Now, I know we’re “heading for the barn” on our Peony Scarf from Naples, and I promise you the finished product will appear, but let’s move on to our July DestiKNITion, the charming city of Bowling Green Kentucky.
This Short Row episode has to start with a person: Sukie. Sukie was a student at the KY Writers Conference where I taught in conjunction with the Southern Kentucky Book Fest this past April. Sukie, who had already earned my unabashed favoritism by going to my website and this blog before the class, sought me out after class and invited me to lunch with her and her charming husband.
Sukie didn’t really give me a choice. It became clear by the end of the lunch that despite any earlier plans I had made, I was going to spend the afternoon at Crafty Hands. I got the distinct impression there would be consequences if I didn’t show. And so, even though I’d only planned to scope out the area yarn stores for a later full blown DestiKNITions episode, I was about to do DestiKNITions-on-the-fly.
2910 Scottsville Road
And you know, if someone ever does this to you, LISTEN TO THEM. My hours–and yes, I said hours–at Crafty Hands were the high point of a very nice trip. I walked in, a bit sheepish (no pun intended) and asked “Is Starla here?”
Now, I have to admit, I had a mental picture of what a woman named “Starla” would look like. Shame on me. Starla Williams is a petite energized woman who bursts with all kinds of warm fuzzy hospitality. “We’ve been expecting you!” came gushing out of her mouth the moment I said my name, and within two minutes I was seated, introduced, and handed a cup of coffee. I ask you, would such welcomes happen anywhere else on the planet but a very wonderful yarn store?
From the street, Crafty Hands looks unassuming, but the door opens to a deep shop with an extensive collection and the tell-tale circle of women sitting in the back knitting. When women are sitting laughing in the back of a yarn store, you know you’ve found a gem. I felt at home instantly. Like I’d been there eleven times before instead of eleven minutes.
Starla and her buddies have a boisterous sense of humor. She calls her store “adult day care”–and believe me, I could spend the day here. Easily. Upon entering the shop, men are made to stand on a stool. The reason tiny Starla is as tall as me in the photo is that she is standing on said stool. Sukie, by the way, is on my other side.
Projects from Crafty Hands:
The store boasts a strong following of “sock junkies,” so it’ll come as no surprise that our knit-along from Crafty Hands will be a pair of socks. Starla provided me with her own personal pattern and a ball of Austerman “Step” self-striping yarn. To be knit on the must-try tool of this visit: HiyaHiya 9” circulars. I’ve been told these will change my life—I’ll let you know….
For something truly indicative of this establishment, there’s a special project: the shop’s trademark Reversible Two-Toned Hat, affectionately known as “the football hat” because it resembles a pigskin cozy before folded. This works well in “Temptation” by Alpaca with a Twist or Noro. Just plain fun and so much more entertaining than your standard watch cap.
As I said, time wasn’t generous on this trip, but I did manage to take in a few of the local goodies. Here’s what I’d recommend:
871 Broadway Avenue
Bowling Green, KY 42101
This artsy, airy place was recommended to me by virtue of its “muffins to die for,” and rightly so. I took home a pair for my hotel breakfast, and found them to be huge and tasty. The place roasts their own coffee–named after rescue dogs to boot–and hosts a variety of local music and local artists on the wall. This is my very favorite type of coffee place. Not only does it do the standard java fair, but I was forced to go there late in the day and, following the suggestion of my friendly server, I chose the LaSpecial pizza. Outstanding. The kind of place where you don’t feel odd eating alone, because you can have a conversation with anyone. For someone clearly classified as a “northener,” this place oozes my favorite southern ideals–charming drawls and genuine hospitality.
MacKenzie’s Floral Design
1945 Scottsville Road
Bowling Green, Kentucky
Don’t you dare call this a flower shop. MacKenzie’s is a unique place for gifts and such, and so much more than I expected. “Ambiance to the nth degree” is the self-described environment, and rightly so! If you’re in the market for something spiffy, one-of-a-kind, and graceful, this is your place.
Riley’s is known for a sugar behemoth called the Cream Horn, but locals tell me it is also the source for the finest thumbprint cookies anywhere.
1302 Us 31W Byp
Bowling Green, KY 42101
I’ll be back, count on it, but if you can’t wait that long, the Get Rolling to Bowling Green website has some itineraries all planned out for you (minus the yarn obsession, of course…that you can only get here).