Restocking The Stash: On The Road With IPB Living, Chapter 4

Today was the big day — time to do a full-day, deep immersion trip to The Attic. We started things off with a side trip to this lovely, wee desert garden in North Scottsdale (as documented here), then made a quick stop at AJ’s, our old favorite grocery store, for some goodies to bring to Jean, Sandy and Deborah at The Attic.

Okay, that’s a total lie. We were using Jean, Sandy and Deborah as an excuse to get our hands on some of AJ’s cheesecake brownies; we used to get these every Friday to go with our traditional DiGiorno dinners, as a reward for surviving another crappy week in our crappy jobs. The brownies were every bit as good as we remembered, too. An added plus was that we got to drive past our old workplace on the way, where we pointed and chorused a lusty round of Nelson Muntz “Ha ha!”s at the poor souls stuck working there now.

Apparently when Boomer was just out of college and working in her first job, her stepfather, the immortal Cowboy Red, would tell her every time she brought home a certificate for completing training courses that it was something to put in her “Girl Graduate Book”. When we suggested we were going to take a picture of the old workstead, she cracked that it would go in our Girl Graduate Books. So… consider it done.

Along the drive down to Mesa, we got a nice look at Camelback Mountain again, in its full camel-y splendor.

The most exciting landmark on Camelback for little kids visiting their grandparents (and for the adults they grow up to be) is the Praying Monk, a rock formation that looks like, well, a praying monk. The name really does kind of say it all. (There is also a formation that looks just like Lincoln’s face, but you have to be on the other side of the mountain to see it.)

Okay, so sightseeing done, we descended upon The Attic at about 10 a.m.. We didn’t leave until 3:00 p.m.. Yeah, that’s right — five hours of stitching shopping. It was heavenly. So what goes on during all that time? Excellent question.

First, there’s the thread pulling. Most of the projects we buy aren’t kitted up, so we start with the chart, and then have to pull all the threads from Jean’s vast array of options. There’s DMC cotton, Needlepoint Inc silk, Gentle Arts and Weeks Dye Works overdyed cotton, Belle Soie overdyed silk, among many other options, and the old standby for every silk snob like us — Au Ver Au Soie.

Oftentimes the chart we’re looking at will be charted in a fiber we don’t want to use, so that’s when you break out the conversion chart.

Today Pookie was looking at a chart written for cotton, which is stitched with two plies, but she wanted to work it in silk, which is only stitched with one ply. That’s not normally a problem, but in this case, the chart called for blending two colors by working with one ply of each. This left Pookie with the task of choosing a substitute color to work in the combination’s place.

Here’s a green and a brown that were supposed to be worked together:

Here are the options she was considering:

And here, on the left, is the one she picked:

Fun, no? The more creative you get with a chart, and the more substitutions and color swaps you work in, the messier the chart itself ends up looking. Here’s a peek at Pookie’s tracking of the color changes she was planning:

Meanwhile, Schnookie was planning how to convert various and sundry charts from DMC or Needlepoint Inc into Elizabeth Bradley wools, for working on canvas.

Once the threads are all settled on for a project, the next step is to choose a linen. This is a very delicate step — the linen can make or break a project. This one, for a little Halloween piece, doesn’t do anything for us:

But this one? Is perfect:

Different materials and different palettes give all kinds of opportunities for different colors, counts, and “vintage” hand-dyed looks on the linens.

As we worked, our pile of supplies kept growing.

So, with plenty of time for chatting with the delightful ladies of The Attic, and a nice leisurely lunch, five hours spent at the shop translated into seven projects pulled by Pookie and eight by Boomer. It was especially fun to be there today, because it was open by appointment just for us — we had the whole shop to ourselves. For all that we’ve spent months looking forward to this trip, it amazingly exceeded all our expectations.

When we had finally exhausted ourselves completely, it was time to check out. Boomer was rung up first:

And then it was Pookie’s turn:

The final tally for a once-every-two-years restocking trip was, um, tens of dollars. Tens and tens. The whole pile looked pretty modest when it was bagged up…

… but spread out, it’s a pretty impressive haul. Here’s Boomer’s pile:

And here’s Pookie’s:

Not too shabby!

We headed back to the hotel after shopping and collapsed into a restful afternoon of stitching before heading back out to dinner. Our target tonight was Fashion Square Mall, where we wanted to do a little regular-person shopping and have a meal at Z Tejas. It’s hardly the world’s greatest restaurant, but it was our go-to “lazy weeknight” place to eat out when we lived here, and we love, love, love the Chambord margaritas. Dinner was predictably good, and left us feeling delightfully like we had to go back to work tomorrow morning. Heh. It’s always nice to get a reminder of how good life is by momentarily thinking that we’re still stuck in our crappy Arizona-life jobs. After we ate, we strolled the mall and Pookie found a kick-ass pair of sunglasses while Schnookie stumbled on the new purse she didn’t realize she was dreaming of. What could be better?

Storm clouds had covered this part of the valley while we were at the mall, so we drove home in the rain, then enjoyed one last night of stitching in our hotel, listening to the thunder outside. We’ll have to be up and at ’em in the wee hours of the morning tomorrow, though, to catch our early, early, early flight home. All in all, this has been a marvelous vacation — good times, good company, great stash restocking. It just doesn’t get better than that.


Filed under Away From Home, Bonanza!, On The Road, Pins and Needles, Pommerdoodling, Stitching

16 responses to “Restocking The Stash: On The Road With IPB Living, Chapter 4

  1. It was especially fun to be there today, because it was open by appointment just for us — we had the whole shop to ourselves.

    I was thinking that might be the case if you were spending five hours there! You guys are like celebrities, they open the place just for you!

    Very impressive haul. Will this hold you over for another few years? Were any scissors purchased? And where are the pictures of Schnookie’s haul?

  2. Amy

    You ladies made sure to leave supplies in the store for the next customers, right? ;-)

    Reading about you replenishing your stitching stock has gotten me to thinking about my winter knitting. I know I need to knit when I watch hockey games, since I’m less likely to want to throw something at the TV if my hands are occupied. I just need to pick colors and yarn. And maybe buy a new circular needle. And a row counter.


    First of all — those cheesecake brownie things? *dies*

    Secondly, I cannot believe your haul! This is amazing…I mean, I don’t think I’ve processed everything that you bought. Really. This is…awesome in such a brain-hurting way.

  4. You guys are like celebrities, they open the place just for you!

    It sounds like they do this quite a bit because of all the out-of-towners who can’t buy good supplies anywhere but Arizona, but I’m not going to lie — it felt supercool to be in the store when other people got turned away.

    This is…awesome in such a brain-hurting way.


    Well, essentially, I got something like… 3 “Icebergs” and 4 “Smaller-Than-Icebergs”. Does that help put it in perspective?

    Amy, the time is NOW for stocking up on winter knitting!

  5. Will this hold you over for another few years? Were any scissors purchased? And where are the pictures of Schnookie’s haul?

    Pretty much yes (but there will be auxiliary projects purchased along the way), surprisingly no, and The Attic doesn’t sell the supplies I like to use, so I picked charts and wrote out conversions to the wool threads I like to use, and will have to order the actual supplies online later. It was hugely fun, though, despite the lack of giant loot pile when I was done. :D

    Amy, you MUST start stocking up on yarn supplies! You never know when you might get snowed in without warning, and then where will you be?

    Caitlin, the cheesecake brownie was almost better than the stitching supplies. Heh.

  6. That cheesecake brownie looks amazing! The rest was so mind boggling it makes my head hurt. Wow. I’m glad y’all had such a fabulous time!

  7. Sarah

    I am not even being facetious when I saw that post was fascinating. Seriously. Paul and I were discussing the stitching trip (I didn’t know Boomer went too, fun!) and not really able to imagine it. who knew there were all those fancy aspects to your stitchery? (well, one might guess looking at your gorgeous finished products-will you be posting Tabitha’s?) Me, I went to Michael’s today and bought some all purpose thread. And they didn’t even have the colors I wanted. Welcome home!

  8. Sarah

    oops, I meant to write “when I SAY that post”

  9. Thanks for the welcome, Sarah! And I’m so glad you enjoyed the post — we figured it might be fun to share, since we didn’t realize how involved stitching shopping could be until we found The Attic in the first place. :D

  10. I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Sarah! (I’ll post about Tabitha’s piece soon, I promise!)

    who knew there were all those fancy aspects to your stitchery

    It’s even worse when Kate is with us. She tends to pull all the colors for a very colorful project but in all of her various fiber options then she picks and chooses and substitutes and then picks a linen and then goes back and substitutes a ton based on how the linen looks. It takes forever. But her work always looks fantastic when she’s done, so I guess it’s worth it! :D

  11. Caitlin, the cheesecake brownie was almost better than the stitching supplies. Heh.

    Damn, I need to learn how to make cheesecake brownies. ::drool::

    Well, essentially, I got something like… 3 “Icebergs” and 4 “Smaller-Than-Icebergs”. Does that help put it in perspective?

    Yes, and that makes me kinda want to cry for you! But I’m so excited that y’all had fun! And had so many great experiences! YAY!

    (I started in on Icebergs by the way. I may tear through a couple bottles of vodka for “support” before it’s finished. Jesus, Mary & Joseph, it’s going to be a long one.)

  12. I was considering writing the grocery store to ask if they could give me the recipe for those brownies. That’s how good they are. If I ever do, I’ll be sure to share it with you. :D

    And I’m not at all surprised that you’re going to need a lot of vodka support on The Icebergs. A piece that looks like that clearly has a lot of alcohol involved in the stitching process.

  13. Caitlin, if copious amounts of vodka doesn’t make the Icebergs better, I’ll eat my hat.

  14. Sue

    Ohhhhh I’m living through you all vicariously..well was anyway, while you out at The Attic and okay the in the garden too. Sigh…I love The Attic…and isn’t Jean the greatest????
    I planned a business trip around thier Stitch Night last Fall…because I could…and it was so worth meeting such a nice group of ladies. Thank you for sharing your trip with us.

  15. I love The Attic…and isn’t Jean the greatest????

    She sure is! It was so great to see her again (and Deborah, and Sandy). I’m sad it’s going to be another three years or so before we get out there again. Thank goodness there’s the Newsletter to fall back on!

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