Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


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Sunday, February 22, 2004  

When I began knitting a few years ago there were so few yarn shops around - or that I knew of - that I could only buy through catalogs. At that time, Patternworks was the best of the best, though, so I didn’t mind all that much. Since then, yarn shops have blossomed like daisies in the springtime. From a single, intimidating little west end shop in Richmond, to now, when there are three between my house and my mother’s, plus one within a mile of BD’s favorite chilli restaurant in Fredericksburg, and now, one in my favorite playground, Williamsburg. Plus any number of assorted tiny shops that carry a small line of this or that between here and there. Even the Ben Franklin’s are carrying Patons in all their Richmond shops, so if I need a ball of plain worsted weight merino wool - I need not drive any further than Mechanicsville..

I finally got down to the Knitting Sisters. Wow! What fun! Of course, any day spent playing with BH is going to be fun, but a day yarn shopping - whew! Heaven. The shop is easy to find, at Kingsmill Shopping Center on Rt. 60 east of the historic district of Williamsburg. We got an early start and pulled in about 10:30. The moment I stepped into the shop I felt expanded. My arms just spread wide and I said “here I am!” to the lady behind the counter. She laughed and said something like “you’re in the right spot”. There was already a good crowd inside, and 4 employees were everywhere helping and moving and putting up. Shelves line the walls, but there are baskets and baskets of yarn all over the place. A long series of tables runs down the center of the shop, and baskets are on and beneath that too. This gave the smallish shop plenty of visibility and the sense that it was bigger than it really is. It easily accommodated the crowd of, oh say 15 shoppers, including the one with the stroller.

The owners are really glad people. Well, most yarn shop owners I meet are happy - they ought to be, with knitting being so popular. But these women were really happy. The welcoming lady at the cash register gave us a quick rundown of the shop layout - “putting up new summer yarns along this wall - 20% off all the winter stuff in that corner”. And everything was priced.

If you are a fan of novelty yarns, KS has the biggest selection I have ever seen. Since I was also seeking novelty yarn scarf supplies I was particularly glad - but if you don’t like novelty yarns - be forewarned. They have them all. Prices are standard. Selection truly can’t be beat. And for the Just good wool yarn crowd, they carry Brown Sheep, Manos, Mountain Colors, Filatura di Crosa, Aurora8... hmm ... you get the picture. I got the feeling they did some serious market research before they opened up and I suspect they had strong financial backing because for a shop that’s been open only 6 months, they have the look and feel of a long established concern.

Something I really liked was the generosity of the other customers. Everyone was polite but nobody hesitated to comment on a yarn you might be holding, if she had knit with it already. “That makes a beautiful scarf.” or “I was at the Knitting Basket yesterday ... “ (Don’t you just love knitters who go to one yarn shop on Friday and another one 60 miles away on Saturday?) There was a cubby of Trendsetter ribbon that shimmered like water and one lady said “I made a shawl of that. It looks like Monet painting.” When pressed a little harder, she said she knit the shawl with fringe out of one skein, though she’d used size 50 needles. Of course, it came home with me - the whole “kit”, needles and all. I love Trendsetter yarns and colors, but they are so expensive I mostly knit one skein wonders with them. $29 for the ribbon - $9 for the needles - okay - it’s a luxury item but hey - I deserve it, right?

Sigh. Yes. I did spend a bundle there yesterday. The stash is so exotic I plan to photograph my haul before I start working on it - this is the biggest pile I’ve ever spent on what I would call small items. I’m still a little nervous about it.

Across the sidewalk from the yarn shop is a little gourmet kitchen shop cum wine and bakery. I’m sorry I didn’t get the name, but I am delighted I had the cheesy crab soup. Ooo delicious. With scrumptious bread. Very reasonably priced and hearty enough to keep us going the rest of the day.

Kingsmill Shp. Cntr. is a fun sort of place with little odd shops, a rarity in these country gals’ daily experiences, but we wanted to hit the outlet malls at the other end of town because that is the place to buy things like underwear, etc. So we passed on a leisurely wander and sped out to the west end of town. Still reeling from the yarn shop tab, I only bought what I went there for, but I tried on lovely silk skirts by Jones of New York - even at outlet prices, beyond my budget.

No. That’s not true. I would have bought that magnificent floaty skirt of your dreams if there had been a good top for it - but with such a specific combination of colors, the wrong top would have been a disaster. And dag nabbit - the tops they had dyed to work with this colorway were ButtUgly!

So here’s a little diatribe, just so you won’t think I’ve lost my lemon flavor.

What in the name of all that burns a fiery death down below is going on in the minds of the clothing manufacturers? Why won’t they make a simple knee length short skirt to go with their jackets. I personally hate matched pantsuits, thinking they look like women trying to look like men, but I don’t mind other people wearing them. (I might look aside and sort of grimmace, but hey, I can be discreet about it.) So - why not give the rest of us suity types the option of a nice ordinary skirted suit? Not, mind you, some thing with bleepin' ruffles made out of silk tweed, now. Just ordinary no nonsence skirts!! Cripes!

And gorgeous, flowered, floaty, new-car-ad, hair billowing out behind you skirts look like utter crap with a t-shirt!! Even a silk t-shirt! Okay, maybe a size minus 10 teenager can pull it off, (Thank God they don't realize how gorgeous they are) but if you’re going to bother making it in a size 12, 14, even 16!!, fer cryin’ out loud, how about something a little less blockish looking. Now - it’s not as if they didn’t have a clue! There were well cut feminine blouses for other floaty skirts, (the one with the band right over your stomach, honey, to make sure everyone sees that you have not been doing your ab crunches for about 20 years.) So they had the sloper, the design and even the patterns. They just chose to take their prettiest fabric, prettiest skirt (that doesn’t make your stomach project) and put a stupid blockish t-shirt over it.

Who is designing these things?

So - I would have spent huge amounts of money for a skirt with a blouse that worked with it but not half of huge amounts of money for only the skirt.


But I can dream about standing on the green cliff, overlooking the blue ocean, with the breeze blowing my long hair out behind me and billowing my gorgeous skirt between my legs, casting the perfect goddess silhouette against the setting sun.

posted by Bess | 7:45 AM