My Yarn Crawl

Chicago Yarn Crawl 2016 - Tote

The first day of the yarn crawl was awesome and a little disappointing at the same time.  The goal was to hit the downtown Chicago shops with some of my knitting friends.  If there was time left we’d also get to the shops in the northern suburbs.  I liked seeing all the different downtown shops but I quickly noticed that the downtown area doesn’t have much real estate.  The shops were smaller and that led to smaller selections of yarn.  Since I wanted sweater, or at least tank top, quantities I was frustrated at the end of the day.  I did have fun getting some buttons at these shops.

Chicago Yarn Crawl 2016 - Round 1

Luckily on Sunday I hit a couple of the western suburb shops and these were larger with more selections.  I absolutely loved Fiberista Club in Oak Park!  Almost, if not all, yarn selections had sweater quantities.  There was no falling in love and then not finding enough skeins for my project.  The layout was welcoming and the sample pieces out were ones that I personally liked more than other shops I visited.  I know baby projects are very popular; they’re just not what I look for other than special occasions.  I’d rather see sample projects I’d make for myself.

Chicago Yarn Crawl 2016 - Round 2

During the week I went back out to finish up the western suburbs.  I’d already gotten most of what I wanted but I did need a few more needle sizes and of course I found more yarn.  I’d already visited most of these shops last year and didn’t spend as long here.

By the end of the week I’d visited 17  out of the 21 shops!  Not quite all that I’d wanted, but Sister-Arts Studio was just too hard to get to with the construction and over crowded street parking.   Once I missed that first shop I wasn’t as inspired to try and get them all!

My new list of favorite shops is:

  1. Fiberista Club in Oak Park – my favorite selection and setup, very helpful it choosing the right yarn for your project.  This will likely become my luxury LYS with its focus on unique and hand dyed fibers.
  2. Knitche in Downers Grove – probably the shop I’d consider my LYS even if it’s not closest to me.  I like their setup, staff, and selection of Quince & Co yarn.
  3. Yarnify! in Chicago – they had an amazing selection that I didn’t appreciate until I visited more downtown shops.  I was a little turned off that they wanted to charge for their pin if you didn’t make a purchase.  Hopefully that didn’t continue once yarn crawlers let them know that other shops weren’t doing that.


2016 Chicago Yarn Crawl Starting

The 2016 Chicago yarn crawl is starting this weekend!  It runs from 7/30 – 8/7.  Last year I hit 10 local yarn stores, I think I’m going to try for them all this year.  This weekend I’m starting off with my knitting group to hit region 1 and maybe region 3 if we have enough time.  Those are the hardest for me to get to so this should give me a good shot at getting them all!

The sad news is that two out of my three favorite local yarn shops aren’t on the list this year.  Gentler times re-combined into one storefront and closed down the store in downtown Naperville and Wool & Company in St Charles is doing some mysterious re-opening of their store in October.  It’s sad to see what happens in just one year to these local shops. If you live in the area go enjoy the yarn crawl this year and support your local yarn shop!


Chicago 2016 YarnCon

YarnCon 2016

A couple weeks ago I went to Chicago YarnCon with some knitting friends.  This was my first year going; I never knew it existed before!  YarnCon is like a miniature Stitches if you’ve ever attended that.  It’s basically a yarn convention/fair geared toward the indie shops instead of the more well known places. I was surprised not to see those big name yarns but that was silliness on my part more than anything!

I’m happy to report that I stayed on budget and didn’t go crazy as you can see above.  I am firmly entrenched in the no pattern = no yarn buying rule.  That doesn’t stop me from buying more cute stitch markers though!  I bought some self striping sock yarn for my friend Laura’s birthday from KnitCircus Yarns.  KnitCircus was one of the busiest booths with a lot of fun stuff.  I lean towards boring colors so it was fun to shop for someone else!

The brown yarn is Show Stopper by Leading Men Fiber Arts for my Hence Sweater project.  I love this color. I’ve have a really hard time finding a brown I like.  Most of them are too red for me, but this one was perfect.  Hopefully I feel the same way when I’m wearing it!

After this, I’m thinking this is my list of  preferred yarn shopping experiences:

  1. Chicago Yarn Crawl (July 30 – August 7th this year!)
  2. Chicago YarnCon
  3. Stitches Midwest (August 4-7th this year)
  4. Online Stores

I do still prefer Stitches for classes.  I’ve never went to VOGUEKnitting Live but it doesn’t look like it’s in Chicago this year.  Any other yarn events I’ve been missing out on that I should try in the Chicago area?

Inventory # 3 – Brava Yarn

Brava Inventory

I’ve been lazy.  I haven’t done any inventories in over six months.  If I’m being honest with myself I probably wouldn’t have done another one now except that I’ve been sick for the last two weeks.  There’s been no knitting since the Meisi Gloves. Since I have no interesting knitting to show I figured the least I could do was continue my much delayed organization.

For the first step to inventory my stash, here’s the Knit Pick’s Brava I’ve accumulated over the years.  My Ravelry Stash is updated including dye lots if I had the label.  I found 20 different Brava yarns which added up to almost 40 skeins.  To be fair around half of that is for my Hue Shift Afghan. But still!  How did I get that much?

I’ll just have to take comfort that now I’ll be able to check if I already have the Brava colors I need before I buy more!

Stitches Midwest 2015 – Day 3

Sunday Purchases

Yesterday was the last day at Stitches Midwest.  I did not win the grand prize raffle.  Sad, I know.  I did do a little more shopping.  I bought a pink yarn bowl from Pawley Studios to match the purple mini version I bought a few years back.   I also bought the double spindle yarn buddy showing the yarn I wound Saturday for my gloves sitting on one of the spindles.  This will be awesome for two socks at a time or color work.  It’ll be a while until I can test it because neither of those projects are on my list to do soon but I’m very much looking forward to no more tangles.    Finally I bought a second skein from 2 Guys in a heavier weight but matching color for a hat project to match my gloves.

My last class at Stitches Midwest was Anatomy of a Yarn with Laura Bryant.  Wow was that a lot of info.  It was exhausting enough that I passed out just after 7 PM last night and slept for over 10 hours.  It was good info broken up by a glossary for yarn terminology the different fiber types then the different yarn types.  I learned a lot but I also realize how much I still don’t know.  That’s a bit overwhelming. Next year I’ll need more classes about yarn and fiber before I’m confident enough to know I’m picking the right yarn for a project.  I’ve never tried to knit which chenille and after this class I have no intentions of trying.  If the “worming” terminology isn’t enough to freak me out then random holes appearing in my knitting weeks after I finish it is.  No thank you.  Give me a wool fiber any day.