Knitting Nuances

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Food, wine, an English garden, a French chateau and a little yak …

Fabulous food, local wine, art studios, a hot music scene, fine crafts and a French chateau… where was I this weekend?


Asheville, North Carolina, of course. But if you’re not from the area, there is no “of course” about it.

GargoyleI knew next to nothing about Asheville until I learned it was the closest airport to my son’s summer camp. When I realized I didn’t have time to turn around and fly right back to San Diego, I decided to stay a night. When I found out it is the home of the stunning Biltmore Estate, I decided to stay two nights. When I read more about the beautiful Smoky Mountains, the restaurants, microbreweries and art in Asheville I added a third night. My only regret upon leaving is that I did not stay for one more. If ever I have a knitting retreat on the East Coast, this is where I want it to be.

PurlsYEmpI have a history of coming up with new ideas on long airplane rides and this time was no exception, so my first stop was at Purl’s Yarn Emporium. It’s located in the center of town on Wall Street, a charming antithesis of its namesake.

Those of us experienced in finding the yarn shop in every town we visit, can get the lay of the land just a few steps inside the front door. What I saw immediately pleased me. A cozy circle of chairs that indicated they welcomed actual knitting in their shop, a bright array of organized yarn and a guy sitting behind the counter knitting (turns out he’s one of the owners).

I was on the hunt for a particular type of yarn (a sport-weight, cushy Merino or blend) but in no hurry to find it. Gazing around, I evaluated my coverage strategy. Should I start counterclockwise towards that Cashmerino I knew would work, left towards the brightly colored hand-paints I had no “need” for, or head straight to the counter to ask who had knit the large Tardis in the corner?


TenzingOnce settled down to the business at hand, I discovered a yarn I had not seen before by Juniper Moon called Tenzing. It had the merino I was looking for and 15% yak that added a nice feel and bit of drape. The 100% yak they had in the shop reminded me more of a silk blend, lots of drape, not too much give and a lovely soft feel. Nice, but not for this project where I wanted some deep texture. After perusing the colors, I settled on this contrasting tan and teal.


Abbington Green B&B

One more stop at Whole Foods for some wine, cheese and salad and I was off to the Abbington Green B&B for a nice bit of swatching. The yarn is delightful to knit with, has amazing stitch definition and the height I need for my Showy Decrease idea. The gauge is a somewhat unusual 25 sts per inch on US 3 or 4. Since I am knitting a scarf, I am using US 7 needles. The yarn expands to fill the space nicely and I am pleased with the drape. I’m combining the Showy Decrease with two other techniques to show you a whole new way to use it – stay tuned.

So far, so good, and now I have an inexplicable urge to go watch some Dr. Who.

More Information and Links

  • Purl’s Yarn Emporium: I met Rik and Soni on my two trips to the store. It’s a friendly store, my favorite kind.
  • Asheville, NC: Perfect place for a girls weekend.
  • The Biltmore: Summer home of the Vanderbilts, 8,000 acres of parkland, garden, winery, stores, and more. Think French Chateau on the outside, English Manor house on the inside with all the benefits of modern 1890 technology. I highly recommend the architecture tour which brings you out on the roof.
  • Abbington Green B&B:  The town hosts an abundance of delightful B&Bs although I think I must have chosen one of the most lovely. The breakfast was amazing, the English-style rooms and gardens authentic and cozy. Here are the Trip Advisor reviews.
  • Posana Cafe:  My first night in downtown Asheville, I sipped a cool glass of wine on the patio, contemplating a truly creative menu while a seven-piece jazz band played on the side walk outside. The entire menu is gluten free – they just don’t advertise it as such so as not to scare away those who think GF tastes like cardboard.


One comment on “Food, wine, an English garden, a French chateau and a little yak …

  1. S Westervelt
    June 4, 2014

    We’re glad you enjoyed our town!

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This entry was posted on June 3, 2014 by in Yarn & Yarn Shops and tagged , .

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