LYS Review: Second Story Knits, Bethesda, MD
Yet another knitting store that has been right under my nose (so to speak), yet I’ve never visited. Second Story Knits is in Bethesda, Maryland, and I made a trip there on Columbus Day, October 13, 2014. Turns out it’s been there about 30 years, though the current owner only bought it less than a year ago. Can I say first that it cracks me up to no end that the shop’s acronym works out to be SSK? Genius. Brilliant. Endlessly amusing… at least to me.
I walked up the stairs to, you guessed it, the Second Story, and was assaulted by mini-skeins right at the top of the stairs. Assaulted is the right word – I’ve never dealt with any mini-skeins… but they’re so cute and pretty and tempting and like candy. And they attacked me. I don’t even know what I would do with them, except make stripey things, which you can do perfectly well with self-striping yarn. I think I want to frame them. I definitely need them to exist in their current state for a while before converting them into another form. So the first thing I did was snatch a few bundles/packs of mini-skeins and set them on the working table within the store.
I sat down in front of my potential acquisitions, did some Ravelry research, then pulled out my own knitting to work while letting the potential purchases marinate for a while. The shop was staffed during my visit by three attentive women, one of whom I believed was the owner. They made sure I didn’t need any intensive guidance (I told them I was not a new knitter but that I “knit like a fiend”), then proceeded to spend most of my visit randomly suggesting things I could do with my mini-skeins. They also thrust random skeins of other goodness under my nose at random intervals. It didn’t feel like someone aggressively trying to make a sale – it felt like people who genuinely enjoy the tools of their craft who just want to make sure everyone has access to the same amazing goodness. I enjoyed watching knitters of various skill levels wander in and the interaction between them and the helpful ladies. I know this is true of most knitting shops, which tend to be universes filled with helpful, kind people, but this one definitely fit that trend. I saw sweaters, baby blankets, leg warmers, and cowls all spark and be planned for and materials purchased in the hour or so I sat in the store. Store traffic was light, since it was a Monday, but there was a steady flow of customers, and they all got the attention they needed.
The shop has a large stock of yarns, buttons, books, and shop samples. In the hour or so while I sat and knit, letting the store wash over me, I noted several tempting skeins around that I could have gotten up and checked – but since there has been some SERIOUS stash-building over the past few weeks, I didn’t. Of the three mini-skeins arrayed in front of me for more than an hour, one made the cut as is, one was swapped for another colorway, and one went back on the shelf. But like I said, they might just have to be framed for a while.
One of the random skeins thrust under my nose also made it into my bag (so good on ‘ya, ladies!), which happened to be a Pretty Cheep Project Bag with a picture of a swallow on it, also purchased in the store.
I bought the Cortorta sock pattern by Irishgirlieknits a few days ago and knew I wanted a boring sock yarn for once to really showcase the design, and the skein of String Theory Caper in Pewter will be perfect. It’s 80% superwash merino, 10% cashmere, and 10% nylon. The label urges you to hand-wash, but one of the helpful shop ladies assures me she throws hers in the washing machine all the time, so I’ll have a go. I’m too lazy to hand-wash socks.
Second Story Knits is located at 4706 Bethesda Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814. They have a small, free parking lot for customers of the shops in their building, and I happened to luck into a parking space there. Their website is www.secondstoryknits.com.