Thursday, October 10, 2013

ATLANTA, GA - Day One: East Cobb/Marietta

Delicious, delightful diversions...

Atlanta is a big place with lots of yarn stores.  It made me nuts that I only had a limited time in this city.  Lucky for me, I still managed to find some fiber treasures some nifty shops, and some scrumptious food.

Today we’ll visit one of Atlanta’s northwest suburbs, Marietta.  Locals call this part of Atlanta “East Cobb.”  If you’re coming from the city, make sure you take swervy, swanky Riverside Drive to get here.  It’s a road right out of a sports car commercial, and you can have fun imagining you live in some of the very upscale houses you’ll see along the way.

Our destination looks like a corporate park, but a closer look in off of the Village Parkway reveals Paper Mill Village--a quaint, highly walkable shopping area just the right size for an afternoon’s adventure.

Stop for lunch--or just have loads of dessert for lunch at: 

Sugar Benders
255 Village Pkwy Suite 240A
Marietta, Ga 30067

The name comes from the outstanding fondant cakes you see displayed.  You can get breakfast here, too, if you choose to start your adventures earlier in the day.  I had a spectacular sandwich and an eclair to die for, but I could have eaten twice my weight in baked goods and still not have tried all the goodies.

Walk off some of those calories shopping the selection of Paper Mill Village boutiques. I liked the snazzy Straw Dog clothing shop.  I was also charmed by the clever Rescued Too resale shop that not only offers thrifty finds but supports a dog shelter--guilt-free shopping!

When you’re ready, head on in to: 

Lovin’ Knit Yarn Shop and Studio
255 Village Parkway N.E. 
Suite 610
Marietta, GA 30067

Some shops just feel warm and welcoming from the first glance, and Lovin’ Knit is one of them.  The chatter between customers and the friendly staff feels like a family gathering, complete with Addi the dog (named after the splendid needles--you know how I adore stores with mascots!).

Owner Pat Capistrant is a bundle of energy as warm as her store.  “I wanted customers to come in and feel welcome,” Pat explains.  “I try to keep customers at the right skill level so that they’re challenged but not frustrated.” 

You’ll find homey textures through out the store, right down to the repurposed barnwood fixtures.  Lovin’ Knit is known for outstanding crochet classes and projects, thanks to Janet Brani of “One Loop Shy” designs.  She has lots of company--this store has an engaged staff ready to help and encourage.  

I found her stock to be deep and inventive, just begging to be explored. It was a nice touch to see the patterns stocked right by the samples so customers can access it quickly. The rich selection of knitting bags had me drooling, too.

Some projects that caught my eye:

Beach Ball Squared Baby Blanket
Normally I don’t go for the crochet projects, but I loved the cheery colors and big, bold design of this baby blanket.  You could whip it up in pastels of your choice--it’s a highly adaptable pattern, but I really think the bright colors make this a stand-out.  Janet Brani of One Loop Shy designs is the genius behind this pattern.

Insouciant Simple Silk Tee
Julie Hoover’s classic design makes the most of Habu Textiles’ A-1 Tsumugi Silk.  The drape of this takes it beyond simple, but still lets the lines of the design do the talking without unnecessary frills.

Eve’s Rib Sweater
This stunning design by Carol Sunday takes Cascade Pure Alpaca and turns it to pure pizazz. The collar detail is delicious!  I like that it creates a warm sweater that still looks delicate and artful.  You’d want to make this in a lighter color to show off the stitch-work.

Our knit-along from Lovin’ Knit is
The Mapes Shawl
Atlanta designer Barbara Benson creates a “keep going until you’re done” pattern that is highly adaptable and works with a variety of skill levels.  I like that the written pattern offers a handy sidebar with places to check off your rows.  I’ll be knitting this up with Shalimar’s hand-dyed “Breathless,” but any yarn could serve here.

When you’re done shopping and ready for dinner, I’ve got a treat for you:

1311 Johnson Ferry Rd #504  
Marietta, GA 30068
(678) 214-6888

A short drive will land you in this unassuming storefront restaurant tucked next to a set of interesting boutiques.  You know a restaurant pays attention to detail when they hand you one of those nifty purse hooks to hang your handbag while you eat.  Not only that, but they ask your name, call you by name, and keep track of where you sat so they can learn your favorite tables--when’s the last time you had such personalized service?  

The enormous, inventive wine list complements serious locally sourced cuisine.  A focus on fresh seafood gets accented by their signature side dish, caramelized brussels sprouts and cauliflower in thai basil sauce.  Me, I went straight for the bliss with a heavenly chocolate and peanut butter parfait with banana ice cream and peanut brittle--one of the best sweets I’ve had this year.

Today’s adventures were textbook DestiKNITions--surprising, charming spots that you wouldn't find on any of the standard tourist routes.  Stay tuned for another day’s Atlanta adventures in my next post.

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