Is it wrong to uproot your entire family so that you can live closer to a yarn shop? Because I'm giving it serious consideration.
Earlier this week, I went to hear my friend Allie read from her latest novel. Knitting figured prominently in her previous book, and fittingly, she'd held a reading at her local yarn shop. This time, coffee featured prominently (Allie is my type of girl) and conveniently enough, the yarn shop has a coffee bar inside. So off I went to Knitche, a lengthy drive, on a school night, because Allie is a great person, and there was yarn. And coffee. Really good coffee. And shortbread. And yarn. Did I mention the yarn?
Allie and I write about very different things. She writes Christian romance, and I...do not. I'm not even sure the book I'm working on will have a happy ending, and Allie is all about happy endings. She is also all about $14,000 espresso machines, exploding pajamas, and drugged chickens, but I am pretty sure they were happy drugged chickens. The thing about Allie is that she is funny and smart and warm, and that would come through even if she were writing about septic systems. Which she is not. But she could, and it would be a hoot.
She's also an amazing knitter. Check out the fancy-pants entrelac shawl:
Check out, too, the yarny goodness behind her. The shop, Knitch, is pretty close to perfect. They have a wide variety of well-chosen yarn, beautifully displayed. Everything is tidy without giving off the "don't touch" vibe; it's cozy without being cluttered. There's room to walk around and think about what you want to do, the staff doesn't pressure you, there are samples and swatches all over the place. There is a minimal amount of foo-foo eyelash yarn (this is crucial). And while it was mentioned before, there is a coffee bar behind the register. My only complaint is the location, because it is too far a drive for me to get there regularly.
Allie is a big believer in doing research for her books. For this one, she spoke with the good people of Intelligentsia Coffee, to learn all about specialty coffee. She learned how to make a latte from the number-three barista in the world. Thursday evening, she brought in a speaker from Intelligentsia to lead a coffee tasting and discuss the company's direct-trade model. It was fascinating to hear about their efforts to treat both their growers and their product with such care and respect. At one point, a woman asked whether the coffee we were drinking was certified shade-grown. It turns out the answer is no, but the guy went on to describe the farm it came from in meticulous detail, and the specific growing needs of that varietal of coffee tree, and the changes the farmer has implemented since entering into a relationship with the company. I can't help but think that kind of involvement translates into better coffee.
I managed to restrain myself in my purchases -- yarn enough for a secret project, and a few more skeins of Malabrigo to make myself a scarf. But that's only because I'm saving up for the move.