For the past couple of years, the local yarn stores in the Chicago area sponsor a yarn crawl in August that coincides with Stitches Midwest. Every store has a raffle, and there are additional prizes you can win if you visit 5, 10, and 25 stores. Also, every store has a free pattern available. You don’t have to buy anything to enter the raffles or receive the patterns.
Initially I decided I wasn’t going to go on the Yarn Crawl this year. I was going to be going to the Michigan Fiber Festival the week after Stitches Midwest (more on that in an upcoming post) the following weekend so I wasn’t even going to Stitches. I wanted to save my money for the following weekend. I changed my mind when I got a text from a friend from whom I was going to borrow a book, who asked if I was doing the Yarn Crawl because then we could meet up and she could give me the book.
I broke down and decided to go, but not without a set of strict rules regarding my purchases. I was only going to allow myself to buy a very limited subset of yarn. First, my friend Jane is collecting red items as part of a charity silent auction (I already bought some red yarn for a shawl back), so if I saw some pretty red yarn that I could use to make another charity auction item, I could buy that. It’s for charity, after all. Second, without going into too much detail, I’m making a gift for someone and needed a particular yarn. I could buy that. Third, nothing else.
My friend and I decided to hit two yarn stores in the city: Sifu and Windy Knitty. Both stores are a bit far from where I live now, so I left early because I wasn’t sure how long it would take me. I figured I could find a cafe to kill time if I was really early. I was. I parked my car near Sifu and started thinking about where I could go. I used to live walking distance from there, so it is an area I know somewhat well. As I hit Broadway I saw a little sweet shop called Lickity Split that came in since I moved away. I went in, and it’s a candy shop/soft serve ice cream parlor/baked goods shop. Yum! I had a sundae.
I met my friend in Sifu, and I was so good. Even though I saw some beautiful red and black yarn that would make a wonderful Blackhawks themed something or other, I didn’t buy it. There was no red yarn I wanted and they didn’t have the yarn I needed for my friend’s gift, so I got nothing. I even forget to get the free pattern!
We walked to Windy Knitty, and again, I was pretty good. I saw this beautiful Fleur de Fiber Asbury.
It was the suggested yarn for the free pattern they were giving out, which was for a cowl. I figured I could use the free pattern and the red yarn to make an item for the charity auction, so I bought the yarn. This purchase clearly abided by my strict rules, so I was happy with myself.
And then Sunday came.
I thought I was finished yarn crawling on Saturday, but when I got home I noticed that I could enter an additional raffle if I visit five stores. I had already been to two, there are two stores walking distance from my apartment, and there is another store near my mother’s house (and I was already planning on going there to tend to the garden). I figured I could just hit those three stores so I could enter the extra raffle. No problem, right? Wrong.
The first store I went to on Sunday was Knot Just Knits in Oak Park. Again, the same rules were in play for Sunday. I was doing well until the woman who worked at the store directed me to the free pattern. It was a shell with a simple cable. It was pretty. The recommended yarn was Cascade Eco+, and the woman pointed out that the first two sizes of the pattern only call for one skein of yarn, so you could make a garment for less than $20. I looked at the pattern and, sure enough, I was the second size. I could make a garment for less then $20! The shell is nice enough that I thought I could wear it under suit jackets in the fall and spring, when I don’t want long sleeves but want something warmer in front. I succumbed.
Not only did I succumb, but I bought pink yarn. Of the colors of Eco+ they had, I thought this one would go with all of my suits the best. So, I broke the rules. At least I didn’t go hog wild, and I bought something with a specific project in mind, something I will use.
Next I hit Knit Nirvana in Forest Park. I got myself back on track there. I found the yarn for my friend’s gift and bought that. I was proud of myself.
Finally, I hit Idea Studio in LaGrange. At this point, because I bought some red yarn and had bought the yarn for my friend’s gift, I wasn’t planning on buying anything at Idea Studio. Tim was with me this time, so my goal was the browse a little and get out. We went our own ways in the store. I got to the back of the store, where there is a table with some displays. On it were three skeins of Plymouth Encore in bright fluorescent colors. And I mean bright. The yellow is so bright I don’t know if I could knit with it without wearing sunglasses. One of the colors was bright orange. When Tim was a little boy he had a bright orange hat that he wore all the time. We have a picture of him with his mom and sister at the beach wearing shorts, a t-shirt, and the orange knit hat. I thought Tim would get a kick out of the bright orange yarn,so I called him over. He came around the corner carrying one of the bright colors of Plymouth Encore to show me! Clearly we were on the same wavelength. I showed him the bright orange yarn, and jokingly asked if he wanted a new bright orange hat. He said, “Maybe.”
Now, Tim never answers a yes/no question by saying yes or no. “Maybe” generally means yes. I was surprised, as I thought for sure he was going to say he didn’t want one. He’s very picky about what I knit for him. He doesn’t like me to use variegated yarns, and the only sort of interesting stitches he likes are cables. He likes dark colors, or white for socks. Also, I had offered to knit him other hats in the past, and he declined. So I was surprised. I said, “Really?” And he said, “It could be nice,” again, Tim-speak for yes. So, I got the bright orange yarn, that clearly broke the rules.
That night, I found some hat patterns on Ravelry. Tim narrowed it down to 11 patterns. He wanted to wait a bit, then look at the 11 patterns with fresh eyes to narrow it down further, but we haven’t done that yet.
Five stores visited, four purchases made, two of which broke the rules. Not good, but it could have been worse I guess.