Monday, October 09, 2006

Yarn Crawlin' on the Westside

Saturday a group of us from the Pasadena knitting group met up with 3 gals from West LA and did a yarn crawl in West LA and Santa Monica. I had been looking forward to this for weeks, since the first yarn crawl we did in the Valley was such a great time and the second one in OC was cut short for me. It did not disappoint. What's more fun than spending a day with friends (some old, some new) who share the addiction, um, I mean passion for fiber, visiting yarn store after yarn store?! Anyone? Anyone? I can't think of anything either.

So here goes it. I admit I was very lazy with the camera that day and now regret not taking a group photo at least. I have since, however, taken photos of my stash enhancement.

The first store we went to was A Mano. This was by far our favorite stop. Super friendly staff, great selection of yarn and competitive prices. The staff invited us to come back and hang out with them, knit and have lunch. I bought three skeins of Noro Kureyon in color 164 (green, gold, cream) to make a felted purse. The red yarn at the top is Cherry Tree Hill that was 40% off. I'm going to make myself a pair of socks...someday. (I have yet to make a pair of socks even though I continue to buy sock yarn.) And the orange and brown skein on the right are Cascade 220 from which I plan to make these felted pumpkins from last year's Knitty.

Our second stop was L'Atelier in Santa Monica. This store used to be a favorite of mine in the late 90s when I lived in the area. Over time, they started favoring novelty yarns which is not my taste, and I began venturing out and found other stores I liked better. Basically there are two options in this store - novelty - or their version of traditional....cashmere....which I absolutely love, but is simply not an option for me at 30-60 dollars for one ball! Needless to say, I did not buy any yarn here. I did buy the Holiday issue of Vogue and a Tahki (I kept pronouncing it "tacky") pattern book. The staff was very friendly - moreso than I remember them being in the past, and the manager stopped a couple of us to ask what we liked and didn't like about the store. She wanted us to be honest and we were. If they were to increase their inventory to include reasonable priced traditional yarns, I would visit the store from time to time.

Our third stop was Jennifer Knits in Brentwood. This was my second favorite store. The owner and staff were super friendly and they have a very nice, but pricey, inventory. The downside is that none of the prices were marked, so we had to ask each time we wanted to know how much something cost. Or look it up on the price list, which didn't work for me. See the pretty yarn in the picture? It's Prism 100% Angora. I carried it around with me the whole time I was in the store, like it was a pet bunny or something. I really liked it but I kept wondering what I would make with it. I didn't want to buy it, if I wasn't going to really make something. I can always figure out what to do with the different wools in my stash, but angora is different. I need to have something in mind. I looked this up on the price list - Angora 100% - 10.25 - Sold! Then the owner gave me a pattern for a ruffled scarf - perfect. Then I went to checkout and that was not the price my friends. It was much more. I could have told her I didn't want it, that I had thought it was only 10.25 per skein. But I had been carrying it around for an hour and had fallin for it already. I think this is the method to their 'no price' madness.

And finally, we went to Wildfiber. This is a very nice store - the space is nice, the inventory is good, the prices are fair. The service and staff are not. The owner was very snotty to me and another member of our group. It wasn't so much what she said as the way she said it. I bought the Noro Cash Iroha as a contrasting color to go with the other Noro I had purchased. But I won' go back. There are too many other options in our area. I would rather shop online than give her any more of my business. I think the owner is a little 'high on the hog' from all the publicity on her book that recently came out. She obviously doesn't need or want my business.

I had a great day and next time I'm on the Westside, I'll visit A Mano for sure. But there are other stores closer to me that have good prices and good service.


jillian said...

It's amazing how we had nearly the same perceptions about the day! I thought later about how I forgot to take pictures. Next time!

Great stash enhancement. It was so great to spend the day with you!

teresa said...

ooh, pretty... that angora is amazing!

mehitabel said...

Lots of pretties! What's the fiber on your Cherry Tree Hill? (I just got some of their Possum yarn.) The angora is beautiful..but that's sure sneaky about the price! I'm sorry I missed going with you all--maybe next time!

K8 said...

I heard about the Wildfiber experience from Teresa. I have to say the only reason I went to that store as often as I did was because I used to live 2 blocks away from it. I always got a bad vibe from them.

Was great meeting you!

Madge said...

That angora is so yummy!

Fun reading Jillilan's and your posts about the westside stores.