Oh, how I had a hard time falling asleep last night. It was that night-before-Christmas feeling again, all the pent-up excitement of knowing that I had a day of surprises and fun ahead of me, and that I’d better get some sleep so I could darn well enjoy it. But I did fall asleep last night, and then it was this morning and we were rushing around to get ready and out the door so I could go meet my bus for the shop hop.
Joe and the girls dropped me off so they could use my car for the day – it’s kind of a PITA to move the car seats around, and I can’t drive Joe’s car because it’s a manual transmission, and this way we could all go out to dinner after they picked me up. So they dropped me off, and even though we were there with plenty of time to spare, about half of the other knitters were there already, and pretty soon we were on the road to seven lovely yarn shops.
And, for those of you who are non-knitters, or even who are slightly less obsessed with knitting than *I* am, yes, I know that it is a very geeky thing to spend a day riding around on a bus going to a bunch of yarn shops. But those of us who were on the bus and many of you who *are* as obsessed as I am with knitting know that it was a very cool thing to get to do. So neener neener neener. Ha!
First stop was A Sheepy Yarn Shoppe in White Bear Lake. I’d been there only once before, and that was some time ago. We swarmed on in – all twenty of us – and did our little thing, collecting our shop hop stamps and complimentary knitting tools – I think it was darning needles at this stop. It was early still, and my defenses were still strong, so I managed to refrain from opening my wallet. My main goal for the day was to find a copy of Cat Bordhi’s new sock book, as I’d put off buying it too long and the Yarnery had sold out of copies before I got one. Sheepy didn’t have it in stock, so I simply enjoyed checking out their other stuff and watching everyone else shop, then counted heads as we all climbed back on board the bus.
Second stop was the Yarnery, where we had to double-park the bus to get off, and Sarah came out to snap our picture for their blog. There’s no entry up about it yet as I write this, but maybe there will be in the next couple of days. Again, I managed to resist the powerful fumes of yarn and held my wallet firm, mostly I have to admit because I am there all the time and already own most of the stuff that calls me so loudly. But they did have my blankie hanging up by the register, and several of my bus-hopping compatriots picked up some yummy goodies, including copies of my baby hat pattern. Which made me feel really good to see. Oh, and the freebie was a handful of stitch markers, a type that I’ve never tried before and am glad to add to my ever-growing collection. They look sort of like paper clips!
We were off again, and jaunted over to Three Kittens. I hadn’t been in there since they changed ownership, and I was impressed with some of the changes. I had to fight to resist the desire to buy some of the Artyarns beaded cashmere they had hanging out by the cash register. I was assisted in my valiant fight by the fact that each tiny skein costs $50, and I would have needed at least two of them for a lace scarf I could be happy with. Still, they were lovely to pet. At least at this store I did manage to put my paws on a copy of the new Cat Bordhi book and I bought it without hesitation.
I’ve only gotten to flip through it briefly since then, but it looks quite promising. The freebie at this store was a little card of yardage estimates for how much to buy for various garments.
By this time, my tummy was rumblin’, and I think we were all ready for lunch. We headed down to Burnsville and found a Jimmy John’s sandwich shop on the way to Zandy’s. The original plan had been to stop at Panera, but our lovely driver Frank couldn’t find it right away, and this was a perfectly acceptable substitute. A quick, yummy sandwich and a potty break (shh…don’t tell anyone that I snuck into the men’s bathroom – a single-person one – instead of waiting in line for the women’s.) and we were on our way again.
I hadn’t been to Zandy’s for quite some time, but was glad to check it out again. I have to say that it is a huge treat to get to visit *any* yarn store without my children to worry about, and to have enough time to really browse around. It was even better with nineteen other knitting maniacs, with whom I felt like I was bonding quickly into a sort of sisterhood of shopping fools. I know, it’s a little cheezy, but I felt like I was friends with these women after only a couple of hours on the bus with them. They were fun! They showed off their knitting and paid attention and asked questions when everyone else showed of their stuff. It was an amazing group.
I’m having trouble remembering the tool from Zandy’s – maybe they had the tape measure? But I did admire several things they had there, including an amazing shawl kit. Somehow, I managed to keep my wallet shut once more and we were on our way again.
Oh, my let me just say that the best part of the day was getting back on the bus and checking out what everyone else had gotten! The vicarious buying was awesome because there was so much of it and because it was entirely guilt-free! But our heroine did not retreat entirely unscathed. The day was getting longer, there were still two shops left, and her defenses were growing weak…
At Needlework Unlimited, there were a host of temptations. They have all kinds of crazy, wonderful yarns (including that darned Artyarns Beaded Cashmere which would make such a lovely scarf if I were willing to throw down $100 for a couple of skeins…hint hint JoJo Christmas, Birthday, don’t wait till it’s out of stock, get it and hide it for a few months or maybe not). But even still I almost managed to make it out the door without buying. Almost, that is, until I was standing by the register waiting for the last couple stragglers to come on out to the bus, and I saw this:
It’s a tape measure that looks like a chicken sitting on an egg. I love these funny little spring-loaded gadgets, and unfortunately so do my girls. They killed the Pinocchio one I had, and my plain pink one is all stretched out at the end from their attentions as well. Eventually, I’m sure they’ll get their hands on this one too, but until then it’s mine and it’s hilarious.
On to Excelsior, and Coldwater Collaborative where I had something of a falling down…one of the shop ladies was wearing this awesome felted scarf – as in made out of raw fiber and felted, and it looked so cool and fun to make that I found myself picking out a kit. Supposedly there is enough in here to make several scarves, and I convinced myself it might make good Christmas gifts. The only bad thing is that there was supposed to be a DVD in there, and it wasn’t in there. I’m going to have to go back to the shop in the next few days and plead for help!
But while I had my wallet out, I remembered that I’ve been meaning to buy a copy of the newly-released Interweave Knits Holiday edition (memory assisted by the people who had bought the magazine at previous stores on the tour and pointed out all the awesome projects inside during our show-and-tell sessions on the bus). Go get this – it’s nice!
Anyway, I don’t know why I haven’t spent more time at Coldwater – it’s on my side of town and it is a lovely, lovely shop. Three thumbs up!
So then we were on to our last stop, and I had really thought I’d be tired of yarn shopping at this point, but apparently I still had some oomph in me because when we hit Amazing Threads, I was all over the place, digging in and checking out. It didn’t hurt that they had hot coffee and fresh cookies set out for us.
I ended up buying yarn for two pairs of socks – I was picking out just one skein, and had decided on the Opal in pink and blues at the bottom of the picture, when someone pointed out these balls of Regia in a colorway I hadn’t seen before. Yes, the colors are nice, but they do this really interesting shooting-star patterning, at least according to the picture on the ball band. I can’t wait to try it out. Someday after it’s marinated in the stash long enough, that is.
And then, before I knew it, the day was over and we were being let off in the Cub Foods parking lot and I was saying goodbye to all my new friends and to bus driver Frank, and calling Joe and the girls to come pick me up. (I was meant to have called them when we left Amazing Threads, but I was on a coffee/cookie/yarn high and didn’t come down till I hit the parking lot and was standing in the cool October evening without a car.)
But came they did, and we all went and ate noodles at Pho 79, and I was happy to see my family again even after such a hard week because I had had a day AWAY from them and life was good.