My birthday is a depressing time of year for a raft of reasons. One of the big ones is that it usually takes place over Memorial Day weekend, which means that no one is around to hang out with me. My friend Nicole, a cockeyed optimist if there ever was one, pointed out that having a birthday in the spring reminded her of hope. With that in mind, we made plans for a yarn crawl to celebrate my natal date.
I brought home a sheep.
I don’t think my landlords had expected Wooly Wills here to pop out of Nicole’s hatchback when I came back on Sunday afternoon. Much to my relief, though, they’re cool with my new pet! Wills will keep the lawn trimmed to a good length, and my landlords get free compost for their tomato plants.
In all seriousness, we hit four stores and I got some great swag.
We drove up the coast of Cape Ann to our first stop, Coveted Yarns in Gloucester.
This looks like a cute little storefront, right? Think of this place as the crafter’s equivalent of the TARDIS – bigger on the inside, and full of retro charm.
Coveted stocked so many kinds of yarn, from cheap and cheerful bin-ends of Lambs Pride to the most squishably soft luxury cashmere. Even better, much of the yarn was on sale! Of course I gravitated towards the Frog Tree Bamboo Sock yarn, which was a teeny tiny little bit spendy. (Oops.) When I got to the cash register, I noticed that they carried my favorite heart-shaped stitch markers. Don’t mind if I do.
Nicole behaved herself and bought a few skeins of Debbie Bliss for a whopping 25% off. How frequently does D-Bliss go on sale? Not frequently enough!
From there, we rode down the coast to Cranberry Fiber Arts in Hamilton. Even though the door was unlocked and a Katharine Hepburn-esque lady was entertaining some friends, the store had yet to open for business and we were subsequently shooed out. Since we were both a little cranky, we went to the strip mall next door to goose our blood sugar and slake our need for caffeine.
I’d remembered from the 2011 North Shore Yarn Crawl that Cranberry had a great discount bin, and true to form there were four skeins of St. Denis wool in a lovely cobalt blue. However, I smelled some powerful yarn fumes coming from the next room, where I learned that Classic Elite Wool Bam Boo was selling for half off. I snagged a bag of aqua yarn with which to make the Nachfalter Tee from the Summer 2013 Holla Knits. (Had I realized that I had more in the bank than I thought, I would have purchased the St. Denis to make a shrug. Live and learn, my friends.)
The legendary Yarns in the Farms was a stone’s throw from Cranberry, so we hopped on Route 93 and made that our next destination. They didn’t open until 1pm, which gave us the chance to enjoy some sweet frozen goodness at the ice cream stand across the way. (Nicole loved her refreshing raspberry sorbet. I liked my Cake Batter fine, but wasn’t expecting it to be so vanilla.) The benches at the ice cream stand faced the door to Yarns, which made us feel like we were staking the place out.
The Yarns staff opened the store a few minutes later than we expected, but its fairy tale-like atmosphere made the wait worth it. If Ysolda or Stephanie Dosen ran a yarn store, I’m pretty sure it would look a lot like this. The inside had a great, rustic look to it, with a fresco painted behind the counter and carved furniture. Though they made yarn their focus, the embroidered carpetbags and Fair Trade necklaces they sold made my heart go pitter-patter. Eventually I settled on four skeins of superhero red Seedling from Classic Elite in a color that had been discontinued. I’d like to make the Sundial Tee from this season’s Knitscene with it, but I didn’t realize until I got home that I have far fewer yards than I would like for the project. (I have two other skeins at home, same color and dyelot.) The store stocked quite a few skeins, so here’s hoping there won’t be a rush and I can mail order two more skeins.
After a delicious and nutritious lunch at the new Life Alive location in Salem, we made our way to Seed Stitch, one of my favorite yarn stores ever. I felt a little shopped out at this point – I’d contemplated a skein of Spud & Chloe Sweater in navy, but decided instead to pet the skeins and content myself with my epic haul.
I’m working on two projects right now and I’m really excited to start knitting with these skeins. I was also really happy to spend some time with a dear friend. Same time next year, Nicole?