Sunday, August 11, 2013


A little bit of everything...

Start today at a bit of retail history:  Country Club Plaza.  This upscale shopping mecca is not only beautiful to look at, but was the first shopping center ever designed for the automobile-driving consumer.  Ever, like ever in the whole world.  Opened in the 1920’s and boasting a strong Spanish feel from fountains, mural, and mosaics, it’s visually lovely.  It was ridiculously cold there for a May day on my visit, but I still had a great time wandering the fifteen blocks of posh upscale stores as well as the standard retail establishments.  Many people told me the place is decked out beyond compare for the holidays, and I can believe it.  While you can pursue whatever retail urges you may have, I found a few snack pursuits worth noting thanks to some great tips from locals:

Christopher Elbow Chocolates in Halls department store

Chocolate as art.  Incredible chocolate as art.  I had the counter clerk pick out her four favorites and then spent the next ten minutes in chocolate heaven.  Oh, and the rest of the store is nice, too.

Natasha's Mulberry & Mott

I’m serious about French macarons, and I’d heard of Natasha’s even before heading into this charming little bakery.  Splendid macarons and a bunch of other things, but I was only there for macarons.

When you’re ready for lunch, head to a KC favorite:

Classic Cup Cafe
301 W. 47th Street
Kansas City, MO 64112

While this was certainly not the day for it, my sources laud this place as one of the nicest (but not particularly kid-friendly) outdoor dining experiences in the city.  It’s an acknowledged power lunch or snazzy brunch spot, so eating at prime times can involve a wait, but it was quietly bustling and casually elegant during my mid-afternoon visit.  I especially appreciated the fireplace on this frigid day.  Everyone has their favorite meals, but make sure you have the bread pudding.  It’s hard for a non-chocolate desert to catch my fancy, but this one sure did.

When you’ve scratched all your retail and sugar itches, it’s time to head just a little bit west for today’s yarn fix:

The Studio Knitting and Needlepoint
1121 W. 47th St.
Kansas City, MO 64112 United States
(816) 531-4466

Manager Cindy Craig’s reputation, vision, and knitting skill give this place it’s unique charm.  A true craft evangelist, Cindy works hard to make every customer feel welcome.  She strives to “give no one a reason to quit knitting,” removing barriers and pouring on the encouragement.  A customer in the store while I was there boasted, “There’s nothing Cindy can’t solve!”  The store is a series of homey rooms, each one stocked with projects and fibers that make for enticing wandering.  Like all the good yarn shops, there’s a big table filled with customers hanging out and sharing their craft and lives all the time.

As you can imagine, Cindy is big into education, offering “Quarter Master” classes that cover a different topic each quarter.  I love that you can earn discount points for meeting your class goals!  According to those in the know, the Studio’s winter retreat is not to be missed!

Here are some projects you’ll want to consider:

The Reunited Scarf
Designed by staff member Susan Andrews and available on Ravelry, I love the nice balance between lace and substance in this scarf.  I also like the size--I prefer my scarves on the big and wide side.  I’ve not yet tried entrelac lace, but it looks intriguing.  While I’ve got some yarn in my stash just perfect for this, Cindy recommends Anzula Cloud.

Celebrate Color Scarf
By far my favorite in the store, this big, bright garter-stitch scarf of Cindy’s own design does what the name says: celebrates color.  You’ll need 8 different colors of whatever fingering you choose, but Cindy recommends Claudia Handpainted fingering.  “Choose colors that don’t necessarily match, but multi-colored yarns that have a least one color in common with another skein.”  If it were me, I’d get some staff help to select my 8 to make sure I loved the results.

Playful Stripes blanket
Another Ravelry pattern that takes simple stitches to an eye-catching new level, this Meridith Shepherd design utilizes four colors of Berroco Weekend or any worsted weight yarn.  I thought it would make for a great baby gift, a cozy throw for someone you want to comfort, or bit of home for a new college student done up in school colors.

Cabled Feather Cowl
While I love feather and fan for a shawl, I’ve not yet done a cowl with that design, so I'm glad this project will be our knit-along from The Studio.  Another exclusive pattern, this should knit up warm and soft in Missouri-based fiber Alpacas d’Auxvasse suri/merino blend.  Looks like great gift knitting--even if I plan on gifting my own lovely self!

When you’re done here, you’ve got two very different options to finish out your day:

Go upscale and lady-like at:

Andre’s Confiserie Suisse
5018 Main Street
Kansas City, MO  64112

Swiss decor.   Chocolate.  Ladies tea.  What’s not to love?  Okay, the cowboy in your life might not appreciate this place, but you sure will.  Folks rave about the quiche and desert is always included--how can you beat that?

Want to get a little more down and dirty?  I’m pretty sure it's against the law to leave Kansas City without eating barbecue, and my choice was

Gates Bar-B-Q
Several locations

Folks behind the counter yell (and I do mean yell) “Hi may I help you?” when you enter, and the in-your-face-helpful charm just goes on from there.  Greasy, messy, wonderfulness.  I ate something heavenly called “burnt ends” that probably would have given my cardiologist fits.  Sure, it’s not for everyone--and most locals are loud about their opinion on where to go for BBQ, but I’m glad I went here.

You know what?  If I had the time, I’d do both Andre’s and Gates--just not in the same day.  But that’s what DestiKNITions is for; to send you on an adventure beyond your yarn.

Next up, I cast on the Arroyo shawl from Yarn Shop and More.

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