So when Sheena wanted to show me the craft stores of Richmond, I should have known that it would be an all-day endeavor. We began at Dressew, where I looked through all the discounted Rowan pattern books a little listlessly. After buying lots of discounted Nashua yarn here in December, I had promised myself that I wouldn’t buy more until I had determined that I liked it. Then I saw the stacks of delivery boxes at the door. They were labeled “Rowan.” And then I saw more words on the boxes, like “eggplant” and “cardinal.” Rowan yarns in bold colours at substantial discounts! It's the yarn equivalent of fat-soaked peaches, turning me gluttonous and extreme--yet at the end, very satisfied.
Sheena and I decided to camp out in the fabric aisles waiting for the new arrivals to hit the floor. It became a bit of a frenzy as shoppers discovered the new yarns (I heard lots of female yelping), but a very nice staff person let me know when the first Rowan boxes were opened. I was able to grab 20 balls of Cashsoft Chunky in a vibrant, silky red (20 balls sounds greedy, but each ball is only 55 yards). I also bought a couple pattern books, more for the photos than for anything else.
A quick breakdown on the Cashsoft Chunky: this merino/cashmere/microfibre blend usually retails for $10/ball. Dressew was selling it for $1.99/ball. This means I got $200 worth of yarn for just under $40. Buying a bulky yarn did break my resolution to knit thinner garments, but this stuff is lusciously soft and silky, and I know I'll never buy it at full price. ($10 for 55 yards is criminal!)
After working ourselves into a tizzy, Sheena and I took the Canada line to Richmond. Our first stop was Yaohan Centre, an small mall with an Asian nandcraft store and a mid-sized Japanese bookstore. The craft store, Alpha, is like the internet rendered in three dimensions:
There was lots of nice yarn, rug hooking and needlework supplies. I asked about the price of this Miffy Amigurumi kit for my sister ($30, so no Miffy for you! But if you really want one, I'll make one using this pattern from MiffyGirl Knits.)
Then we moved on to Iwase Books, a big Japanese book store. We pored over the beautiful sewing and knitting books. I was especially fond of Smile Sewing, a book that shows a simple Japanese style that I love, but probably couldn't pull off with the same élan.
Remarkably, we made it out without purchasing anything. I actually kind of hate making little fiddly things, like tiny felt animals, and those are the only books I feel comfortable buying in Japanese. Books for bigger projects, like dresses, seem like a bad idea. Note to self: seek out any recent translations of Japanese sewing books.
This mall also had an underwear store where Sheena and I saw a pair of underpants that were basically bikini briefs with the "whale tail" of a thong attached to the top. I've never seen such a thing, and could only guess that they were meant to give the appearance of a visible thong without the discomfort of actually wearing one.
After this, we went to a bead store. I remembered that I have a string of gray seed pearls somewhere that I meant to make into a necklace.
Sheena wanted to return to Dressew, since it was on her way home. I went back with her, hoping that there would be more Rowan to paw through. There was! But since most of the colours were pastels or neutrals, I held back, while Sheena went crazy, picking up ball after ball of bamboo tape and baby alpaca. I bought four more balls of Cashsoft Chunky, thinking I'd make soft luxuriously soft hats for Curtis and myself.
After Sheena and I parted ways, I stopped at the library near my house to picks up my holds. I went home clutching Built By Wendy's Sew U: Home Stretch and Bend the Rules Sewing. I was revved up, a little exhausted, and brimming with ideas of things to make.