Thursday, August 25, 2016


Return to Raleigh...

A while back, the Carolina Fiber Fest drew me to Raleigh, and I had a great time visiting the city and checking out a few colleges with my son.  He’s “Gone to Texas,” but my daughter has moved to Raleigh, so it was time to return for further explorations!  Let’s get started with a good breakfast:

Tupelo Honey Cafe
425 Oberlin Road
Raleigh NC  27605
You’re in the Carolina’s—you’d best eat like it.  And quite frankly, it doesn’t get more southern than a pancake called the “Shoo Mercy!”  Yes, that’s fried chicken on there.  I never did quite understand the whole chicken and waffles thing, but this won me over.  The fried chicken wasn’t “too fried” so that you felt like you ought to have your cardiologist on speed dial. Spiced pecans, bacon, butter, and syrup—now that’s my idea of a complete breakfast!  The place can have lines, but trust me, it’s worth the weight…ahem…wait.

Great Yarns
1208 Ridge Road
Raleigh, NC 27607
Great big yarn shops are a fine thing, but it’s the little cozy ones that always win my heart.  Don’t let the size fool you—owner Mary Stowe is a big presence in the yarn world, serving on the board of The National NeedleArts Association.  Mary owns both this store and its sister establishment in Greensboro, Yarns Etc.

We do “great yarns at great prices,” Mary boasts, and her 11-year history with this 30-year-old store tells you she knows how to create value for her customers and position the store as a beloved resource.  “I try to stock the tried and true everybody wants and blend in a bit of the new stuff they’ll want to discover.”  

It’s no surprise that cotton and bamboo blends are customer favorites in this climate, but I loved the all-summer “Hatapalooza” focus on cold-weather noggin-toppers.  All summer long Great Yarns knitters have been tackling new skills to make hats for themselves, their loved ones, and worthy charities.  There’s also a kids knitting camp “to bring up the next generation of knitters.”

I had to admire the friendliness of the store as I watched Mary patiently and carefully help a customer who came in with her current project in knots.  Isn’t that what we all want in a yarn shop?  Stuff to buy and friends to help?  You’ll find it here.  You’ll also find these great projects:

Our Knit-Alongs:  Knitty’s Knotty But Nice Hat and the Twirly Top Hat
Little hats—is there anything more charming to knit?  Well, I like big hats, too.  After all, a Chicago gal needs a full-scale ensemble of ways to keep her ears warm.  Kitty’s Knotty But Nice hat combines sensible ribbing with an eye-catching cable for a bit of style.  

And if cute’s what you’re going for, the Twirly Top hat lets one ball of Adriafil Knitcol show off its self-striping skills while finishing with a bouncy curly-cue top.  These and a huge selection of other hats come from the Hatapalooza program.

Gradient Kit Scarf
Gradient color ways are all the rage these days, but if you’re like me, you need a kit.  I can’t just go freestyle—I need guidance.  Each of these kits offers 5 mini-skeins of Wonderland 100% wool.  Fire up your seed stitch, and you’re off and "gradiating."

Doria Sweater
I loved the airy weight and sporty drape of this striped boatneck sweater.  Grab 8 skeins of Berroco Mykonos linen/cotton/nylon in the color combination of your choice and you’ll end up with a summer sweater sure to please.

After you’ve stuffed your yarn basket, head on up to the quaint little neighborhood known as Five Points.  There you’ll find a collection of little shops with charm to spare.

Color the World
1809 Glenwood Ave 
Raleigh, NC 27608
I didn’t know what “hand poured lipsticks” were before I walked into this store, but the amiable staff, gorgeous colors, and charity connections sold me.  Each lipstick comes in an artful cardboard tube (and yes, it’s held up nicely in my handbag—I was worried) and different colors support different charities.  I was tickled pink—literally—to discover the bright pink shade I chose supported Make-A-Wish.  We have been the recipients of a Make-A-Wish trip, and I couldn’t be happier to pucker my lips in support of such a worthy cause.

NoFo Market and Cafe
2014 Fairview Road
Raleigh NC  27608
Everybody around here has their favorite spot for shrimp and grits, and lots of folks pointed us to this cafe/market as theirs.  Repurposed from a former Piggly Wiggly (best name for a grocery store, ever!), NoFo offers an inventive array of gifts and foodie goodies.  Rumor has it the Bloody Marys (not my thing) are pretty awesome, too.

Hayes Barton Cafe and Dessertery
2000 Fairview Road
Raleigh, NC  27608
I’ll go miles out of my way for a fabulous coconut cake, but I didn’t have to.  Right down the street was the adorable, stuck-in-time Hayes Barton Cafe.  An old school drugstore and eatery that makes you feel as if you just walked onto a movie set, only with better food.  Just look at that cake display!  My daughter and I came away with not a slice, but a whopping huge slab of coconut cake we couldn’t finish between the two of us (can you say tomorrow's breakfast?).

Quail Ridge Books
4209-100 Lassiter Mill Road
Raleigh, NC  27609 
You know the drill: DestiKNITters support the local bookstores.  Do it!

State Farmers Market
1201 Agriculture St. 
Raleigh, NC 27603
This is your local farmers market on steroids.  Huge, open every day, but reasonably priced and stuffed to the gills with a wide variety of produce, gifts, breads, cheeses, salsa’s, plants, and more.  We wandered the aisles, tasting everything anyone offered (oh, the peaches…) and bought whatever struck us as delicious, gathering an eclectic little smorgasbord to nosh on at the end of our day over Netflix.  If all that food makes you hungry, there’s a terrific little seafood joint right there onsite.

Joule Coffee
233 S. Wilmington Street
Raleigh NC 27601
Allow me to introduce you to a Raleigh specialty—the cocktail coffee bar. Or, as Joule likes to put it: “your all day hang.”  We don’t have these in Chicago, but we should.  Ashley Christensen’s Joule is a boisterous, industrial space that sports a sportscar-yellow espresso machine and a seriously good menu.  The eggs benedict called to me (I was there at brunch) but the sandwiches and other fare looked equally appealing.

16 East Martin Street
Raleigh NC
Another of the cocktail coffee bars, this one a bit smaller and slightly quieter, but with a walk-up window to caffeinate you with speed and ease.  Try the cinnamon-carrot cupcake and the maple latte—delicious!

There you have it—a second Raleigh adventure for knitters.  Click here if you want to go back and revisit my 2012 adventures.  Next, we cast on the Knotty But Nice hat for our own personal Hatapalooza!

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