Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Shop Hop Haul

We did pretty well for ourselves, didn't we? And most of it is already tagged for specific projects, so it counted as smart purchasing, not blind stash padding. Several of the shops carried a little booklet about smart stash building, which I totally intend to purchase soon: StashBot by Hannah Fettig. It was about $6.00. Right now, though, I'm broke.

The trip itself was a treat, from the company, the bus ride, the lunch (at The Trailhead Restaurant, conveniently located immediately beside the Black Mountain Yarn Shop), to each and every LYS visited. We were excited to start the day on an excellent note by getting to see Crystal, who had worked so hard to make the event possible, up and moving around so soon after her surgery--and smiling! If that happened to make us a little late to the bus (OK, we were the last to scramble aboard), it was worth it. No one seemed too out of joint since we were able to give such a good report. Then we were off!

We hit Enka Middle School first, where Friends & Fiberworks had invited other vendors to a small retreat. Mom and I were delighted to see familiar faces from Sanford's Carolina Fiber Fest, Knitting Notions (from Nashville, TN). We nabbed these skeins of their own hand dyed classic merino lace, one in solid "Dark Rose" and four in "Roses 'n' Thyme":

We loaded back up and headed to Purl's Yarn Emporium, located on Wall Street in Asheville. That is a little magical, unique street in a magical, unique center of the city, but no place for a tour bus. We were dumped near enough and made our way across charming, if inconvenient, cobbles (I told you it was "magical, unique" and I meant it) to the store. This is what was outside:

There sock monkey pirates in the windows:

And sock monkey ninjas in the other window:

We hadn't even made it inside yet. You could say that Purl's is ground zero for this magical, unique little city tucked into the Blue Ridge Mountains. For knitters and crocheters, of course. 

I think we technically broke the bank before even getting to lunch. We left Purl's with the following:

That is Universal Yarn's Bamboo Bloom in Zen Garden, which should look familiar. Remember the Stitch n'Pitch? We received 2 free skeins of this! We had already planned to use it for a project, so this completes part of this "thick & thin" dress

Above is a triplet serving of Berroco's Remix in luscious "Merlot". It is soft and wonderful and made of 100% recycled fibers: 30% Nylon, 27% Cotton, 24% Acrylic, 10% Silk, 9% Linen. I plan these for Norah Gaughan's Valdai scarf / wrap (below). The pattern is free from Berroco

Norah Gaughan's Valdai design for Berroco. Copyright Berroco.
I picked out Malabrigo's Arroyo in purply-blue "Plomo," a superwash Merino: make Norah Gaughan's Sturgeon (below). The pattern is in Berroco's Norah Gaughan, Vol. 13

Norah Gaughan's Sturgeon design for Berroco. Copyright Berroco.
Keeping with the Norah Gaughan theme (she is one of my favorite designers), I nabbed the Berroco pamphlet Norah Gaughan, Vol. 7 at Purl's, too. Berroco has produced 15 volumes of Gaughan's designs and I've only got numbers 7 and 13 (my top picks). Volume 15 was just released this year and is now at the top of my pattern wish list, followed by number 8. I love that she lets her own background study of biology and ongoing curiosity in natural shapes to influence her designs. She looks at the world with a rich imagination and then isn't afraid to play. The latest volume is full of chunky aran-like projects with lots of cables, which I especially love. I'll share with you another thing I love that Norah Gaughan does with Berroco: audio slideshows of each pamphlet. That link will also give you Berroco's other shows not designed by Gaughan, but her slideshows are in the list, too. I really like listening to the designer discuss their inspiration, and the surprises that popped up along the creative process, with another member of the Berroco team. 

Back to yesterday's shopping. We're not finished with Purl's! Mom picked out these two skeins of Malabrigo superwash Merino sock yarn in "Pocion," dark variegated blues and browns.

This may (or may not) become part of the "thick & thin" dress mentioned above. That will definitely be an experimental piece. 

Finally, she nabbed these skeins of Fibra Natura Good Earth, a blend of cotton and linen, in "Ivory" and "Gold":

The proprietors of Purl's sometimes drive from Asheville to join us for our monthly Smoky Mountain Kitting Guild membership meetings. They spread out a selection of their wares for sale. This is a great thing because many of us aren't able, or can't afford the cost of gas, to drive to Asheville, which is about 30 or more minutes out of town. Friends & Fiberworks will sometimes do this, too. Mom first purchased some of the Fibra Natura Good Earth from a selection that Purl's brought to a meeting. I don't think she's decided on what it will all become, but I'll let you know as soon as I find out.

That's it for the Purl's visit. We waited patiently through another leg of the bus tour, waited not so patiently through lunch--after all, the yarn shop was one brick wall away as we sat and placed our orders--enjoyed a fabulous lunch, and then descended upon the Black Mountain Yarn Shop for dessert.    It was mine and mom's first visit to the shop. They stocked Cascade along at least one wall and organized other yarns so that one whole half of the store gave the illusion of walking into a paint or crayon box, from one end of the color spectrum to the other. Interestingly, we left with only one color: grey. Not just any grey, though. This silvery grey color (#003) of Tahki Yarns Rosa:

We made up for color with quantity, obviously. It is a soft, blooming 100% cotton. Mom plans on making a sleeveless top with it. 

Last, but not least, we headed back west, and found The Knitting Diva at its new location in a new complex off of north Merrimon Avenue, Asheville. We were weary travelers welcomed with open arms by the staff, sunny open layout, and comfy seats of the shop. I was sad to fall in love with a very lonely ball of Berroco Boboli Lace in a color (#4395) which I just discovered is called "Tree Swing" (awwwww, how sweet). I immediately wanted to use it for the Bermuda Shawl as a gift for mom. When I first saw that shawl, a member of the guild had made it in lovely bright colors, but I immediately envisioned it as sand dunes and drift wood in earthy shades. This yarn fit the bill perfectly. But there was no way near enough of it. I brought it home with me anyway. It was lonely, you know. What else could I do? Oh. I did find it a friend. A little ball of Berroco Folio in #4505 ("Peak"). They were friendly with one another so they may become a joint project.

I also picked up a skein of Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine in turquoise. It is going to be born into a second knitting of the Wedgewood scarf as a gift. 

Are you worn out yet? 

We're not done. Mom discovered this treat:

That is Queensland Collection's Uluru in #08. It has a barely-there core of silver and is a blend of cotton, acrylic, and polyester. It just is. There are no plans for it yet. So we bask in its beauty. 

After traveling all over western NC, fondling yarn, whispering and listening to fiber, chatting with fellow knitters, and standing (who knew there'd be so much standing when you spent hours in shops?) for 8 hours yesterday, I've now sat here and wrote, linked, and photographed my way through six hours today. I'm worn out. Knit and peace out.   

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