Wednesday, August 7, 2013


I’m in Missouri.  No, I’m in Kansas.  No, wait, I’m in Missouri again.  It’s not KCMO, it’s OPKS.  Huh?  It’s hard to get my Chicago head around a city that spans two states and so many initials like this.

Spend the morning of your second day wandering whatever classic tourist attractions catch your fancy, but save the afternoon for a nifty little Kansas neighborhood called Overland Park (“OP” for locals).  Tucked away in a standard-looking suburban grid landscape is a collection of curvy streets and parks with charm to spare. The intersection of Santa Fe Drive and streets with 80’s in their names creates the Overland Park downtown that’s highly walkable, even in the nasty weather than accompanied my visit.

Begin with a fabulous casual lunch at:

The Peanut
7938 Santa Fe Drive
Overland Park, KS 66204

Kansas City’s oldest bar and grill has five locations, but this one on Santa Fe is your destination today.  I’m a big fan of BLT’s and the one from here ranks among my top sandwiches ever.  The homemade potato chips are simply amazing. It’s a true neighborhood place, just like the web site states--business lunches, families, buddies catching up, friends out to lunch; everyone’s here.  Delicious.

Now that you’re fed, head for fiber at:

Yarn Shop and More
7212 W. 80th Street
Overland Park, KS  66204
913-649-YARN (9276)

The first thing you’ll notice about this shop is the way it’s arranged: by color.  It’s like standing in a really big, really complicated rainbow.  Owner Denise Kelley--a spirited, personable gal who feels like she could be your best friend by this afternoon--says this layout either excites customers or confuses them.  Me, I loved it.

Denise loves her customers, and they love her.  She--and her store--strike the perfect balance between great art and good business.  The store has a fun, “you’ll feel right at home” atmosphere that still fosters a vibe of high artistic quality.  The stock is nothing short of breathtaking--you’re bound to find something new and intriguing.  Offering lots of classes both at the store and through the local community college, Denise wants you to move forward in your craft but still have tons of fun while you’re at it.

They mean the “and More” of their name, too.  Fiber comes in lots of forms here.  Do not leave the store without asking to see store expert and stunning artisan Marilyn Schmidt’s hooked rugs.  I was starstruck at the beauty of her early American primitive style needlework.  You owe it to yourself to take a look, you really do.

Here’s a few projects that caught my eye:

Arroyo Shawl
Our knit along from this store showcases Yarn Shop and More’s position as the area’s only Malabrigo retailer.  This Arroyo Shawl pattern, available on Ravelry, can go larger with 400 yards (2 skeins) of Malabrigo Rios superwash, or scale down to lacy like I will with a lighter weight yarn like Malabrigo Sock superwash marino.  With part solid fabric and a lovely lacy border, it’s a versatile piece that will dress up or down--my favorite kind of shawl.

Abalone Sweater
Made according to your measurements through a highly personalized Ravelry pattern, smart tailoring gives this simple design its dramatic shape.  Utilizing roughly 3 skeins of Malabrigo’s lovely Rios yarn, this is sure to be a go-to garment for your wardrobe.  With all the colors and colorways Rios comes in, you could make a dozen of these and no two would look the same.

Baby Tunic
Hearing the pitter-patter of tiny feet but not up for bitty socks?  Opt for Knitting Pure and Simple’s Baby Tunic (#211).  Two hanks of Knit One Crochet Too’s TyDy gives this small-scale hoodie a cute color splash.  The long shape means your baby’s bottom stays cozy, too.

Prudence Mapstone Freeform Handbag forms
Prudence Mapstone’s free-form handbags are the stuff of legend.  Made famous by her book “Never Too Many Handbags” and other works, the master of free-form knitting and crochet works with forms like this to take the purse to an art level I drool over.  I’ve never seen anything like them--and every one will be unique!  This mesh form can be covered in yarn for a stunning handbag.  Go to and see the possibilities!

Denise’s favorite gadget?  The Clover mini Kacha-Kacha knitting counter.  It LOCKS!  Mine always gets messed up from traveling around.

Wander back up 80th Street and Santa Fe, stopping at the many craft- and book-related businesses that are right on your way: 

Ink Paper Rubber 
7218 W 80th St  
Overland Park, KS 66204

Mysteryscape Books
7309 W 80th Street
Overland Park KS 66204

Bedazzler Beads
7315 W 80th St
Overland Park, KS 66204

Olive Branch Art Gallery 
& Studios
7915 Santa Fe Dr
Overland Park, KS 66204

Make sure your adventures end up right here where something wonderful awaits:

The Upper Crust Pie Bakery
7943 Santa Fe Drive
Overland Park, KS

Pie.  Oh my, but I love pie.  My favorite, hands down (or is that forks up?) is lemon meringue.  The store’s motto is “Pie fixes everything,” and I subscribe to that belief system!  The crust here almost defies description--it’s that good.  I indulged in the lemon meringue “Cutie Pie”--a whole small pie, just for me!  When I opened the box to see “Cake is for Sissies” stamped on the inside, I laughed out loud.  Absolute bliss.  If there were one of these in Chicago, I might camp out on their sidewalk.

Yarn, an outstanding BLT, good new friends, and pie.  Really, it doesn’t get much better than that.

But wait, maybe it does...tune in next post for yet another Kansas City fiber find!

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