Chautauqua County and Beads

About 10 years ago, while I was visiting family in Cleveland, my family was entertaining friends from out of town who wanted to visit a bead store.( You guessed it, they were from California- why do they know everything before the rest of do?) I had never heard of such a thing. Being crafty and curious, we found Isle of Beads in the yellow pages and went to see. I couldn’t get over how many beads we saw. On my first visit , it just made me dizzy. Most were sorted according to color. I didn’t know a regular person could make a piece of jewelry. Our guests were into hemp bracelets and bought supplies but I was totally intrigued by the other possibilities. I didn’t stay long enough to try a class but I did buy some supplies and a book. After that is was trips to Cleveland to visit family and to stop by the bead store. It was quite  a distance to go for supplies and I didn’t plan ahead very well, it seems I would be in the middle of a project and forget to have gotten something really vital in the design.  I shopped the local craft superstores, but I was already spoiled and wanted the beautiful beads. I also got some things on the Internet but sometimes they would be describing cerulean blue in a dainty size and puce green would arrive the size of a gnat.
When we envisioned our shop, Imagine! it was one of those totally out-of-hand family free-for-all  meetings attended by 3 generations in which everyone had a different concept. I was campaigning for beads. They let me have my way and I am happy to say that our bead department (one of 5 departments) is growing and you can get a great range of pretty and unusual beads, tools, books and instruction right in Chautauqua County. Also, thanks to our bead instructor, Anne Jackson, we carry the largest seed bead collection in the region.
The other day a customer said, “Wow you are lucky because you can make whatever you want and all the supplies are here.” I smiled but the truth is, I made more jewelry before I owned the shop. There is always so much to do in our store. But is is great for me to see the same excitement and enthusiasm I felt when I learned and discovered how many really beautiful things anyone can make. I love watching people in classes really enjoying the experience of making something unique and getting complimented.  The really great thing is, anyone can bead! Really. There are some crafts that take skill and patience, but this isn’t one of them, you can make something lovely right away and there is always something more to learn. My friend Norma picked it up immediately and she makes me laugh because she wakes up in the morning and looks in the mirror and often says, “Hmmm. I don’t have earrings to go with this blouse…” then she makes them. I make coffee in the morning, Norma makes earrings!

Summer Knitting is Simply Sublime

From Sublime
The new, lush organic cotton yarns are all the rage right now in the industry. They are so soft, you want to pat
them as if they were kittens. We have a sample in our shop of one of the simple and elegant sweaters for summer. The colors are muted and inspiring. They just make you want to knit. Perfect for classic warm weather wear..

We have two great books and all of the colors.
Come see and feel….. simplicity and luxury.

Sock Yarns and Addi Turbos

Imagine! has been expanding its yarns and knitting department this season and one of our areas of interest has been sock yarns. We listened to our sockaholic friends on the topic and ordered some really inspiring yarns, Trekking, Austerman Step and Schoeller and Stahl Fortissima( which means very strong). We got the latest incredible colors. We were astounded to find that our sock knitting friends are actually knitting socks in the summer!! So we did a little research and found some great cotton yarn that has a little stretch which is arriving any day.
What is this craze? Well, all I can say is about 15 years ago (yes, really) a friend gave me a pair of wool socks. I wasn’t sure how I felt about them but I was flattered to receive them. Wouldn’t you know it, they were the ones I would always reach for. After a while(a long while) I wore holes in the heels, and eventually the toes. I couldn’t believe how often I was willing to mend them. Then came the day I had to part with them, they had to go to the trash and I was thinking I should say a few kind words before I let them go.So of course I have to learn to make them. Mind you only half our staff has made socks. So again customers told us about a great DVD series put out by Knitting Korner. We have several but in the sock department we have Sock I and Sock II made on a special size Addi Turbo (#3 20″ circular). Sock I is a step by step single sock and Sock II is a step by step demonstration of making two socks at a time on two circular needles.