Friday, July 29, 2005

Rx For Summertime Blues -- New Baton Rouge LYS

"Sometimes I wonder what I'm a-gonna do, but there ain't no cure for the summertime blues..."
--The Who

Knitter's Magazine 's online forum, KnitU, lately has been overflowing with posts from knitters who have hit a summertime knitting slump. For folks without air conditioning, no matter where you live, it's too hot even to touch yarn this summer. If you live in a climate where air-conditioning is not optional, it may be cool enough indoors to handle yarn and knit, but the very idea of summer mugginess is so depressing as to be utterly un-inspiring, even if you have a yarn stash the size of a national park.

For the really hard cases, those of us who actually get summertime seasonal affective disorder because we rarely venture outside, whose air conditioners are set to "liquid nitrogen," and whose houses stay dark due to the drapes being tightly drawn because it's too hot to even look outside, the summertime blues hit hard.

Here's what I like to do to rally up some knitting enthusiasm during the hottest weeks of summer:

--download screen savers with snow scenes from Alaska, Colorado, the Andes, Tibet, and Antarctic research stations...

--re-organize yarn stash, with the pleasant side benefit of discovering forgotten cat toys, books, chairs, and major appliances...

--go though archtitecture, nature and art books for inspiration ... look at tile and mosaic patterns, and...

--go hang out at the nearest yarn store.

"Knits by Nana" opened in Baton Rouge in the spring of 2005 and is already off to a successful start with a selection of beautiful yarns, regular classes, books, needles, notions and gifts.

Overall atmosphere: The owner and staff definitely took their Southern Hospitality lessons -- they are all warm, personable and welcoming the moment you walk in the store, located in a renovated two-bedroom cottage with with beautiful wood floors and cream-colored walls. The first thing you see when you walk in the vestibule is a display of easy-to-knit, sampler scarves and shawls in luxury yarns. The store is light, airy, well-organized and su
per clean. Display of goods is accomplished in a charming, home-like array of baskets, bookcases, china cabinets, and armoires which have been modified for retail display.

Sit-down space for classes and Stitch-n-Bitch is available in three of the store's four merchandise rooms. Location is excellent, in the central city, and easy to find, just off Government Street, one of the main thoroughfares in Baton Rouge, so this shop will be a breeze for out-of-towners to find from the Interstate.

Yarn: lots and lots of eyelash, ribbon, frizzy and ladder yarn. Cascade, Berocco, Lang Sock Yarn, Trendsetter yarns, and many others, which I will update later with a more detailed list.

Books: they are starting off with a well-chosen, if not exhaustive, selection of books, both contemporary and classic. I am told the book selection will grow.

Needle selection: lots of circs, bamboos and Addi Turbos, also Lantern Moon needles and Denise interchangeable sets.

Responsiveness to customers: Owner has been very responsive to customer input and suggestions regarding the selection of yarn and other products and she just got back from the International Needleworks Market in Colombus, Ohio. New yarns coming soon: Fiesta, Kollage, Blue Herring, Tahki Charles, Brown Sheep, and Opal, among others. "Nana's" soon will be adding leather yarn bags, poncho kits, shawl kits and other goodies.

Things to crow about: this is eyelash and ribbon yarn heaven. Lots of fancy fluff. Also delicious baby mohairs and other luxury fibers. Lots of finished scarves, shawls, bags, throws, socks and other items to truly inspire the knitter, instead of mere little 4" X 4" swatches. Good choice of self-patterning sock yarns, thanks to Sockmaster Joan's input. Nice bags and "gifty things," too. Genuinely helpful and friendly staff, light and airy store, pleasant atmosphere and decor. Monthly Stitch and Bitch on Thursday night from 6-9pm -- exactly which Thursday is announced month-by-month, as far as I understand.

Disappointments: No Noro, no Koigu, no Inca Alpaca -- this makes Mambocat pout, but mind that those are just my own favorite yarns. Limited space for chairs and tables, but the cozy and welcoming feeling of the store makes up for that. Not much modestly priced yarn, but they do have Lang sock yarn, and Brown Sheep is soon coming to help fill the price gap. Hours are great for those with free time on weekdays, but are a little inconvenient for those who work 8-5.

Navigation note: Shop sign is kinda small, so slow down when you turn onto Capital Heights, lest you drive past it.

LYS Dossier:

Knits By Nana
5055 Capital Heights, Suite A
Baton Rouge, LA 70806 USA


Hours: Mon.-Fri 10:00am till 4:00pm
Saturday 10:00am-2:00pm

Owner: Missy McCoy Waguespack

Regular Free Classes:

--Merrelyn teaches beginner knitters every Wednesday from 1:00 till 3:00

--Joan Richardson teaches sock knitting every Thursday from 10:00am till noon.

Summer Classes: Little Black Bag, Vertical Scarf, Belt Blast, Kids'Fun, Childrens' Scarf, Knitting in the Round. Most classes have no fee but supplies must be purchased from the shop, $20 for kids' classes with materials supplied as a kit.

Website: Knits by Nana does not yet have a website , but they are working on it. In the meantime, contact them at their email address below and they will let you know when the website is up.


Hardcopy newsletter: Quarterly update, send your snail-mail address to their email above.

Special Features: Want to have a yarn party? Knits by Nana offers their back classroom for customers to celebrate a special event, like a learn-to-knit birthday party for kids or a private knit-together for grownups. Phone the store for more information or to schedule an event.

Crochet instructors are available for those who are interested.

Want to teach a class? It can be arranged through the owner. They seem to be branching away from their initial focus on Newbie Knitters and may soon welcome instructors in advanced techniques.

Overall Rating: four socks out of a possible five.

Magpie Rating (for glitzy things): five socks

Mrs. Weasley Rating (for modestly priced good wool): two socks

After so many years without a yarn shop in the Baton Rouge area (Mambocat remembers when there were four), "Knits by Nana" is a welcome addition to the community, and allows some folks to make new and creative excuses to buy more yarn ... "I would have spent more than that just on the gas to get to an LYS in New Orleans, so I am actually saving the environment and reducing the need to fight wars over oil by purchasing expensive yarn locally..."

Get on over to Nana's and have a look. Spend some money, too.



At 1:51 PM, Blogger Diann said...

Dez - Glad to hear that y'all are OK so far this hurricane season. We do the same prep for earthquakes, but since there's no warning, we keep the supplies all the time and rotate for freshness.

I've not gotten any response to my last couple of emails, so I fear your email address has changed. Too busy at the moment to keep up with KnitU on a regular basis so it's hit or miss. Your posts are very entertaining!


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