Last Thursday I left on a driving trip, ostensibly to see my son in MIchigan, about as far north as you can get, in Sault Ste Marie. (pronounced Soo Saint Marie, and known as 'the Soo'), with a planned stop in Traverse City, (my favorite place and the place I call home) and a planned stop to see my brother and his new wife Wendy and their family in MIdland.
But we all know that part of the idea of driving (1650 miles in 5 days - there had better be an upside to this!) was to get my Yarn Store fix.
And wow, did I
First stop: Thursday, in Saugatuck MI. What a great wonderful little tourist destination. Right on the shore of Lake Michigan, widely known for some of the best B&B's in the country, and a great artist community with some awesome galleries. I didn't make time to visit the James Brandess Gallery :( oh well, next time. The yarn store in Saugatuck is a satellite store of the Threadbender Yarn shop in Grand Rapids, and is called Juicy Yarns and Beads. Juicy yarns is very pleasing to the eye, with yarn bins all arranged by color and multitudes of shades and textures in each color in a bin. It is a delight for anyone who is looking for a fast knit vacation scarf - and for the lovers in this world of bumpy, slubby, furry, fuzzy, shiny, eyelashy and pompomy novelty yarns. Alas I am not one of them. It wouldn't be fair to say there was nary a sweater yarn in sight, but it wouldn't be too far off either. I did see the new Blue Sky Alpaca/Silk, which is a fabulous sportweight yarn in the most yummy of colors. I think I will have to have some of the Spring colorway of that, an incredible bright pale green. (did I just say that? - what is a bright pale?, let's try bright light)
On to Traverse City and dinner with my friend Jean at Scotts Harbor Grill, looking out over Harbor West marina and the Bay. Jacquie joined us after her long work day, and we closed the place.
Friday AM: A walk downtown where the shopping is everything that you want to find in a small town downtown area. Beautiful stores, Unique and out of the ordinary merchandise, and ambiance. We went to breakfast at the infamous Omelet Shop, then on to Miners Jewelers to say HI and see what is new in the world of pretty sparkly objects. Then on to Lost Art Yarn Shop. Here I first broke my no-buy pact with Laine (sorry girl, I didn 't even call to talk it over with you, but just did it). They have the complete line of Adrienne Vittadini yarns, which I've found to be incredibly hard to find, in stock. I picked up 3 balls of a teal colorway in Marina to replace a green that I have in a kit - I'm not wild about the brown/green color combo I bought, so I picked up the teal and will use the green for something else sometime - maybe! I also picked up a pair of Inox dp's. Time to inventory the needles so that I remember what the heck I have.
On to one of my all-time favorite yarn shops - YarnQuest in TC. I have to tell you, upon entering the shop, I was a little disappointed. They've always had a great selection of basic yarns with some of the trendy stuff around the edges. This time, I walked in to a big display of Rowan BIG. They seem to have given over a little more to some of the trends, or maybe it was just my impression. And they only had one person on the floor, with 4 groups of women shopping. She had a hard time juggling all the customers, but did an admirable job.
They still have the best selection anywhere I've been of Jaeger yarns, which I still love and wish they were more available. I bought 5 sk Jaeger Matchmaker Aran in Black to do the ribbing on a Debbie Bliss Lara wrap that I have a Vittadini black and white tweed for. Needed a basic black wool for the rib and this is perfect. I also found two of the three colors of Rowan Lurex that I need for the Zoe Sweater designed by Brandon Mably that I tried on in Novi last month. I'm planning on using some old Tahki Chelsea Silk that I already own for that cardi, but there isn't any substitute for the dots. Amazingly enough, they didn't have the midnight color, but had the berry and wine colors. hmmm. Found the midnight on Yarnela in Toronto and ordered it there yesterday. As long as I'm buying yarn again I might as well get it done with. !!
Friday afternoon, after spending a thoroughly enjoyable but not nearly long enough time with Jacquie, I got on the road heading towards the UP. (that is Upper Peninsula in Michiganspeak).
I stopped in Petoskey to say Hi to Gail at the Bristly Thistle, an incredible needlepoint shop that Gail has owned for the last 18 years or so. She pointed me in the direction of a little yarn store in Alanson that I didn't even know was there.
The Dutch Oven Yarn Shop is a yarn store that is accessed by walking into the Dutch Oven Bakery - oh, did I managae to bypass the cookies? No. then through the deli sandwhich shop, up a step, and into an amazing yarn studio. She has the equivalent of an old house worth, in two large rooms, of yarn, floor to ceiling. The most complete selection of Debbie Bliss yarns I've seen outside of the UK online shops, and a great huge selection of wools and tweeds and yarn for serious knitters. I got there just before closing time and was feeling the press of being late getting to the Soo, so didn't spend near enough time, but loved the shop.
I had a wonderful visit with Daniel and his roommates Adam and Dusty. Dusty's gf joined us Saturday night for dinner and then the kids included me in their evening plans. I couldn' t believe how clean and neat the boys house was too. These kids keep it clean. And I saw an amazing amount of studying going on. Lest we forget I was in the UP, where hunting reigns, note that I was greeted at the door by the mornings yield from the traps - a coyote ready to be skinned and tanned. A gun locker features prominently in the living room, and Dusty's wall art consists not of posters but a fishing pole rack complete with a variety of poles.
Dusty left early Saturday AM to go duck hunting. Another of Daniels friends came by Sunday AM looking for someone to go with him in the freezing rain/snow mix to check his traps - evidently a 4 to 5 hour process.
While there I mostly finished knitting Ashlees scarf, the Irish Hiking Scarf. (I'ts done now)
Monday: after leaving Dave and Wendy's in Midland I followed my Mapquest directions down county roads that inexplicably kept having 'road closed DETOUR' signs posted, so I ended up feeling my way southwest toward Lansing, to the ThreadBear Fiber Arts Store
This store is everything it is reputed to be and more. What an incredible store. What inventory. Complete color selections, with enough in each color to actually buy enough to complete a project. Sarina and Sue were helpful without being overbearing, there were tables and furniture groupings to encourage people to just come in and knit, which someone did while I was there, and there was coffee in the back - which I didn't even know about because I never quite got all the way to the back until after I'd checked out. And yes, I did check out. I bought some beautiful yarn for a 3 season cardi for the kind of weather we have here, so it is a cotton/viscose blend. I bought 3 intense saturated colors, and will figure out what to do with it in Feb, which is when I figure I will get to that. I also bought some balls of cashmere and some balls of mohair to make gloves with - they are diff boutique companies but the colors are so well matched that they could have come from the same dye bath. I'm thinking fuzzy cuff and cashmere hand on the gloves. Color is a deep deep almost brick red. And I finally found a mohair the weight of kidsilk haze that will work in a color that I need to finish up my VK11 pullover that I knit with the Silk Garden rescued from my BIG sweater disaster. Who knew that a mohair that color would be that hard to find.
I'll post pics of my haul when the camera returns. Meanwhile, I'm not doing another thing until those sleeves are off the needles for my Colchique.
And in another note altogether, the local SnB ladies have issued a call for preemie caps. Seems the woman who has been knitting them and coordinating knit donations for one of the hospitals here now has need for a chemo cap herself and isn't able to do it anymore.
I'm thinking that I will start inserting some interlude projects between each phase of my self-involved knitting, and knit up some preemie caps and some chemo caps. I derived a great deal of pleasure knitting up that little cable cap for Sharron, and think that it is something I will continue doing.
I found the greatest site today for preemie caps and bonnets.