28 September 2013

Park Avenue Yarns

So recently, I headed down to League City, Texas to check out a trunk show at Park Avenue Yarns. I'm saving my post about the trunk show itself for another day (perhaps another yarny day, with lots of lovely yarny giveaway potential. Indeed, I may have shopped for you while I was out!)

But I was so excited because I just absolutely love this yarn store, and I want to tell you all about it.

So if you go to the website I liked above, you can see the front of the store. It's a cute little house on a street with some other shops-in-houses. As I walked up to the front entrance, I was amused by the yarn bombings on the porch:

It was super cute. Once I got in, I was immediately overwhelmed. In a good way.

Square shelving units create "aisles" of yarn, and there are two back rooms- one with couches for hanging out (this is where the trunk show was) and one with a large table for classes. Everything in the shop is tidy and organized, so walking through, it was quite easy to see things and compare items.

Each table is curated and displayed with intent. It's so nice to walk in a store where a display table has a clear feature. Yarns were piled in baskets or bowls, not left on a table to fall all over the place. The store recognizes knitting, but also crochet (a large selection of books and hooks) and spinning (you can see the wheel, and they carry fiber and if I recall correctly, a few drop spindles).

My favorite thing about this store is definitely the variety of products. Normally, when I go into a yarn store, the owner or merchant's preferences are super easy to predict. There are lots of yarns in a specific color range, for instance. Or fifteen different kinds of Debbie Bliss, a handful of Rowan, and no indies. Park Avenue has a nice spread of local indies, small, specialty brands, and big names. Aside from the Vice yarn, I picked up two skeins of Classic Elite Chalet, which is a wonderfully squishy braided ply yarn. The friendly lady behind the counter was making a project with it, and we chatted for a bit about the yarn and how it works. She even showed me her project, which was lovely.

It's nice when employees are invested in talking about your project plans. I had an excellent experience at Park Ave, and my only complaint is it's woefully far from me- 40 minutes in the car, as opposed to the 10-minute hop to my current LYS. Regardless, I think Park Ave is going to be my primary stop for projects. I know I'll find something I like there, and probably a bunch of other things I didn't plan on buying!

Next week, I have a guest post planned. I was going to set it up this week, but my lovely guest poster has some surprises in store for you, and they'll be perfect to ring in October!
- YX

18 September 2013

FO: Big red cowl

Big needles, giant yarn, and we have a cowl:

It's a monster. And really cute double-wrapped:

This yarn (Lion Brand Hometown USA) isn't the fanciest or most expensive stuff on the block, but it will withstand football tailgates, washing and drying, and anything else a college kid can get into. 

The texture isn't bad, either, and it's super soft, as acrylic tends to be:

As soon as I took these snaps, it was off in the mail to its new home! So long, cowl!
- YX

11 September 2013

Giant Red Cowl

I started babysitting when I was 13. It was more of a mother's helper gig at first, entertaining the kids while mom and dad got housework done. As time went on, though, I did more and more, until suddenly, I was leaving for college. 

And now, the one who was just 3 when I first met her, has started her first classes in college, herself. Wow. 

So she contacted me to ask if I could knit a big ol' red cowl for her, I was happy to oblige. This is the photo she sent:

It looks to me like a simple ribbed cowl, but then look at the bottom bit... Is that reverse stockinette stitch?

I could easily do a simple ribbed cowl, but why not at least look at some potential projects? There's the Infinitude Scarf by Jeni Chase: 

Tante Ehm's Northern Loop

Or do I go ahead and stick with the standard ribbed cowl, something like Mallory Cowl by Shannon Cook:

What do you think? I picked up some red, bulky yarn and have the giant needles to go with it...
- YX

03 September 2013

Wall decor: knitterly pride

Who hasn't seen the fifty billion renditions of the "Keep Calm (Something) On" posters over the past year or so? I was thinking about ways to add more yarn references to my house, and it seemed like the only option I had was one of these ubiquitous posters. Harumph. 

So I did some shopping. 

The first thing I found was this fabulous eye chart-inspired piece. I love the vintage feel of the chart, combined with the knitting references. At $20, it seems like a great art piece for a reasonable cost. 

Next is this great Red Cross poster. Also $20, I love the old-school war propaganda look, and the colors are fabulous. Not to mention, the yarn looks luscious. 
Or, you could go a little more three-dimesional. I've seen about fifteen million yarn-wrapped letters on Etsy and Pinterest, but I really love these yarn letters on Etsy, which are wild and interesting, and could make a great wall installation. 

I love yarny housewares! Do you have anything on your house/craft room walls that you want to share?
- YX