Friday, April 25, 2014

Find X Designs

I have been remiss in taking this long to post my experiences at the Sanford, NC LYS. We spent Saturday, April 5th at the Carolina FiberFest and noticed the gapping hole left by the absence of the LYS, Find X Designs: Fabric & Yarn (they are also quilting and sewing experts). So, it has taken me almost three weeks to finally get this overdue review of our wonderful visit to their actual shop!

This was actually our second visit to Find X Designs, but the first was almost a year ago when we helped my aunt and her family relocate to Sanford from the mountains. When we came in this time, we were so excited to get to the yarn that we skirted right around the bolts of cloth to duck into the room that had been set aside for yarn and knitting / crochet tools back then...only to find more cloth and quilting samples. We turned in dismay to a cheery voice asking if we needed help finding anything. I hate to admit it, but there may have been tears in my voice when I bleated, "yarn?"

The wonderful saleswoman (and no doubt co-owner) grinned brightly. "Don't worry. We're expanding! All the yarn is going into a building next door."

The yarn has its own digs? Rock on! And she promised a tour, even though the poor skeins were still mostly in boxes, very few on display. First we were given a thorough tour of the quilting and sewing side of the operation, which I found very interesting. I'd love to make some basic skirts and t-shirts and wide-legged pants to make up my total wardrobe forever. One day, perhaps. I'll just add that to my mile-long to-do list. (...flipping pages, scribbling "learn to sew"...there)

The store only sells Pfaff machines (sewing, quilting, embroidery, and overlock) and they have a great selection in store and an online gallery. They also offer free and low-cost classes for all levels, including just meet-and-sews to help encourage young women to continue honing their sewing skills. I think this is absolutely fantastic.

Find X Designs is co-owned by Suzanne and Steve Christopher and you can find out more about the shop here, their About page.

Ah...their yarn expansion! I should have taken pics of the space, but only managed to get pics of our woolly loot.

That modest bun on bottom is 798 yards of heavenly Juniper Moon Farm yarn in "Findley Dappled", 50% Merino and 50% silk. The color is called "Uncial". I looked it up in Maybel's Mac dictionary (it actually includes at least 4 different dictionaries as sources): "uncial" is an adjective: "1) of or written in a majuscule (large) script with rounded unjoined letters that is found in European manuscripts of the 4th–8th centuries and from which modern capital letters are derived. or 2) rare of or relating to an inch or an ounce." Here is the sample script the dictionary gave:

I am so tickled!! A literary yarn! I love fonts. I originally chose it for its grey colors and the whites that wash through here and there, surf breaking over rocks. I intend this yarn for my Estuary wrap. It is a stunning piece of "wet and wild lace" designed by Emily Wessel of TinCanKnits. (And it is free, free, free!) Now I know that the yarn was the perfect selection. 

Mom picked up that wee little bun of funky white cotton/acrylic Katia Temis in "Natural" (137 yards) as an accent for the Flower Child's Sweater she plans to crochet her grandbaby Alex with the similarly textured dark pink cotton she picked up at the fiber fest. 

Mom and I also decided to use the Find X Designs' stock and impressive color palette of Ella Rae Classic solids and heathers (worsted, 100% wool, 219 yards) to begin working on a present for my aunt. At the fiber fest, she and her daughter saw a purse that she fell in love with. Unfortunately, neither my mother or I visited the particular booth with the purse...but I'm relentless. I systematically went through the web sites associated with the vendors listed on the fiber fest site. I found the purse! It was the felted Mayan Purse "You Can Do It!" pattern from (located just over a mountain or two from us, in Black Mountain). After my aunt pointed out how she'd prefer the purse to look and gave desired measurements, we decided that a pattern wouldn't help much. We chose colors based partly on the tiny image we found and her personal preferences. Now I'll create a custom stranded design, keeping some of the elements of the EasyKnits original, but making it unique for her. We chose these colors from the LYS:

The saleswoman also taught me a pretty neat trick for pairing light and dark color tones using a camera's "mono" setting. Once you set the phone's camera setting (she used an Android and my cousin tried it with an iPhone) to mono and then looked at the colored yarns with only the black and white image, it was clear which skeins were significantly lighter values and it was sometimes surprising! She also told me that quilters use a "quilter's ruby" to do the same thing. Here's a cool article on how it works and more about color values (from Martingale Press's technical skills blog, covering everything from quilting to knitting). 

It occurred to me, after all the colors were selected, of course, that the color swatch collage created using PicMonkey might be neat to see. So I used the little purse image and gave it a try. This is what I got: (Kim Green)'s image of her own felted purse sample..
Regardless, we left with bags of yarn and promises to return. I only worked with the Ella Rae a bit to knit a felting sample, but I think it may be my new go-to work-horse 100% wool over Patons or Cascade. Does anyone else have a 100% wool go-to preference? 

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