Friday, February 23, 2007

Asheville Yarn Crawl - The finale

Call it a fiber high or lack of judgement but we got greedy. We suddenly decided that we needed to hit ALL of the knitting shops in Asheville and the surrounding area. We spied one shop that wasn't in our list in some arts and craft directory and decided that we'd skoot over to visit since we had some extra time. This was the true dud of the trip - The Enchanted Forest (didn't even bother looking for a link because they don't deserve the patronage).

In our defense, there was a picture of luxury yarn in the ad. It encouraged us to come in and even promised 40% off all yarn. How could we resist? The first sign of trouble was that the navigation system took us to the wrong end of the road we needed to be on. Approximately 15 minutes out of our way. When we finally found the place, the sign read "Consignment Shop". Our spider senses told us to turn back but we'd already come so far. There on near-empty shelves, nestled between an old waffle maker and a wasp's nest, lay a few dozen orphan skeins. I wanted to save them from their fate. There were skeins of Fiesta, Needful, Lily Chin and Art Yarns that shouldn't have been subject to that suffering. But before I could rescue them, CM quickly ushered me out of the store. I don't think we spent more that 120 seconds in that shop. Talk about false advertising. Shame on you Enchanted Forest for not stating in your ad that it was a yarn clearance instead of a sale. We gave it a negative 5 our of 5 stars. It sucked big time.

By now it was 4pm and tick, tick, tick we had one shop left to visit - Yarn Paradise. Should we dare put all of our hopes and dreams in one basket? We'd purposely NOT gazed into the windows of the store so that we'd be surprised when we arrived. Our fingers and toes were crossed that we'd saved the best for last.

We almost trampled each other trying to get into the store. Not only was it growing colder as the sun began fade but we knew that we didn't have much time to shop. Once inside the doors, we knew that we'd reached yarn mecca. The store not only has a great selection of yarn, books, colors and customer service all under one roof. We marvelled at the fact that not only did they have great floor stock but they had plenty of backstock too. No problem finding enough yarn in a color you want for a large project here. Koigu and Claudia's Handpaint overflowed from several Lantern Book tiered baskets near the front of the store. Colinette and Noro dripped from the walls in the "fireplace room". We all immediately got ADD and wandered for a bit which I think made the staff suspicious because they followed us around for a while. This put me off at first but then again they might have a lot of theft so I tried to keep that in mind. After a while, they backed off unless we asked for help. My main goal besides buying fiber was to stock up on some yarns so that I could tackle some sort of fair isle or stranded project. I scored big time with some Koigu , Koigu mill ends (who knew there was such a thing) and some Debbie Bliss Silk. The others had bigger projects to buy for so we set to work on filling those needs.

Yarn Paradise is paradise!

Tons of great yarn

CM practicing her "mannequin pose" ala Fluffa in a Debbie Bliss cardigan

The staff and even their customers were too kind and very helpful. Thanks to their very nice store samples and swatches, we bought even more yarn than we'd planned. They have great selection of Louisa Harding, Ella Rae, Katia and Nashua yarns. And staples like Debbie Bliss, Noro, Cascade and Classic Elite. If we'd decided to stay until Monday, we could have gotten our Friday Night Knitting Club books signed by the author. Darn it. Talk about bad timing. Yarn Paradise scored a great big shiny 5 outta 5 stars! Worth every dime!
By now its almost 6 pm, its really cold and windy, our dogs were barking and hunger had set in. We decided to make reservations at another highly recommended restaurant - Zambra Tapas so that we'd have a snowball's chance of eating dinner at a decent hour. We couldn't get in until almost 8 pm so we decided to survey our haul and play with fiber for a while. SF is the fashion designer so she "laid out" all of our stuff on her bed for the photo shoot.

The whole kit and kaboodle

TE and S's Haul
IM and CM's Haul

Not bad, eh?
Zambra is everything that everyone said that it would be. The selection of tapas dishes was incredible. There was a three piece flamenco (?) band playing that was as flawless as a digital recording. We even ran into some friends from Roanoke. What a great way to cap the day and the weekend.

Of course we stayed up gabbing again and playing with all of our new fiber, yarn, pattern books and gadgets. We out lived the fire and reluctantly went to bed sometime around 2:30 am. Just one more row was heard more than once during the evening. After another one of Bruce's delicious breakfasts, we packed, knit until noon and then zipped by the Grove Park Inn just to see what all the buzz was about. This place is a behemoth. Just look at how small the cars are next to the building.
Grove Park Inn
And the view from the back of the property...
Breathtaking, no?
We finally couldn't put off the inevitable and headed back home to "reenter" the real world of kids, husbands, pets and housework. I spent the car trip deconstructing on of S's sweaters for TE in hopes that we can work up a pattern for it in the coming weeks. I've never done such a thing so we'll see how it turns out.
Don't you love the different buttons?
Now that I've done my little part for Asheville tourism, who wants to meet me there for SAFF in October? I'd love to see if we could rent the entire B&B and spin and knit all weekend. Come on, you know you wanna :)


Robin said...

I told you Zambras was the BOMB!!

Steph said...

You have taken the words right out of my mouth! I have enjoyed your review of my hometown so much! Fabulous critiquing!
Be warned: Asheville's biggest tourist seasons are October and July. Book your stay EARLY!!!!

jane said...

I was waiting to hear about Yarn Paradise as they just placed a Lawre's Laine order!!! We had heard that it was wonderful! I'm glad you had such a great trip! Jane

emmy said...

WOW! Just WOW!

Wanda said...

I really enjoyed reading about your jaunts through Asheville. The girls weekend sounds like it was a blast and the last yarn store was the best! It's always good to get away from our loved ones, esp. those with penises (and OMG, you have 3 of them) and enjoy the company of women.

Robin said...

Want to go to SAFF again this year and renting the B&B would be awesome!! Older son has scheduled his wedding 10/13 and I leave for a workshop 11/01. Will have to think about this schedule. REALLY want to go again! Love Yarn Paradise! IMO it's the best yarn shop in that area.

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