I recently began de-stashing my non-lace related yarn out of my storage bins. I used to knit cables but rarely do much of that any more as I am lace obsessed. The people who received my yarn are happily knitting away and I felt a nano second of virtue. All was right with the world. However, in my unwitting haste to transfer my "yarn-hoarding-guilt" to other unsuspecting knitters, I inadvertently created that most dreaded of natural phenomenons, the "YARN VOID" (echo,echo,echo). That's right, a vacuum so intense that it literally sucks the knitter who created it into the strong gravitational pull of any knitting store within a 50 mile radius of the stash location where the void was created. Unless you fill that stash void, there continues to be an imbalance. One that could, if not quickly corrected, cause The End Of The Universe As We Know It. I'd hate to be the one responsible for ending the world wouldn't you? So I had to gird my loins so to speak, and go shopping.
Seriously. It's not that easy for a lace knitter to shop sometimes. I mean, it really depends on what and how you knit. Lace, as much as I might like it, is not what the majority of knitters are into at the moment though more people may be trying it right now after that "Victorian Lace Today" book came out. So I buy a lot of my yarn on-line but that can be difficult because I'd rather actually see and feel yarn before I buy it. Buying a yarn you haven't seen on-line is a leap of faith. I like to buy from ColourMartUK because I have received really nice yarn from them and I have a real fondness for Cashmere and Cashmere blends at a good price. That's why I loved shopping at Stitches West. I was able to get some really lovely yarn that I would normally never get to see and touch before purchase. That said, I was in Sunnyvale visiting my brother's family and my Sister-In-Law Melinda took me and my sister May to two yarn stores. Now it's not an infrequent occurrence that I can walk into a yarn store and find nothing to buy but notions. Most knitting patterns for lace I have seen and either already have or are planning to buy on-line and they are the ones that are not usually stocked by yarn stores. Most yarn stores carry some small amount of lace weight yarn. The Zephyr, the Misti Alpaca. It's all fine but not something that will fill that Yarn Void I spoke of as I already have lots of both of those yarns. It's a bummer to be ready to shop, with money on hand and find nothing to buy. However, yesterday was different.
We went to Yarn Place first. Now I have bought yarn there before so I knew I would be buying lots of yarn there to fill that Yarn Void I had created. Their web-site is, to put it politely "messed-up" and they are in the process of trying to fix it so I had not been able to buy on-line from them. I've had contact with the staff at Yarn Place recently by phone and they were really terrific and willing to help me out when I thought I was going to need some yarn recently of a particular dye-lot. They were willing to set aside some yarn just to be sure I'd have it if I needed it. They were really great and so buying from them was not a hardship for me. Besides, they carry a lot of yarn that I found I couldn't resist. I bought a skein of bright green "Heaven" as well as two in a nice blue. Heaven has tencel in it so has a nice "shimmer" in the sunlight. I also purchased 4 ounces of a 50/50 silk/merino top from a place called Anzula, there that is really very lovely as well as a small cone of Heaven in a kind of a lilac color. In the picture, you can see it side by side with a cone of ColourMartUK which is a 55/45 cashmere/silk I also received the same day in the mail. I also filled in some books missing from my lace library as you can see. I'm not into Russian construction for lace but missalicefaye is knitting one of the stoles from it and it looks so great I had to have this book. "The First Book of Modern Lace Knitting" is a clasic I didn't have and that simple pattern from Cabin Fever for "Evening in Eden" looked like a nice simple knit as a break from more intense lace.
Next up was Purlescence Yarns . Now I didn't buy yarn there but they had some very nice lace-weight yarns, and I didn't buy fiber though they have spinning fiber from lots of very nice places including Blue Moon and even some Buffalo which is a little unusual. If I had not already dropped a bundle at Yarn Place, I would have bought more fiber but I just can't spin fast enough to warrent further fiber purchase at the moment. I did however, find something I have not been able to find in a brick and mortar store before. I bought a copy of the Hidcote Garden Shawl by Miriam L. Felton, from them and a bottle of "Soak"to try out. My over-all impression was that the staff have a good handle on what knitters out there are interested in right now. The shop is clean, well stocked and there were lots of knitters there just hanging out to knit. Really nice people, women mostly. You can knit there, they have spinning as well, they have classes for everything from basic knitting to lace basics, sock knitting, crochet and spinning. They even had the new Louet S-95, the extremely portable folding spinning wheel that I tried out. If we did not have 3 wheels in our home already, I'd be sorely tempted. It breaks-down and gets packed in it's own bag, comes with a kate of it's own and would be great for a spinner who enjoys "taking it on the road". It's a shop I'd go back to again.
Needless to say, I've corrected my error, filled the Void and am satisfied that I have saved the world. Good Knitting, Spinning and Shopping!