Helmed by veteran knitter and patternmaker Kate Jackson, KNOTS - Knitting on the Square's in-depth classes help fledgling needlers build practical masterpieces row by row. Knot-makers study the nuances of knitting, learning how to cast on, bind off, and create the raised loop of the purl. During their two sessions, students fashion a pair of cotton dishcloths, adding a cozy sense of teamwork and enhanced high-five possibilities to routine kitchen chores. Supplies are not included and can be purchased at the establishment ($10–$12). The helpful hands at KNOTS also offer step-by-step guidance to knitters and crocheters of all skill levels during free Saturday morning workshops.
Walking into a HobbyTown USA is like simultaneously immersing yourself in a science fair, toy store, and art-supply shop. With many crafty options ranging from 1/25 scale 1969 Camaro model kits ($19.95) to easy-to-care-for ant farms ($17.99), the store has something for any age or interest. Spice up familial gatherings and barbeques with strangers with outdoor activities, such as flying Turbo Jet 2000 gliders ($4.99) or kites shaped like 3-D space shuttles ($19.87), which, unlike real space shuttles, serve decent in-flight meals. For rainy days, pick up a 10-piece carving-knife set ($4.95) and an eight-color all-purpose paint set ($12.15) to repurpose any banister as a totem pole of achievement.
Safire Rose’s full supply of beads includes glittering Swarovski crystals, strands of freshwater pearls ($5–$15), angelic crystal ($3.99–$7.99), black agate ($27.99), and seed beads that can be planted in soil to blossom into shimmering bead trees. After stocking up on supplies, take advantage of a complimentary class such as Basic Bead Stringing on August 12 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. or the Viking Knit Bracelet course on August 16 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., which can help students accessorize wrists without having to pillage Grendel’s mother’s jewelry drawer. Call ahead to register.
In 2007, Elisabeth Gevelber dubbed her newly opened gift store Simply Charming ~ Bijoux, Baubles & Bibelots—or, put more simply, jewelry, trinkets, and treasures—in tribute to the kaleidoscopic range of unique finds and finery she handpicks for her shelves. Whimsical handbags, fragrant candles, and Anokhi scarves hand-printed in India fill racks and open cabinets that stand against a lilac wall to frame an ever-changing inventory that refreshes every few weeks or with the moon's finicky fashion tastes. Gevelber also collects unique greeting cards from brands such as Koco and Mik Wright, whose colorful designs and occasionally snarky quips she relishes as mementos in an age of fleeting digital communication.