I'm still giddy over our trip to New York. It was probably the first time in my life that I really needed a vacation, due to all the work that I've been doing (& loving! but still, lots & lots of work). And it certainly did the trick - I came back nourished, inspired, & ready to jump into the holiday season.
I shared about our trip to Rhinebeck in my last post, & I'm so excited to share more about all the fibery exploring we did in New York City itself (& some fun new designs I've already started knitting with my new yarn!). Welcome to the second installment of my new favorite blog segment: Yarn Pilgrimage.
Brooklyn General Store
I originally heard of Brooklyn General Store through both Karen Templer's blog & Ashley Yousling's Woolful podcast. I absolutely love the work that they do, so I knew that if they liked it I probably would too. And I didn't just like it, I loved it! It is very rare that I go into a yarn store & see brands that I've never seen before, & it seemed like everywhere I turned in this lovely shop there was a new, unheard of little gem.
As you can tell from my overexcited face in the photo above, I was kind of in Heaven. And this little section is literally the first chunk of yarn you see after you walk in the door! I hadn't made it even a quarter of the way into the store, let alone into the fabric section, & I was already overwhelmed with joy.
I didn't get any more pictures of the store itself, because I was a pretty focused browser. But trust me when I say that it is well worth a trip, & if you live anywhere near here I highly recommend making it your LYS (or a part of your LYS network). I already mentioned the excellent selection (of fiber, tools, fabric, embroidery - they've got it all!), but the ambiance really put it over the top. There was a lovely group of ladies knitting around a table while we were there, & I occasionally chimed into their conversation (they were talking about the Midwest - I had to!) & they were so kind to me. I would have loved to spend more time sitting & knitting with them.
While I have no more photos to share with you of the store, I have plenty to share of the gems that I purchased there. I got 3 skeins of Lichen & Lace's 1 ply superwash merino in the colorway pressed flowers, destined to be my new favorite sweater. It's soft, wonderfully twirly, & it looks like a bouquet of flowers just jumped into a skein of yarn & decided to stay awhile.
Sidenote - honestly, I try to stay away from superwash yarns because the more I learn about all the processing involved the less I find them appealing (you can read Ashley Yousling's extremely informative - yet brief! - post about it here). I try to buy a lot of "wooly wool" - minimally processed, better for the environment, & I just love the feeling of wool. I try to be a conscious consumer as much as possible, but gosh dang it I could not get this yarn out of my head. Does anyone else have this problem - wanting to be a conscious consumer but making a few exceptions for really special projects?
And then there's this gem - so good that I started knitting with it the day after I bought it. Brooklyn General's selection of Twirl Yarn made me feel the most intense kind of yarn love. The one that gives you heart palpitations & you get all warm & it feels like you're talking to your crush as a middle schooler. That kind of yarn love.
That little hat is my new constant companion, & it will be released very soon as a part of my Gift Knitting Guide - a little selection of projects that you can definitely make in time for Christmas. Closely followed in the new year by the Selfish Knitting Collection - when you have all the time & yarn to make things just for yourself!
And lastly, I grabbed two little skeins of undyed wool embroidery floss. Because I had to!
Purl Soho is the yarn store I found online as a teenager that made me realize that yarn stores exist (& are amazing wonderful places). I wanted one of my own. I didn't have a LYS at the time because Cedar Rapids, IA wasn't there yet (we now have Stitch Together Studio, which is amazing!) - but at the time I wanted Purl Soho to be my LYS. And how lovely it must be as a local yarn shop!
The beauty of Purl is the yarn (& fabric & tools & all that goodness) they make themselves (much of which is shown here). It's beautiful, & they have such a wide selection of fibers & weights & textures that there's definitely something for everyone.
I had to go here twice - once for yarn & once for fabric. I didn't want to overwhelm or rush myself, & I'm so glad that I did that. I was able to find some truly gorgeous fibers that I am incredibly excited to get working with!
First up: yarn! Three skeins of Purl's Linen Quill in the colorway Rose Granite. I've been obsessed with this yarn for literally years - stalking it online & every project I've ever seen made with it. But I wanted to see it for myself before I purchased any - the colorways are gorgeous, & I wanted to make sure I could see them all right in front of me. And I wanted to touch it - it's a blend of 50% highland wool, 35% alpaca, & 15% linen. It's as good as it sounds. These beauties will become a truly exquisite sweater.
And another yarn that I absolutely could not wait to get on my needles - Purl's Gentle Giant in the colorway Cowrie Pink. What was once 3 skeins is now my favorite wrap/scarf of all time - also part of the Gift Knitting Guide (coming so soon!).
My second trip to Purl gave me this pile of goodness. 2 yards in both olive & maroon of Robert Kaufman's Essex Yarn Dyed - a flippin' beautiful blend of linen & cotton that is made for hearty yet drapey garments. The olive is destined to be a top & the maroon is destined to be a dress, & they're destined to be wardrobe favorites.
The coordinating thread to the fabrics was accompanied by one little spool of yellow wool embroidery floss (I had to!) & the cutest little pair of scissors for my little embroidery caddy.
So yeah, it's not a yarn store, but as Tim Gunn likes to say on Project Runway - MAKE IT WORK! Which in this case means it's a crafty pursuit so it counts.
Mood Fabrics was equally parts beautiful & overwhelming. I have sewn two garments - & I love them - but I by no means no what I am doing. So the uber fashiony people running around stressed me out a little bit. But everyone working at Mood was incredibly kind, including the nice man who cut my fabrics for me & asked me gently "Are you okay?" (probably due to the fact that I looked like a warm little stress ball). And I got some flippin amazing silks!
A few years ago at Lollapalooza I saw a lead singer who was wearing the most beautiful skirt I'd ever seen. It was fairly fitted & long - something like a chiffon over a slip - but at the knee the slip stopped & the chiffon-like fabric went out like a peplum. I've wanted one ever since! That's why I went to Mood - & either of these fabric combos could work, but the one on the right is the winner. And the one on the left is going to be a gorgeous dress. So everyone wins!
Everything I bought in New York has a purpose, which I find deeply exciting. It's not like I just saw pretty stuff & threw my money at the cashier - they're a part of an extremely cultivated wardrobe plan, some of which is outlined above. Hooray for Slow Fashion October - it's helped me be a lot more focused when it comes to my clothes!
The fantasy skirt I was talking about above is going to be a doozy. I haven't quite found the perfect pattern, & I definitely am not qualified enough to self draft one. But I think maybe I could alter the Margo skirt (above left) from Seamwork Mag - add a zipper, switch up the bottom. Maybe? We'll see.
And the other fun patterned silk would be a gorgeous Farrow Dress from Grainline Studio (above left) - but I need to work out how it would look to do both a lining & an overlay with those fabulous pockets. I could also do another Kenedy Dress (like the one I already made, above right) - it might be easier to do that overlay. And it would drape beautifullly.
And then the olive linen/cotton blend - definitely a Hadley Top from Grainline (above left). Definitely. And the maroon? Maybe an extended Hadley. Or a Farrow, if the silk one doesn't work out. It's a layering piece, for sure. And I have a vision of myself wearing it with handknit tights, out of that glorious White Barn Farm Heaven Fingering I talked about in my last post.
So yeah, the yarn pilgrimage to NYC was a glorious success. I came home with some beautiful supplies, but more importantly with a great amount of inspiration & motivation to really express myself creatively. I feel reinvigorated & ready to take on the holiday season! (PS - less than 2 months until Christmas *NOBODY PANIC*)