24 September 2008

Shop Hopping

I know this is sacrilege, but I really don't need more yarn. That's not to say that I don't want more. It is to say that, should I be forced under house arrest, I should be okay for quite some time. In the time that I've been in the Atlanta Knitting Guild, the guild has sponsored two shop hops. I did the shop-sponsored hop last year. And, since I've been around to meet with the local owners individually, I've essentially done another hop by myself this summer. The owners sponsored a shop hop a couple weeks ago. The weather was nice, the gas prices weren't but, hey, that's why I have the zippy sippy.

Now, I do have to admit to a small guild president meltdown in my living room earlier this month. It was the day after Dragon*Con, so I was still recovering from four days of partying like I'm 20, which I'm not anymore. Cuddly Hubby was home -- wise man that he is, he takes off both the day before and after the convention. I had just turned the computer on and was about to check my e-mail when the phone rang. It was Debra, who is doing a fabulous job booking superstars for the guild. Those of you who follow Atlanta Knitting Guild news know that we didn't have our scheduled superstar this month. So, after my cordial if unhappy conversation with Debra, I walked into the living room and told my husband that my reward for being guild president shall be enough yarn to do Lizard Ridge. The Cuddly Hubby has the sort of even temperament that he was not the least bit bothered by either this statement or its financial implications.

This worked out well, because I really did need to stay on a budget for this fifth shop hop. Dragon*Con is always a significant financial event, and we upped that this year by purchasing art. Cuddly Hubby just bought an airline ticket so that he can go meet his birth mother for the very first time in the cool upper Midwest. The zippy sippy turned 30,000 miles yesterday, which means time for a major ($400+) maintenance check-up. And both critters are due for check-ups and tests at the vet. (Can that comprehensive national health care plan cover pets, please, if I have no other dependents?) Thus, the need to be relatively well-behaved. Fortunately, I had two checks from working the August run-off election for Cobb County, so a great deal of what I spent was my pay from helping democracy happen.

Because I worked Saturday the 13th for the SPLOST election, I decided to start the shop hop on Monday the 15th. I drove to Watkinsville. It was a lovely fall day. I had a very nice time in the shop, and even came home with a few springs of fresh catnip which was much appreciated by the Russian Kitchen Mafia. Main Street Yarns has a strong selection of books and also stocks the Lucy Neatby dvds. At some point I will blog about the class I took with her and how completely awesome she is and how, if you have any opportunity at all to take a class with her you should, but that will have to wait for another day. I already had Sock Techniques 2, so I bought Sock Techniques 1. After much internal debate, I also chose a big hulking skein of Mountain Colors Weaver's Wool. And I finished off the purchase with a brown-orange-pink-green skein of Noro Kureyon. They also have Louet Mooi lace yarn with buffalo, but that will have to wait. Then I went to Mirko's Pasta for lunch. You have to drive past it anyway to get back to GA 316, so you might as well go in and eat. Oh . . . my . . . gosh! Between the beautiful yarn shop, the great Italian food at a reasonable price, and the prettiness of the north Georgia countryside, I could almost pack-up and move to the Athens area. So Monday was a good day.

Tuesday I was teaching a class in the morning in Woodstock, so I started there. I bought two skeins of Paintbox that have been lurking around The Whole Nine Yarns for several months. I'm under the impression that TWNY isn't going to be re-ordering this yarn. I might make the shag scarf from Knitting New Scarves out of these two skeins. We'll see. I also bought a pink-orange skein of Noro Kureyon. As this is my main hang-out, it's hard. There's always new Rowan or Jojoland or more of those lovely trindles that Jeremy makes.

Then I headed over to Only Ewe and Cotton Too. I hadn't been out Arnold Mill Rd and 140 before. Did you know there is a house that looks like a castle in Roswell!?! I had to concentrate on driving because my brain was asking my eyes to please reality double-check on that. I had a very nice conversation with the owner of the bead shop next door while we waited for Brian to return with his lunch. She is thinking about buying a red Mini Cooper. Of course, I had to tell her how much I love my Milano red Honda Fit. I picked out a grey and greens skein of Noro Kureyon and the Oat Couture Entrelac Purse pattern. Dale, who I see both at North Georgia Knitting Guild and at Purly Gates Remains has done that purse. I was glad to stumble onto an opportunity to get the pattern. If I make it, I'll probably make it bigger because I like more space in a bag. But at least I now have a starting point. And I would have liked to have spent more at Only Ewe, but it was early in the hop. They are sponsoring a trip to SAFF in October, and I may use that or Christmas as an opportunity to give them some business. The owners are super nice and supportive of both guilds. They also have Shi Bui sock yarn, and I might want to make some socks for the Cuddly Hubby.

From there I went over to Cast-On Cottage and Needlepoint Garden. I got into an interesting conversation with a guild member. Always helpful to hear feedback from the membership, since I need to lead in the direction that is best for the group as a whole. The owner was sitting on the floor and working out which skeins of Noro Kureyon and Silk Garden had been discontinued. I bought two skeins -- one in strong party colors including turquoise, hot pink, chartreuse, and tangerine and the other in orange and pink with some turquoise and orchid purple. Again, I would have bought more if I had been in a more spending mind-set. The broad selection was very nice. And I must keep that mental note that she has Frog Tree Alpaca.

Since I was working election returns that night in Kennesaw, I then cut across the top of Cobb County. I forget what a nice selection is in Knitting Emporium. If I had a yarn shop, these are some of the same choices I might make. I had a mental note that there was something towards the back right corner at the end of the hall. Sure enough, a nice stash of Schaefer Anne. I chose a green and brown skein that seems perfect for late summer/early autumn. And I picked out two more skeins of Noro Kureyon -- one in the same dark green with brown colorway as the Anne, and a bright blue with a touch of purple and green that is like so very much of my stash. But there are also great selections on many other things I like. I am finding myself drawn to Jitterbug. And Knitting Emporium has some beautiful shawl pins that I haven't seen in any of the other shops. I don't know if they are enamel or dichroic glass, but they have some of that shimmering iridescent quality. After that, I got some Chinese food (sesame chicken that, oddly, didn't agree with me). Then I went to the designated parking spot for election return workers and sat and stitched on the baby surprise jacket. Finally, I got on the shuttle and went and worked election night. A good night, too -- all the precincts were in by quarter of ten. November isn't going to look like that.

I started out Wednesday morning again in Woodstock, as that's the time for Knit Lit. I'm not getting through Dragonfly in Amber with the speed I'd like, as there is just too much else to do. But I am enjoying the company of Jenna, Lori, Mary Lou, and the rest who drop in now and then. After lunchtime I headed for the inside the Perimeter shops, beginning with Strings & Strands. This is probably the shop that is closest to my house, and certainly easy to get to as it is just a mile off I-285 on Roswell Rd. I was totally smitten with a skein of Jitterbug. I guess that's what happens after you make a successful Will Save the night before. There was also some very nice lace yarn that might be calling my name after Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer's visit in January. I bought another skein of Noro Kureyon in a nice autumnal palette.

From there I scurried down GA 400 and made a side stop at Lenox Mall so that I could enhance my tea stash. Teavana was packed and it wasn't even lunchtime! I remember when I thought I was the only person in Atlanta who knew what hot tea was. I bought Sweet Lily White and 9 Treasures (green) and some Rare Hawaiian White Honey. The honey goes great with Jasmine Dragon Phoenix Pearls, which fill a permanent slot in my tea stash.

From there I got back on GA 400 and found my way down to Needle Nook. I'm not sure which store is the oldest in Atlanta, but it might be this one. I believe it has been around for about thirty years. She even has an exclusive sock line -- Toasty for Needle Nook. I bought two more skeins of Noro Kureyon -- one grey with green and a dash of turquoise, the other brown and russet.

My last stop on on the official shop hop trail was Knitch in Virginia Highlands. I try not to go in there unless I have at least $100 to spend because the place is full of great stuff. The high-end stuff an artist might want is there. Rowan. Odd things like Habu. A large well-stocked bookcase covering the common and uncommon. As I was near the end of my cash, I bought only a single skein of the rare Socks that Rock and no Kureyon.

By that time, it was 4 PM and I figured I might as well check out Sheepish in Decatur. After all, I wasn't going to beat the evening rush. Sheepish has just opened where Nease's Needlework used to be. The stock is still a little low, but some good choices have been made. There's more of that Weaver's Wool. I bought one skein of Mountain Colors Winter Lace. I don't remember seeing that lace weight before, and I do love all things Mountain Colors. It will go with my post-Jackie multicolored lace yarn stash.

All in all, a good trip 'round the area. Breaking it up over three days made it manageable without being crazy. And if this economy really goes completely to hell, at least I'll be able to knit away merrily for quite some time.

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