In which the Whiskeyknitters are briefly lost to yarn-lust, tacos, and coconut cake
In late February 2015, a group of Whiskeyknitters determined to voyage en masse to the Wilds of Smyrna to pay homage to the famed yarn shop Eat, Sleep, Knit, eat tacos, and visit the home of Whiskeyknitter Pamela. The voyagers were Allison, Shannan, Rachel, Mera, Kate, and, of course, Pamela.
Allison: If you live in Decatur, you pretty much think you live in the center of the universe. Places like Douglasville, Duluth, Kennesaw, and Smyrna might as well be British Columbia or Buckhead for as often as you go there. So when you remember that one of the most renowned yarn shops in the world is a mere twenty miles from your door in Smyrna, you are grateful that it’s not closer, because then you’d be there all the time and spend all your money and then you wouldn’t live in Decatur any more.
“World renowned?” say you. “Really?” Here is a story. Last October I was on a ferry boat going from Laxo to the island of Whalsay. You have never heard of these places because they are incredibly remote and tiny (but more about that in a future “We’re Outta Here” post). Another woman on the ferry asked where my companion and I were from. We told her we’re from Georgia, in the US. She immediately exclaimed, “Oh! You’re near Eat, Sleep, Knit! How lucky you are!” Like the Whiskeyknitter said: world renowned.
Another thing Smyrna has going for it is that one of the Whiskeyknitters, Pamela, lives there. Pamela took me on my first visit to ESK, and it was like walking into a dream. I roamed the aisles, stroking the skeins, pressing my face close to the shelves to inhale the rich animal scent of wool and alpaca . . .
Okay. Hi. Where was I? Okay. So we organized a Whiskeyknitters’ field trip to Smyrna for a visit to Eat Sleep Knit, lunch, and dessert at the House of Edward.
Shannan: So, when we first started talking about this, Allison kept saying it was out in the Wilds of Smyrna, and I’m not great at remembering the location of all the townships and cities in the Atlanta region, so I thought it must be way out there—like, Athens-out-there. I thought we were going to be driving an hour or more, and I picked Rachel up at her house well in advance since we were carpooling. Then we got in the car, and I mapquested it and realized it was actually only about 22 minutes away. So, obviously, Rachel and I arrived first.
Allison: Hey, if it’s OTP, it might as well be the other side of the universe. Besides, it’s much further from my house.
Shannan: You live less than two miles from me!
Allison: Well, I was a little late picking up Kate and heading out. And plus I drive like a 90-year-old woman on the Perimeter, and everyone hates me, but by the gods we made it there alive. When Kate and I walked in, Shannan, Rachel, and Mera were already deep into the seduction. Even though it is a warehouse in a nondescript business park, ESK has a kind of a hush about it–must be all that soft fiber absorbing sound. It also seduces you with color. And words—one company has cleverly named its yarns after all the Whiskeyknitters’ favorite literary figures, like Elizabeth Bennet, Marianne Dashwood, Anne Shirley, and Amy March. How devious is that?
Shannan: Sound, color, and words, Allison? Really? We all know the truth about what enthralls you.
Allison: Did you know you can taste yarn through your nose? Excuse me for a moment . . .
Shannan: [Sighs.] She’s huffing yarn. We do not have time to go into that right now.
So we spent a good couple of hours wandering around in there. I was looking for wool for a series of adorable shawlettes inspired by The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy—Hitchhiker, Lintilla, and Magrathea, and eventually I made my picks and needed to hide from temptation, so I joined Kate in the front room and we wound our skeins into cakes while the others finished up. Eventually everyone wound up there, and we started to make lunch plans, but then we realized that we’d lost Rachel again. She had disappeared back into the yarn, and we couldn’t find her. Normally, this wouldn’t have been an issue, but Allison was getting hungry—
Allison: [wipes her nose]—You said you were making a “cake”! I got hungry.
Also, I would like to point out that some of us **ahemMERAahem** like to feel up the yarn. And that I spent my dining-out money for the month of March on enough Juniper Moon Herriot to make this sweater. I will be the coziest person alive in that sweater. Everyone will want to snuggle me, and I may have to smack them to keep them away.
Shannan: You’re just trying to change the subject. Pamela and I have both traveled with Allison before, so we know not to let Allison get too hungry. Fortunately, Rachel emerged from the skeins before the monster was unleashed.
Shannan: I’m totally kidding! (I’m mostly kidding. Like 80%)
Allison: Where did Rachel go anyway? Madelinetosh? Because it’s easy to get lost in Madelinetosh.
Shannan: Y’know, I can’t remember. I do know she came back with this crazy gorgeous skein of fancy silk laceweight yarn and rubbed it on everyone’s face, and then we went for tacos. We also drank margaritas. We were briefly Margaritaknitters!
The tacos were delicious, but they were gateway food. The real shining culinary stars of the trip were waiting for us at Pamela’s house, which, let me just tell you, is THE MOST PERFECT PLACE ON EARTH.
Allison: I don’t know how Pamela lives that close to ESK and still has groceries from which to make us coconut cake. Which is what she did—she made us this beautiful coconut cake, and she had strawberries and blueberries and Glenlivet! Just for us!
As Shannan was saying, Pamela and her sweet husband, the Songwriter, and their adorable canine companions, Edward and Apple, live in the House of Edward, a real, live English cottage, only in Smyrna.
Shannan: I may have lost my mind a little bit when we walked into Pamela’s house. I wasn’t alone! Kate lost hers, too. You have to understand—it’s a writer’s dream house. Everything is painted—the kitchen cabinets, the doors—and they’re all these fantastically imaginative pieces. In the kitchen, it’s all trees and a Green Man. In the guest room . . . I can’t even. I was so in love. Kate and I ran from room to room, exclaiming over everything. Rachel was a little bit behind us because she’d just bought a new house and was mentally re-writing her entire decorating scheme as we went. Pamela has a freaking BUTLER’S CHAIR in her bedroom. I sat in it, and I felt like the queen of everything. And her porch… ::fans self:: She’s an interior designer as well as a writer, so it’s not surprising at all, but—well, yeah, Kate and I completely lost it. I mean, sure, I have the Celtic Oak Pillow and Celtic Rowan Pillow patterns in my Ravelry queue, but Pamela has already knitted them and has them LYING on her COUCH. Like, whoa.
And the spread—like Allison said, there was the Coconut Cake and a bowl of fresh fruit and a bottle of Glenlivet. I couldn’t stop giggling. It was like stepping into the pages of Harry Potter—one of the good bits where everyone’s happy, not one of the Forces of Evil bits.
I fell in love with Pamela’s dogs. They’re so fluffy! And the wreath on her door! It was made of yarn. She made it. I’m in love with Pamela. She’s so pretty and nice. I’m her fan club now. Well, along with the other Whiskeyknitters. That’s one of the reasons we all get on so well. We’re all kind of each other’s fan clubs.
(Just especially Pamela’s.)
When I dropped Rachel back off at her house after, she was walking on clouds. She turned and told me it was one of her best days ever.
That’s just how Whiskeyknitters roll.