Saturday morning we met again, armed with travel knitting, snacks, beverages (yes, at one point there was drinking, driving and knitting all occurring simultaneously!), and two additional adventurers: Shirley and Barb, who manned the tail-gunner positions in the van ("wheee"). Some of us accomplished a fair bit of knitting on the ride from Monterey to San Jose, where we picked up the Shop Hop tour with
Wow! What a gorgeous place. Spacious, with amazing multi-use areas, class space, cozy lounging spots, an incredible selection of books and wonderful yarns. And coffee. And snacks. And lovely staff. And surprise! Virtual life coincided with real life and I got to meet Lara who so kindly helped me several times with my CPH both on the KAL and Ravelry Sadly, I wasn't wearing it, as the day promised to be too warm, but I want to revisit this store and will be sure to wear it. Thanks again, Lara. Next stop was Los Altos, with two stores to visit:
Uncommon Threads and Full Thread Ahead
which are within walking distance of each other, and in a beautiful, interesting neighborhood, so worth another visit as well.
There was an opportunity to see and fondle some unfamiliar or new yarns in person.
Shokay Shambala, used by Jared for the Koolhass Hat
Curious Creek Fibers
and Chasing Rainbows were two other beautiful yarns that I had not seen in person before.
The stores were quite different in feel; one store owner seemed very tense with the whole Shop Hop thing, us, staff, something. It was definitely uncomfortable. It seems odd, even though we all showed financial support for the store. Oh well, the gorgeous weather and autumn leaves soon lightened our spirits.
Back on the road, our next stop was Nine Rubies, in San Mateo.
This warm, friendly store and helpful, patient staff is another valuable gem, and we soon forgot the previous stop. Such a delight; I connected with another virtual acquaintance, and managed to score some gorgeous sock yarn named in her honor. Down the street was a restaurant we agreed looked promising, Astaria. My roasted beet and goat cheese salad was good enough; the rest of the crew had uneven experience with their meals.
We were waylaid heading back to the van by Ichiban Kan, a fabulous Japanese $1 store, absolutely full of wonderful, ingenious items, some which are perfect knitting tools and accessories.
Next stop took us around Robin Hood's Barn, thanks to an argument with MapQuest. Apparently there are alternate universes with the same address. Eventually we arrived at Creative Hands, in Belmont
A cute store, absolutely packed with yarn and students in the midst of a knitting class. The aisles were so narrow, it was hard to see and appreciate the wealth of yarns and possibilities. The staff were friendly and helpful, and gave us great directions on to the next stop, Knitter's Studio, in Menlo Park.
There was a street craft show going on, so we had to stay focused and alert to find the shop, the sign is pretty small. The store is spacious, full of gorgeous yarn, artfully arranged by color. The owner is incredibly vivacious and energetic, staff were friendly and helpful, however it was stunning that they had run out of copies of their one-skein project pattern! Also disappointing was the fact that the yarn for the project was more than $60 per skein. Throughout the tour we found a lot of variety in terms of creativity and thought put into the projects and yarn, as well as presentation. In some stores the pattern was delivered in a protective sleeve, there was a discount given for purchasing the one-skein yarn, all yarn purchases carefully wrapped in tissue, the bags for completed purchases were sturdy and useful as project bags for years to come, we were welcomed and treated as though we were regular faithful customers. In other stores...not so much. This made store #15 on the tour, we had one to go, and miles, before we sleep. It was almost dark when we arrived in Morgan Hill, at The Continental Stitch
The owner is very sweet, patient and helpful, and actually stayed open late to accommodate us. The store has a nice selection of yarn and books, and has a lovely warm feel. I was able to find a rare knitting book, so I'm tickled.
There was snoozing on the drive back, thankfully not by our pilot Marie. What a great experience this was, challenging and daunting and fun; the good company made all the difference. Not something I'd want to do again next month, but probably next year might be just right. Finally, here's the proof: