Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Finding new treasures in Downtown Berkley

Perusing some local yarn stores last weekend I found this baby alpaca yarn and knew it had to be mine. I rarely (OK, never) make myself stuff, so last weekend I decided this would be it!

I have had a lot of success and positive response from the new cowls I have been making, so I decided I needed one.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am only beginning to baby-step into wearing color. For more than a decade, black has been my color. (In high school, one of the administrators used to say, "Is it Johnny Cash day again just about every time he saw me).

Going through the piles and baskets and compartments of yarn stacked high at Have You Any Wool? and felt this amazing yarn. (Did I mention they give you a mimosa on Saturdays? I swear it made the it even softer.) I didn't even know what it was. Then one of the employees said, "That's what that vest is made out of." and pointed to this cool sweatery-vest thing. As I made my way around the room, I kept looking at it and when I got there -- everything else went back on the shelves. This is what I was going to make my cowl out of.

I bought two skeins of the yarn just in case I needed more. Well, it only took one, so that means I can make a cowl to sell. I've just posted it in my shop. Within a few minutes a friend ordered a custom one for her sister-in-law and I've gotten several views on the one I posted. I love it!

After I visited Have You Any Wool? I decided to walk around downtown Berkley and check out some shops, etc., which I never had done.

I stopped into City Style where I met the owner, Carrie. She was really nice and told me a bit about what was around downtown Berkley. There are some awesome shoes and bags in City Style. It reminded me of one of my favorite Chicago shoe haunts, Lori's, but a little smaller and with less product. But I will definitely be stopping back when I have a little more dough (or any, for that matter).

I waltzed into Catching Fireflies, which had a lot of cute gifty things, kitschy stuff for everyone from the home cook and babies to newlyweds and friends. I'll definitely be going back when I have more time. By the time I got in there -- and there's so much to look at! -- I had to go to the bathroom and was starving.

On Carrie's advice, I decided to go to the sports bar 24 Seconds. Originally, I had planned to go to my favorite pizza joint, Amici's, but they weren't open yet. So, I took Carrie's word for it that a sports bar would have plenty of vegetarian options.

When I walked inside, my ears immediately were assaulted by cranked up speakers blasting various sporting events. A bowl game here, a basketball game there. I don't think I ever truly adjusted to it, and still don't understand why it had to be THAT loud. But the other, sports-loving patrons seemed to be find with it, not to mention the 20 or so TVs that were plastered throughout the place.

BUT, Carrie was right -- lots of food to choose from. I ended up going with a side of the cucumber, onion, dill salad and a giant grilled vegetable salad for lunch. It had greens, pine nuts, Gorgonzola cheese, tons of grilled veggies including asparagus, mushrooms and tomatoes, and had a great citrus balsamic vinaigrette with it, and was served over toasted ciabatta bread points.

Who knew -- at a sports bar! I'd go back again for sure. Just maybe not during bowl game season...

Last but not least, I discovered another little yarn store. Twisted Stitches. It's basically across the street from Have You Any Wool? so it's odd that I never saw it. If I hadn't been walking by, I wouldn't have seen the yarn through the window and never would have known it was there.

I had a great talk with Maureen, the owner. We sat down and talked about yarn, my experiences in the Detroit Urban Craft Fair, and all things Etsy. She gave me the most adorable, teeny, tiny, miniature buttons that she bought from a button vendor in Manhattan. She's having a big sale right now -- especially trying to get rid of her lot of scrapbooking supplies and bookbinding supplies so she can focus more on yarn and things. She had a some great hand dyed yarn and a dozen or two other kinds, much of which will be half off in the coming weeks. I bought some really great lumpy, bumpy wool in varying shades of blue for half off and started a scarf out of it last night.

Maureen has made a new friend and customer for sure -- I will soon be back!

So, that's all about my day in Berkley, my new discoveries and how my new baby alpaca cowl came to be.

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