Thursday, June 28, 2007
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
I’ve thought and thought about how to approach my Yarn Shop reviews. Now, one must remember these are MY opinions. Having worked in a yarn shop in the past and YEARS of customer service experience I base MY opinions on what knowledge I have gained over the years (I used to work as a Mystery Shopper)…so please DON’T yell at me if you don’t like what I have to say. As I mentioned before Cara experienced some flack for voicing her opinion of her LYS. I would hope that if owners or employees of these particular shops read these that maybe it would create some change. My reviews are based on a one-time visit experience…
So here goes:
There are 3 categories in which I will rank each store based on the following; store layout, customer service/friendliness and stock and/or merchandise selection. Each store will be given a ranking between 1-5 stars, 5 being the highest.
On Tuesday last week we visited Knitting in Scottsdale …located in (duh) Scottsdale! (No picture)
While I was intrigued by their website when initially searching for shops to visit I would have thought this store would have been packed to the gills with fibery goodness. Granted the selection was there, mostly “frou-frou” yarns (which is okay if that's what you are into--I'm not) it was all packed against the walls, there were very few floor displays or what I would consider “eye-catchers” to make me want to buy a particular, even if ordinary, yarn. She did have a good selection of buttons, something hard to find in this area. She also had a lot of pocketbook handles, another hard to find item.
About the customer service…this is a really BIG thing for me. Yes, I was the second customer in the door that morning…I was greeted right away…but when I explained that I was from out of town and had a list of shops to visit in the area---the response was “Oh” and she walked away!? There was an air of “coolness” that left me wondering – what did I do or say wrong? I perused the store looking at all they had to offer…for about 20 minutes and I left, nothing else was said to me. Please don’t get me wrong here, I don’t want to be followed around the store, nor do I want to be ignored…this sounds funny but there should be a happy medium, which as you will see in my later reviews.
What did I buy?
Wednesday was our day trip to the Grand Canyon, which was sidelined by a stop in Sedona at Red Rock Knit Shop
For a small shop and considering it’s the only shop the neighboring area has this is a GREAT shop! She not only carries yarns of all different kinds, from basic wools to the fancy Blue Heron yarns of Maryland, she also had a small area for weaving materials and some spinning wools…something I never thought I’d find in this sort of climate.
As I said before the shop is small but she’s pack quite a bit of merchandise into every corner! Her button selection was FABULOUS!! She had lots of nice displays of finished garments that made me want to buy more than I did.
As for the customer service?? Well, I have to say my heart was won over by the 18-month son of the owner. What a sweetheart…and a flirt! He could have sold me the moon! The owner’s mother was working that day and was so nice, and helpful.
What did I buy?
This is Greek Cotton, there was a child’s cardigan on display made out of it…don’t you just love the colors?!
and...buttons...With the new g-baby in mind!
On Thursday we drove to Mesa where I found “The Fiber Factory”
Prior to leaving this was the store that I was MOST interested in simply by their name. As I mentioned before spinning supplies are apparently hard to find in Arizona.
They were in the midst of a move and so their stock was almost nonexistent and all they’re spinning & weaving supplies had already been moved to the new location down the block. We drove by there to see what they had set up but could only really see the spinning wheels in the window.
They were having a sale on everything left in the store…but that didn’t leave me with much to choose from. I can’t be really fair in my scoring of this one because of the relocation efforts…so I’ll rate--
The storeowner waited on me and was so apologetic at the fact I wouldn’t be there for their Grand Opening this week. For anyone visiting the area…this is a “must visit”! They have so much to offer…I just didn’t get to see it all!
What did I buy?
Merino Lace for my MS3 project! They didn’t have any white or black so I opted for the pale pink.
I’ve saved the BEST for last! (WOW-2 shops in one day!)
Jessica Knits , which was located closest to where we were staying in North Scottsdale.
This store is AWESOME! When we first drove up it had the outer appearance of being a really upscale place, Hubby wanted to go a little ways and take some pictures but I told him that I wasn’t sure how long I would be staying…After entering the store I quickly waved him on and could have stayed there ALL DAY LONG!! Thus where the title of this entry comes from!
Jessica, the storeowner, waited on me…and again was SO nice. The range of fibery goodness was unbelievable…if you couldn’t find something in this store to take home with you…your not a true knitter! I found much more than my pocketbook could handle so I had to settle for a few things. The store was busy and the staff was so helpful to everyone’s needs! I observed new knitters looking for that “step up from scarf knitting” project others needing pattern help…. oh, and the pattern selection—the wall along one entire room with a large table for perusing through the many binders of patterns she had to offer.
Okay…I’ll quick gushing and get to the ratings (but I think you know what they will be);
By far this is the kind of LYS we need! If I could only win the lottery—oh yeah, I need to start playing it first!
What did I buy?
Rowan Calmer (in a color other than turquoise)…more Sock yarn (like I need more)...a cute little Birthday cake tape measure…Addi Turbo Lace circs…Check out the necklace, she had 6 different ones to choose from and I had great difficulty with that task so,
I settled for “Knitting Queen”! (get out those ABBA records...yes, I said "record")
We tried to find a couple small shops one in Jerome, the other in Old Town Scottsdale to no avail...
In closing I must tell you that I don’t take my camera inside the store nor do I tell the employees or owner(s) that I’m a knit blogger unless it comes up. I want an honest and sincere reception when I’m in the store. I don’t take pictures inside the stores because I’m never sure if the owner would get upset…yeah I know I can always ask but this also makes them wonder what I’m up to therefore ruining the “sincerity” I’m looking for.
Now I'll just wait for the hoards of comments blasting me for being mean! Like I said in the beginning...MY opinion!
More pics to come later...
Keep on Knittin' & Spinnin'!!!
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
I'm going to have to make this a quick post...hubby is home with the stomach bug that's going around! I promised more pics from our trip and they are coming, as of now they are on hubby's laptop...which is at work...and he's home in bed! Please hang on.
In the meantime I'll show you that there WAS a whole lotta knittin' going on while I was away...by the pool, by the fountains, sittin' in the shade talkin' to the ducks, birds & bunnies...
at the ballgame, I had my own "Stitch-n-Pitch" (since I missed the real one last month)!
I was able to get some autographs...
and this time it was warm enough to eat frozen yogurt to get these cute little helmets! Unlike several years ago when we attended a Dodger game in LA during late April when I thought it would be WARM...but no-o-o-o it was in the 40's and who ate ice cream to just get a little helmet....yep~~ME! Froze my butt off...had to buy a sweatshirt.....Brrrrr!
One more thing before I go, you know what kinda mountain of mail you have waiting on you when you get back?! Well, I had that mountain but in it was this very special Anniversary card from Bobbi...
How appropriate is that?!?!?!
Well...gotta run! More to come later!
Keep on Knittin' & Spinnin'!!
Friday, June 22, 2007
What else can you say about this place? I'm still here...I bet you thought I forgot to blog? Sorry...
We have been on the go since Tuesday. Yarn shops, Old Mining Towns, Red Rocks and of course the Grand Canyon has been on the list. Wednesday was a VERY long and tiring day!
I'm trying to devise a system of rating Yarn Shops, after reading January One the last couple days (here and here) I'm sort of weary of writing too much in my reviews, I don't want to get BLASTED for giving my opinion! I will tell you right now of the four Yarn Shops I've visited, 2 get very high marks, 1 gets a mediocre rating but only because they were in the middle of a move and I only saw a small portion of their stock, otherwise it would have been in the high range. The last one is very low on my list and lets just say it reminded me too much of my LYS. More to come on those later...
As for the scenery around here, it's pretty amazing that you can drive a short distance and be in a totally different landscape and climate!
(Remember this is a whirlwind trip) On our trip north to the Grand Canyon we stopped at the small town of Jerome, it's an old copper mining town that has found a regrowth of sorts in the arts. No...I didn't see or feel any ghosts. All kinds of artisans are living and working here. We met a guy who owns a turquoise jewelry shop...originally from Lexington, Kentucky! Though he's lived in Jerome for 20 years he does miss the greenery of The Bluegrass State!
Next we were on to Sedona and the Red Rock State Park
Where we saw views like this!
AMAZING...the beginning of the WOW-factor! What else can you say?
The city of Sedona is amazing, we just didn't have much time to stop if we wanted to make it to the Grand Canyon by sunset. Just like when we visited Wyoming 4 years ago--we left more reasons to come back!
The GRAND CANYON....isn't it beautiful?! You really had to go through a lot to get to most of the spots along the way...fight crowds...and ride on really packed shuttle buses (for those who know me---not my cup of tea). Don't get me wrong I loved it, in fact, we met a family from Australia (Catherine in the Northern Territory). They were a lot of fun to chat with and knew where Toowoomba is, in fact he was born in Brisbane....are you with me Terri? Of all places they were staying in Los Angeles and driving US style for the first time! What a brave soul...and family! His wife thought it was funny when he turned the wipers on trying to shift the gears in the car! I think it's amazing he's driving around LA!
Okay...so....remember the scene in National Lampoon's Vacation when they are at the Grand Canyon? Come one go get the movie and fast forward to it...
Well...that's sort of the feeling you get, you're there you see it...you leave!
I know you are going to get tired of hearing about this trip but, I have so much more to share!
The agenda for today...we are going to a baseball game! The Diamondbacks are playing Baltimore!! So if you watch tonight I'll be wearing a bright orange Baltimore shirt...you know they always find the oddballs in the place...that would be me!
I will have knitting in hand (pun intended) so you might just see me on the tube!
That's all for now...
Keep on Knittin' & Spinnin'!!
Monday, June 18, 2007
Yes...the temperature gauge says it's hot, but NOT LIKE THE VIRGINIA KINDA HOT! Keyword...NO humidity--and I'm lovin' it! I can sit by the pool (under the umbrella of course) and NOT break a sweat...oh, I'm sorry--Southern Girls "Glow"! Sadly I saw a lady yesterday who either didn't use sunscreen...never been in the sun or didn't use an umbrella~ouch!
This is the Lazy River...where you can grab a raft and float around and around all day long, I'm still trying to figure out how to keep my knitting dry.
This is a view from the pool area looking back towards the hotel...breathtaking...Canna Lilies, Bougainvillea (I have one but it doesn't look like these...I need to download the picks from the second card) and Hibiscus everywhere!
And last but not least...
This is a night shot of the pathway to "The Spa" where I had my massage today....yes, I did it...and I'd do it again! (They were having a special)
Well, we've been here for 2 full days...and haven't left the resort...which also means I haven't visited my yarn shops yet! Of course, Sunday was recovery day from the *day* of flight and today most of them were closed. Tomorrow's plan is to venture out.
More to report later....
Keep on Knittin' & Spinnin'
Saturday, June 16, 2007
First I'd like to Thank You all for your Anniversary wishes...Hubby and I both appreciate it very much! We had a very nice, romantic dinner at our new local Irish Pub, he surprised me with 5 red roses shortly after we arrived. I wonder everyday what I did right to deserve this man! Next year...we celebrate in Scotland, and will be renewing our Wedding vows HERE! My family castle...sort of.
Well, early this afternoon we're headed West...yes, I'm very excited about it. I have a list of yarn shops plotted out, planning for a massage, lots of pool time, take in a D-backs game -they happen to be playing the Orioles (one more ballfield down in the quest to see as many as possible), a visit to the Grand Canyon--Sedona--Tonto National Monument--and Tombstone...there are a few other side trips I'd like to add...do you think I can do it all in a week?
I hope to get a shot like this one...
The Red Rocks of Sedona.
There will be internet access available for me....so I'll be checking in on everyone!
Keep on Knittin' & Spinnin'!!!
Friday, June 15, 2007
Five WONDERFUL years....and counting! Very innocently we met in June of 1999, and from the first time I looked into those beautiful blue eyes....I knew---You ARE my soul!
Thank you for being the heart of my life,
Harboring me in the arms of your love,
Anchoring me in the rock of your faith,
Needing me, that I not be in vain,
Knowing me well, yet loving me still.
You are the island I've found in my sea,
Ocean I dwell in and deep where I dive,
Unfailing heaven and passionate earth
We've shared so much is such a short time...tear filled sadness, joy and oh, so much laughter~~even at our rehearsal, don't ask me what was so funny--I can't remember!
As a family we do put ourselves in dangerous situations...but, boy wasn't it fun! I'm ready to do it again...
(Jack and I are on the right, Chase, Jessica, my brother and SIL are on the left)
Our *Adventures* are so much fun!
These are the BEST years of my life! We've both been through some difficult times and some how found each other to spend the rest of our lives with. Thank You for being the Man that you are...
No matter what happens in this life...I'll be with you always~~and you with me!
"Always and Forever"
Keep on Knittin' & Spinnin'....and Lovin' those in your life!
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
I have no FO's to offer, but I do have WIPS!
The Baby Blanket is underneath, the turquoise (my favorite summer color, if you didn't already know) is the Rockport Vest and Monkey, another fun sock pattern to knit.
Yes...I'm seriously an A.D.D Knitter! I have to have multiple projects going at one time..."The Mindless"--socks, "The Focused"--Rockport Vest and Baby Blanket, and "The Don't Talk To Me Right Now"--the Civil War Shawl (not pictured, I haven't had the solitude or brain function to pick it back up--yet!).
I've also been spinning a lot...
Things have slowed down with all the preparations for Arizona...which I'm SO looking forward to! I'll have the Ole 'Puter with me so I can check email and hopefully update my blog...that is if I can break between massages! When hubby told me where we were going and where we were staying the first thing I did was check out the services they offered...Jeez, they are expensive out there! I hope they have some discount services for those attending the conference! Otherwise I'll just enjoy the pool....and get a massage when I get home! He's told me to get one while we're there, but my practical side says..."why pay more?" Am I being cheap? Please tell me I'm not turning into my father!
I have already had the *pre-vacation nightmares*...you know, you are sitting in the airport for hours only to find out you don't have any tickets? You land in the wrong airport! Your luggage gets lost....now that REALLY happened to us in Denver--we landed in Denver only to find out our luggage was in Atlanta! Anyone have any fun airport stories to share....come on, give me something else to worry about--or be prepared for!
On the Weight Watchers front...Finally after 5 weeks I lost more than Julia in one weeks time--2 oz's!! She's still the "Biggest Loser" overall! 16.8 lbs!! I'm SO proud of her!! Join me in a round of applause for her efforts! She's working so hard for this and daily she's telling me of her plans for her "new body"!!
Keep on Knittin' & Spinnin'!!!
Saturday, June 09, 2007
Those who really know me, know that I'm not a "girly-girl"...but you put even the smallest of 8-legged creatures anywhere near me and I'll squeal like the best of them!
I can't tell you how many times I handled that bag of grapes...this is what I CAN remember!
**Picked them out of many bags I looked at in the store.
**Scanned and bagged them myself.
**Put the bag in the truck.
**Brought the groceries in the house.
**Unpacked the groceries...laid the grapes on the counter for washing.
**Picked through the bag to find the bunch for my "Grape Salad" for the Family Reunion.
**Started washing the grapes
That SUCKER CAME AFTER ME!
Really he was trying to get away from the running water...but I could have swore he had a vendetta...I don't know maybe he did?! Maybe I took out his cousin or something in the past.
I would have thought since the grapes came from California he would have been ready for some "Totally Tubular Surfing Man" (Believe me surfers REALLY do talk that way...when I was in Huntington Beach I actually heard this phrase) but instead I made sure he drowned...
Somebody...come empty the strainer in the sink...I'm not touching it! -- As I dance around the kitchen!
Remember it's WWKIP Day....
Keep on Knittin' & Spinnin'!!!
Friday, June 08, 2007
Tomorrow is WorldWide Knit In Public Day! In other words...get out there and peak the interest of some would be/wanna be knitters! It's nothing unusual for me to be knitting in public, and I'm always asked what am I doing...crocheting? After being watched for a while, there's usually the remark..."I'd like to learn to knit!" Ta-Dah....a knitter is born! The same thing happens when I spin but most don't want to learn...they are mesmerised by the spinning of the wheel and what they call an "Old Craft"! Yes, it's an "old craft" but it's never gone away...just like knitting! I've been knitting for over 30 years!
There are many organized get togethers for WWKIP, check out their blog for places near you, and if there's not one...go to the park and knit...or hit a ballgame!
You don't even have to ask...YES, I'll be knitting in public. We have a family reunion in a city park where I'll have knitting in hand...pun intended! I'll probably be the only one knitting...
Last night was Knit/Spin night and unfortunately I had to miss it...but for a VERY good reason! Earlier this week I received a phone call, there was this sweet little voice on the other end of the line that says "Aunt Robin....I Love You--Will you come to my graduation?" Who could resist....I couldn't!
Here's a shot of 3 of my favorite people...son Chase, his girlfriend Jessica & Maggie! It was really funny that the teachers voted each child "Most Likely To..." Maggie was voted "Most Likely To Appear On Project Catwalk"! Boy they have her number!
Well...I hope EVERYONE has a fantastic weekend! It's going to be sweltering here, yesterday it hit 92 degrees...today and tomorrow will be hotter!
Keep cool...and Keep On Knittin' & Spinnin'!!!!
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Here's the Setting Sun I'm seeing this evening...
So far in this skein I have 620 yds of 24-wpi, 2-ply yarn...with just over a 8oz's left to spin!
On the knitting front, I have another pair of socks on the needles~~I have a Monkey on my needles! Yes...I've jumped on the Monkey bandwagon!
I'm using Regia Silk Color...very nice to work with, especially with the hot weather that's being forecast for this weekend!
I'm still working on the first of 2 baby blankets and I've started on my Blue Sky Cotton, which will become a vest. Back in the winter I bought yet another Oat Couture Pattern (I love their patterns), Rockport Vest. I'll post pictures as I get more done with it. The pattern is almost the same as my Celtic Cardigan, which once I get it in my head I won't have to keep looking at each row! But you ask "Robin, what color?" Wanna guess? I bet you can guess...
Keep on Knittin' & Spinnin'!!
Postscript---I forgot to mention...go on over to Carole's blog and look what her SIL found at a YARD SALE for $15.00!!! I think I'm going to have to start doing the yard sale thing again!
Saturday, June 02, 2007
If and when you buy this yarn don't let that small ball of yarn fool you, especially for this pattern! Look how much yarn I had left over! I always wind my yarn into a center pull ball (just makes it easier for traveling).
But I do have a warning...Nikki, who's knitting the same pattern with the same yarn, has experienced "knots" in her yarn! I didn't find one...that is until I got to finishing the toe of the second sock. Not problem for me since I was able to kitchener up the toe and cut the knot off, but apparently Nikki had more issues with the knots! You would have thought I would have felt them when I was winding my center pull ball...honestly I don't remember any knots!
Onto my *Garden Beauties*! I know this is a knitting blog...honestly, the flowers are related to knitting...I sit by the pond while I knit and just have to share the view with all of you!
This is my Lilium...sort of an orphan found at a local department store about 5 years ago--dying a slow painful death from the heat of the pavement of the parking lot...I bought her at the marked down price of .50 cents! She's happy and healthy now! Don't ya think? (I didn't take a picture of the whole plant...I wanted you to see the beautiful RED color). Have I told you lately I Love My Garden?
Now...about the "Cat Hunting"--Old Mr. Ace likes his privacy--but then again who doesn't at times? He has his regular places to "nap" but here lately he tends to "disappear"...or so he thinks! To find him you either follow the snoring...or look for these signs!
This was the first shot, yes, he was snoring but apparently didn't realize that he was "showing" himself!
Later I came through the house only to have to grab the camera again...Mr FatCat was really "exposing" himself to the world!
So much for the *secret hiding place*!! All I need to do now is record him snoring and add that to the blog!
I'm preparing for our trip to Arizona in 2 weeks! Anyone have any suggestions of places to go while in the Phoenix area? Oh...I already have my list of yarn & fiber shops to visit! We will be visiting the Grand Canyon and Sedona...but I'm open to other suggestions!!
Well...back to the housework...yuk!
Keep on Knittin' & Spinnin'!!!