Saturday, November 17, 2007

Another Day, Another Shop

On our third day in Seattle, encouraged by the world's most patient husband, I took a taxi across town for a visit to Tricoter. Why there? Because, having seen books by owners Linden Ward and Beryl Hiatt (Handknit Style I and II, Simply Beautiful Sweaters) during long bookstore-browsing sessions, it was the one Seattle knitting store listed in my Shop Finder that I'd heard of. That made it as much knitting-world-sightseeing as shopping.

Alighting from my chariot-for-hire, I saw a tidy facade flanked with potted topiaries. My aforementioned patient husband hied himself to a nearby coffee shop to wait it out.

Venturing inside, I reeled a little. Busy, busy, a warren of customers buzzing at and around three tables. Both owners and a large staff were on hand. The yarns were arranged all along the walls in a boldly-hued display by color. It took some getting used to, but after browsing around and orienting myself for a while, I realized that it lent itself to choosing yarns for projects in creative combinations according to color family and texture, with a fine disregard for manufacturer or fiber content.

Flipping through the owners' books there on display helped give me a better feel for their mixing approach. In fact, I had happened to wander in on the day of the launch of their newest book, Handknitted Skirts, and in addition to what seemed to be the normal commotion, there were wine, cheese, and fruit adding a touch of celebration.

For me, to tell the truth, the whole kaleidoscope was a little bewildering. I persisted, though, thinking, when would I have another chance? They did have lovely things, and I found a toehold in the few display stands arranged more conventionally by yarn type. Still in sampling- rather than big-project-mode, I gravitated to single skeins of yarn for socks or shawls. I found Blue Moon's Geisha silk blend. I succumbed to another colorway of the siren Handmaiden Sea Silk that had tempted me the previous day. In a clearance drawer, I found a small but lovely discounted skein of Jade Sapphire Mongolian Cashmere. I'll look for something small but lovely to make of it.

The luxury yarns fit the personality of the shop -- well-heeled and fashionable. The owners and staff were hospitable and helpful. But I almost felt myself being looked up and down by some of the other customers and found wanting. I'll dress up more next time! I promise!

I gathered my finds, and, as a travel souvenir, also bought a copy of Handknit Style II, graciously autographed for me by both owners, before finally beating a retreat and catching my breath.

Later the same day, we trekked back to funky Belltown to have another go at So Much Yarn, a shop that I'd spotted but hadn't succeeded in visiting a couple of days before. Thankfully, the atmosphere there was much more relaxed. I enjoyed having a look around but had perhaps a bit of sensory fatigue from the previous shop. Sadly, I felt a little yarned out. Nevertheless, I did appreciate seeing Claudia sock yarns, Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, and some locally hand-dyed yarn. And the shop truly deserves credit for being the only one of the three I visited in Seattle that offered any unspun fiber. They had color-coordinated variety packs of roving for felting projects. After looking around for a while, breathing in the welcome calmness, I bought a couple of pattern books I'd been wanting, and called it a day.

I headed a few doors down to the perch that world's-most-patient-husband had found for himself, ordered a glass of wine, and mentally put my feet up. I can't remember when I've had such a surfeit of yarn in a day. It was time to sleep the sleep of the jet-lagged and righteous.

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