Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Back on the horse!

After some spits and furts (as I like to call them), I feel like I'm back on track for my knitting. The apartment looks decent and I FINALLY have a good project going. I was also able to buckle down and do some more yarny enrichment over the past week, which felt good. Overall, then, I'm hoping to get some stuff done and use this to help me focus on enjoying the new place. (Not that it's hard.)


After much hemming and hawing I finally started up a couple of projects. I've got almost two full skeins of this lovely seafoam green Gems Pearl, so I thought I'd start some socks (even though I hate wearing socks :P), but that didn't go so well. I need a fuller complement of sock needles; right now I have a set of too-long bamboo size 1 dpns, four size 2 short birch dpns (stupid Key West stealing the fifth one), a couple of 24" Inox circs and a single long metal #3. I think I needed a single long ) for this one, or at least 0 dpns. I did okay switching from the smaller dpns to an approximation of Magic Loop before, so I'll have to check some of those out. Maybe I'll bite the bullet and get those KnitPicks circs.

I'd started a baby blanket for Jenny's baby in my eggplant 220 Superwash, but the large needles and fusty pattern made me sad. So I swapped some Lion Wool with a chick in Delaware (hi, V!) and got a copy of the Oat Couture Curlicue Coverlet. I was thinking about making it as-is, but really I was going for Grumperina's Grumpecue variation, which is basically a simple pinwheel knit in segments instead of from the center. Since starting it last night I can already tell that it'll be a long haul, but I like how it looks and feels on 7s. It's fairly intuitive as well, so I'm hopeful that it'll make good TV/movie knitting.

Note to self: I think each of the sections is 105 rows, so that's 630 rows for percentage purposes.


I finally gave in and got myself a subscription to Interweave Knits on Sunday night. Of course, then I geeked out and bought the fall issue from a local bookstore so I could have it right away. (Incidentally, for local folks who are downtown, A Room Of One's Own has a small but decent selection of knitting books and magazines... they've got IK and the British knitting, as opposed to UBS, who only seem to carry VK and Family Circle or some such... and about 85 random embroidery mags :P)


I was over near Monona on Saturday when I thought to myself, "Self, you really need to go find that yarn store you keep hearing about." I'd heard that there was a new place on Femrite Drive, only a few doors down from Monona Drive... which was odd, because I knew exactly what was a few doors down from Monona Drive, and it was certainly not a yarn store last time I checked. Let's just say that about 12 years ago a certain high school sophomore had a friend of a friend of whom her mother would definitely not approve. Okay, nothing terrible went on, and he was mainly an accessory to any incidents that DID, but he had long hair and listened to loud music and was surely held to be a Bad Influence. And he and his 28 stepbrothers lived in a rambling old farmhouse at that very location.

So I pulled up in the back, and there it was -- the yarn store, right in Matt's kitchen. Huh. And when I explained my confused expression to the owner, she introduced herself as his stepmother. It was all very Twilight Zone.

But anyways.

I should fricken review the store already for those of you out there who aren't suddenly having flashbacks of hockey games at the Coliseum and clandestine late-night phone calls.

I wasn't able to spend a lot of time looking around because we had errands to run, but I did get the story of the shop and a good peek. The shop is called Off the Beaten Path, the owner's name is Karen, and she and her husband opened after a fair amount of consultation with the Knitting Guild, of which she is a member.

They'd been thinking about opening a store for a while; they'd scouted locations but hadn't seen anything that jumped out. One day they were captivated by the Yarn House in Elm Grove, which was apparently THE historic house in the village. They'd looked for a similar house around Madison, but either the place was too far or the renovations would have cost more than the property. Suddenly Karen realized that the house they'd lived in for 23 years was both a historic farmhouse and mostly empty of kids, so they moved upstairs and opened the shop on the first floor.

The property is actually quite lovely on its own. As I noted, it's only a few doors away from a main artery (and very close to the Beltline), but it's remarkably peaceful -- a large, shady corner lot with seating in the yard and on the porch. Karen welcomes community groups to sit in the kitchen, which is fairly spacious. They have three or four other areas which are chock full of yarn on the walls and in the middle of the room. I didn't catch a lot of brands because I was in a hurry, but aside from the usual suspects I did note some brands which I hadn't seen as frequently at other local stores. Specifically, I saw Cherry Tree Hill, Sandnes and Frog Tree, as well as some soy yarns. In googling them, I see that they also sell K1C2 and Wool in the Woods, as well as roving.

Karen also described the philoosphy of the store. I'm totally going to get this wrong because the Pit of Despair (aka my bottomless purse) is not yielding her card, but it's something like "sustainability, community, serenity." (There's a fourth one in there too.) From the website (a work in progress): "We believe in thinking globally and acting locally. We look for and promote yarns made by artists, cooperatives, women-owned businesses, environmentally responsible mills, and eco-friendly processes. We believe that knitting and knitters can change the world."

They've crammed a lot of good-looking stuff in there, and they are clearly eager to become part of the knitting community, so it's definitely worth a stop.

Off the Beaten Path
215 Femrite Drive (corner of Femrite and Roselawn)
Monona, WI 53716
Phone: 608-221-0219
Fax: 608-299-1407

Hours: Guild Mondays: 2-6pm
Tues, Thurs, Friday 10-6 pm
Wed 10-8pm (6-8 open knit)
Saturday 10-4 pm


At 3:00 PM, Blogger KathyMarie said...

Thanks for your review of the new-found LYS. I live in northern Illinois and on occasion find myself in Madison for fun and excitement, and now yarn. Hooray!


PS: found your blog via the Midwest Knitters random search.

At 10:35 AM, Blogger Shelly said...

Hi, I found your blog from TDPF. Thanks for the review of the Yarn Store, I did not know it existed, and it sounds pretty nice. I thought I knew all the yarn stores in Madison, but I guess not. Now I'll have more places to visit and spend money...



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