Thursday, December 8, 2011

Knit Wit Yarn Shop, A Not so Local Yarn Shop

A Stream of Consciousness Quick Write about one of my top three favorite yarn shops....

Friday morning after Thanksgiving, I wake with a sense of purpose, a sense of excitement and anticipation.
Being with my sister Jackie, being in Maine, knowing that I just might score at the early morning sale at Lamey Wellehan had me a bit giddy.

After about 40 minutes of boot trying on, I fall in love with a pair of Dansko boots…. $235.00 boots. Yes, 20% off, but still the most I have ever paid for shoes for me, or for anyone for that matter. Uh, and I also get a pair of patent leather clogs for me. Feel very indulgent and even a bit smug.

Breakfast next… off to a Mister Bagel for fresh bagels, rich cream cheese, and goooood coffee. Plans are made for the next shopping strike. Girls and Jackie inclined to go to Macy’s and Forever 21 at Maine Mall. I crave the ability to go to Knit Wit alone to savor the experience and to avoid ridicule when the drooling and impulse shopping commences.

I am given the go ahead, and set off in my lovely, luxurious ride (albeit a rental, it is mine for the weekend!), with my choice of music playing. Bob Marley, Jack Johnson and Adele… magic at 65 mph. At least while on the highway.

Arrive at destination. Streets are wet with dew, making it look a bit like a movie set (they watered the streets down while filming RIPD in Boston and giving a fresh and vibrant edge to the scene).
Knit Wit Yarn Shop, Portland Maine
Store window sports the knitted “OPEN” sign. Twinkle lights dangle. The door has a jingle bell ring that announces me. I enter, wood floors creaking as I step back to the notions display; I am searching for size 17 circular needles for my Gov’nah Cowl. Perusing, poking, jangling a bit much from gooood coffee, relishing in the fact that today is payday and I intend to get whatever I want, a theme begun at the shoe store earlier…
Amazing needle stock!
 Enter stage left, a sweet woman in a beautiful hand knit sweater. Greetings. I say, "Hi I'm in town to visit my sister for Thanksgiving, yes, I'm from Boston"

.....Sweet sweater clad woman says, “Can I help you find…… wait….. you’re…. you’re from Boston?….YOU’RE the Beantown…..You’re the BEANTOWN BLOGGER!!!!!!! ……I follow you now”!

(I am melting, my shoes have begun to get squoooshy and my knees are wavering…..)

“A number of my customers told me I had to follow your blog because you always write about my shop…”

My tongue has become sodden, words aren’t forming… I am stuck on the conceit of the moment… someone other than a few blogging friends reads me and follows my every post? (Ok, maybe not every post... )

Bulky yarn + big needles = quick gifty gifts!
I am forgetting what happened next, but tongue disengages from roof of mouth and I stammer something about super chunky yarn and cowls and Thanksgiving and family. I was given time to regain composure when another shopper entered and she left me to go and greet and assist…
Interesting hats, inspiring displays....
It is a bit like the after effects of a good first kiss… that reeling giddy smirking smile state. I move through the aisles a bit in a dreamlike torpor, but the shopper in me was nudged to action by the wall of Quince, the homey displays of knit projects and the blast of hot air pushing at me from the vertical heat shaft.
Yarny goodness
I stand in front of this wall of wonderful hues in my museum visitor’s stance, kind of a second position ballet pose….. hmmm..... if I have to keep it under a hundred dollars, what do I have to have? I reach, I squish, I hummm … this is freakin better than eating crusty stuffing straight off the bird before the turkey is carved!
I WANT that crochet cap!
Any recall of patterns queued on Ravelry flush from memory, ideas of what colors would compliment my wardrobe fall flat, who really cares? This yarn goes with everything. So I choose a few skeins and cradle them like a newborn as I drift towards the front of the store.

What do I spy but the latest IW Knits magazine. I flip open to a page displaying a peplum jacket. Wait, the knitting powers are convening…. this is the pattern submitted by my Netherlands friend from Ravelry, the one I met at Stitch House Knit Night in June. Wow! Who needs recreational drugs, I am high on fiber and knit creativity!
Peplum and Pleat Jacket, Erica Patberg
I float back to the counter and set my pile down, in order to free up my hands to snap some pictures of the shop. I will do right by this owner in the writing of a post that will cause my readers to drop everything, tank up the car, and drive northwards to share my happy experience.

God's Eye Wreath
In my stupor, I realize I have in my luxury rental car, a hat made from a pattern bought here last November. Of course I go and retrieve it from the trunk, I bring it in as a ways of substantiating my proclivity to knit good stuff, as a means to demonstrate that I can follow a pattern and create something wearable in public. I AM A KNITTER TOO! Not just a blogger, I am a knitter first.

Close up view


This scarf will become a gift for someone!
 Luckily the shop owner was involved with other clients, and was thus, spared my self promotion. Aside from putting the hat on the counter and praising the design ability of Dawn Catanzarro, I am meek.
Needle supply at the ready near the communal knitting space.
She comments on the yarn, the color, and then rings me up. After promising to write up a post about my experience in the shop, I exit the dingling belled door, stroll proudly to MY CAR (for the weekend, anyway) and place my purchases on the shotgun seat. I start it up, turn on my music and think…. I have to call INKY!!! I troll through the phone log and to no avail, I can not find her celli number…. I pull up Ravelry, cuz I have a smaht phone now and I can do that, rates be damned! But I can’t find the email where we exchanged numbers.  Wait!!! I KNOW!!!! Twitter!!  I’ll tweet that she should call asap. Hmmmm who else will get as jazzed as me if I call and regale them with this tale?

So off I go, driving my premium ride back to Maine Mall, texting when I get there to see if I should brave the crowds and meet my girls inside, which means my debit card is needed, or should I wait in the parking lot? I brave the throngs, and, because my face is beaming, my sister says….”Ok what did you do, rob the place?” So I try my best to relay the feelings of pride, wonderment, happiness, and general squeee as I tell them she knew who I was, the Beantown Blogger!

I get these stares from my family of “Oh God more knitting stories”, “Why can’t my mom be normal?”, “Yarn is that exciting?”, and “How did she know who you were?”

Only a fellow yarn aficionado, blogger, or Lover of Quince would be able to understand.

So this is my tale of a long awaited visit to Knit Wit. When I enter this space the creative energy is palpable, the yarn stock is unique, literally, Quince Yarn is sitting there waiting to be caressed and hugged. Most of us have to order online and wait for this experience, but at Knit Wit, (and Purl Diva, Brunswick Maine)  you can see, touch and delight in the Quince brand of yarns. They also carry a number of other yarns, Manos del Uruguay is always siren calling to me, pleading for me to take them home....I found a silky soft yarn from Knit One Crochet Two that I have never held before and got two skeins for a hat.

Knit Wit also has an impressive selection of knitting notions, needles, patterns and magazines. The displays around the store will inspire you if you walk in without a specific project in mind.

If you are ever in the vicinity of Portland, please stop in and browse around this shop, you won't regret it! They are warm, welcoming, helpful, and so endearing. And who knows, you might just rub elbows with one of the many knitwear designers living in the Portland area!

7 comments:

Patricia said...

What a great post...your energy just leaps off the screen. And you are a "Celebrity!" Bask in it, my dear...bask in it!

ewenique said...

What a review! I feel like I was there with you. I am a little sad that you didn't post pics of your purchases though :-(

Guzzisue said...

what time is the next plane? Just added this to the list of places to visit if I ever cross the pond :-)I always find it a bit strange when I meet someone who reads my blog and recognises me, strange but flattering :-)

Evelyn said...

You deserve every bit of recognition and joy that comes with it!! Thanks for sharing that great experience and reminding us bloggers/knitters that our love of the craft and sharing it with others is what it's all about, sista!

FoFo said...

How cool was that!!! If I ever get that far north I will definitely stop in, the shop looks absolutely lovely!

Inky077 said...

The only thing better was if I had looked at my twitter account and got this story first-hand! An amazing recount of the place that's near and dear to me whenever I'm in Portland. You truly have to visit to take in the wonder that is Quince. Nicely written!

Gracey is not my name.... said...

Awesome review...wow wish I was that creative in my yarn shop reviews....I've hit all of New England, except Maine, planning on next summer...hmm or maybe April vacation...cuz now I've got to go!