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Yarn & the City
New York Day couldn't have been better. My late arrival to the airport and the unusually long security line at DFW could have spelled disaster, but I made it onto my plane and landed at LaGuardia almost 45 minutes early, giving me time for more yarn store visits than I had planned on. Here's my day in a nutshell:

1. Museum of Art & Design - I was pleasantly surprised by the Radical Lace and Subversive Knitting exhibit. It looked like an entire museum full of art I would have made during my angsty teen years, had I known how to knit at the time. With the exception of a few pieces that I deemed as semi-lame (the childishly misshapen cat-shaped lace and the coral snakes), almost everything in the exhibit made me say to myself, "Damn! I wish I had thought of that." Though the terms "lace" and "knitting" were indeed used very loosely, anyone with an artistic eye will find enough to enjoy. I bought the accompanying book in the gift shop which has infinitely more things in it to make me jealous. I've always lived by the motto "a good artist borrows; a great artist steals," and rest assured, I will be borrowing AND stealing many ideas from this book.

2. The Point - Here begins my realization that they weren't kidding when they said most yarn shops in Manhattan are small. You could fit this entire place into the Woolie Ewe's break room, and they manage to squeeze in a yarn shop, a cafe counter, and tables to sit and eat/knit at. It was nice enough but not a whole heck of a lot of selection (in food OR yarn). I had planned to have lunch here, but the menu didn't have much on it but quiche and sweets. The close quarters caused me to bonk into all the seated patrons' heads with my purse, but I did find one gem that I couldn't live without: an 80/20 Merino and Cashmere blend made by Punta Del Este Yarns. I have worked with similar fibers in Debbie Bliss's Cashmerino and Rowan's Cashsoft, and I can't wait to see if I like it as much without the 30% microfiber.

3. Purl - Again, smallest shop EVER. It was fairly crowded when I went, making my purse-bonks even more frequent and unavoidable, but they had some great stuff. I had my eyes open for display ideas to bring back to the Ewe and this was the shop that gave me the most food for thought. (I actually TOOK NOTES so I wouldn't forget anything. NERD!) The yarn I got here is a Merino/Baby Alpaca/Silk blend called Terra with a very intriguing dye-job. It reminds me of the kind of car paint where it's one color sometimes, but when the sun hits it the color changes. The yarn itself is blue, but it's "coated" in purple. I like this yarn enough that I might consider harassing Jill & Sue to carry it.

4. School Products - Lived up to the hype, and single-handedly sent me soaring over the budget I had set for myself. I justified over-spending by buying a few things with the intention of dyeing and reselling them. I went cashmere kah-razy in here. Got a few skeins of bulky cashmere, one of which was Donegal (I always thought I hated tweed until I saw this. Turns out I just hate tweed that isn't made of cashmere.) I also got a humongo-ball of merino (980 yards!!) with little popcorns on it that I can't wait to dye. If I wasn't so tired I probably would have done it already. I wish I could teleport this store to Dallas. Not that I don't love the Woolie Ewe, but School Products's selection was so different from ours that the stores could combine with almost no overlap. Mill ends and one-of-a-kinds and will-never-find-agains. I was in heaven. My only complaint is that Broadway smells like pee. All the more reason to teleport to Dallas; the worst we ever smell like is cut grass!

5. Downtown Yarns - I had more time than I expected so I called my husband to give me directions to my backup store. I'm glad I made it because this store was hands down the most friendly and inviting. The two people working there were happy to show me things and look through my loot from the other stores. I get the idea that they'd be the best place to go if you needed help with a mistake or advice on a project. I found some stuff to spin and a neat stripey ball of yarn that I may combine with a solid color and finally try out those illusion-knit socks I've been eyeing on the internet.

p.s. In closing, I would like to declare today the official Woolie the Ewe day! To all those with a 2007 Stitch 'N' Bitch page-a-day calendar, I would love to see your Woolies!

p.p.s. Two new yarn sets up in the store! Delight and Chimney
Tomorrow I leave for my one-day New York trip. First stop when my plane lands at noon is the Museum of Art & Design for the exhibit. I have heard some not-great reviews of it, so my expectations are as low as they can be. If I plan for the worst, I will be pleasantly surprised if there's anything remotely worth seeing, right? Then I'm off to The Point cafe. The whole knit shop/cafe combo seems like a great concept and this particular place came recommended by Debbie Stoller herself so it's gotta be good. Then to Purl Soho, which has an awesome website but everyone from The Ewe who's been there says it's roughly the size of their pantry. Of course, The Ewe's customers are spoiled by our three-thousand-and-something-square-foot awesomeness, so the smallness comes as no surprise about a Manhattan shop. Finally, I shall finish off my time at School Products. I hear they carry lots of mill ends and one-of-a-kinds, so I am really hoping this particular location does NOT suck. Then I will try not to miss my 8pm flight back to Dallas.

When I get home, I will have a full review of all the places I went, a new free pattern, and a few yarns to add to the shop. I have to go back and check my calendar, but I'm pretty sure Woolie the Ewe's day in the spotlight is coming up soon in the Stitch 'N' Bitch page-a-day calendar, so maybe I'll throw him a party.