Sunday, July 2, 2006

Knitting content

But first... where oh where is my roommate? I miss her...

I visited a new-to-me yarn shop this afternoon, Loopy Yarns in the South Loop area. In Chicago, my yarn store of choice is usually Arcadia Knitting owned by the Kelly Sisters, but Loopy is having a sale, and Judy Chan hangs out there on Friday nights, so I wanted to check it out.

I intended to get down to their location at 719 S. State Street via the CTA Red Line (get off at the Harrison stop), but could not find my CTA card anywhere in my apartment (I checked bags, pockets, shelves, drawers... nowhere was there a CTA card), so I decided to drive. Yes, I was that motivated to visit a yarn store. I really wanted to find something different-to-at-least-me for my One Skein Secret Pal, so I drove, totally forgetting that the Taste of Chicago was going on. I got myself a bit tangled up looking for a parking spot, discovered that there is a Target on Clark Street and eventually just parked in an automated $5 for 6 hours after 3pm ramp that was in the same block at the yarn store.

The shop was located between a "Got Pizza" and an Ace Hardware store, just like the website said. The front windows had yarn and projects on display and when I walked in, there was a table with some women sitting and knitting. I was given a moment to take the shop in before I was warmly greeted by a woman who worked there. She explained how the sale worked and then let me be to look around. In the back of the store was another employee (or the owner?) teaching a woman how to knit. I think that she was re-learning after a long hiatus.

Later on, while I was wandering aimlessly, the first woman asked if I needed help, and I told her that I was looking for something for my One Skein Secret Pal. I got her a skein of sock yarn (Mountian Colors Bearfoot from Coldwater in Excelsior) last time, and I wanted to go for something a bit thicker, but still with decent yardage, this time around. (oh, and it had to be unique... I'm not just going to send off a skein of Cascade 220) The saleswoman showed me a section of the yarn cubbies that fit the bill quite well. One of the yarns that was on sale had too much bumpy texture for me to want to send it, another wasn't very soft (apparently, it sells well on the east coast, but not as well in Chicago/the Midwest) and finally, the one I chose was a thick-and-thin, multi-color merino wood. It is very soft and came in a 200gram/215 yard hank. This skein of yarn could make a hat, a short or skinny scarf or be felted into a bag without any additions, and most importantly, it will look exciting and enticing in the package.

I looked at the needles and notions and got a 40" cord for my Denise set which should make Magic Loop easier (and thus hats), but the rest of the notions were uninspiring. The straight and double pointed needles were all stored in a card catalog-type cabinet, which is unusual, and definitely saves on the display space, but means that I have no idea what the carry in that area, since I didn't look in the drawers. The woman in front of me in line bought a pair of Pyrex needles, so there must be something interesting in those drawers.

The yarn selection was well displayed in "wooden" cubes (probably laminate on particleboard), which is a nice step up from the oh-so-popular wire mesh cubes (which have their advantages) and definitely more to my liking than the on-a-shelf methodology of Arcadia. There were some items in baskets, and the Manos de Uraguay was hung on hooks at the back wall of the display area. It was definitely not the yarn that I am used to seeing in the LYS (local yarn store)... there was a lot of acrylic content. Suss yarns, which looks very fancy and is priced as such, had a shocking amount of acrylic. There was Cascade 220 Superwash (a rarity) but no other Cascade yarns that I noticed. There was a fair bit of Norwegian yarn, both superwash and not, but no Dale of Norway that I noticed. There is some "Smart" yarn that is a superwash wool and is on sale. They seemed to be well-stocked with the Lorna's Laces, but it was not all displayed together, so I didn't realize it at first. There was a line of lace weight (or maybe even cobweb) yarns that were put up in wonderful centerpull balls. I tried to memorize the website on the label to take a look at the company further, but I forgot it by the time I got home, and it isn't listed on the shop's website. Overall, I never quite figured out the logic of the organization, but I'm sure that it was there.

I hear that the Friday night knitting is lots of fun at Loopy and that the girls there go out to the bar afterwards (much like the Toronto knitters), and the sale is going on through the end of the month, so I expect that I'll be back, if I can find my CTA card. The people were nice, they have yarn and the pattern selection (in binders and books) looked to be extensive. Oh, and they wrapped each of my purchases up in light blue tissue paper and then tucked them into lovely red shopping bags. That is almost better than getting something wrapped at Borders or Barnes & Noble for free, even when it is just for me.

Keep Smiling! =) I'm going back to my knitting

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