OK so I've done a bit of stash enhancing over the past few weeks as a final hurrah before Christmas. Without further ado...
I went to Aylin's Woolgatherer in Falls Church during my trip to see the Yarn Harlot. Very nice store - a bit hard to find (it's in a shopping center, but you have to walk around the side of a 7-Eleven, enter a side door and take the elevator/walk up to the third floor). I checked their Web site in advance so I knew what I was getting myself into, though. They were having a sale - 15 percent off all yarns except new arrivals - so I got a skein of Malabrigo:
I'd love to make Foliage from the new Knitty with it. It's so, so soft. I couldn't decide between all the gorgeous colors - I literally pulled out every skein and contemplated it. It took me a good 10 minutes to decide.
Aylin's had a nice selection - I wish I knew brands offhand but I'm bad with that kind of thing. They had a clearance room in the back and I found a random skein of Rowan Cotton Braid to match one I got in Scotland four years ago. It was more than half off! One quirky thing is that prices are not on the skeins, they're in a stack of papers hung every so often from shelves. I found the system was kind of nonsensical - it's listed alphabetically by yarn name rather than manufacturer (and then sub-alphabetized by yarn name), which I think would make more sense. So if you were deciding between Rowan Kidsilk Haze and Rowan Cocoon, they wouldn't be listed on the same page under "Rowan" - they'd be under "Kidsilk Haze" and "Cocoon," probably completely different pages. There was a sock yarn I picked up that didn't seem to have a yarn name, only the farm name, which confused me (and one of the workers came across kind of condescendingly when I asked for help because I was confused). Oh well. Maybe that's just the anal retentive copy editor in me, wanting to improve their organizational system.
I also got some Colinette Jitterbug. It was pretty picked over but I nabbed this gorgeous wine-colored yarn:
Then ... I went to a yarn store in D.C. and didn't buy anything! Shocking I know. Jamie and I went to Stitch DC in Georgetown on a mission to get her her started on knitting socks. This branch of Stitch DC (there are two others) was a tiny store in this pretty rowhouse on Wisconsin Avenue NW. As the employee led us to the sock yarn stash, she apologized for its spotty collection. She wasn't kidding. There was some OnLine (some kind of German yarn, I think that was its name), about four balls of Panda Cotton and not much else. It was a tiny store but they had a nice (pricey-looking) collection.
Then, in Charleston, I visited Knit. It's right off the main shopping street (King Street) and across the street from a really yummy pizza shop. Yum, pizza and yarn, my two vices. It's closed Sunday and Monday so I had to wait till our third day there to go. I was afraid they'd be picked over because they had a massive sale the week before. I couldn't have been more wrong. In fact, they had garbage bags and Ziploc bags all over the place, especially in the front room, which was the sock yarn room (yes they had a sock yarn room, people). I was knee deep in bags of yarn, it was pretty fun. They had a massive selection of Koigu (at least 30 colorways, six-10 skeins per colorway, at the minimum) so I had to get some:
They had a nice selection - some Austermann Step, Trekking, OnLine, lots of Tofutsies, and some Jitterbug. I got some Wildefoote:
It's so soft and silky. And Rio de la Plata that is just really bright and happy and fun:
As for non-sock yarn, they had at least one other room. Every Rowan you could imagine, Noro, some Noro-like variegated yarns, and a ton others. I kept trying to remember them all but it was kind of sensory overload. The people who worked there couldn't have been cooler - they apologized for the bags of yarn everywhere but they took it in stride, apparently they were in the middle of a big move after the sale. Josh came along for his first trip to a LYS. The store had three miniature schnauzers so he hung out with them, petting them, while I shopped. The dogs were really friendly and adorable (though the friendliness might have had something to do with the leftover pizza he had). Josh also gets mad brownie points for buying me all this gorgeous yarn in Charleston. He is the best.
Oh yes... before all my traveling there might have been a moment of sheer weakness and coincidence that I checked out Yarn Pirate's Etsy shop right after she uploaded a ton of overdyed skeins. I bought a skein of a Yarn Pirate overdyed BFL in Sally. It arrived yesterday and it is the yummiest fluffiest yarn I have ever seen. And the color is a deep variegated blue-ish purple with hints of burgundy. I can't wait to knit it up.
All that being said ... it's an understatement to say I've been on a stash enhancement binge. I did it all knowing it was my last hurrah. That's right I'm on a yarn diet again. I'm hoping it lasts until 2008. The only shopping I'll be doing is in my stash.
In actual knitting news ... this picture doesn't show it, but I'm almost to the toe decreases on my mom's first sock:
I'm starting to get nervous about the toe - I'm afraid my next attempt at kitchener will go wrong. Maybe I should research the three-needle bindoff. One positive, though ... I haven't mentioned this but at the Yarn Harlot reading in northern Virginia, I consulted fellow knitters and they helpfully pointed out where I went wrong on the toe of my first sock. I had the stitches divided 20/20/20, when it should have been 30/15/15, with the 30 going for the top of the foot. D'oh. I don't know that I care to rip it out and fix, though. I'm lazy like that.