Today was pretty much a romp - tiring and with much driving, but a romp nevertheless. :) My sister and I set out to visit the two yarn shops listed as being situated in this general area. At one time there was a knitting shop here in Olathe but that has closed. So, to get to a 'local' yarn shop, we had to travel 15 to 20 miles north, into Overland Park, Kansas.
Those of you who follow Barbara Brachman's Civil War quilts blog* will possibly recognize the name of this town. Overland Park sits just to the west of the Missouri River bluff region and just to the south of Kansas City - it was the staging area for much of the westward expansion during the 19th century. In Overland Park, wagon trains were organized, scouts and guides hired and many groups of travelers mustered and departed from the area. Modern day O. P. is an upper-middle class suburb of Kansas City, filled with a vibrant population of workers from across the country. (*While I don't make antique reproduction quilts, I love the history of quilting and enjoy reading about the past with reference to women's work and lives.)
When we consulted The Google to find local yarn shops, there were two listed, both in Overland Park. The first was The Studio on Nall Avenue near 95th Street. This is where I purchased the ombre collection of yarn shown in the first photo above (a luscious combination of colors, imho!:) as well as two patterns. One, for the Pebble Beach shawl, I will use that lovely yarn to make. The second pattern is for an asymmetric shawl-like 'cape' that really got my attention. The sample made in the shop used a yarn that I did not care for ... and they had nothing else I wanted to buy for the purpose there. But I wanted that pattern. :)
The Studio is a part knitting, part needlepoint shop and, honestly, the needlepoint sections seemed to be the best supplied. There was a stitching group meeting there when we arrived and the staff was kept busy by those members so service was not as helpful as I might have liked. They were quite nice and apologized for the delays (and were having even more problems with their check out computers and point-of-sale software). I enjoyed my visit, but I don't really think I need to go back there again. I have not done needlepoint since the late 70's and the yarns-for-knitting selection was meager. :)
The second shop was a bit farther north, at 80th Street. Yarns and More is located in a small group of businesses that also included a rubber stamp store (such serendipity!:). This was a _real_ yarn shop with oodles of great displays of sample garments. They had their yarns sorted by fiber content (cotton in the middle, wool on one side, wool mixes on the other) and color (neutrals to the left, brights to the right). Within the three sections, yarns were sorted by size with the largest, thickest ones being highest on the shelves. Seemed a very sensible way to display fluff to me and made it easy for me to shop for what I wanted ... which, of course, was something wonderful to make that cape pattern. :)
I waffled about for some time over my choice of what yarn to buy for the piece - there were so many really good choices, I had a hard time focusing on what I wanted. :) Finally I chose a thick-and-thin bamboo/wool combination by Bloom Handpaints (see second photo above) in a color assortment I think of as 'opal' - aqua blue to rich rose pink. I am really excited about how this yarn feels to the hand and how it drapes.
I started knitting the design as soon as I got home (see photo 3 above) and I like it a lot. :) The construction of this pattern is labeled as 'advanced beginner' in difficulty on the pattern - and that is probably true as far as the stitches. The construction of the garment is one I've never tried before and will keep me interested, I think, all the way through. I'll try to share more about that another time.
Of course we also stopped in the rubber stamping store - Ink Paper Rubber was two doors down from the yarn shop. It was smaller than the Maryland area store I usually patronize (Queen's Ink in Laurel, MD) but very nice. My sister does quite a lot of stamping, card making and scrapbooking and was excited about finding a local shop. They had at least one class sample up that appealed to me - too bad I won't be here when the class is held. :)
On the way home from shopping, we stopped at the local Lowe's hardware store so my sister could buy a new lawn mower for the house. She decided that rather than deal with a gasoline powered motor she wanted an electric one. They had some very appealing wide-base rechargeable battery powered mowers and we took one home with us after a bit of discussion with the staff. (She also bought a cover for the gas grill we brought from Ohio so it can overwinter on the back deck, hopefully without damage.)
To complete our busy day, we stopped at the local Chinese take out place for dinner (yummy!) and then enjoyed a long visit with my nephew Patrick and his two elementary age daughters. They came down from the Missouri 'burbs to visit, about an hour and a half drive north of here. He brought along a movie and we all watched the most recent Star Wars story (whose heroine is named Rae, the same as his oldest daughter).
On the whole, we had a wonderful day. The weather today had returned to blue skies but was a bit nippy, with temperatures in the 50's. I actually wore a sweater all day - I can tell that fall is well underway. The trees are just beginning to turn here (Kansas is farther south than you might think) and the area is lovely.