knitting it up in a big way

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i keep forgetting to take pictures of the exteriors of the yarn stores i visit. i’m just so excited to see the yarn on the way in, and i’m usually juggling purchases on the way out. but, in this case i did get a picture of their extra awesome open sign as i approached yarn & coffee:


crochet & cross-stitch, how cool is that?! i really appreciate this interesting use of materials. it’s only natural to display finished products made with the materials that the yarn store sells, but i love getting to see fresh approaches, and this was definitely a new one for me!


although i’ve visited sante fe several times, this is the first yarn store i’ve ever been to there. it was a bit tricky to find, being located in the back of a building facing the street it belonged to by name.


i only really have a limited number of things to say about good yarn stores, even though it should be the inverse. my main goal in writing about yarn stores in my travels is in case other crafty people are looking for good yarn stores during their travels.

but the yarn selection was good at yarn & coffee. i really appreciate it when a yarn store has diversity in their price points. not every crafter can afford $20 skeins for their projects, especially if they are larger projects. but it’s always nice to have some higher end selection as well, for a little splurge yarn. visit their website for more details and a list of brands carried.

they also had a cute selection of notions, mostly related to the craft, but a few cute tote bags and gifties. i didn’t get a picture of that, of course…


the proprietress was very nice, she answered many questions, directed me to the area they kept more local and artisan yarns, graciously allowed me to take pictures, and even told me to check out the yarn store in albuquerque. (the chronology on this here blog has been just awful this summer. i hope you can forgive me, and that i’m not confusing you too much by flitting around randomly depending on my mood.)

i can’t speak on the coffee aspect of yarn & coffee, as i did not partake of it. but what did i end up bringing home from yarn & coffee?

this absolutely scrummy skein of dream in color smooshy (with cashmere!)


how beautiful is that color? so rich and autumnal!

and this skein of woolly wanka fibers nimue sock, in colorway ‘winterfell’:


you’ve seen it before (twice, actually), and these socks i started in new mexico are still *this close* to being done (it’s weird, it’s like if i don’t pick them up to finish them, they don’t just naturally finish themselves).


high desert

high desert

talbots sunhat borrowed from gram – target aviators, white tee – handmade necklace – rummaged belt – u.o. thrifted kimchi & blue skirt – indigo by clark’s sandals

high desert

the pups are emma and taki. emma is shy but sweet, and taki is everyone’s best friend.

i wore this for a day of touristing around sante fe. it’s a little higher altitude than albuquerque, so it’s generally a little cooler. we went to the new mexico museum of art, which was superbly curated. this might be a little nerdy of me, but all of the cards next to the artwork were really well written, and explained the themes and context of the work, as an individual piece, but also within the context of the show it was in. i was impressed.


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we lunched at my favorite eatery in sante fe, la plazuela at la fonda hotel. i actually love it there so much that i’ve never eaten anywhere else in sante fe.




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while i was in new mexico, i got to stop at two yarn stores. yarn store at nob hill is in albuquerque, in a neighborhood called nob hill (i know, you’d have never guessed, right?). nob hill is one of my favorite places to shop and walk around. it’s not too far from the university, and is home to boutiques, restaurants, tattoo parlors, coffee shops, and resale shops. something for everyone! the yarn store is just off the main drag.

yarn store at nob hill
from the front door

the store is very spacious and filled with light. they have several rooms (they have expanded into multiple smaller storefronts), each seperate space dedicated to a certain yarn weight or different element of the craft.

yarn store at nob hill

something i look for, especially when i’m traveling, is local yarn. there are many tried and true brands that i love to buy, and i always stop to admire a good selection of my favorite brands, or see what palette they carry, but local yarns are where i want my money going when i’m traveling. the bookcase to the left in the photo above is full of STRANDavarious, based out of bernalillo, new mexico.

yarn store at nob hill

the yarn i ended up bringing home is a buttery baby alpaca & silk laceweight. i have 650 yards (594 meters) of silver with green tones. it’s not local to new mexico (it’s from montana), but i’d never seen it before!


now… what to knit? my brain offers up: emily dickinson (i have such a crush on ness’s moody version), or rock island (this cheerful yellow one is so great)? those are the first that spring to mind…

i usually only document outfits when i feel like i am making some kind of effort. i put on a blouse, or a skirt, or coordinate things in a new way, or bothered to put on jewelry (although you may have noticed that i tend to stick to the same pieces for like a month before rotating them for something else). for a change of pace, here’s an outfit with no real effort. slouchy jeans, t-shirt, big cardigan, warm boots. can you get more comfortable?

casual weekend

casual weekend

casual weekend

target gifted cardigan – thrifted h&m striped tee, boyfriend jeans – l.l. bean bean boots

this necklace doesn’t count as effort, as i haven’t taken it off for a month. taking it off would have been more of an effort! i like this outfit at least as much as some of my fancier outfits. but i feel kind of cheater-y posting it because it is so easy. but it’s the weekend! weekends are for sitting on the couch and knitting sweater sleeves, and occasionally sneaking in some housework, all while drinking coffee and listening to music, right? that’s my story, and i’m sticking to it!

if i had to pick my absolute favorite part of the trip, it would be really really difficult. but our day in bath was absolutely 100% start-to-finish fantastic.

we took the train from bristol, because it’s a very easy jaunt, and wandered through the shops at the beginning.

bath abbey
bath abbey. this is actually about the most we saw of it. but is very pretty, yes?

we went to the pump room, where i suffered a bout of glee from doing something so very jane austen-y:

the pump room

witness the glee! cream tea (scone + devonshire clotted cream + strawberry champagne jam), cheddar + chive scones, and rarebit are all visible, and were all deeeeee-licious.


since it was connected, we popped over to the roman baths afterwards. i kid you not, this might be the best experience i have ever had at a museum. and i love museums. it was so well curated, so interesting & fun, and, as an additional cherry on the proverbial sundae, bill bryson contributed to parts of the audio tour.

the roman baths

so very very very cool. we walked around a bit, enjoyed some of the copious lovely views:


and ended up at mr. b’s emporium of reading delights. i love book stores anywhere, but especially in foreign countries. different titles, different covers, what fun! (plus certain books by british-based authors that are released earlier in the UK than USA…) the staff was incredibly friendly and helpful, and they do the best gift wrapping!

mr. b's

some more aimed wandering led to the royal crescent:

royal crescent

and i became slightly obsessed with attempting to photograph this beautiful rose, fought with my camera, and in a fit of pique, handed the camera to jake, who obligingly captured its image for me:


and as the sun set, we ended the day of tourism and walking with a sublime visit to the thermae bath spa, where we floated around in the very warm open air rooftop pool, enjoying the nighttime views of the lit abbey and cathedral, and the twinkling residential lights in the surrounding hills. if i could end every day of walking and tourism this way, i would be very happy indeed. they didn’t allow photography in the spa, which is a-okay with me, as i was too busy enjoying myself, but you should definitely clicky-click on the above link to the spa (or this one right here for the photo gallery) so you can get an idea of the place.

if i could impart one key thing to you, gentle readers, it would be this: if you get the chance, go to bath. it’s pretty great.

loop london

i did some research in advance of the trip, to figure out which yarn stores i ought to hit up. as it turns out, there aren’t many yarn stores of note in bristol, although in london, one store became the quite obvious choice for me: loop. since i had no real plans to visit any other yarn store on this trip, i made the scary decision to give myself a free pass to not budget my spending. (do you guys do this? i always always always go into shopping trips with a budget in mind. i find that it helps me a lot…)

loop london

as we arrived in camden passage, i felt the onset of slight grumpiness, which came from finding a neighborhood that looked fantastic, that i wish i had a day to explore, but instead i had a measly half an hour, which my inner fiberphile dictated MUST be spent in the yarn store. and honestly, most of the rest of me agreed.

loop london

once inside i basked in the fibery utopia. oh, excuse me, i’m waxing poetic.

loop london

the store is two floors, with a lot of really lovely yarns. their selection is skewed towards the discerning knitter, who cares less about the price, and more about the other qualities (types of fibre, color/dye, where it’s sourced). i find myself wanting to re-use the phrase ‘well curated selection’, both because they have that and that’s what i really look for in a yarn store.

loop london

they had a good selection of brands i was very familiar with (i was this close to buying some malabrigo lace weight in frank ochre, just because it’s so dang pretty), but i was more interested in the selection they had that i’d never seen before. a very kind lady who worked there helped me find a good selection of UK based yarns, of the artisan variety, as i was feeling a little pressured about the time restrictions.

loop london

as we left, i felt the ghost like presence of my inner child, being dragged by one hand, looking back towards camden saying ‘but, but, but, but!’ we were running late, though, with 45 minutes to take the tube (with one transfer) back to the hotel, grab our luggage, and scoot over to catch our train. we did make it, with 10 minutes to spare, no less, but there were a few times when we weren’t 100% that we would.

can i just say, though? london’s tube system is great. everything is clearly marked, there are signs everywhere, maps of the system are clear. while i wouldn’t say we mastered it in our 30 london hours (that would smack of hubris), we were also never left feeling adrift, with no idea which tracks/direction/line we wanted for our destinations.

anyways… would you like to know what i got?

shilisdair luxury dk
4 skeins shilisdair luxury dk in uig sea-green (they make note of what natural dyes they use, which i think is super cool! this is indigo over tansy)
approximately 1488 yds (sweaters worth!), 40% angora, 40% wool, 20% cashmere
in person this yarn has a more kettle-dyed color-variation than is evident in these pictures, and has a soft but crisp feeling that i especially love.

uncommon thread
the uncommon thread dk in toast
246 yds, 100% wool
dyed exclusively for loop. i’ve been trying to be more careful in my color selections, get things i can really see myself wearing, as opposed to things that i am simply drawn to in skein form. this is actually falls into both of those categories.

artisan yarns silk and baby camel
artisan yarns silk and baby camel fingering in logwood grey
437 yds, silk and baby camel (!!!!! i’ve been wanting to try camel yarn for several years! but generally speaking i find the cost a little prohibitive. not when i’m on vacation, though!)
i wish you guys could feel this. for real. so very silky soft.

juno fibre arts alice sock
juno fibre arts alice sock in corn dolly
437 yds, 70% alpaca, 20% silk, 10% cashmere
this also feels dreamy! they had several gorgeous candy colored skeins, but i went for the safe color: a muted yellow with some mustardy tones. how pretty is that ball band?

london haul

in case you’re interested, everything they stock is available in their online shop!

mmmm…. pretty. have any of you ever been to loop? what is your favorite yarn store? did any of these skeins make you think immediately of a specific pattern they would look ah-mazing in? talk to me!

i mentioned a meetup very briefly yesterday. for those of you who know about me through solely knitting venues, i’m also heavily involved in the creation of a webseries, the platoon of power squadron. we have a smallish (by youtube standards) but fantastically loyal following. when we were in london, we had our first meetup ever, which was kind of scary (beforehand), and pretty fantastic (during and after).

anyways, it doesn’t frequently happen that PoPS world and my knitting world overlap, but one of the girls who came to the meetup brought me a lovely fiber-y present!

she brought me a skein of her own handspun! (i’m thinking rikke, perhaps? i definitely want to do the handspun justice!)

a gift from a friend!

we had a mini tweet conversation a couple weeks ago when, as you may remember, i accidentally tore a hole in a freshly finished cowl, and i tweeted my frustration and self-pity, and she discovered that i do not own a darning mushroom.

gift from a friend!

thank you, kim!!!

in case you’re curious, she has a blog: art equals happy, and she sells her handspun and some of her illustration work (i really like her postcards!). check it out!

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