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Hunting and Gathering

Friday August 19, 2011
I find it extremely rewarding to begin the "hunting and gathering" process when I ready to begin a new pattern or design. It begins with the most important part: considering the required gauge of the project/yarn. Then, I begin to decide color and that narrows the search to a reasonable degree. From there it involves pawing through the various recptacles where I store my yarn.

My yarn is confined to one room, except for that which is in the trunk of my car! Now, now before you jump to conclusions, in my trunk is my car is my traveling stash for my weekly teaching sessions. It is not yarn I would call on for any special projects. Oh yeah, and there is the yarn in the basement, but that is of the rug yarn variety, practically impervious to weather, sun and rain, that I use for yarn bombing.

I store the majority of my yarn in creative ways, interesting baskets and wooden receptables. From there I have hanging storage units and even some plastic bins with lids. My "working yarn" is all stored in my "working studio." I categorize all my yarns by color. The novelty yarns, sportweight wool, bamboo and those unique imported novelty textures are separated loosely by colorways: greens, pinks, reds, etc. I separate my acrylic blend categories in the same way, by colors.

When pawing through the colors, there is overlap of tones and shades because of the variegated yarns, but that keeps it interesting and leads to inspiration. The most frustrating part is when I find the perfect weight and color, but don't have enough for the designated project!

Once a year, though, along comes the Chicagoland Yarn Crawl and that is my motivation for exploring and stocking up on sufficient yarns for sufficient projects. It is hunting and gathering on a grand scale and includes 27 stores over 5 regions. Today was such a day and my cro-buddy, Boston Bobble, and I started out bright and early at 10:00 AM at Mosaic Yarn Studio in Des Plaines, IL. Looking like the yarn nerds that we are, we were among the first customers in the door when the shop opened. Our goal was to visit only stores with bi-stitchural names.

Each shop is supposed to be giving a free knit or crochet pattern to each person who stops by as well as a stamp in the passport for winning a prize. Here, they had a stack of the free knit patterns but printed the crochet pattern on demand! They were also prepared to switch the knitting needles in the gift bag for crochet ones, if the winner crochets.....?

Boston Bobble (aka BeeBee) had never been there and was very impressed by the huge supply of yarn, sale bin and the abundance of crochet books and patterns. I used to teach there, so I knew it was a crochet friendly place. Hey, I might have even had something to do with that, back in the day when the store first opened and I was teaching crochet there among a sea of knitting classes!
Darlene, owner of Mosaic Yarn Studio

An enthusiastic young crochet/knitter was in the shop also, determined to visit one shop in each of the 5 regions today! Ravelry came up, of course, and she was thrilled to know we are avid fans and she wanted to "friend" us. When she found out I am Crochetkween, she shreeked with joy to meet me as she is a member of my Ravelry designer fan page, Cro-Kween Designs. Later, after she bought her purchases and hubby and son were waiting in the car, she shyly approached me and ask if she could have a photo with me. OF COURSE, I said, I was delighted to meet a Rav friend there, especially a fan of mine!

Me and Heavenlyknitchets

We lucked into BeeBee's favorite, Mexican food, for lunch to fortify ourselves for the afternoon. Our next stop was Fuzzy Wuzzy Yarns in Arlington Heights where I teach crochet. Here it was nice to run into friends on my turf - my LYS community plus an old friend from another shop I used to teach at that has since gone out of business. There were some nice yarn bowls on consignment from a customer's niece and my original design scarf was on display too. Unfortunately, Chris unilaterally chose to eliminate the front page of my scarf pattern with the beautiful photo of my daughter wearing it to save money on printing, so here it is.
Flowers on a Trellis Scarf
Me at Fuzzy Wuzzy Yarns
Time was starting to run out so we had to weigh our options for the last stop of the day. We chose I-Would-Rather-Be-Poking-My-Eyes-Out-With Knitting-Needles" Yarn Shop specifically based on the knowlege that they are moving soon and might be having a really big "clean out sale." Against our better judgement, since it doesn't have a bi-stitural name, we went to check it out.

I bought some yarn for 50% off and am happy I did. BeeBee was happy with the number of crochet books and the knowlege that the owner's son is going to Dartmouth! A relatively new employee was very nice to us (I haven't been there for 2 years so maybe she isn't that new, but the nice part is new). They didn't have a crochet pattern to give for free, not on demand, not nothing!
Me There
Ironically, they had little cheap buttons that we each bought too: BeeBee's was "I crochet because I'm smarter than you." and I got, "Double Agent." These really topped off our visit here!

Nobody's perfect; especially not me. Not only did I hunt and gather yarn today, but also gathered some opinions on where or where not I will return to put down my hard-earned dollars!


CrochetBlogger said…
The yarn crawl sounds amazing. So many stores and possibilities!!! Thanks for sharing your trek. :)

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