Posted by: jinniver | August 2, 2008

LYS Review: Cultured Purls in Issaquah, Washington

Several months ago, someone on a Ravelry forum happened to mention her great LYS, Cultured Purls. She also happened to mention she was from Issaquah.  The city name was what first drew my attention, because Steve grew up in Issaquah.  And since we had a trip out West planned to visit family, chances were that at some point, Steve was going to want to visit his childhood hometown even though his parents had moved up north.  So I filed the information away for our trip in case we could find the time to visit.  Ok, for when I bullied Steve into finding the time to visit.

As it happened, though, Steve did want to take a drive through Issaquah, and it didn’t take much arm twisting to convince him to make a stop.  So, after we checked out the house he grew up in and his old high school, we pulled in to one of the parking lots at Gilman Village.

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Gilman Village is a pretty little grouping of specialty shops, set among trees with brick walkways.  All of the shops look like small converted cottages.  We spent some time just walking around enjoying the pretty scenery and nice weather, and we even popped into a children’s boutique to pick up a cute outfit for each child.

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Cultured Purls, once we made our way back to the store, proved to be just as cute on the inside as it was outside.  Like all of the Gilman Village shops, it was on the small size–but my LYS isn’t much bigger, so I don’t hold that against them.  What’s important is that the available space was well-utilized to stock a wonderful variety of yarns in beautiful colors.

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It was like enjoying a new rainbow every time I turned around.

I loved the yarn storage–the cubbies were well stacked but the hanging skeins really made a nice presentation, and it was easy to see exactly how much yarn was available in what colors.

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My favorite part of the store was the fact that the selection was so different than what I could find in my LYS.  There was some overlap, naturally, but I was surprised by how little.  I could easily have come home with something from every display…had I not already blown my yarn budget at Little Knits.  I’m sure the friendly helper I chatted with would have been more than willing to point out all the great yarns I was missing!

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Still, I was quite pleased with the yarn I came home with:

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Fiesta Yarns La Boheme in Tequila Sunrise is a mohair-blend.  I tend to gravitate toward the cooler end of the color spectrum–the greens, the blues, and the purples–but something about this was irresistible.  I haven’t decided exactly what I’ll be making with this yet, but it will be a shawl of some kind.  I figure a flame-colored shawl would have to keep me warm.

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Cascade’s Nikki (the colorway isn’t named, so I’m calling it Freshwater Pearls as a play on the LYS name) is another unusual addition to my stash.  This super bulky yarn is 100% wool and looks like it will felt beautifully, which was my purpose in purchasing it.  While I like the backpack I knitted up for Jeffrey’s traveling teddy, Tex, I wanted something a little sturdier for Lexie’s teddy before she takes off for her around-the-US tour.  So I’ll design a felted backpack for her knit in pretty pinks and purples.

So, if you’ll be traveling near Issaquah, take a couple hours to visit Gilman Village and stop in Cultured Purls.  Just make a budget before you do!


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