Sunday, October 31, 2010

Daily Dose of Fiber – Baltimore edition

At Knitters’ Day Out last month, a Baltimore Yarn Crawl idea was cooked up over lunch.  Julie’s sister Allison would be back in town (she lives in Brooklyn) so we planned an outing!  “We” is Julie, Allison, Kris, and me.

We started at Woolstock in Glyndon, which is near Westminster (startlingly close to my route to BWI).  Don’t you love how the biggest part of their sign screams “YARN!”IMG_7488This shop is partly arranged by color.  I think if I were a newer knitter, I would find that confusing and overwhelming … but lucky for their cash register, I found it inspiring!  Here’s a bit of the color-arranged space:IMG_7485 That green section took me down and I ended up with two skeins of Mochi Plus.  I’m planning to whip up a quick Darkside Cowl from two skeins of this:IMG_7516Some of the shop is arranged by yarn weight, too, which is how I fell into the sock yarn section (big surprise).  I didn’t see many handdyed yarns in this category, but the shop boasted the largest selection of Regia sock yarn I’ve ever seen in person (and other German commercial sock yarns).  I bought one little 50 g ball that I know will make socks Boy 2 will love.  Allison bought the same yarn because she thought it looked “very New York” (all the black).  Interesting!IMG_7517 IMG_7486This shop also carried a lot of Koigu (including a stunning Koigu cardigan that Allison bought the pattern for), many (all?) Rowan yarns (which my LYS doesn’t carry, so it’s nice to see them in person), Blue Heron (which is a Maryland line, I believe), and even Kathmandu (again, never seen it in person).  Also new to me were some Welsh and Japanese yarns. They had a LOT of samples knit up, which really helps shoppers visualize the possibilities.  Patterns were arranged by weight of yarn and then by type of garment, which makes a lot of sense if you fall in love with a yarn first!

Woolstock has a very large, inviting table in the middle where several knitters were happily clicking away when we arrived. And some of US were happily clicking away before we left: IMG_7487

When one of the employees saw that I was taking a photo of my friends outside the shop, she rushed outside to take it for me so I could be in the picture.  Full service!IMG_7489 I also picked up the new Holiday Knits issue of Interweave Knits at Woolstock.  (I was a little shocked that it costs $15, but it IS a nice issue…)IMG_7515

Next we steered the minivan toward Catonsville, in search of a good lunch spot.  We ended up at a very, very good Chinese place to which we would happily return.IMG_7490 Then we went to Cloverhill Yarn Shop.  This store occupies an unassuming location that looks like it used to be a warehouse…but oh, the inside is so worth it.IMG_7500 A sign on the front door looked very promising indeed:IMG_7498 In we went.  There was a small sock yarn selection that mostly featured indie dyers.  I saw a couple of tempting skeins, but they happened to be 100% superwash merino and you know how I feel about that.  I lingered in the sock yarn section, though, because there were quite a few lovely shawl and scarf samples knit up.  I was very intrigued by Gaia’s Shoulder Hug, which I would have bought except that the shop owner told me it was freely available online (that’s a Rav link).  I might use some sock yarn already in stash for this. I’m even considering using Felici since it seems to work very well with striped yarn.

Julie was captivated by the Cerisara (Rav link again) cardigan on display, and the more I looked at it, the more I liked it, too.  This photo doesn’t do it justice because the shiny black plastic mannequin creates some glare:IMG_7492

The bottom part of the sweater is reverse stockinette, which makes the little shawl-esque collar roll back on its own.  Charming.  We got to chatting with the shop owner (whose name, unfortunately, I didn’t get) and I decided to knit this sweater with Berroco Ultra Alpaca.  I’ve been intrigued by this yarn for a while.  It is a very nice 50/50 wool alpaca blend, and it comes in some really lovely solids and heathers.  See the wall of Ultra Alpaca?  (Note there is one hook in the green section with no yarn on it – I bought it!)IMG_7491 Kris wouldn’t let me buy blue again (because Rogue and Must Have are blue) so I went with a greenish-greyish-blue, color 6291, which is called “Yucca Mix.”  I’m not sure you can truly see the subtle variations in color in my photo:IMG_7522 I grabbed this photo off the Berroco website and it shows the heather-y-ness a bit better:

6291 There were only 2 skeins left in stock and I needed 6, but the owner was confident that she could get more in the same dye lot (Berroco dyelots are really large, and she orders frequently from them).  So I bought 6 and Kris will pick up the other 4 on her way home from work in Baltimore one day soon.

Cloverhill also had some other delightful surprises around the shop.  How cute are the Pile-able Pups?IMG_7495 The design is from Mochimochi Land Patterns, which also has some other cuties, like Stackable Cats (which Julie bought).  I’m not a big toy knitter, but these patterns might change my mind.  (Not too late to knit toys for the nieces for Christmas, after all!)IMG_7493This shop felt simultaneously down-to-earth and fun.  There is a lot of Berroco yarn plus yarn from indie dyers and patterns from indie designers, many whom I recognize from Ravelry.  The owner and the other employee working that day were friendly and super helpful (not in an overbearing sales pitch kind of way) and we spent time hanging out on the couch.  Don’t those baskets of sock yarn look enticing?IMG_7494 This is definitely a shop I would return to. 

Yarn shopping can really take it out of you, so we stopped for coffee on the way to our next shop, Black Sheep: IMG_7501 Unfortunately, we got there are 4:00 and that’s when they close, so we were pretty much turned away.  Clearly the shop owner was not working that day – the clerks had NO interest in letting us look around.  I was a little surprised by this because there were at least 4 other customers in the store.

Does 2 shops count as a “crawl”?

So we steered toward home.  The Garmin guided us through bucolic countryside settings, where the leaves were orange and yellow, the fields were green, and we saw a lot of cows and horses.  It was simply lovely.

3 comments:

Steven said...

Wow -- how do you get so much done in a day? I'm exhausted just reading about it! It looks like y'all had a ton of fun. Remember these places for the next time I'm up there.

And you'll like the Ultra Alpaca. One of my friends here knit something with it. I remember it being quite nice.

Kristen Eyssell said...

I have to agree that it was a lovely outing with lovely knitting friends! I'm starting to get a little nervous about my reputation on your blog, however. Am I really that directive (bossy)?

You weren't the only one of us to fall head over heels for the Cloverhill Yarn shop. Julie and I were there a little over two years ago and it has been transformed by the new owner. Absolutely worth a visit...and another...and another. I look forward to your 4 skeins coming in so I can stop by and hang out a bit!

Janelle said...

Kris - there is the yarn voice inside my head, and the yarn voice outside my head. You are the yarn voice outside my head. Not bossy!

It is good to have something push you outside your color comfort zone (though a greyish bluish green isn't soooo far away from blue - maybe next time we can be more bold).

I LIKE the yarn voice outisde my head!!!