Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Knitting and driving adventures with Martha.

Martha, my husband's sister, stayed with us over the Christmas holiday. We decided to have our very own Local Yarn Store "hop." She's in a knitting guild, Creative H'Arts, in the Monterey area and does this sort of thing on a regular basis. i, the Self-Made Knitter of Easy Projects Only, live in my sheltered non-guild, non-hopping world. So we decided to have an adventure.

That Yarn Store in Dublin, CA. *happy sigh*

We started with my new favorite yarn store, That Yarn Store in Dublin, CA. Unfortunately they were closed. Bummer. But there's a great Chinese restaurant in the same shopping center, so all was not a loss. It's a friendly place with a welcoming atmosphere where generally someone is sitting at that big, black table as you enter, working on a knitting project. It just feels good to me, yunno?

On we went, armed with my iPhone's map capabilities--i love watching where we are on the map as we travel (but no, NOT when i am the driver!) So we headed to Piedmont Avenue in Oakland, CA, just blocks from where my daughter used to live. A street lined with small boutiques and several coffee shops, it's my perfect shopping zone. It's also the location of
Piedmont Yarn and Apparel, a small shop packed with yarn goodness--as soon as we walked in i was invited to feel the yarns. (Unlike a yarn shop Martha and i once went into where the lady said "don't touch it unless you're buying it." Hmm.) For we yarn folk, feeling it is a big part of the yarn experience, so i knew this place had to be good!

Piedmont Yarn and Apparel--small but mighty!

Gaylord's, where the coffee is tasty AND artistic!

We finished off the visit by crossing the street to Gaylord's coffee where the condiments counter is a glass enclosed organ. Plus the coffee is so good there--forget Starbucks, forget Peets, this place is great.

With our coffees in hand we returned to the car to find a parking ticket on the windshield. Hmmm--apparently even on the street you have to pay for parking. Good to know. Woulda been better to know sooner. Oh well, it was Martha's car. ;-) Sorry Martha!

i love this photo from "Cartoon Barry" on his blog--If it snowed in the East Bay of California, the Piedmont/Oakland police would totally do this.

Now to Article Pract, a yarn store on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland. Strange name, yes, but i just read on their website that it is a "spoonerism" where the beginnings of two words are switched. So i still don't get it. If i actually knew what "hip" meant, i'd say this yarn store is.

Cool logo, eh?

Again, friendly service was obvious. i eavesdropped on a worker helping a 20-something guy pick a gift for his girlfriend "to show I'm aware of and interested in what she likes." i was impressed by both the staff person but by this gift buying guy. i had to ask--"how old are you?" "Twenty-eight," he said, managing to hide whatever he might be feeling about some random strange woman asking him personal questions. "Ah!" i said, "then there is hope for my son--" The staff person piped in, "Yeh, about 28 is when they start getting human," (she looked to be about his age herself.) The guy looked back at me and said, "Yep, you should have seen what I got her last year--a bowling ball and a refrigerator." See why i eavesdrop and talk to strangers? Most of my family and friends don't get it, but i love it.

Names have a "feel" for me. While there i bought two skeins of Aztec Turquoise Lamb's Pride Bulky made by Brown Sheep Company, Inc. My mind hears that whole name and sees a couple of solid and sturdy sheep standing proudly on a hilltop--one is brown (obviously,) and one is an extra chubby turquoise sheep. It's a yarn that brings a comfortable and practical feeling.


Next stop, off Solano Avenue in Berkeley to a cute little yarn shop named Stash. Immediately a young lady greeted us at the door to explain their method of organization. All yarn was shelved counter-clockwise around the store starting with the skinny little lace weights and sock weights that people (with more patience than me) use, to the heaviest of yarns that looked more to me like pretty rope.

i bought some bright lime green yarn and watched it go from a hank of yarn (a loosely twisted oblong) to a neat center pull ball. From swift to ball winder, all words i am learning these days. "Non-returnable when wound," they all say, but it could be worth it just to see it done. i am easily fascinated.

Two women sat behind the counter working on projects of tiny yarns on tiny needles that i avoid, chatting pleasantly with the shoppers. i watched in awe as one young woman deftly knit a thread-like yarn into a lace patterned shawl, talking and walking at the same time. There is no way to know what i would end up with if i attempted that level of multi-tasking.

It was now pouring rain, but we were still able to find the next yarn store-- K2Tog. (Knit two together, in knit-speak.) Less than a mile down the road, it was in Albany, not Berkeley. i don't know why that makes me laugh, but it does. (Again with the "easily amused.") By this time we were tired, so i took a quick trip around the store and bought a nubby olive green yarn for a hat pattern.

Seriously, if you're not into knitting or crocheting, this is a big *yawn* of a post. But for the fiber-addicts like Martha and me? A beautiful day in the neighborhood.

Skimmer's recap: Does yarn make you yawn? Skip this and take a nap instead.


Marilyn said...

I'm a quilter not a knitter- but I loved your blog- Just substitute fabric stores for yarn stores and I've been there done that!

julia said...

OOH! you quilt! i don't think i have enough patience for that--i used it all up on children. :-)

Julie Coney said...

yarn makes me happy.... and i would have tagged along, just to hang out with you and Martha.

limbolady said...

I think maybe that store's name means, "Practical Art." What do you think? I'm not usually straight thinking enough to figure something like this out, but it jumped out at me for once.

julia said...

THAT makes sense, Melanie!

Julie--didn't know you were a fiber girl! Do you knit?