We would be staying downtown, at the Marriott. The store was about three miles away. I mapped it out and saw the symbol for the light rail (Utah Trax) very close to the store; how perfect! We were taking Trax from the airport to the hotel, so we bought a day pass in anticipation of going to the yarn store after we'd checked in at the hotel. Our first ride on Trax was successful - we were quite proud of ourselves for figuring out the map and how to buy our tickets:
This was at the airport station...puzzling over the Trax map/schedule...
But we soon figured it out, bought our all day passes so we could travel hither and yon, and we were off, feeling impressed (and a bit relieved) that we'd managed to get this far.
After a nice lunch, we set off for Blazing Needles. It looked like we needed to take the Blue line to the Center Point stop and then transfer to the S line. I must say, this was a different group of passengers than who we traveled with from the airport. A bit more of the everyday city people...but we country bumpkins were fine, until we got off at our stop and couldn't find the S train. If you're a fan of The Amazing Race TV show and have ever wondered how dumb the teams could be when they miss an obvious directional sign, well, let's just say that we understand how that could happen now. The platform got a little crowded with high school students and we were trying to not look like completely clueless tourists, but eventually we gave up on that pretense, crossed the street and asked a bus driver (foreshadowing) where the S train was. Turns out we'd walked almost to the sign where it was before turning around. Oops. While all of this was happening, I called the yarn store to double-check directions. The very sweet woman who answered the phone said she wasn't familiar with how to take Trax to the store (foreshadowing), but she tried to help me as much as she could. We found the train and right before I got off the phone she said "get off at Fairmont" and I told her we'd see her soon. As we crossed the tracks Amy saved my bacon, as I only looked one direction and apparently trains come from both directions. Who knew? I do now!
So we were pretty pleased with ourselves. Sure, we'd gotten a little confused, but we figured it out and were on our way to the YARN STORE. All was well. We rode the train to the Fairmont stop, which turned out to be the end of the line. Huh. We got off and walked to the street corner. Amy put the address of the store into her phone to give us directions as the man who got off the train with us called for a taxi (foreshadowing) - I have to say, I was a bit mystified as to why he rode the train and then called for a taxi, but whatever, dude.
We started walking, and Amy's map app kicked in - and that's when we discovered that we still had over a mile left to walk. What the what?? There was a picture of the Trax symbol right next to the shop! We were confused, but determined. And walking a mile isn't anything to a runner, so we kept going. Except that we weren't wearing running shoes, but rather, the Danskos that we'd flown in (great for taking them off to go through security). No worries - it was only a mile, right? Well, I have to say that walking a mile in an unfamiliar area made it feel like it took forever. We went through some quaint areas, and some sketchy areas. We kept walking and walking - it was a pretty warm day, and of course we were wearing jeans and long-sleeved t-shirts...not optimal clothing for this adventure, but no worries - we were going to the yarn store!
Then a city bus passed us, driven by the same man who'd given us directions to the S line train! Some expletives later, we realized that the Trax symbol on the map was actually a BUS SYMBOL. We could have just ridden the bus - I'm sure that driver thought we were insane as he passed us. This would also explain why the person at the store didn't know how to get us there using Trax. No one in their right mind would try to get to the yarn store via Trax...and yes, I realize that says a lot about us.
As we walked and walked, we realized that we did not want to retrace our steps back once we were finished with shopping at the yarn store, and we decided that we'd have to call a taxi to take us back to the hotel. At least we knew there were taxis in the area since that (smart) man had called one! Finally, we saw the store. We were giddy at that point - well, giddy, sweaty and in need of some water. We walked inside and heard "they made it!" and had to laugh - there was a shop full of people who had heard (via Jess, the woman I spoke with when I called earlier) that we were heading their way in a not-so-easy fashion, so they all were expecting us. What a welcome! The store owner, Cynthia, immediately and without asking, gave us each a glass of cold water. She introduced us to the group of women who were sitting and knitting (!), and when we explained that we started out the day in Texas and were staying downtown, several of them offered to drive us back to our hotel once we finished shopping. How nice! And yes, we accepted a ride from a stranger...but then, when is a fellow knitter ever really a stranger?
Water in hand, a quick picture on the porch before we started shopping.
I was so happy to see this wall of Malabrigo, especially the Rasta yarn!
They were having a trunk show, which was really interesting - a lot of knitted garments made with Shibui yarn were on hand, so you could see how it knitted up and also try on the clothing to see if the pattern was flattering to your particular figure. I really liked a top and bought enough yarn to make it, along with the pattern. And of course some Rasta came home with me, along with some lightweight tweed yarn created by Jared Flood, a well-known knitting designer:
The Shelter yarn on the left is Jared Flood's line; Rasta in the middle, and the apple green and blue yarn is the Shibui that I'll use for the top.
We had so much fun at Blazing Needles! The store was amazing. Tons of yarn, all beautifully displayed. So many knitted samples, which is very helpful when you find a yarn that you like - seeing a cowl or a hat or a sweater (sometimes all three!) knitted up with that yarn is a huge factor in deciding if that yarn needs to come home with you. Buttons - my gosh, the button selection there was incredible. Lots of knitting tools, books, and accessories...it was by far the best-stocked knitting store I've ever been in, and I'm very envious of the local SLC knitters who get to drop in whenever they want. We were there for over two hours, and I feel like I got such an education with yarn and patterns. Cynthia, Roman, and Jess enthusiastically and patiently explained anything I was interested in, or had a question about - their love of knitting made me want to KNIT ALL THE THINGS!
With our bounty, standing by their blazing needles sculpture - see the metal ball of yarn? And the two knitting needles coming off the post, with the knitted piece hanging off the needles? At night, they light up the sculpture with propane and the needles really do look like they are blazing!
Knitter Marie drove us back to the hotel, regaling us with stories about the area. Randomly, we saw two teenage zombies (complete with make up and zombie clothing) waiting at a Trax station, so she rolled down her window and hollered at them - she was a hoot! All in all, it was an epic adventure, one that Amy and I will not soon forget, and a crazy fun way to realize that we traveled by planes, trains, and automobiles all in the same day!