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7 December 2009

Christmas shopping and American Yarns

Hanno and I had a lovely weekend.  Cricket was being played in Adelaide so I knitted while watching it in bits and pieces, and Hanno came in and took a break every so often.  It's great to be in this stage of life when we can do what we like.  It brings peace along with the relaxation to know that our time is our own now.

I thought some of my readers outside Australia might like to see inside one of our shopping centres, although I'm pretty sure these places are much the same the world over.

We went shopping on Friday!  It was our one day for Christmas shopping and we drove into the south side of Brisbane.  We thought we'd discovered a new shopping centre but when we went inside we realised it was just an extension of the already huge Chermside mall.  We decided we'd have a good look around when we walked inside but all we did was walk into Target (and bought nothing) then down to Myer (and bought one thing) and back to David Jones, stopping for a cup of tea along the way.  I love David Jones, even now it's like the British Country Living magazine to me.  I don't go there any more but I still love the look of the shop.  We bought what we needed there and had a look upstairs and down, but we were out of the shopping centre in less than two hours.  We only bought what we needed and we started and finished our Christmas shopping in that short period.

A blue Christmas tree!

Then we went to our real target for the day  - the American Yarn store at Grovely.  Now theoretically, that should only be a short drive from the shopping centre; I'm guessing maybe 20 minutes in city traffic.  Well, one hour later, after completely frustrating Hanno with the Google map I printed out (I insisted we didn't need our city map book which we left at home),  we arrived.  Gabrielle, the owner of the shop, is a lovely woman and the walls of her shop are packed with all sorts of cotton, wool, soy, bamboo and mixtures of those fibres with acrylic.  She even had stretch sock yarn which I'd never heard of before.

A wall of yarn.

Other yarns of interest were my favourite Lions brand cotton, Sugar n Cream, Debbie Bliss and many luxury yarns that felt wonderful to the touch.  Gabrielle also has a lot of multicoloured yarns that make up into interesting socks, bags and shrugs.  There are plenty of knitting needles and crochet hooks to buy, bags, handles for bags, pattern books, looms, and much more.  Free project sheets for the little bags on the side are available at Gabrielles online store.  It's a small shop but it's stocked by someone who knows her crafts and graciously shares what she knows.  There are yarns in this shop I doubt you'd find anywhere else in Australia.  I loved it and will definitely buy from her again, although maybe next time it will be from her online store.  I ended up buying a huge ball of Bernat 100% cotton and two balls of pale blue and pale pink cotton.  The cost?  Under $25.  I keep looking at the big pale yellow cotton and smiling.  It's really lovely.  I'll start working with it over Christmas.

Another thing I really liked about American Yarns was that Gabrielle was crocheting a pair of shoes!  She's using hemp for the soles and cotton for the tops.  Amazing!

Have a look for yourself because there is so much to see at her online shop and also her blog.  If you're on the brink of learning how to crochet or knit, this will tip you over the edge into the wonderful world of yarn, and if you're already there, you'll probably love this place as much as I did.

All those sheets hanging at the front of the yarns are free project sheets.
Generally I'm hesitant to buy online from small stores but I can recommend American Yarns to you.  Gabrielle knows her yarns and will give you good advice.  She has also generoslly offered a 10% discount to all Down to Earth readers when buying from her store.  Please use the code: "Down2Earth" to get your discount. Thanks Gabrielle!


  1. Thanks so much for sharing this lovely treasure trove shop with your readers, Rhonda. By my calculations, we are about forty minutes away from said shop - might have to take a little drive there. :-)
    Tracy (Brisbane)

  2. Rhonda Love American yarns too.I have used the big ball cotton and it is just so lovely to knit up and makes great dishcloths/face washer. The price is good too.
    I bought mine online and had great service.

  3. Oh Rhonda you, I promised not to buy any new yarn until I have used up some of my stash but now looking at American Yarn I just might.

  4. Yoohoo Tracy and Pippa!

    Debbie, it's good to hear the online service was good. :- )

  5. I put in an order at the beginning of the year, I think I had my order arrive within a few days, at about the minimum postal time from her to me, so turnaround time for orders seems pretty fast. It's one of the few places in Australia that you buy good cotton for dishcloths.

  6. Ooh, what a gorgeously lovely yarn shop Rhonda!

    I'm so impressed with your Christmas shopping all being done in one trip. The sign of relaxation and organisation :)

    (oh, and I did say I'd let you know, although I won't blame you if you've forgotten all about it, but my PhD exam was this week, and I didn't get the outcome I'd hoped for at all... another year of writing, just when I'd hoped I was finally rid of the darn thing! Still, patience and positivity and all that...)

    Best wishes,


  7. Thanks for the feedback, Toria.

    Dear Jenn, that's so disappointing. I'm sorry you have another year of work on it. You know all the cliches I could write now but I'll leave you with this thought. When I was doing my degree, my computer crashed at the end of a very long and complex assignment on French literary philosophers. Ugh! I had to have the assignment in the following Monday and this happened on the Friday. I spend the weekend rewriting from the books I had and what was in my head, (I didn't take any notes!) and when I got that back, it had a high distinction stamped on it. I actually came up with new thoughts on the second write. I hope you get a similar positive outcome at the end of next year. But I do understand your feelings right now. Of course I remembered. :- ) I send warm hugs to you.

  8. I just discovered knitting and so love to check out knitting blogs and online knitting stores. Thank you so much for sharing these. (BTW, the mall in Brisbane looks just like the malls here in Colorado....)

  9. I think I could probably stay in that store for days on end!

  10. Hi Rhonda
    I was wondering after Fridays post if you were going to visit American Yarns, isn't it the best shop. Thankfully I only live about a 20 minute drive away so can visit often, well possibly not too often.
    Wow you must have been at Chermside early in the morning not many people around, best time to shop if you have to be there.
    Have a great week
    Lisa/ellimay (Bris Vegas)

  11. I have presented you with an award. Please don't feel under any pressure to accept it! See my blog for further details.

  12. Hi Rhonda, Gabrielle's shop looks delightful and, as my personal Santa has been asking me what I'd like, I think you may have provided the answer. :) We did our Christmas shopping yesterday and it was a lovely experience. We got up early and drove down to Berry Markets, had a lovely time and spent very little when you look at the lovely jams, sauces, embroidery etc. We were home by lunch time and I felt quite smug. :-) Pats to The Lovely Alice.

  13. What a beautiful shop full of lovely yarns!
    Chermside looks lovely all decorated, but it sure is huge! I do miss the more "flasher" look the city shopping centres have - down here they're not as lavishly decorated. Have a nice day
    Renata :)

  14. Well, the only noticeable difference between the Australian and American shopping centers (malls?) is that most people aren't wearing tank tops and capris during Christmas time!

    I've just gotten really into knitting and, fortunately for me, it's a pretty inexpensive hobby ... seeing your cheery dishcloths inspired me to take it up in earnest.

  15. Thank you for sharing this Rhonda. I learnt basic crochet earlier this year and am slowly increasing my skills. Next year I hope to learn to knit. This store looks wonderful, I will pop over to the blog as well. Hope you have a lovely week.
    xx B.

  16. Hi
    I checked out the American yarn site. I waa surprised they carry
    American spinning wheels only. When I purchased my wheel years ago I was told to buy an Ashford which is a New Zealand wheel - which I love....Betty (usa)

  17. Enjoyed reading about the country bumpkins going to the city. You coped well! My mum would go mad in that wool shop but I moved to the Sunshine Coast to avoid wearing her home-kits. Too hot here:)

    Very jealous of your chickens. I love them and they look gorgeous.

    Have just written a story about my life here called The Problem With Aussie Birds. It might amuse you. It's here: http://www. and it's about the feathered kind by the way:)

    Keep writing your brilliant blog and maybe I'll escape from suburbia and join you in the countryside one day.

  18. are you following me? i went to both places last thursday! how did you get out of chermy in 2 hours, that place is madness!
    gabrielle sure is very helpful. i'm a newbie to the world of yarn & crochet & i picked up a lovely (easy) baby blanket pattern (for free) and lots of lovely yarn to make it and some dishcloths. she is nestled amongst a cute bunch of crafty shops it is definately worth finding her.

  19. Rhonda, I would love a pair of shoes like the ones that were being crocheted - they are gorgeous!

    Thank you for sharing,

  20. Well, pursuant to reading about this wonderful shop this morning, I decided to spontaneously pay it a visit early this afternoon. I had other business to conduct, so decided to do it in the NW suburbs. ALAS! It is not open on Mondays (sigh). I had to be content with a peek through the window (and it looked delightful in there). I will resort to an online order, as I no of no other places to find these yarns.
    Tracy (Brisbane)

  21. Oh, lucky you! What a beautiful store! The yellow yarn you bought is beautiful- do you have any projects in mind?
    Yarn stores and quilting stores are some of my favorites to shop at. Even if I'm not going to buy anything, the beautiful colours are worth going.
    Your shopping centers are quite the same as those in Canada. Ours are usually packed, so if we have to go, it's only for a couple hours. I love small stores best... more personal. It looks like you had a lovely day!
    The Girl in the Pink Dress

  22. I love yarn shops! So does my 79 year old neighbor although her "stash" is like a yarn shop itself!!!

  23. Rhonda,
    I'm sure you've had plenty of offers and I know I'm a bit of a lurker (but have been reading your blog for quite a while now)but I would be more than willing to ship you over any American yarns that I can get my hands on for you. I also wanted to thank you for giving us a glimpse into life on the other side of the world :) I'm a library teacher in a very rural elementary school and my kids love hearing about (and have a hard time believing) that there is a place where it is hot and summer during Christmas! :) Thanks! Jessica

  24. It's so funny to see people wearing shorts and warm-weather clothing being displayed on the mannequins! Today in Nebraska the windchill is 20 below zero (F)!!!
    I enjoyed your post today!


  25. What, Rhonda, you don't spin? ;)

    My stash of both yarn and fiber is starting to look like a yarn shop...and I can't seem to make progress on whittling it down!

    I agree on the Bernat cotton. Very very soft. I have made a couple baby sweaters from it and they only soften up more after washing.

    I'm spinning and then knitting nearly all my Christmas gifts this year. Lots to do, but hopefully they are appreciated. I get such satisfaction out of putting love and intention into gifts though! My favorite part of the holiday season is the giving part.

  26. What a beautiful shop full of lovely yarns!
    Thank you.

  27. Thank you so much for this post - I am always on the lookout for cotton yarn for my dishcloths.
    I used to think that I was out of the ordinary about 12 years ago, when I started knitting dishcloths for myself - at this time I couldn't tempt other people into using them.
    Now there has been a big shift - I supply a friend of mine in Brisbane, who fell in love with them after I posted her a few to sample. Have recently posted some to my friend who now lives in Geelong, Victoria.
    Have also printed off your pattern from the site to add to my "very big collection" of patterns.

    Now I am going to browse through the on line shop you mentioned.


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