Lexington, Kentucky has 3 yarn shops listed in the Yellow Pages and I visited them all. It was magnificent.
By far my favourite was Rebelle. The yarn is organised by brand and to a lesser extent by fibre content. It's only a little store but it's jampacked with stuff I'd never even seen online before. I played it safe this time though and only got what I came for - rainbow and black yarns for a stripy raglan in nice, basic Cascade.
Magpie yarns was an accident. I couldn't find it on the map when I was looking in the phone book, so I'd given up on visiting it, but then I stumbled across it when I was out buying embroidery thread. It's very spacious and the owner was lovely, but the yarn was organised by colour which I didn't really like. I did buy the Knitting Beyond The Edge book though, just because I couldn't bear to leave empty-handed.
The Stitch Niche (which they annoyingly insisted on calling The Stitch Nitch) was the furthest away - I have no idea why I thought it would be a good idea to walk there. It took me about an hour and a half. Bah. It was pretty big and well stocked though. About half the stock is synthetic and novelty yarns, but the other half is lovely, squishy, natural stuff. No price tags on anything though, very irritating. This is where I bought 8 balls of Berocco Suede. I know I told myself I would never knit 100% synthetic again, but I don't think I'd be able to find anything similar to this, and besides, it's for a skirt, and you don't want to go messing around with unsuitable fabrics for something hanging off your arse. I got 4 balls each of the light and medium blue for Norah Gaughan's Snapping Turtle skirt and had to bring it home in my hand luggage because my suitcase was stuffed with Cascade. Oops.
But I didn't stop there. Oh no. I went back to Rebelle for a couple of Interweave Knits (which I love, but can't get for a decent price in England), and found the 25th anniversary Vogue Knitting magazine in the clearance sale for $4. Over 60 patterns for £2! Bargain! I promised the cashier when I was leaving that I wouldn't be back because I had just broken into my last traveller's cheque and I knew my suitcase was already threatening to self destruct. The cashier just looked at me like she had heard that one a million times before. I assured her again that I wouldn't come back.
I came back.
This one needs back story. My first day on this trip was not a good start. Along with a scary hour long interrogation with the nice fellows at Immigration (I eventually managed to persuade them that I wasn't looking for a husband), and a cancelled flight that left me stranded in Minneapolis overnight, I lost my scarf somewhere in Gatwick airport. Yes, the stripy scarf, the grey and white one I can wear with everything, the first thing I knitted myself that I actually wore, is gone. I like to think that it was found and appreciated and is now keeping someone else's neck warm, but at the same time I have nightmares that someone thought it was a bomb and performed a controlled explosion. So, I need a new scarf (obviously all the other scarves I have won't do to replace it). And I've had the My So-Called Scarf pattern in my to-do list for years. And that green malabrigo I saw the day before was haunting me. It was so soft and squooshy! There's a reason this yarn has fan clubs. And dude! Green! I love green! I bought two skeins the next day, very sheepishly. I think it was worth it.
I went to America with $750 dollars. After all that yarn, 7 new tshirts, 2 pairs of shoes, birthday presents and the everyday essentials of food and vodka, I came back with 83 cents. I do not regret a bit of it.
Tune in next time to discover what I was actually doing in Kentucky (no, I didn't go purely to buy yarn).