I went on a two person yarn crawl today with a friend. Miraculously, I bought nothing. Some of it is willpower and the rest a function of the depth of my stash.  I heard recently that novelty yarn is coming back, a less than thrilling prospect. I didn't see any novelty yarn at the three stores I visited today, but saw many novel things.

The first store I visited was Sifu Design Studio, in Andersonville. I really, really like this store and not just because Lisa, the owner, gave me a much needed cup of coffee. Sifu is eclectic and charming, full of potential inspiration.  I was very tempted to buy a bundle of high end yarn from a famous Michigan fiber artist for a Colinette style throw, but I need more yarn like I need a hole in the head. Most importantly, I learned that Lisa sews zippers into sweaters for $30-- a steal. I've decided against a few designs that featured zippers due to my dread of sewing them in, but now that I know where to have them put in properly, I might get around to knitting them after all.

Just up the street (ok, many long blocks), we headed to Windy Knitty. I'd been there a few times before and raved about it to Nancy, but it was her first time there. WK and Sifu are very different, but both excellent in their own way. Windy Knitty is a spacious, airy store with a clean, cheery aesthetic. They carry both workhorse yarns and luscious independent dyers, in sweater quantities. They also have excellent notions and some knitpicks needles. If you're curious about the joins in knitpicks options needles, this is an excellent place to see them for yourself before buying (although I can tell you, they are excellent and make addi turbos feel slow!). I envy the knitters of Andersonville for having two such excellent stores.

Our third stop was Knit1, which has undergone a change of ownership since my last visit. Knit1 is a dog friendly yarn shop a block or so north of Trader Joe's on Lincoln. The great selection of Malabrigo is still there, though there are plenty of other reasons to stop by. Curious about Ysolda Teague's new book, Little Red in the City? Thumb through it at Knit1 and check out the wonderful illustrations.

Perhaps you noticed that I have Daybreak listed in my knitting projects again. This is the fourth one I've made, and I blame all of the wonderful people participating in the LSG Daybreak KAL. After seeing all of their excellent shawls, I couldn't resist casting on another one. This is Daybreak #4, but the first one in Colinette Jitterbug. The first three were in Noro Silk Garden Sock, which is lovely, but a lively single. That's a nice way of saying "this yarn wants to twist and tangle with itself all the time". The cushy, tight twist of Jitterbug is a dream compared to SGS, even if it isn't that great for socks. All of the socks that I've made with Jitterbug have felted at the heel, but I love it for shawls and accessories. I've been working on this Daybreak for a week and it's nearly finished. All of the previous ones took a month each. Funny what you can do when you aren't fighting your yarn!

I plan to give the shawl to my grandmother. She doesn't wear a lot of shawls, so I hope that she doesn't think they're too old lady-ish (though there is nothing matronly about the colors in this Daybreak). I gave her an old G4 iMac last week that I picked up on craigslist, after years of her resisting all things computer. While we were setting it up in the basement, I noticed how chilly it was down there. Unfortunately, it has to be that cold there to be cool enough in the rest of the house, so I thought she might need a shawl to wrap around her shoulders while playing with her mac. So far, she knows how to turn it on and off. Great, considering that she has assiduously avoided computers for the past decade or so. She asked me for the book for it, not realizing that computers don't come with instruction manuals anymore. Fortunately, the library had a couple of appropriate For Dummies books. She'll come up with questions after she's read them, she tells me.


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