Monday, September 17, 2012


One of the more fun aspects of my life is that I find myself in smaller American cities that few people would consider “touristy.”  With a little exploration and the right recommendations, however, I can uncover the treasures hidden in these towns and enjoy them for the mini vacations they are.  Such is true of my recent visit to the cities of Columbus and Dublin Ohio, where I found myself earlier this summer.

We were there for a car show.  My husband is a Z-car enthusiast, and Dublin plays host to a massive car show benefiting the Arthritis Foundation every summer.  Also armed with the information that Columbus plays host to TNNA every year, I suspected there were some fiber goodies to be had and a full-family trip was scheduled.

Dublin and Columbus did not disappoint, hitting all the right notes for a DestiKNITion--two lovely but completely distinct yarn shops, an excellent meal, some great shopping, and one of the best deserts I’ve had this year.  Who could ask for more? Let's get started!

If you know me, you know any day starts with a good cup of coffee, and this is no exception.  Caffeinate you day at:

The Crimson Cup
4541 N High St
Columbus, OH 43214

My sources told me to order the chocolate peppermint (huh?  In July?) and I’m glad I did.  A well-pulled latte is a thing of beauty, and this one was particularly good.  I liked the creative decor of the place as well.

Ready for some yarn?  Travel a bit farther down the street to our first fiber find:

Knitter’s Mercantile
214 Graceland Blvd
Columbus OH 43214

Owner Jan Emerick--who seems to know everyone in the fiber world--started Knitter’s Mercantile as an online shop after a retail career in wholesale.  Her move to a brick-and-mortar establishment makes sense once you get a feel for Jan’s engaging personality.  She wants everyone to feel welcome into the craft, and enjoys connecting knitters as much as stitching yarn.  

Her bright, open space of a store lets you know there’s room for you no matter what your skill level.  Since the Ohio state bus line happily deposits lots of co-eds at her doorstep, you’re likely to find all ages of knitters inside the store.  Her classes run a whole host of subjects, from a monthly Sunday Masters class to yoga exercises for knitters.  If you’re ever in town for TNNA, Jan hosts her annual “Knitters Connection,” a “mini version of the STITCHES events” for three days adjoining the fiber trade show.

You could easily loose yourself for a couple of hours in the aisles of Knitters Mercantile, and here are a few projects I’d recommend:

The Bermuda Scarf
Done up in Noro Sock Taiyo, this lovely scarf designed by ILGA LEJA utilizes short rows cued by the fiber’s gentle color changes.  I just love how it takes a basic shape and turns it into eye-catching art--I really want to knit this up as soon as I can find the right yarn and enough time.

Want a switch-hitter (or is that "stitch-hitter") of a piece?  Try

Kauni's Wiggle Wrap
If you employ a handful of JUL pedestal buttons--on sale at the shop--this wavy wrap can become a shoulder shrug in no time flat.  Kauni's trademark slow-motion colorway comes especially alive in this piece.  I love the idea of shoulder shrugs, but they look goofy on my tall frame, so go ahead and wear one and I'll live vicariously through you!

Felted Festival Bag
Like all my favorite yarn shops, Knitter’s Mercantile likes to showcase local talent.  Local design collective Quirky Bird Knits fashioned this clever bag that caught my eye right away. I've sworn to steer clear of felting, but this one's simple but ingenious styling may tempt me. Again, the JUL Pedestal buttons add the perfect finishing touch.

Our Knit along:
A Lady’s Mantle from Quirky Bird Knits
Another design from Quirky Bird Knits, this wrap takes the soft feel of Yarn Hollow Worsted (definitely a fondle-worthy fiber) and gives it a nice drape. Make sure you go home with one of the store’s nice collection of clever fasteners to finish off this airy, seasonless wrap.

Now that you’ve filled your fiber quotient for the morning, I’d suggest wandering down to Columbus’ German Village for food, shopping, and The Book Loft (because all good DestiKNITters support their local independent book stores, right?).

Once your ready to head back up north, it’s time for a treat of a different kind.  Don’t miss:

Jeni’s Ice Cream
714 N. High Street
Columbus, OH 43215

Hands down one of the best treats of this year, and assuredly the finest ice cream sandwich of my life.  No kidding.  My husband followed the recommendation of one of the KM staff and went for the “cherry lambick” Beer flavored ice cream?  Believe it or not, it works.  Very well.  Me, I had the Salted Caramel with Smoked Almonds Ice Cream Sandwich.  Oh, my.  Oh my really my goodness oh my.  If they have it in stock, you simply MUST.  Enough said.  I can’t remember when anything without chocolate in it has made me this delirious.

Properly sweetened, head up into Dublin for our next fiber find:

Knitting Temptations
35 South High Street
Dublin OH  43017

You know that fantasy where you discover that your favorite aunt really is a master knitter and she’s left you a charming cottage full of luscious yarn? That’s what I think of when I walk into Knitting Temptations. Owner Karen Wilkins has created a shop that is one amazing room after another--wandering through the nooks and crannies is like an adventure.  

It’s no surprise that many customers become staff--who wouldn’t want to spend all the time you can in here?  Friendships form around the amiable knitting tables during multiple weekly gatherings.  The home shop of well-known knitting personality Michelle Hunter, this shop’s theme of “exquisite yarn, expert instruction” runs true, right down to the nurturing community atmosphere and the large annual event in a tent out back.

Here’s only a sample of the products and patterns that caught my eye:

Michelle Hunter’s Newborn Hat
Here you’ll find it in Ohio State’s scarlet and grey, but you could stitch this cutie up in whatever school colors your little scholar will grow up to cheer.  If you’ve been meaning to learn the Magic Loop method, this is an excellent starter project.

Our Knit Along:
Building Blocks from Michelle Hunter
HiKoo's Simply Worsted is your companion-of-choice through the many skill-building blocks in Michelle Hunter’s book.  Form them into a host of pillows or stitch them all together to make an afghan.  We’ll be tackling one of these for our Knit Along from this store.

Many Moods Cowl
Probably among the most versatile pieces I’ve seen this year, this pattern by master technician Ruth Ann Holt can be worn as a scarf, cowl or shawl depending on how long you make it and what closures you opt to use.  Select a simple fiber like Rowan Pure Life Revive in a light color to show off the precise stitchwork of this lovely pattern.

Lo-Lo Bar moisturizer bar
Now, hands are key to knitting, to it’s not much of a stretch to feature this versatile balm--which can soothe you "head to toe"--as a favorite gadget from the store.  Bar-Maids makes a variety of products to soften hands, lips, faces, cuticles, and all sorts of things--each with quality ingredients and exquisite scents. After all, shouldn’t the hands that pamper yarn get pampering of their own?

Once you’ve feasted your fiber fantasies, spend an afternoon wandering up and down High Street taking in the many shops in walking distance.  Here are a few of my favorites:  

Boho72 Boutique
72 North High Street
Dublin OH  43107

Our Cup Cakery
16 North High Street
Dublin OH

TehKu Tea Company
55 S. High Street
Dublin OH  43017

Ha’penny Bridge Imports
75 South High Street
Dublin OH  43017

What’s the Point Needlepoint
126 South High Street
Dublin OH  43017

Thalia & Dahlia
113 South High Street
Dublin OH 43017

After you're all shopped out, you'll need a great dinner.  Follow Karen’s recommendation and visit: 

84 N High St
Dublin, OH 43017
(614) 792-3424
No flash and hype here, just really good food really well done.  To call the pork chops massive is an understatement.  Four of us dined here and everything we had was outstanding.  Following the server’s recommendation, I had the sauteed walleye, and it was easy to see why it’s considered a house speciality.  As for desert?  You can’t go wrong with a dish named Chocolate Silk explosion.  Yum.

I spent last summer in Spain and Italy, but I still maintain that small and midsized American cities are just as worthy of taking the time to explore as any major tourist mecca.  I’d be willing to bet I can have as much fun in Dublin Ohio as Dublin Ireland.  Here’s hoping life affords me the opportunity to test my theory someday!

Stay tuned, we tackle Michelle Hunter’s Buildling Block (the pillow version) next.


Robin said...

Nice report on some of my favorite places in my home city of Columbus, :) Lots of great knitting shops here, and two fantastic annual conferences!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the shout-out featuring so many of our fav spots here in Dublin, Ohio! (AND the comparison to Dublin Ireland : - ) So happy you enjoyed your visit. Come back soon and check out some of our other treasures like Matt the Miller's Tavern, J. Liu, The Brazenhead, The Morgan House, 1 Stop Bead Shop, Winans (brand new) and many others!!