As I mentioned in my last post, I recently spent some time in New Orleans for work. I usually love professional conferences (airport knitting, yay!), but, truth be told, this particular conference proved a little overwhelming. It was very extrovert-oriented. Almost every session had some kind of interactive group component, and by day 2, I was fleeing the latest version of compulsory spaghetti tower building so I could save my energy for the most important sessions.
Two shops on Chartres St. proved the salvation of my trip, central to restoring my equilibrium and focus. The first was The Quarter Stitch, a knitting and needlepoint shop. I wandered in more than once over the course of my trip. The ladies who work there are lovely. They offered to teach me to needlepoint, but there was never quite enough time. A shame! They have the most gorgeous patterns.
As for yarn? No local suppliers, but what I found instead were some of my favorite usual suspects (Malabrigo, Manos del Uruguay) and a really amazing selection of novelty yarns. I’m not normally a fan of novelty yarns, but there was one gorgeous yarn made of linen, silk, cotton, and rayon that I absolutely couldn’t resist. The shop had a sample cowl knitted up with it and offered to give me the pattern if I bought the yarn. I ended up having them set aside a skein in a gorgeous ice blue, as well as selecting a shawl pin handmade from shell and wood. I had both shipped home. (I’ll add a picture as soon as it arrives.)
The second shop that made my trip was Louisiana Loom Works, where cotton rag rugs are handwoven from products made in the USA. All three looms are right there in the shop, and you can watch the owner or her two employees weave right there. You can also walk around and admire recently completed creations. I wandered in off the street and asked lots of questions about warp and weft, materials, process, and longterm care, all of which were answered with grace and expertise.
As a bonus — well, by now you have to know I’m a little animal crazy. By day three of traveling, I was really homesick for my Wild Kingdom. Fortunately, Louisiana Loom Works houses eight friendly shop cats! So while I asked all my weaving questions and eavesdropped on conversations with the paying clientele, I was also able to get my kitty cat fix. #WIN
Next time you’re in N’awlins, please make sure to check these two fine shops out. You won’t regret it. And while you’re at it, wander through the rest of the French Quarter, eat a beignet, and try on some of the Mardi Gras masks. You only live once, after all.