Sunday, August 30, 2015

2015 Yarn Crawl Part II

2015 Yarn Crawl Part II

The second day of yarn crawling I did with 3RC member Doug and his friend Kim.  We went to four shops on the official yarn crawl and one ‘bonus’ shop not on the crawl:
Yarns By Design
Dyed in the Wool
Natural Stitches
Knit One

First stop was Yarns By Design in Oakmont.  It’s a nice midsized shop, with a good selection of yarns.  It is mostly knit, with very few crochet patterns offered.  I didn’t get a crochet unfriendly vibe, however.  One of the items I got at Yarns By Design were kid’s hat kits, Top This.  It’s a skein of mixed texture yarns and includes a stuffed hat topper.  They were mostly animal heads along with a flower and soccer ball.  I picked up the soccer ball kit and unicorn head.  It only comes with knit instructions, not crochet.  I haven’t made them yet, but they are next on my project list. 

 Felted flower pots, hanging on clear nylon cording.  There are normal plastic flower pots inside each one, to contain the dirt and plant.

Top This kid hat kits.

Yarn By Design had a goodie bag that included coupons for neighboring businesses and chocolate made at another local business.

If there was a prize for most improved, it would go to Dyed in the Wool.  Those of you who read last year’s Yarn Crawl blog will know that I didn’t have a very positive experience there.  Chatting with others, I wasn’t the only one.  However, this year they seemed to be making a real effort to be welcoming of new folks into their shop.  We were greeted when we came in the door and asked if we needed any help finding anything.  The women working there seemed to be paying attention to what we were doing, ready to help if asked.  Even the shop seemed cleaner and more organized.  Its still very much a knit shop, with some spinning items.  I did pick up some pretty hand dyed yarn.  When one of the people working there noticed what I had chosen, she made sure to show me a sample of the yarn that had been made into a baby outfit.  Nice job improving on the customer service, keep it up!

After Dyed in the Wool, we stopped for lunch at Mediterrano, a Mediterranean restaurant on Babcock Bulevard.   Where I totally failed to take any photos.  Lunch was very tasty.  I tried the beet salad, pantzaria salata, and it was delicious.  I also had the lamb burger.  It tasted good, but the texture was a bit chewy compared to a beef burger.  Kim had  spanokopitakia, phyllo pastry filled with spinach and feta, and dolmades, grape leaves stuffed with rice and beef.  Kim was generous enough to share one of her dolmades with me, it was very good.  I don’t remember what Doug had.  Sorry about that.  I would definitely return to this restaurant.  Thus fortified, the three of us continued on our journey. 

Next up was Natural Stitches.  We’d all been there before.  It’s a very large store, with a huge variety of yarns.  One of the outstanding things about this store is that each type of yarn is marked with the general amounts needed to make different items.  Its in knit measurements, but from that crocheters can estimate.  Crochet uses about a third more yarn (not 3x) than knitting.  There is a decent selection of crochet pattern books.  I bought three new books:  Suzann Thompson’s Crochet Garden, Monette Satterfield’s Let’s Crochet, and Mollie Makes Crochet.  I haven’t made anything out of any of the books yet (having been making amigurumi puzzle balls and felted pumpkins) but they are on the to do list.  I was thinking that making flowers might be a good stash buster. 

For those that spin and knit, kits to take you from fleece to socks.

Handy guides on finding the right colors for your fandom team, whether that fandom is Harry Potter or NFL.

Assisting in figuring out how much yarn you will need for that project. 

Tonidale’s was the first shop on this part of the yarn crawl that was new to me.  Doug had been to their old location and said that the new place was much bigger. It was a bit tricky finding the place, since the yarn crawl ‘passport’ had the wrong address listed.  Once we acquired the right address through the magic of the internet, it was much easier to locate, especially with the big sign on the edge of the parking lot.   I loved the way they displayed the yarn on the walls, in circles stacked on each other.  Tonidale’s has a wide variety of ‘novelty’ yarns, including ribbon yarn and eyelash yarn.  This made my friend Rebecca (who crawled at this store on a different day) happy, since she loves working with ribbon yarn.  There was also a nice selection of ‘regular’ yarn, in a good range of prices.  I picked up some bright red acrylic yarn along with some matching variegated acrylic yarn.  I also got a ‘learn to crochet’ kit for my 7 year old niece, who has been having fun finger weaving.  Doug bought some pretty purple hand dyed superwash merino yarn. 

Our last stop of the day was Knit One in Squirrel Hill.  It wasn’t on the official yarn crawl.  Doug wanted to stop there since it had recently gotten new management and he was curious what the shop was now like.  Knit One is also a large store, with a good selection of yarn.  Although I saw very few crochet patterns or books.  It does have comfy chairs and couches spread throughout the store.  I took advantage of one of these comfy couches, as Doug and Kim browsed.  While sprawled on the couch, I realized I could overhear the beginning knitting class that was going on in the back section of the store.  I blatantly eavesdropped and was very impressed by the instructor.  She was encouraging and patient with her students.  When one of the students expressed her frustration at still having difficulty, the instructor convincingly pointed out how much progress she had made and showed her the things she had done correctly in her practice sample.  The student began working again with renewed enthusiasm. 

Five shops in one day was definitely exhausting.  Doug, Kim, and I made our way home with our bags of new yarn and patterns. Just three more shops to go!