Sunday, May 23, 2010

LYS Tour Summary

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This was a really great experience and was a lot of fun! I wish I could have spent more time at each of the shops, but at least I know where I need to go when I need that certain something. Looking at what was unique to each shop was the best part to me. Ok, so here is my summary of my first LYS Tour.

Money spent on yarn and supplies: Approximately $400
Miles driven: About 500
Ferry rides Taken: 3
Pirate boats folded out of newspaper by my husband: 6
Prettiest pattern and FO (finished object): Alabaster shawl at Renaissance Yarns
Favorite pattern name: Scowl at Knot Just Yarn
Most practical pattern and FO: Tu-Be or not Tu-Be at The Yarn Stash and Lacy Face Towel at Knittery
Friendliest staff in the face of the insanity: Apple Yarns
Biggest regret: Not getting the custom dyed yarn at Knitty Purls before it was sold out
Most varied yarn selection: Great Yarns! and Churchmouse Yarns and Tea
Best Book Selection:  Acorn Yarn
Most unique knitting project (not tour project): The beaded shawls in Beach Basket Yarns
Most unusual yarn for tour pattern: Katina paper at Ana-Cross Stitch
Most friendly shop dogs: The pair at So Much Yarn in Seattle
Best selection of buttons: Seattle Yarn
Pattern that makes me want to crochet: Beautiful Crocheted Evening Bag at Oak Harbor Knits
Best shop locating device: The yarnfitti tree in front of NW Handspun Yarns
Shop I wish I had more time to explore: Hilltop Yarn East
Softest 1 skein project yarn: Tricoter's ArtYarns beaded mohair for their simple cowl
Best tour pattern to make as a gift: Lattice Lace Bottle Bag from Cultured Purls
Biggest stock of weaving supplies: Weaving Works in Seattle
Most eclectic: Full Circle Yarn
Best tea tasting area: Village Yarn and Tea
Roomiest yarn shop: Wild Fibers
Best environmental selection: Fiber Gallery
Easiest shop to park at: Main Street Yarn
Best shop name: Bad Woman Yarn

Patterns I am most likely to make:
Alabaster Shawl from Renaissance
Scowl from
Primrose Pouch from Wild Fibers (I love the ruffle)
Paper Pouch from Ana-Cross Stitch (I got another copy of the pattern!)
Who's your daddy from Main Street
Barton Bag from Apple Yarns
Lattice Lace Bottle Bag from Cultured Purls

My thanks to all of the hard working LYS owners and staff! All of you did a fantastic job of offering something to make your store shine. I can honestly say no two were the same, which is what truly made this tour fun. I look forward to next year!

LYS Tour Day 4

Ok, so I finished the tour today!! Here is my review of the last of the shops, after this post I will be doing a summary of my experience with the tour. So please look for that.

Today started out with a little light exercise. I parked my car in downtown Seattle near the ferry dock. Since it's Sunday all street parking is free and has no time limit. I then grabbed the ferry over to Brainbridge. There was a woman knitting what I believe was a pair of socks also waiting to board the boat. It was nice to see others on their way too. The walk over to Churchmouse Yarn and Tea was quite pleasent and there was some nice scenery. The shop itself had quite the selection. Their asian yarns were really quite remarkable. Their pattern is Two Way Ruffled Scarf. It's a beautiful, gauzy scarf knit is Rowan Kidsilk Haze. They give directions for two different ways to knit it with one version being a bit more open and airy and the other one being a bit tighter knit. From here I headed next door to the blackbird bakery for coffee and pastries. Their coffee was excellent as was my muffin.

After a ferry ride back to Seattle, I headed on over to the U District and Weaving Works. They had silky pima armwarmers by Jennifer Miller made with Misti Alpaca Handpaint Pima Silk and crochet Denim Scallop Baby Sunhat also by Jennifer Miller made from Rowan denim. Sadly there were out of colors I wanted in the Misti Alpaca. However, I did land one thing I had been wanting. In a back corner behind a bunch of stuff and stacked under some bags I found a Nantucket Bag ( for $36. The woman at the checkout hadn't seen it before so another lady showed it off to her. They almost didn't let me buy it from them since it was the last and she really liked it. :)

Next stop was Acorn yarn shop. This was a very cute shop with a nice selection. I picked up some new point protectors. Their pattern is a Sensational Cowl by Mary Mara made with Sensation from Naturally. They had a really nice selection of books here.

Moving along I headed to Bad Woman Yarn. Due to some help from google maps and my own assumptions given my experience with Wallingford, I parked on a nearby street (in theory) and walked over to Wallingford Center. I eventually figured out where I was going and found Bad Woman. However, when I got in I found I had forgotten my passport. I had to run back to my car and grab it and make my way back over. So about 15 minutes after I had parked, I managed to get my stamp! Their pattern were a Shells Beads and Ruffles crochet scarf and a knitted Cascading Leaves Cowl both a which used Malabrigo lace yarn. They had a really great sale section with lots of marked down yarn! Also, all their shop patterns are free with any purchase.

So continuing the run through Seattle I found Full Circle Yarn. Their patterns were a knit Nifty Newscap using Classic Silk by Classic Elite Yarns and a crochet Toddler's Circles Hat Pattern using Classic Elite's Cotton Bam Boo. The brimmed newscaps were definitely a unique style and the baby hat was very cute. Full Circle is also a framing shop and they had lots of pretty frames as well.

My second to last stop was Fiber Gallery. This was a large and well appointed shop with a really great selection of yarns. Their pattern was Weldon's Vintage Scarf using Malabrigo lace. However, they were running low on the Malabrigo, so they were substituting Smooshy. They had lemonade and cookies out for yarn tour visitors!

So on to the end!! I had meant to hit Village Yarn and Tea at the end of my day 2 trip however, we ran out of time. So little did I know that Village Yarn had recently moved, and someone forgot to tell google too. I made it to their old location without any problems! I walked up to the door and yeah... well. I was very sad for a moment. Thanfully the LYS Tour Passport had direction it as well. Sadly though, those only got me to the shopping center where VY&T is located and that is a very large shopping center where the farmer's market was also going on. I got really quite frustrated and ended up calling the shop. They were nice enough to guide me in. I hope I wasn't to snippy, but blisters and getting lost doesn't make one happy.

Thanfully it was worth the effort. The shop was beautiful and had some really cute sock bags that are made just for the shop. they also had some great denim project bags on sale and if I hadn't just bought my Nantucket Bag, I would have gotten one of those. Their tea area was also really cute! So, my last knitted pattern for the tour was their very lovely shawl called Dreams of the Salish Sea dedicated to Deb Barnes as was their Wrapped in Roses crochet scarf. The shawl was made using Misti Alpaca Tonos Pima Silk. and the scarf used Plymouth Kudo. The shop owner also had a fantastic Spincycle tatoo which she had customized to make her own.

So the tour is over. I think I now have enough yarn to keep my hands busy for at least a year and enough patterns to go with them!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

LYS Tour day 3

So, today was mostly a day off for me. I had knitting classes this afternoon, so I wasn't able to do much of the tour. I did get to enter the drawing while I was at Renaissance Yarns for my classes. Today I did the second class of 3 of the toe up socks class. We started working on the heel and got instructions for starting the ankle and cuff of the sock. After that I had the first class of our swallowtail shawl class. We are making Evelyn Clark's swallowtail shawl. Michelle made it a lot of fun, going into a history of lace and different styles. She also discussed different yarns that can be used for lace knitting and showed us lots of samples a lace knitted with different yarns and in different styles. We also got an intro into reading lace charts. This was my first experience with any knitting charts, so I was really interested in learning it.

I have been taking knitting classes at Renaissance Yarns in the interest of acquiring a good foundation of skills. I started off with the knitting 101 and 102 classes and from there I took their Rambling Cabled scarf class, their amigurumi crobot class and Brian's knitter's pouch class. It's been a fun evolution and is giving me the courage to start bigger and better projects and to use nicer yarn.

After my classes I did make it over to Cultured Purls in Issaquah. I picked up their really neat pattern for a knitted wine bottle cozy. Yay for Christmas present ideas!! It is Lattice Lace Bottle Bag by Teri Alent and Donna Byron. This uses Cascade 220 superwash. They also had some knitted up in another yarn (sadly I don't remember the name) that had real silver braided in. I picked up some new point protectors and a pattern booklet. The booklet is Curvy Knits Cambridge by Jillian Moreno and Classic Elite Yarns. It's got some really cute sweaters in it!

Anyway, it was a very knitty day. I am wrapping it up, by trying to catch up on my sock and watching Bones. Tomorrow will be the rest of the LYS Tour and me finishing my passport!

Friday, May 21, 2010

LYS Tour Day 2

getting the text up now, pictures are here for now.

Let me preface this with, what's up with the knitted pouches? The first one was cool, but by the end of today I had patterns for 4 of them and yarn for 3 of them. More on that later.

So day 2 started for me and my husband with dropping our dog off at day care. We figured if we were going to be out and running around all day, so should she. After that we hit Bauhaus coffee in Seattle for some breakfast and then hit the road. Our first stop of the tour was Great Yarns in Everett. Their pattern was Cha Cha Neckwear. It makes up a really cute ruffled scarf, that I thought might make a nice Christmas present. The shop was a converted house and was filled end to end with yarn and knitting supplies. I picked up 2 skeins of Di.Ve in their bargain basement for $3 each. There was some other awesome yarn down there, but I was trying to behave myself.

From there we moved on up to Wild Fibers, which is a really cute and well stocked shop. Also one of the least crowded (shelving wise) of the shops I have been to yet. They had a knit and crocheted pattern for a Primrose Pouch by Sarah Parker and Joanne Witzkowski (respectively). Both use Spud and Chloe sweater. The knitted version has a cute ruffled fabric edge. They had coordinating fabric for sale along with the yarn. I also snagged some nice and cheap stitch holders. Now, one of the highlights of this stop for me was something my husband had the wisdom to pursue. Easton's used bookstore across the street was probably one of the places I lost some time on my trip. I picked up some Andre Norton and Stephen King paperbacks, and a copy of Stitch n' Bitch by Debbie Stoller. I tell you it is a sign of a well trained husband when he doesn't even like books, but he volunteers to go look for some for you while you shop for yarn. I married the right man I tell you.

Next we headed over to Knot Just Yarn and The Scowl, how could you not love that name for a pattern? Especially when accompanied by a man who has decided to try and pronounce all things pertaining to yarn in a pirates voice. This uses Mountain Colors Twizzle as does their crochet pattern, 'Twizzle" Cloche hat. I had to grab one in a nice blue. I figure it'll be fantastic to wear to baseball games this fall. The shop has a super cute Italian greyhound helping out the ladies there. There was a really great selection of yarn and supplies. I almost took home a nice needle roll, but managed to put it down.

After quite a while on the road, we made it into Bellingham and NW Handspun. This was yet another fantastic shop with some unique locally sourced wool yarn. It was very pretty and it was hard for me to resist buying some of it. It even had a picture of the sheep it came from on the label and the name of the sheep! The tree in front of their shop is very thoroughly yarnfitti'd. Their patter was JJ's Montage Domino Hat and they also had matching fingerless gloves available. It uses JJ's montage collection 10 ply yarn.

Across town we made into Apple Yarns. This was probably my favorite stop of the day. Andrea was so sweet and helpful. I am sad I missed the alpaca lady spinning yarn though, I was looking forward to watching her. This shop was an exercise in self restraint. They had some yarn from Spin Cycle Yarn ( which is actually made in Bellingham. It was so gorgeous and soft and sadly expensive. If it wasn't for the price, there would have been quite a bit of that coming home with me. However, I did pick up yarn for their 2 patterns as well as some of the local alpaca sock yarn. Thanks Monte! Their patterns are a crocheted Victorian Treasure Pouch using Aracania Ulmo Multi (yum!) and a knitted Barton Bag by Claudia and Francine using Cascade Eco Wool. We grabbed some of the coupons they had available and hit Pastazza next door for lunch. The food was fantastic and they use a lot of locally sourced and organic ingredients. I totally recommend it!
Another long bit of driving brought us to Birch Bay and Beach Basket Yarn. Their pattern was a super cute Bobbles and Twists knitted or crocheted hat using Plymouth Encore. I sadly didn't have a lot of time to explore their shop, but it was quite large and well stocked. They had these really cool pattern booklets and kits for knit beaded scarves and shawls where the beads are the star and are on a similarly colored thin thread.

Anacortes brought us to Ana-Cross Stitch. This was another large well appointed shop that I didn't have nearly enough time to look through. Their knitted pouch pattern used the most unique yarn of the whole tour (so far). The yarn is made from paper!! What's even better is that it is machine washable paper, WTF!! Sadly, I can't find what I did with that pattern. I was really looking forward to make that one too! Maybe if I call and ask really nicely they'll email me one.

Ok, so next stop Whidbey Island!! I spent many vacations on Whidbey as a kid and have fond memories of it. My husband had never been, so I was excited to show it to him. By now we were both getting pretty tired though. So, other than a jaunt out at the overlook to Deception Pass we didn't get to see much.

Barbara Szenasi at Oak Harbor knits made a lovely pattern for a knitted Bucket Bag (yes, another pouch) using Classic Worsted Tapestry yarn by Universal Yarn. I really didn't spend much time in this shop as we were getting really tired and my husband had found a fantastic beer shop across the street. We picked up some John John Juniper Ale, Rougue Double Mocha Porter and Bea's mead. No yarn this stop though.

A nice and scenic drive eventually led us to the other end of the island and Knitty Purls. Their Raven Frog Cable Sock pattern was gorgeous! Especially in their specially dyed Whidbey Gems colorway. Sadly, they were all sold out the yarn when I got there!! However, they are ordering more and will have it in 2 weeks. It might be worth a jaunt out to Whidbey to pick up that yarn. It is a gorgeous blue and green based off of the sea glass that washes up on the shores of the island. They actually had shawl pins and buttons made out of said glass. The owners had just gotten dinner when we arrived and the smell was intoxicating. We ran over to Maureen's (I hope thats right) and had to get some onion rings. The chef was wearing an awesome bright pink chef coat which led Joe (my husband, the chef) to strike up a conversation with her. Apparently their onion rings were the result of much testing. Boy let me say, it paid off!! These are quite likely the best onion rings I have ever consumed. I would like more of them now please!!

The ferry ride over to Mulkiteo was pleasent. I finished the part of my sock I was working on, so I am ready for knitting class tomorrow! We managed one last shop before 8pm and hit Main Street Yarn. This was a large and gorgeous yarn shop which probably had my favorite pattern for the day. It's called Who's Your Daddy and it a basket weave messanger bag with a tree of life pattern incorporated into it. It also uses Cascade Eco-Wool.

The weather was gorgeous most of the day, actually until we started heading home. Around 8 the heavens opened and poured forth rain. Thank you mother nature for supporting my habit!

So, for tomorrow I have knitting classes from 1-4 (socks part 2 and swallow tail shawl), so I am not going to be doing any LYS stops. Sunday however, I plan on finishing off my passport. Ok, maybe 1 tomorrow (other than Renaissance Yarns)... we shall see.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

LYS Tour Day 1 (

I started out at Renaissance Yarns which is my LYS. Nancy and Crew really went all out. They special ordered Schaefer Yarn Company Audrey for their 1 skein pattern. The pattern was designed by Renaissance Yarn's own Michelle Mauer and is a gorgeous lace shawl called Alabaster. I picked up a skein of the Mary Walker Phillips. I can't wait to be able to knit this up for myself!

From there I headed over to the Yarn Stash in Burien. Their pattern is Tu-Be or Not Tu-Be cup holders for your espresso or water bottle. The yarn is Cascade Yarn Fixation. I picked up a skein in purple passion. I have been wanting to knit some of these to cut back on my carbon footprint by throwing away one less piece of trash with my coffee. They also had great LYS Tour binders with vinyl pockets for business cards and patterns. It helped me stay organized for the rest of the day.

From there I headed back over to Renton and hit Knittery. It was a really cute little shop with a nice yarn selection. Their pattern is the Lacy Face Towel by Dianna Stevens. The yarn for that is Reynolds Saucy Sport. I picked up a nice skein of yellow to go in my downstairs bathroom.

From Knittery I had planned to head to Cultured Purls, but due to some on ramp issues, I ended up headed the wrong way and I went to Seattle Yarn instead. Their pattern was either a knit or crochet felted bag, by Virginia and Ruth Bowen (respectively). They had the best selection of buttons I have ever seen. I could have spent quite a while browsing their shop as it was really well stocked! However, I was eager to get on to the next location. So, I didn't end up buying anything there today, but I will be going back.

After West Seattle, I swung through downtown and hi So Much Yarn. On my way up the stairs I passed a woman (who I later found out works there) who informed me that I was indeed headed the right direction. I guess something I had with me must have screamed knitter. Either that or there wasn't much else where their store is that would attract traffic. Upon entering the store I was greeted by 2 very cute boston terriers. They seemed happy with all the people coming and going and giving them love. Sadly I can't remember their names. The pattern for So Much Yarn is for Ruffled Anklet Socks by Lauren Lindeman, using Happy Feet DK from Plymouth Yarn. I made sure to pick up a skein of that as the pattern is pretty cute. Possible Christmas present plotting here.

My next stop was Tricoter. I had been into Tricoter before and it is a super well stocked shop. The only draw back is parking is really limited in the shopping center where it is located. That caused a bit of a jam today when everyone is trying to get in and out quickly. I picked up the simple cowl pattern, but I didn't want to blow my budget on the yarn. The pattern calls for ArtYarns beaded mohair which was gorgeous, but spendy.

The weather at this point was totally schizophrenic. It would rain for 2 minutes and then clear into sunshine for 5 minutes and then pour down hard for another 4 or 5 minutes. It made the drive over to Hilltop Yarns East in Bellevue an adventure. Sadly at that point I had no time to explore as I had to beat feat to work. I managed to grab my stamp and patterns before heading out. They had a crocheted infinity scarf by Annelie Wallbon and a knitted slouchy beret by Teri Lum Tatman. I didn't even have time to take pictures. I am going to try and head back there at some point this weekend so I can snap some pictures and take a look around.

It was a pretty busy day. Tomorrow we will starting in Everett and heading north and west for the rest of the tour. So far its been really fun and all the shops have been really nice.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Welcome to my world

So, I have been thinking about starting a blog for a long time. One of my dark secrets is that I love to write. I actually had an English professor in undergrad try and talk me into switching majors. He thought it was a crime that someone who could actually write was a biology major. So, this is my space to get out my thoughts and share them with the world. Welcome aboard!