The Genuine Purl
Yarn and Needlework Shop
Last weekend I went on a family vacation to Chattanooga, Tennessee. (That is a very family friendly/walking friendly/stroller friendly city in the South. It really makes a great weekend trip. Especially when the weather is nice.) While there, I decided to check out the local knit scene. Why not spread the word about cool yarn shops in places I am fortunate enough to visit? I found one knitting/needlework store located on the north side of town. It is called The Genuine Purl and is a great shop. The woman who greeted me in the store was friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. She was also very welcoming to my husband and 1.5-year old son I dragged into the store with me, too. There is seating in the store for knitters and waiting husbands alike. It is always nice to walk into a store and feel like you just made a friend.
The store itself is cozy and well-stocked with a utilization of wall space that is nothing short of impressive. The layout is a bit strange, with four different "rooms" that you can walk through in a circle. Two-and-a-half of the rooms are filled with yarn and knitting/crochet notions, all organized well...at least to me. The rest of the space is dedicated to needle-work. I did not spend a lot of time in this section, but there were a lot of flosses. The selection of needlework patterns seemed eclectic, though I have only dabbled in cross stitch and there was not much of that to be seen, so I feel I do not have enough knowledge of the field to assess whether it was a "good" collection or not.
The store has good hours, open daily except Sunday; and was open promptly at 10:00, as posted. (I hate it when stores open late. I know, things come up and I should be more forgiving, especially of small, local establishments. If I flip that statement around to something more positive, I love when a store opens on time.) Also, as a bonus, it is right across the street from the most delicious biscuit breakfast place I have ever been to. Completely unrelated to yarn, I tried milk and honey (mixed together) for the first time...I had no idea it was so yummy!
As far as I have been able to unearth, there is no webpage for the store, but there is a Facebook page that you can access by simply googling "The Genuine Purl, Chattanooga." I would have liked to see a webpage, but I looks like they keep their Facebook page pretty current and avidly support their local knitters, both beginners and experienced knitters.
Bottom Line: It was a great shop and if you ever find yourself in Chattanooga, it is worth poking your head in to see. It makes a great souvenir...buy some yarn and then make a small project that will help you remember the great time you had in that location.
Price: Free! (You must create a login/membership.)
There is a pretty good chance you have already discovered the joys of Ravelry, but on the off chance that you haven't...or maybe you'd forgotten about it...I felt like I needed to include a review of this wonderful website. I use it so often it only seemed fair and just to pay it the proper homage.
First, what is Ravelry? Well, it is a wonderful website that hosts a community of fiber artists. It is a place where you can find patterns, yarn suggestions, read forums, post comments, see finished products and keep your own knitting stash and patterns organized. That is not an exhaustive list, either. The website offers so much, it would take pages to describe it all, but I hope you get the general idea. It was originally designed by a knit blogger who felt there was so much valuable information out there, it would be great to consolidate it to one place. Boy oh boy, did they do that. (Please still read my blog, even if you become a Ravelry junky.)
There are so many features on Ravelry that could be very useful...but I only actually use a few of them. One really neat thing that Ravelry does is the Thursday Tip where, on the homepage, they walk you through one really cool thing that Ravelry has to offer. Tips have included things such as how to find Knit-a-longs and using the "remember and compare" feature when browsing patterns. I like to see the "Community Eye Candy," too, which is posted to their homepage and features themed patterns. These are just things that pop up as soon as you visit Ravelry, the really cool stuff is once you start using the website.
Like I said, I only use a few of the features. Mostly, I use their website to find patterns. Their search feature is great. You can type in something very generic, like "baby blanket," and then the have a ton of qualifiers to help narrow your search. You can filter the patterns by yardage of yarn, yarn weight, project popularity, star ratings, etc. Using their filters, you can whittle your search down to something actually searchable. You can also do what I like to call a reverse search. Let's say you want to do some stash busting but you do not have a project in mind for a skein of yarn. Well, you can actually search for a project with the same amount of yarn you have or even see projects made with the exact skein you have. It's great for inspiration.
Speaking of inspiration, I love looking at pictures of finished projects. I do this for patterns I have purchased from Ravelry as well as patterns I have purchased elsewhere. It is so much fun to see how other people's projects have turned out as well as seeing what a project might look like in a different yarn or color. I try my best to post my finished projects, as well. It is a great reference for checking you project progress, comparing finished work, or seeking inspiration for what yarn to use. I love it. They also keep a library of all the patterns you own as well as patterns you have "liked." You can organize yourself with a knitting queue, as well, which is great if you have a ton of holiday gifts to finish and you need to keep yourself on track.
Lastly, I will mention Ravelry is a great place to sell original patterns you have designed. They make it very easy to set up a shop and the have a clear and fair scheme for what it costs to host your patterns. Best part is, it is completely free if you make less than $30 a month on your patterns. They host patterns from professionals and casual home-knitters alike. That's part of what makes browsing Ravelry so much fun. However, if you decide to post a pattern, it must be a complete project...no tutorials, stitch swatches or lone charts. It also has to be original work.
Bottom Line: I love Ravelry. Have I mentioned I love Ravelry? I can wile away hours browsing their patterns and looking at pictures of projects. There are so many truly talented people out there, and Ravelry is a place for showcasing and inspiring. It is also international, so you can connect with knitters all around the world...it is truly remarkable. Ravelry is worth checking out. See what features are helpful to you. Make sure you have some time, though, because I can almost guarantee it will suck you in and you will lose track of space and time. Enjoy!