I have to apologize in advance for what will most certainly be a boring post. The subject matter, though far from boring, will most likely not be elevated by my current lukewarm attitude towards writing and blogging. Which is sad, really, because I had such a lovely day last Saturday with Troy on our own personal LYS mini-tour. He deserves a much better account of our day shopping together down south and I think that’s why I have hesitated to blog about it yet, hoping that I would find some inspiration to write something deserving of the amount of fun I had on our trip. But I will do my best and I’ll just tell you and Troy in advance that I had one of the best days ever hanging out with him last Saturday, whether or not you can tell from what I post. Right up there with kissing alpacas ;)
Our day dawned bright and early. Troy picked me up around 7:15 AM and while R. Darling was out working hard for his money, I was just getting prepared to spend some of mine. After a quick stop for coffee crack and pastries at the local Starbucks, we hit the highway headed for the Bainbridge Island Ferry. Our first stop was going to be Churchmouse Yarns & Teas on the island and I was supremely excited. Troy had amped me up by showing me this blog post he’d found and ever since then, we’d both been trying to figure out the soonest we could possibly go visit. On the ferry we chatted & knit, me on my mystery sweater for Warm Woolies, and Troy on his scarf from our Luxury Yarn Retreat back in the spring. Before we knew it, we were there and looking for a parking spot. The shop isn’t too far from the ferry dock, but finding parking takes a bit on a sunny Saturday. But we scored a great spot right in front of Churchmouse and made our way inside. (Just a note – I think I’ve finally figured out the clickable photo thing, so all of today’s photos can be viewed larger except for the yarn pics.)
I was stunned at the visual beauty and sheer amount of yarn in this place. Yet, with the huge variety of yarn present, you never got the feeling that it was crowded in there. And it wasn’t as if this was a gigantic shop or anything, they just have a very keen sense of space and aesthetic. We were sort of dazed at first, not knowing where to start but wanting to look at everything all at once. So we split up. I only took one measly photo because I always feel weird taking photos in yarn shops, as if someone will come sprinting from the back room and tackle me the instant I point my camera at something. Why do I feel that shops are off limits to photography? I wish I could get rid of that feeling. But I did look around surreptitiously about four times to make sure someone wasn’t giving me the eye, and managed to sneakily shoot this photo so you could see just how lovely the displays were inside the shop. (Psst – go to that blog post I mentioned up above for better photos. He’s obviously not afraid to take them!)
I think we spent perhaps an hour petting yarn, looking at patterns, admiring the sensibility of the place. There was a lovely gentleman there who was quite friendly and extra solicitous. I am not used to that much personal attention in a yarn shop, but he was kind and really interesting to chat with. I wondered if we were getting some special attention because he’d seen me snap my photo and thought perhaps we were important yarn folk of some kind. Either way, it was a lovely shop and I’m so glad we made the trip over to see it! Jared Flood of Brooklyn Tweed will be there teaching at some point towards the end of summer and I’m betting Troy will find his way back there since he enjoys Jared’s blog so much :) So here’s what I bought at Churchmouse….
Lovely new yarn in hand, my stomach started to grumble. We decided that rather than eat in Bainbridge Island, we’d try to catch the next ferry back to Seattle and find some place to eat closer to our next stop which would be Hilltop Yarns. I think we missed the ferry we’d hoped to catch, but stayed in line for the next sailing so as to be sure we wouldn’t miss the next one. Ferries can be hard to catch on sunny Saturdays in the PNW.
Back on the ferry, we knit on our projects again and then disembarked and drove around quite a bit (no, not lost!) looking for the way to Queen Anne. Troy, not being your typical guy, finally stopped and asked for directions and it turns out we were quite close to the shop after all. Spotting it on the corner of the block, we drove around until we found a parking spot about a block behind it and then made our way up to the shop. It was much smaller than we’d expected from all the hype, but still nice inside. To their credit, they were moving the week before we arrived and I’m sure things felt very up in the air for them. We browsed a little and though I had hoped to find some Hazel Knits Rogues, I was disappointed. Perhaps at Hilltop East in Bellevue I might have found what I was looking for. But I did find one color that she hasn’t had in her Etsy shop until the big update on Friday June 26 (at which I scored 3 new colors: Strawberry Lemonade, Stick o Butter & Blacklight).
By the time we finished browsing Hilltop, we were starving. I don’t know if any of you familiar with the Queen Anne area of Seattle have ever noticed this, but I swear that you could throw a rock, blindfolded, any direction in this area and hit an Asian eatery of some kind. There are sushi places next to Thai places, next to Asian bistros, next to Japanese places, next to more sushi places. It was crazy. I could totally dig it. We ended up choosing Thai food and boy am I glad that we stopped there. Orrapin was perhaps the best Thai restaurant I’ve ever been to. Sorry On Rice, but I believe there’s a new standard for you to live up to. They first served us with a delicious cabbage and broth soup with just a hint of spice, and then our entrees came quickly after. I had ginger chicken and Troy had yellow curry. Everything tasted so good I ate until I thought I might burst, knowing that I wouldn’t be able to take it home with me as I normally would. But still, there was room for coffee afterwards of course! We filled our caffeine tanks at Caffe Ladro and then began our way home.
Commenting on the exorbitant traffic which we assumed was just a normal Saturday in Seattle, we came across a charming old building on the side of the street. As traffic had slowed to a standstill (which we later found out was due to the Solstice Fair in Fremont) we had the chance to look more closely at what turned out to be one of the best stops of our day. I desperately wanted to stop but didn’t want to make Troy go if he wasn’t interested. He said, I kinda want to go in. And I answered with, It does look cool. And then, We’re kind of passing it. Then he said, I think we should go in. So we turned into Wallingford Center, parked and headed inside where we were greeted by one of the most glorious sights I have ever seen – CUPCAKES!
We decided we would most definitely have to come back for those because I had noticed on the shop directory that we were in the presence of yarn! With a wistful backward glance at Trophy Cupcakes, we made a beeline for Bad Woman Yarn. Which, incidentally, was the yarn shop I’d expected to see when I went on my trip to Manzanita, Oregon last summer, but which had been replaced by the T-spot Yarn shop instead. I found out today that it’s the exact same shop, just moved north!
The shop owner asked, as we stepped into the shop, “Did you get a good picture?” I said I hoped so, but it turns out I didn’t take too many great photos that day. But you get the idea. I felt guilty carrying my iced coffee in there, but he didn’t seem to mind, just whistled along to the bluegrass playing in the background. This shop had quite a selection of yarns I’d never seen before and some I’d heard of but had never seen in person, much as Churchmouse had. We amused ourselves walking through the extensive sale section and up and down the many aisles of cubbies filled with yarn. I could have easily spent much more than I did, but I was trying to be good that day (and there were still cupcakes to buy!) so I limited myself to 4 hanks of Malabrigo Chunky in Pollen and a Norah Gaughan booklet. Both the owner and the gal in line behind me wanted to know what I was going to make. I said I didn’t know – maybe a scarf, or a hat and a cowl, or a hat and some mitts (any of you Malabrigo Junkies have some good ideas for something more exciting?). All I knew was, whatever I ended up making, it was going to be something that would cheer me up on a cloudy day! Somehow I still ended up spending more than Troy in this shop though (How is that possible, Troy?).
After Bad Woman, we made our way to one of the coolest pharmacies I’ve ever been to called Pharmaca, and an all handmade shop called Amita. I would have loved to buy so many things in the handmade shop but honestly, $100 for a skirt? I really can’t afford that, no matter how cute it is and how much I’d love to support someone making things with their hands. After much browsing, we finally went back upstairs to get in line for our cupcakes. Would you believe that there were now at least 15 people waiting in line for cupcakes? At least there were still Red Velvet cupcakes on the available list. That was all I really cared about. I have never tried one and everyone is always raving about the Red Velvet, so I figured here was my perfect chance. Halfway through our wait, I felt my chances of tasting this cupcake wonder slip away as Red Velvet was removed from the list. No!! It can’t be! But faith was restored moments later as a new batch of Red Velvet arrived. I bought 2, one for me and one for R. Darling who I was hoping, wouldn’t want his so I could have two all for myself. Turns out, he wanted his after all, but that’s o.k. :) I’m afraid my picture of it turned out terrible, so no Red Velvet goodness for you, but you can see what it looks like on the Trophy Cupcakes site. Mine is long gone. It was good, but I don’t get the hype really. Still, I can say I’ve had one and I might enjoy learning how to make them myself someday.
Well what do you know? I guess I had a lot more in my verbiage tank than I’d expected! Hope you enjoyed the small glimpse of our lovely mini-tour of Seattle area LYS’s. And many special thanks to Troy for such a lovely day last Saturday! I had a truly wonderful time with you :)