Yarn Crawl: Memphis

On Saturday two knitting friends and I trekked to Memphis (about 2 hours from Little Rock) for a yarn crawl. We visited 4 yarn shops and had a wonderful lunch. It was a great day and I think we all had a lot of fun. With each new store there was excitement about what we were going to find.

First, we stopped at Hank of Yarn in Southaven, Mississippi. It is in a nondescript shopping center but don’t let the exterior fool you – Hank of Yarn is worth the short drive outside of Memphis. When we walked in, we were greeted by the owner, Henrietta “Hank” Davis. She was welcoming and warm. The shop have a great selections of yarns that we either hadn’t touched in person or had never hear of. And for three educated yarn connoisseurs, that is saying a lot. The store was well organized (by yarn weight) and had a good amount of stock. I didn’t feel overwhelmed by the selection. There was plenty of space to look around and not feel like you are on top of each other. There are 5 or 6 people sitting at a table in the back of the shop, knitting and chatting. I want this to be my LYS.

As to selection, Hank of Yarn had everything from Aslan Trends to Noro to Debbie Bliss to Cherry Hill. She also carries many of the accessories and knitting themed items that you see in catalogs like Patternworks and Webs. And although I look at them with fascination in the catalog, it was super cool to see them in person. And they have a card program (oh, I do love a card program). You can sign up free of charge and they give you a card and once you have spend $500, you receive a $50 gift certificate. Every LYS should have a card program. With a card program, I feel that I need to buy because I’m working toward something. We all need a goal!

So here is what I walked away with at Hank of Yarn…

  • 6) skeins of Aslan Trends Artesanal (cotton/alpaca/nylon) for the Marnier Pullover (featured in the most recent issue of Interweave Knits Weekend)
  • (1) skein of Malabrigo Rasta for a fabulous scarf pattern I got from Hank.
  • (1) knit happy Water Bottle
  • (1) knit yarn ball necklace

Next we headed to Germantown and ate lunch at a fabulous Mexican restaurant called Los Tortugas. Don’t be mistaken – this is not Texmex or like any other Mexican food I have ever had. It is real Mexican food from Mexico City. No queso sauce or rancharo sauce smothering everything. Fresh local ingredients – YUMMY! Two of us had Taco Carne Asada and the other had Fish Tacos. Everything was delicious. It was standing room only but if we hadn’t gotten a place at the bar then we could have just eaten in the park next door. If you are in Memphis, take the time to go out to Germantown – Los Tortugas is worth it.

After lunch, we went to Rainbow Yarns. Interesting story there. I had heard that the store was closed but was going to reopen in early October. Something about her husband got another job or was going to be transferred to California and she let the lease run out on the shop space. Three days after the lease ran out, they found out they were not moving. Isn’t that the way it goes. Someone in a Memphis Ravelry group suggested that I call the owner and see exactly when she was going to open. I spoke with Bridget late last week and she said that she was opening on October 12 but that she would be at the store on Saturday until about 2 pm if we wanted to stop by. So we did and she had the most amazing fibers. It was chaos because she was trying to get all the stock back on the shelves, but she had Mission Falls, Noro and Classic Elite not to mention the most German yarns I have ever seen in one place. We didn’t buy anything but we will definitely go back.

Then it was off to Yarniverse. I have to say that I was disappointed in the selection and customer service there. There were a lot of people sitting and knitting so I guess it is a popular place with the locals. The shop has two floors and the organization downstairs was ok but the organization upstairs was very confusing. No one spoke to us when we came in – not even a hi. Several other customers came in after us and no one spoke to them either. We wondered through the store for about 20 minutes. She had lots of Noro and Koigu but the organization was so confusing that I didn’t know what was what. One of my friends found some beautiful, saturated green Noro that she couldn’t live without and I found a hat I just couldn’t wait to knit. I asked about the pattern (most of the other samples hanging around the store had wonderful, laminated pattern information tags) and no one knew what pattern it was and they didn’t seem interested to help me figure out what pattern I would need to knit the above mentioned hat. I took a picture of the hat and figured I could find it. I also purchase one skein of the yarn for the hat. Then we waited and waited to checkout. I thought about just leaving but we stuck it out and left with yarn.

Aside: Ravelry to the rescue. Saturday night I searched Ravelry and found the pattern for this hat or at least one very similar to it. If you are interested, it is in the Winter/Spring 2010 issue of KnitScene (one of my new favorite magazines). For Ravelers, here is a link – Picot Cloche.

Finally we headed to our last destination – Stash in midtown Memphis. After an odd side trip (see later post for more details about stores named Stash), we arrived at a cute little 1920s/1930s cottage. We went in and were greeted by a friendly store employee. She was wearing the cool Jared Flood hat that is on the cover of his Classic Elite pattern booklet, Made in Brooklyn. There was a class going on in one room. The selection was ok but they were very low on stock – a lot of empty shelves. After a couple of turns around the room, I located the Cascade Lana O’Doro that would be perfect for the U-Neck Vest I’ve been wanting to make. Love Stefanie Japel!!! One of my friends found the perfect buttons for a sweater she is working on. The atmosphere was very warm – I just wish they had more stock.

The trip was wonderful but exhausting. 4 hours in a car and 4 yarn shops is a lot for any seasoned shopper to tackle but we did and our yarn stashes are better for it. Next stop, Mount Magazine in December and in the future, a crawl through the Arkansas River Valley and northwest Arkansas as well as a special trip to Tulsa to visit Loop.

One comment

  1. Hank from Hank of Yarn is a member of our local guild here in the Memphis area, and she is awesome! Very friendly and down to earth, but also very talented. I consider her store my LYS, even though it is a 30-45 minute drive for me from the Northeastern suburbs. I'm glad you enjoyed your Memphis yarn crawl. Btw, I feel the same way you do about Yarniverse. I went in there when I was a brand new self taught knitter with questions, and I was very unimpressed with the service.


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