Craft Quest: Seattlecomments (3) May 4th, 2009
I live and craft in Seattle and am always exploring my favorite neighborhoods, with an eye peeled for cool craft shops and indie boutiques. Here are a few of my favorite ‘hoods and haunts.
I am lucky to live in Wallingford, home to Dave Matthews and some charming shops and restaurants. I like to peruse the Wallingford Farmer’s Market on Wednesdays in the parking lot of the Wallingford Center, a former schoolhouse. I can usually find a few great craft booths tucked in between stands of local produce, seafood, breads, and flowers. Inside Wallingford Center, I hang out at Bad Woman Yarn, a tiny but well-stocked shop on the main level. If I need sustenance, I savor a red velvet cupcake at Trophy Cupcakes. Believe me, it’s worth the $2.99 price tag. I love to walk down Stone Way N. to Fusion Beads, my favorite bead store of all time (and not because I used to work there part-time). The class offerings, website, and retail space are extensive, and the staff extremely knowledgeable. This is a destination for any jewelry-maker visiting Seattle.
My favorite yarn shop is nestled in a charming block on top of Queen Anne hill. Located in a Craftsman home, Hilltop Yarn is chockablock with luscious yarns, and the lovely staff churns out original patterns with crazy regularity. Almost directly across Queen Anne Ave. N is Nancy’s Sewing Basket, a high-end fabric shop with a jewel box of a ribbon room in the back. Now that I’ve started sewing, this store is lethal to my bank account. They stock traditional tailor's and milliner's materials, along with French lace and fancy-pants fabrics that you can't help but stroke. To check out what other local craftanistas are creating, I love popping into Bouncing Wall, “a retail boutique and gallery” that features the work of more than 90 local artists and designers. Last time I was there, I picked up a new wallet by randL. It’s so cool; I wish I had made it. I was giddy from my purchase, so I treated myself to a latte at Eat Local, a wonderful store that features a coffee bar, a huge selection of prepared foods from Washington farmers, and lovely prints by Olympia artist Nikki McClure.
Speaking of cool and lovely, Ballard continues to be the “it” neighborhood. Naturally, being cool and all, I spend a lot of time there. The Sunday Farmer’s Market has become a weekly tradition; I can pick up organic essential oils from Ballard Organics, buy sustainable clothing from Texture, and look at handmade jewelry. Oh yeah, there’s loads of local farm stands, artisan cheeses, raw honey, fresh sausages, and bouquets as well.
The rest of the week I can be found fingering the fabrics at The Quilting Loft or trying on Una clothing at Velouria (I bought this dress for my birthday dinner. Sweet, no?). Bouncing Wall’s Ballard counterpart is Venue, a space that features artists’ work studios and a boutique. I dig Caitlin Dundon’s pieces: boxes, mirrors, and cards adorned with free-form calligraphy (I bought a coffee table from her about 10 years ago that features quotes from a 1940s book of charm; it’s still my prized piece of furniture).
Belltown and Pike Place Market
Belltown is generally known for its nightclubs, restaurants, and spendy boutiques. It’s also become a destination for crafters. I start at So Much Yarn, where the lovely and vast yarn offerings are surpassed only by its lovely staff. I meander down First Ave. toward Pike Place Market and pop into World Beads. Not the biggest or cheapest store, it’s still a bead store and I’ve never met one I didn’t like in some way. I love poking around Pike Place Market; the stores below the main level feature a variety of strange and wondrous goodies, but I confess I love looking at the fresh flowers, flying fish, and artists’ wares. My friends Kimberly Sun and Wendy Sloneker both have nabbed coveted spots to sell fabulous embossed leather goods and knitted items, respectively. When I plan ahead, I make a lunch reservation at the recently renovated and insider favorite Matt's in the Market. After a long day crafting, I figure a peppered turkey and cambozola sandwich is just the snacklet I need before going home and pulling an all-night craft bender with my new goodies.