing like a good LYS. I just had my favorite close on me recently as well. Makes me feel guilty for the many times I’ve bought online. 😦 I love Madelintosh. I used that dark blue on a project and I loved how it looked almost “electric” in some lights. That Wicked color is gorgeous as well. Can’t wait to see the finished sweater. And only one skein??? Must be really lacy. And those pink hedgehogs… crazy cute. πŸ™‚

  2. It’s a good feeling finding the perfect LYS. When I read the first sentence, I jumped to the conclusion that you opened your own yarn shop! (I need to read more and infer less).

    I am excited to see how the cardigan for your Mom knits up. The colorway is gorgeous!

  3. Lucky you! That store sounds perfect. I also love M T yarn – I am working on a Hitchhiker shawl in Tosh Light, Betty Draper Blues (even if I hated the yarn, I would so love it because of the perfect names) and love it. Have made many socks with Tosh Sock, but now can see I have to go even further afield and try some different weights. Can’t wait to see the sweater that uses only one skein… πŸ™‚

  4. What a lovely commentary – the comment about you and the other spinner made me crack up. I’m the same way about yarn – I’ve never ordered online because I need to touch/fondle/admire to find the right color πŸ™‚ Sounds like you’ve found a wonderful place to do just that!

  5. I love the yarn you chose. Am more than certain she will love your hard work!

  6. yay for beautiful yarn and yay for LYS! i love that you blog about presents and just make your family members not peek. (: i hadn’t been really hitting up any chicago-based LYSes because the one closest to me didn’t have very nice staff, but i recently found one that i love and i spend a lot of time daydreaming about going back when i have free time (:

    also those hedgehogs are the best buttons of all time.

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