Sunday, December 2, 2012

Escape to Yarnia

There are few things that require a two-month advance planning period: maybe a big anniversary party, or a family reunion, or, if you were really ambitious, a wedding. In the list of the top ten events that require that much advance planning, you would be unlikely to see "yarn shopping" there.

But then, you haven't met my friends.

After a busy few months, Tara, dkzack and I made it into Calgary for a day of yarn adventure. "Escape to Yarnia" is what I kept seeing in my head when I looked at date on the calendar. It was a day that promised a getaway from the same ol' thing, with lots of fun and laughter.

We decided to try to find a yarn shop we'd never been to before: Pudding Yarn. It's a good name for a yarn shop, no? Can you go wrong with either pudding or yarn? Of course you can't. Here's a shot I took from the car just before we opened the doors and spilled out onto the pavement in a mad scramble for the door. I daresay we overwhelmed the lady working in there just a teeny bit with our fibre-crazed happiness. The store had a lovely contemporary feel, with lots of soft light and colour. It felt good to walk around and take in every single shelf.

I rarely have specific projects in mind when we go on these yarn adventures. I usually order yarn online for pre-planned projects, when I can spend time deliberating and calculating. Yarn adventure days are for exploring, touching, ooohing and ahhing. And we did plenty of that. The lady working there soon recognized us as fellow yarn enthusiasts (not just crazy people). When I asked her about a skein of yarn she had behind the counter, she gave me a "wait till you see this" kind of smile and handed me one to feel. I almost melted to the floor: it was 100% cashmere. Heavenly.

Tara finished shopping first, and then went over to the shop next door, which happens to be a gluten-free bakery. That works perfectly for Tara, who is gluten-intolerant, and for me, who is a glutton. We loaded up on snacks, then jumped into the vehicle and exclaimed "Where next?"

We dithered and looked at maps and decided we'd head over to Gina Brown's, an old standby for us. It's a good place to find a wide variety of sweater-quantities of yarn, with sprinklings of the popular favourites: Fleece Artist, madelinetosh, Indigo Moon, and the like. We often find ourselves in deep discussion at one of the tables there. "Do you think this will work for..." "Should I get one or two of these..." "What do think, this one or that one..." "How much should I get for..." I'm useless at these discussions, because my answer is usually, "Yeah, buy it." And why not? I figure, it takes so long to get to these places, the only thing we should leave behind is regret.

Two yarn shops in one day is usually our limit, but we must have stepped into a time machine somewhere, because we found ourselves with time leftover after we stopped our lunch. Three yarn shops in a day? Could we handle it? Really?

What's life without a challenge?

We finished off at The Loop, which is currently my favourite yarn shop in the city, and the others would probably agree with me. There is such a nice, open, friendly feel in there, and we're welcomed back every time. Tara has been selling her hand dyed yarns there for a few months, and this time, she brought in a bunch of hand dyed roving and art batts. I helped carry some of it into the shop. I won't lie: it felt awesome to walk into a yarn shop full of knitters with a laundry basket full of fibre-goodies. It must be what it's like to be a celebrity: all eyes following you wherever you go. You can see some of the treasures Tara brought here.

When we're at The Loop, we're treated to not just the usual standby yarns, but to the amazing variety of indie dyers, most of which are Canadian. I love knowing that there is a shop that takes local hand dyers seriously and understands what their customers will want from them. And I love that you can usually find someone sitting on one of their big purple couches knitting from a skein of locally dyed yarn.

Our conversations there usually start off in yarn-acquisition-mode, but eventually, we settle down on one of the couches and have a chance to pull out our current projects and chat away to whoever is there. And there is no shortage of people to chat with there.

So, in all, we came home after our adventure with our haul of supplies to keep us busy for the next while. I spent my morning walk with Rascal daydreaming about what I'm going to make with it all. I'm so glad we made it to Yarnia yesterday. Now I just need to figure out how I could stay in Yarnia forever...

But maybe I'm already there!


YarnKettle said...

Oh I would really like to know your thoughts on the de-pilling/shaver you have in the lower right hand corner. I saw one on the internet the other day and thought it would be something to try.
Did you buy the cashmere?
Quite a nice haul, I look forward to seeing what you make with it.

AdrieneJ said...

I didn't buy the cashmere... it was WAY out of my price range.

I bought The Gleener at The Loop. I saw it a couple of years ago on the Tanis Fiber Arts blog and thought it looked good, but I didn't really want to mail order it until I knew more about it. I have a D-Fuzz It comb, and it has a similar edge to this one, but this one is at a good, consistent angle the whole time you use it. I also like how the other two heads are kind of like gentler emery boards. I used them on some cabled knitting today, and they worked great!