While in Chicago last week I got to visit a few fabric and yarn stores.
My favorite was Sister Arts Studio
. It's a cute little yarn shop in the Lincoln Park area that specializes in classes for children. In addition to yarn, they also sold all kinds of kids' craft kits, really neat ones, not like the junky ones at big-box craft stores.
I got a couple skeins of yarn there. Noro Taiyo, the first Noro I have ever been able to stand the feeling of on my hands (yes, I know people say Noro silk garden softens with washing, but that's irrelevant if I can't stand to knit with it) made mostly of cotton and silk with a little wool; and Ella Rae Lace Merino, a fingering weight wool for my next lace scarf. The merino was hard to photograph; in real life the colors are more subtle and blend a bit better. It's variegated, but not wildly so.
I also went to Knitter's Niche
, but I didn't find anything there, just picked up some needles. The woman working there (I believe she was the owner) was very chatty and wanted to tell me her personal opinion on everything, including the product I was buying (bamboo needles) and why it was inferior to the type she preferred (metal needles).
There's nothing wrong with chatty salespeople, and I'm sure this woman had lots of helpful knowledge, but I prefer to browse in peace. That's just me.
For fabrics, I checked out The Needle Shop
, in the Bucktown neighborhood, which was small and adorable. Mostly they stocked modern cotton prints such as Amy Butler. I was hoping for a linen blend print for a skirt, but didn't find one, and since I have promised myself I will not buy any more quilting-weight cotton prints for a while, I didn't get much there. But it was so worth the visit. They also had sewing patterns from various small pattern producers (again, like Amy Butler) and a few odd notions.
They have a pretty small sign and the shop is unobtrusive with small windows, so it's a little difficult to spot the first time.
I bought some fold-over elastic, which I haven't been able to find at home. I don't use a lot of elastic, but after I read about it on angry chicken's tutorial
, I thought it seemed worth trying. Cute and simple. They had about a dozen colors so I just picked a few I liked.
About a block away from The Needle Shop is Soutache
, a ribbon and button shop. Unique selection and super cute; all the buttons are stored in glass jars on wooden shelves, with a sample button on a card around the neck of the jar so you can see it. I got a couple lengths of ribbon: a length of striped cotton petersham which I am envisioning trimming the hem of a dirndl skirt and a cute narrow blue one with flowers. I also got a few buttons, too pretty to resist.
The grain of the petersham made it photograph kind of wacky.
I also really wanted to go to quiltology
, which was only 2 blocks away from where I stayed, but they have limited hours and open pretty late (noon) so I never made it. But they have online shopping so I will probably keep them in mind when I'm in the market for quilt fabrics.
Most of the shops I visited also had pretty limited hours. And driving in Chicago is a nightmare. Tons of traffic and one-way streets that make me crazy. I've been to Chicago several times, and I usually take the trains, but since I had F with me, I drove. Parking is pretty difficult, too. And I don't think they have pedestrian right-of-way laws like we do here. Or if they do, everyone ignores them. Not one car stopped for me when I was waiting at crosswalks the whole time I was there, even when I was pushing the stroller.
Anyway, I had a good time and I hope I can visit these shops again next time I'm there!