I’m so lame. That title… I just. I’m sorry. It amuses me too much.
ANYWAY. As most of you probably know, S.E.X. is an acronym for Stash Enhancement eXperience, and I recently had the opportunity to enhance my stash, London-style. Now, you might think that a large city like London would have lots of opportunities to buy yarn, and you’d likely be correct, except that there wasn’t a whole lot of time to be seeking out yarn stores while seeing historical sites.
I did manage to stop by two stores: All the Fun of the Fair, near Picadilly Circus, and iKnit, on the south side of the Thames. Both of these stores were amazing. Many different yarns to choose from, friendly but not pushy staff, lovingly-decorated shops. There was just one problem with both stores.
Finding British yarn—yarn made in the UK, preferably with British sheep—was next to impossible. I could have had my fill of Cherry Tree Hill, Manos del Uruguay, Malabrigo (and believe me, there was much, much petting of all the pretty yarns I found). But when I go on a vacation and happen to stop into a yarn store, I try to find yarn that is less convenient to find back home. That makes the yarn even more special to me than it already is; a yarn that is unique to my part of the world and can’t be easily procured is more treasured amongst my stash.
I didn’t know a lot of British yarn companies before going overseas, but I did some research on Ravelry to see what others had bought at these stores and made lists of companies to look for, based on what people had bought at those stores. Apparently those people cleaned out the stock, because I had next to no luck.
But never fear! I did not walk away empty-handed, oh no. Indeed, these two lovely gems took a ride across a giant pond and now reside amongst the rest of my yarn, just biding their time until they’re put to use.
I think this might be Coldharbour Mill, although that’s not the name on the logo of the ball band. But it is an Organically Farmed Merino Wool 4 ply (that’s fingering weight), it’s undyed, and it’s sooooo soft and squishy. I considered this quite the coup when I found it at All the Fun of the Fair. I already have a plan to make a pair of socks with this yarn.
At iKnit, I asked the lady if they had any Fyberspates yarn (this was recommended to me by a knitting friend), and sadly they were all out. So after picking up and putting back, picking up, walking around the store, and putting back multiple skeins of Malabrigo and Handmaiden (my mother probably thought the exhaustion of the day had gotten to me), I managed to find some scrumptious Scottish yarn.
JC Rennie Supersoft Cashmere DK, in this loooovely, slubby, tweedy purple. It’s mostly lambswool with some cashmere and it’s so yummy. I have no idea what project this is going to be but it’s going to be wonderful. At iKnit, I also found a couple issues of The Knitter that I didn’t have (sorry to link to a shop website, but their own website is not helpful; you can also look them up on Ravelry). If you haven’t checked out this wonderful magazine (published in Bath! I went there! I should have tried to find them.), do your best. It’s hard to find stateside (or at least it is in Colorado) but they have some great patterns by designers and a fun, lighthearted feature by the Mason-Dixon girls every issue. I’m toying with the idea of getting a digital subscription or just stalking my local Barnes and Nobles repeatedly (I have managed to find them occasionally, but they’re really expensive over here; I picked up both issues for about £10 (roughly $13, or less than the price of one issue when I find it over here), and then they were on sale on top of that!).
What about you? What’s your best vacation S.E.X. story? (…I’m such a twelve-year-old.)