The crafty instructors at Bead It! oversee the symbiosis of string and bead with an array of bead- and jewelry-making classes. The Beginning Bead class familiarizes budding jewelers with the fundamental bead varieties, tool operations, and the age-old sport of spotting beads on the floor ($20). More experienced beadsters can conga-line into the Swarovski Crystal Clusters class to create crystallized bracelets and earrings ($20), or try out the Texturing and Stamping Basics course, in which students embed and accentuate jewels with personalized designs, patterns, and mini etchings of famous cereal-box characters ($35).
Painters, graphic artists, and architects have found the tools of their trade at the one-stop Top Notch Art Centre since 1971. A floor-to-ceiling picture window beckons passersby on Craig Street, where shade trees shelter a block of historic buildings and small businesses, including a rare bookshop and a cobbler for broken dreams. Inside, the staff leads 2-D artists toward the right brush for watercolor or oil from their selection of Winsor Newtons, or printmaking papers from Arches Cover and BFK Rives lines. The store also makes an effort to seek out artisanal brands, such as Gamblin Artists Oils and Mt. Vision Handmade Pastels. Bookbinders can pick up screw posts and glue, and drafters can run their fingers over delicate, smooth vellum and curl them around the curves and angles of nine types of stylus guides. Past the tall, narrow aisles, a framing shop encases completed works of art in glass and caution tape to prepare them for display.
Knit One focuses on the communal and therapeutic aspects of knitting, welcoming new or established lovers of the fiber arts to practice their craft in a space dedicated to camaraderie and companionship. Whether they're knitting scarves or crocheting a new motorcycle cover, guests can stock up on high-quality needles, yarns, and supplies within the open, airy shop.
Materials are only one part of life at Knit One, though. Guests frequently bring projects with them, settling into comfortable sofas for an afternoon of work and idea swapping. Balls of yarn also unravel in small classes, where students let the day's stress melt away as socks, headbands, and tea cozies come into fruition. No matter what the reason for their visit, customers can count on the shop's knowledgable staff for everything from expert knitting tips to customer service assistance.
For more than 30 years, Dreadnought Wines’ staff of wine connoisseurs has helped customers navigate an ever-expanding selection of vinos through regular tastings and classes. The shop stocks boutique wines from around the world, with an emphasis on bottles from France, Italy, Australia, Argentina, and the United States. Customers can request a custom sampling via a personal tasting, or can drop in for one of the shop’s themed classes to get a definitive answer to the question of whether wine is considered a food group.
Fabulous Cookies' iced pound cake, Pittsburgh Popcorn Company's chocolate-caramel popcorn, and George Howe Co.'s jumbo cashews nearly spill over a colorful rendering of The Incline. The Steel Town icon graces the outside of the Birthday from the Burgh basket, a signature Basket of Pittsburgh item packed solely with goods from local vendors. In fact, 'Burgh-born contents are the common thread through all of the company's gift baskets, whether the basket's theme is Steelers Mania, romance, or new baby.