Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Santa Fe: SOFA and Tour of LYSs

I've been back from Santa Fe for over a week, but I haven't had a chance to post my thoughts till now.

The main reason for my trip was to attend the 1st SOFA (Sculpture, Objects, Functional Art) in the Southwest. This art expo has been in Chicago for about 20 years, and New York (not sure how long). I've been attending the Chicago event for the last 16 or 18 years, and when we decided to move to Tucson permanently, I planned on going back to Chicago for it every year. But when I found out it was going to be in Santa Fe in June, I decided to test it out. This was a location I could drive to, and I could kill 2 or 3 birds with one stone: do SOFA, see a friend who lives there, and check out the LYSs, of which there are 5, 1 more than in Tucson.

Touring the LYSs turned out to be interesting and exciting, as well as frustrating. Santa Fe is an easy city in which to get lost. Even though I went on Mappoint and Mapquest to get directions, often the directions didn't account for the fact that some streets had more than 1 location in town, and often you couldn't seem to get from 1 to the other. I wasted a lot of time trying to find some of the shops, until the last day, when I discovered that the map of Art Galleries I had picked up pretty much covered the areas where the yarn shops were as well.

At any rate, here's my assessment of the shops:

I went to this one first because it is hosting a Jane Thornley workshop Labor Day weekend, and I assumed, rightly, that there would be a lot of yarns suitable for freerange knitting. I found it to be a cosy, friendly shop, with some really gorgeous yarns. I initially thought I was just checking out the shops for future reference, but based on previous posts, I'm sure you know that I couldn't resist adding to my stash.

I will definitely go back on any future trip/s.


This one I almost didn't find. I kept walking around looking for the address, but when I came to where the address should have been, no Tutto. Until I got smart and asked another shopkeeper. It turns out that the shop is on the 2nd level, but there was nothing to indicate that fact.

I found Tutto to be adequate, but not particularly inspiring. The 2 people there offered help, but I didn't really require any, and I left without purchasing anything.

Needle's Eye
This is one of 2 shops on the same sort of circular road. It wasn't hard to find, but had other problems: parking meters. Actually, most of the places I went, including SOFA, had metered parking, and I often didn't have enough change. In this case, after spending some time there, I realized my meter was running out. There was a lot across the street (actually closer than where I was parked) so I went to move my car, only to find that the lot charged a flat fee (more than it was worth for the amount of time I could stay) so I ended up not returning to the shop. I was running out of time, and still had 2 more shops to see. This was my last day, and I didn't want to go without at least checking out all of the shops. I have no doubt that, had I returned, I would have purchased some yarn here.

The shop was neatly laid out, but with a lot of different areas, so next time I would allow more time to explore. There will be a next time; more on that later.

Miriam's Well/Santa Fe School of Weaving

This is another great shop, full of many different yarns, and gorgeous samples designed and made by the owner, who, unfortunately was out of town. But the young man who was watching the shop was very helpful (to the point of actually guiding me to the shop by cell phone when I couldn't tell if the dirt road across the street would take me where I wanted to go.) He is a weaving student (possibly apprentice?) of Miriam's.

One of the samples (actually many) was of a ruffled scarf unlike any I'd seen before, and I found a variegated 95% wool/5% silk yarn to try one, and the pattern, which is free if you buy the yarn. I also bought 2 colorways of Fiesta Yarns La Boheme.

Another shop to which I will definitely return.

Looking Glass Yarn & Gifts

This was my last stop. Another shop with all kinds of glorious, and some very unusual yarns. The first that I noticed was Habu textiles silk stainless. This is a very fine silk yarn with a core of stainless steel. Last fall, Lion Brand Yarns introduced a yarn (wool, I think) with stainless steel, but I've never seen it in stores; I guess it's only available online. And this yarn, with silk, was even more intriguing. So, of course, I bought some.

I also got some Kraemer Sterling silk & silver; actually only 20% silk and 2%silver, with 63% superwash merino and 15% nylon. The yarn has little shots of silver throughout. I'm anxious to see how it makes up. The theme of my purchases on this trip, and especially at this shop, seems to be Silk.
This is another shop I'll return to. Actually, I will return to all the shops except Tutto; I didn't find anything exceptional there.

As far as returning to these shops goes, I will be taking a Jane Thornley workshop in Taos this coming September. Since Taos is just enough farther from here than Santa Fe, I will most likely stop in Santa Fe on my way there (and probably on my way back as well) and stay at least overnight. So I'll get another chance to shop there. Not to mention shopping in Taos. That will be another tour of LYSs to write about.

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