In Case You Worry

I wanted you to know that I got needles,  not that anyone’s staying up late at night, staring at the ceiling and thinking "I sure do hope that Steph got a pair of needles yesterday" although you would, if you could see the massive queues here at Vancouver Airport today.  Me being able to knit is occasionally a public safety issue.   I went for a walk yesterday morning – after I hit the gym (so unlike me, but the rally is soon. Can’t fall off the training curve) I headed down from the hotel to a place that someone had told me might have knitting needles – Dressew.  (I know.  It’s a weird name.)

I found it with no  trouble, and went right in.   Dudes, this place is cool.  There was a huge button section (I did not succumb.  If you know me, this is a substantial triumph over the almighty power of buttons.) This is only "some" of the buttons.

There was a massive fringe section. (This held no power over me, but was fascinating.  Who knew?)

There were a hundred million zippers…

and a wig section where I found myself strangely compelled.  (I almost bought one.  What’s up with that?  Perhaps a lifetime of dissatisfaction with my hair just caught up with me, right there in Dressew.) 

I found a needle section, but there were no knitting needles…

until I came round a corner and found the tiniest little knitting needles section you ever saw. 

This didn’t annoy me, because it is a sewing shop, after all, not a knitting shop (which really, really doesn’t explain the wigs) so I just crossed my fingers that there would be what I needed.

There wasn’t. The straight metal needles went right from 4mm to 5mm, like 4.5 wasn’t even a possibility.  I ended up grabbing a pair of bamboo straights in the right size – and just resolved to be of good humour. 

I bought them, and walked back trying to let how pretty Vancouver is make all the difference.

By the time I got to class, it turned out that a rescue had been launched by a student, who had just the right needles, and let me take them.

So everything is okay.

I thought you would want to know. You know.  In the interest of public safety. 
Next stop, San Francisco.

125 thoughts on “In Case You Worry

  1. Dressew is a truly amazing place – sort of stuck in a time warp – of the very best kind. 🙂

  2. I wish we had a store like that. I think I could get lost in there. So glad you got your needles.

  3. Don’t underestimate the concern that your readers have for you. My husband took me out to lunch today and on the way there, while I was knitting, I was telling him about your near knitting panic and how you needed a particular size of needles. We’ve been married almost 43 years. He is used to this sort of conversation from me. I’m glad it all worked out. As for the wigs, I guess if someone sews a costume then they might need a wig to complete the effect but otherwise I don’t get it either.

  4. All those buttons!!! And wigs, too! Dressew is one of those quirky finds that sounds totally awesome (even if they don’t have many knitting needles…)!

  5. The wigs are due to the fact that so many Vancouverites use Dressew as an end all, be all for costumes…hence all the wigs. The place is NUTZ during the ramp up to Halloween.

  6. Safe Travels to you. I’ll see you Sunday morning. Shall I bring you a cold local brew??

  7. So glad you got the needles. I was going to stop by Verb on Saturday to drop off a spare set for you. Safe travels!

  8. Thanks so much for the Vancouver pics. We went there on vacation last fall. So bummed though, Dressew was closed when we were in that part of town. It looks fun.

  9. Since you’re coming to San Francisco, I proudly suggest that you follow up this with a lovely post about Britex. They may not have that many buttons, but they do have the Button Lady. Her powers are limitless when it comes to matching button to garment. So worth a trip.

  10. OY!!!! The last time I saw that many buttons was in a little shop in Florence Italy but, as is common in Europe, it was not self serve. And it was jam-packed. Worth the wait tho, everyone comments on the buttons and that sweater.

  11. Vancouver, next stop San Francisco? I am super jealous! (Or envious, or whichever is the nice one).
    Also, I hope that you wandered around the Library and pretended you were in Caprica!

  12. The oddest “knitting store” that I’ve ever visited was in Oxford. Not only could you buy baby clothes, you could get keys made, and there was an excellent selection of shoe polish! The yarn was sadly lacking in non-acrylic options.

  13. Hooray for rescue needles! Although I confess that upon seeing the wondrous aisle of zippers, I flashed back to the sewing store employee who suggested your problem finding a zipper to match your sweater stemmed from your not knitting with “standard” colors. Obviously, that person had not been exposed to the splendor that is Dressew.

  14. Next time ….. go around the corner from Dressew to find a whole store dedicated to nothing but buttons! Coolest place ever, albeit a bit on the spendy side.

  15. It’s good to know you found proper needles! If not, I was going to bring some for you to your talk at VFKW on Sunday. 🙂 Can’t wait to see you there!

  16. I’m so glad the needle crisis has been solved. Public safety is important. 🙂

  17. Ha ha ha…Dressew blows my mind every single time! I have all these great plans until I actually go downstairs and then every coherent thought just flies out of my head and I end up with nothing that I thought I wanted and a whole lot that I didn’t even know existed until I saw it on their shelves. Definitely not a place to shop without a well written list, lol.

  18. I was sending you good needle vibes all day yesterday, so I’m super glad they made it all the way up to you! 🙂

  19. I would have loved to see the wig you would have picked out!
    Have a great time in SF. Glad you got the right needles. It would have been all over the news about the knitter who lost it at the airport.

  20. I think if I was looking for needles and came upon that massive button wall I would blow an aneurism. That is the definition of overload. Right there in that shop.

  21. If you had continued down the road toward the water, you would have stumbled on a true Vancouver treat: Button Button. A store entirely devoted to buttons. No needles though so it would have just been a distraction.

  22. Wigs, huh? Can’t figure that one out, but oh, those buttons would be worth whiling away an entire afternoon. Glad you found the needles.

  23. While I must confess, it did not keep me awake, and I was not aware of the threat to public safety, especially in the airports, I did hope that you would find the needed needles. I had faith in you and your readers. Enjoy!!

  24. I can sleep tonite knowing you got your needles. Thank goodness for the kind hearted student! We knitters are awesome! LOL

  25. Ok. Curiosity is killing me. Who (besides me) is sorely tempted to bring a wig to Verb?

  26. All those buttons and not a Catkin in sight. If buttons really held power over you, you’d have gotten some for the poor Catkin by now. I am almost demanding you just send the unloved piece to me. I could find it some buttons, I’m tellin’ ya!

  27. And all those pretty colored needles (may they be plastic) didn’t make your heart swoon… I wouldn’t be able to walk away with a pair of bamboos from there… (I am such a sucker for colored needles, though Signature… I am dreamingof, but cannot afford)…and those buttons…uhhh-ohhh-ahhhh

  28. Holy buttons Batman!!
    And are you wearing white linen pants? How chic of you!

  29. I wonder if we could send Dressew a swatch of fabric or portion of yarn and have a zipper mailed back? NEVER even dreamed there were so many.

  30. I’m glad you found your needles! It just furthers that today, Friday the 13th, is a good day. I might be bias because it’s also my 30th birthday 🙂

  31. OK, I figured it out! Dressew isn’t pronounced
    “Dress-wuh”, but “Dress-sew”. I want to go to Dressew!!! Glad you got your needles!

  32. OK I need the address of that store!!! We’ll be going through Vancouver to introduce baby girl to her paternal great-grandmother in Victoria and I must buy some buttons!

  33. Really enjoyed the class last night AND *I found my 14″ straights; they are NOT back at a thrift shop!* Mom would have been proud.

  34. It was keeping me up night-just so you know, and only my crazy-a work schedule all summer long kept me from the rescue road trip to bring you needles. That and the knowledge that somewhere, some other knitter who lived closer MUST have that same urge.
    Have a great weekend, hate to see you stressed, but love how productive it seems to make you. every cloud…

  35. Dressew, it’s a fabric, notions, costume mecca that beats to it’s own drum. Closes at 5:45pm and remember you have to pay with cash or debit only.

  36. Dressew looks like the sorta place that Tim Gunn needs to loose the next Project Runway designers {G} Glad you got the needles.

  37. Well I’m glad you enjoyed Dressew, but there’s an actual knitting store about 4 blocks east from Dressew! Wool is not enough. She has knitpicks needles and some pretty nice yarn to boot. Ah well, at least you got your needles.

  38. Dressew came up when I searched for “yarn” on google maps during a recent visit to Vancouver. Crazy store, but I didn’t even find the knitting needle section while there – – It was just before Halloween and the costumes were aplenty, however!

  39. You’re making me miss my hometown.
    And Dressew is weird, in the best possible way. There are, however, six billion other places in the city to get your needles, including second hand stores (50c a pair for the nice metal ones.

  40. My mom and I have a trip to Van and Dressew is on the list. Apparently there is a great button store within a block (in case you were having second thoughts).

  41. Yay! San Francisco!!! Come on down!!! Don’t forget to have some chocolate at Ghiradellis. No problem for you. You’ll burn off the extra calories on your bike. Yay!!!

  42. So glad you experienced Dressew. It is bizarre, and it get really weird right before Halloween – for some reason it’s the best costume shop in town at that time. And on rare occasions, they get big shipments of fancy chocolates that they sell for dirt cheap.

  43. You should note that some of the needles at Dressew cost as little as $0.49 CAD. A pair.
    I’ve been going to that store for over 20 years and it never ceases to make me spend hours and hours wandering the aisles enjoying all the randomness. I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on yarn, needles, buttons, trim, fabric, costumes, beads, zippers, embroidery floss, leather… you get the picture. Back in the day half of the bottom floor was filled with different kinds of trim that was around $0.25/meter. I bought so much.
    I love Dressew.

  44. won’t use my real name for this comment, but in the 80s Dressew was THE source for all things needed for exotic dancers costumes…now that I’m an old lady who knits I go for the buttons 🙂

  45. Now I’ve got the B-52s’ song “Wig” running through my head — along with a mental image of you dressed up as Kate Pierson, the redheaded singer in the group. Hmmmm, there’s a Halloween idea for you and your sister — go as Kate and her colleague Cindy Wilson. Do you two know the words to “Roam” or “Love Shack”?

  46. LOVE DRESSEW…once scored a BUNCH of Jaeger booklets there, even though the knitting section is indeed slender.
    Pleased you got your 4.5’s in any case…GOTTA have that ’emergency knitting’ available at ALL times!

  47. Just to explain the wigs: Dressew IS Halloween central in October, always has been. Along with the fabrics, and fringe, and buttons…a fantastic resource for years.

  48. Ooh, Vancouver! Should we ever find a way to manage my daughter’s panic in an aeroplane, I’d love to head back there (and do somew island-hopping – also need to conquer her panic on ferries for that)…
    As an avid Tour de France follower, you are greatly in my thoughts, Ms. Harlot. Sending you my greatest respect and the little bit of cash I can spare (that actually went on Sam’s account a little while back).
    Good on yer!

  49. Can’t wait to see you – and learn from the mistress! TWO DAYS in a row!!! See you tomorrow morning at VERB (happy dance all night long). YAY!!! 😀

  50. OMG!!!!! How on earth did you resist that button heaven… if I’d have stumbled on that the world would HAVE to have stopped turning for at least a fortnight whilst I was in raptures.
    You are a much stronger person than me :0)

  51. Pardon but it’s still early for me but dress sew I get it now …. but seriously I wouldn’t have been able to resist those buttons even with a gun to my head!

  52. Please Oh Wise One, provide us with the secret of how to resist the button side??
    Especially as I have just received a 40% off coupon for the sewing store via the magic of the interwebs & I have not had a spend for many eons.
    I would love to see all those tubes explode & roll around in the buttons!!
    LOL, sorry just got carried away there!!
    Enjoy San Fran.
    London, UK

  53. Besides knitting I also belly dance. I don’t think I could have resisted the fringe section. Now thinking Vancouver should be added to my list of great places to go for vacation.

  54. wow! if my clothing-designer niece went to dressew, she’d think she was in the annex to heaven!
    best of luck with your ride! i’ve been striving for a far lesser fitness goal this summer, and the heat has made it hard to trudge onward, but you’ve inspired me.

  55. Gotta get you to visit us in the Boston area sometime soon. I have been riding bicycles for a while and the distance is long but you have been building up to the ride. Just be sure you are on a good bike that weighs about 20-30 lbs and has lots of gearing (18-21 cogs). The tires are pumped up. And you fit the bike which is most important!
    There is always the question does the bottom become adjusted to the saddle or does the saddle become adjusted to the bottom! Oh! and get a gel cover for the saddle, errrr… bottom!

  56. Dressew looks a lot like Windsor Button, though WB has greatly expanded their knitting supplies, but they still have lots of buttons (obvi), trims, feather boas, and various sewing notions. Then there’s all the yarn. Be sure to visit next time you are in Beantown.

  57. Maybe Dressew carries the wigs for theatrical costuming? Regardless, I’m putting their info into my phone in case I’m ever in Vancouver again!

  58. I second the recommendation of Britex! Also, I call on your Bay Area fans to greet you with Recchiuti chocolates. Or you can go to the Ferry Building yourself for a lovely food-oriented ramble (Recchiuti has a shop there).

  59. I actually was wondering if you found them! The horror of not having knitting!?!
    I think the great part of knitting everywhere is your children. My DD introduced me to her friend like this, “This is my Mom….she knits!” I just loved it and will never forget something so simple.
    Thanks for making me laugh. I going through an insanely hard time and you bless me though your words.
    hugs, jody
    p.s. my dd was the flute player at Powell’s in Portland!

  60. Ah yes…..I spent many, many lunch hours there. Not to mention left lots of money there too.
    At one time, for about 3 years, they did have discounted, discontinued yarns that they bought from warehouses across North America. As novelty yarn waned they had lots of that, then they started getting Gedifra, Schachenmayer/Regia – som 100% wool. Ok, so not everybody’s favourite (except all the Regia sock yarn). But hey they were ALL $1.99 !!!
    The local yarn shops were poo-pooing it and they had to stop selling it. We were all upset and told our LYS that as yarn-aholics we still spent as much at their shops.

  61. So glad that you got needles. I’m coming to see you in SF tomorrow night and thought about bringing you some, but wasn’t sure what length/type/material you would want and figured that you’d have found some by then. So happy that I was right.

  62. Good grief. Am I the only woman whose first thought (after OMG look buttons look fringe look zippers….) was where is the Ladies’ Room so I can shop ’til I drop!!!

  63. Thanx for the Vancouver pix. Glad you were rescued.
    The buttons were awesome….

  64. I’ve actually been thinking a lot about how you need needles and hoping that it was worked out so you could enjoy SF. So glad someone took care of that!

  65. I love Dressew so much. In a few Ontario towns there is Len’s Mill store, which is a similar hodge podge of crafting, but with much more yarn.
    At Halloween, Dressew is in full-blown costume mode. The wigs are part of their all-year selection of costumes.
    Glad you were given the needles you needed!

  66. Dressew is a great place but not the best for knitting supplies. There’s a little kiosk of a yarn store a few blocks east that has high end stuff.
    Someday, if you’re in Vancouver in the fall, you’ll have to do a Yarn Harvest yarn crawl. (See the group on Ravelry.) We have great stores here.

  67. Stephanie, if you find time to read all this way down through the comments and still have 10 minutes to spare (ha!), this little clip might interest you in regard to your cycling prep:
    You go girl!

  68. What an awesome looking shop. I reckon I could just spend hours mooching around in there. Vancouver looks really lovely. I had a University lecturer who was from Vancouver. He said it was a lot like Perth. I can see what he means. We have lovely knitting shops here…..*hint, hint* lol

  69. San Francisco should be cool this time of year! My grandparents used to live there, and I invariably catch a cold every visit. But it’s a nice change from proper summer weather.

  70. I was in Vancouver and went to Dressew Supply on Saturday the 7th. I’d heard stories about yarn, but there wasn’t much but I did buy ribbon, cords, and toggles to sew knitting bags and some silk fabrics. I know what you mean about the wigs. I almost fell for a Kool Aid blue beehive wig. Powerful stuff. The blinding pink one was nice too. Right around the corner is a small, wonderful shop called, Button Button’ with black sheep buttons and a knitted surround for the cash desk.

  71. WOW – next to a yarn store filled with just sock yarn – this would be my other dream place!!!!
    looked awesome!!! so many zippers!!!!!

  72. oh my, the buttons…and zippers. i wish there was a store like that around here!!
    now i have “wig in a box” stuck in my head…

  73. I just returned from riding my bicycle along the Erie Canal, Buffalo to Albany. I had a knitting emergency, and the Mayor of Palmyra, NY brought me needles in order to avert a knitting disaster! The possibilities with knitters in seats of power boggle the mind! … Next time you are in NYC, check out Tender Buttons on the west side.

  74. I’m surprisingly comforted by the fact that you have needles you like :-). Happy knitting.

  75. I loved your talk in Oakland. I was the one who mentioned This American Life episode about Dopamine & gambling. I highly recommend listening. When woman treated for Parkinson’s recives synthetic dopamine, trouble ensues. Explanation involving monkeys & anticipatory rewards, was right up with your explanation tonight. Bravo!

  76. I see they strapped you in to make sure you weren’t going anywhere with your pointed sticks. 😉

  77. Arg. I had my own adventure trying to find buttons for various knitted things that are nearing completion, and had a miserable time trying to find *anything* that would work. Looks like Dressew is the place to go! If only Vancouver wasn’t so far!

  78. When we were headed up to SF last weekend, I wanted to check the address for Verb, and got excited because I saw you were speaking on a Sunday! …which of course was this Sunday, not last Sunday. Then I was sad.

  79. I’d say that Dressew has figured out that a fair amount of the sewing that goes on is for costumes. I certainly used to make them for my daughter. As there’s not a whole lot of money to be made off of home sewers these days (the demise of the fabric stores is indeed alarming) I’d guess that if it’s related and turns a profit they’ll stock it.
    Interesting that garment making has not experienced the renaissance that knitting and quilting appear to have. Perhaps people are more intimidated by the complexities although I’d say it’s like any other craft, start simple and work your skill level up.
    I thought the name made sense Dress Sew, just wish there was a store with this kind of stock in Toronto still, makes you long for Dressmakers supply or Benny & Textile Importers (he was one of a cast of garment trade characters back in the day).

  80. That is a ridiculous number of buttons. I cannot imagine not succumbing. Just thinking about my quest for the perfect acorn button a couple of months ago (I settled and not on an acorn either) makes me wish I could browse there!

  81. Had I encountered that many buttons, I would have likely been dragged out at closing time, kicking and screaming. I admire your will power!
    I want a t-shirt, coffee mug and tote bag that say “Me being able to knit is occasionally a public safety issue.” Hilarious!!! (And also true for me!)

  82. Have to weight in on the “odd” knitting shop.
    I did the unthinkable when leaving on vacation this year – I forgot my knitting bag. (I KNOW!! I still can’t believe it, either!!) So, I needed to get some “emergency knitting,” as I put it.
    Our first place to stop and be able to shop was in Amboise, France, where I thought I remembered seeing some knitting in a window when we passed through there 2 years ago. My patient husband walked up & down a few streets with me until we found it . . . a shop that is half knitting and half lingerie. Knitting to the left; Lingerie to the right; needles in the back.
    I’m still trying to work out the connection. Going in to buy panties and decide to knit? Go in for some wool and decide the new bras look enticing?
    In any case, it was fun and helped avert knitting withdrawal!

  83. Looks like button heaven. I love buttons too. Colorful Yarns in Centennial, CO, has a bowl of “vintage” buttons, 25 cents each. My granddaughters each chose some and I bought them for them, but I told them I have a tin of “vintage” buttons they are welcome to look through and take home for free. Maybe I should try to sell them on eBay. “Vintage” indeed.

  84. From the angle of your photo, the button tubes look like thousands of little eyes looking back at you.

  85. I am dithering over buttons for an otherwise completed project. I SO need a Dressew! Haven’t yet found anywhere with “enough” choices, in Nashville, TN. Your commentors are so clever; I’d have never thought of costuming for the wigs.

  86. This reminds me of searching for #14 circulars in Aix-en-Provence. I found them, also in a sewing store, but they were horrid plastic. Still, they got me through the flight home.
    Why can’t airports sell reall essential things, like knitting needles and containers of milk?

  87. Stephanie, I am so sorry I had to miss you this weeked. I always look forward to your SF Bay Area visits and have not been able to make it the last couple of years. If you are still here, sightseeing come visit the wine country. I know you prefer beer but I know I can make a convert out of you! I work at a fabulous winery that is a castle! Shoot me an e-mail and I’ll show you around……

  88. My local sewing shop (where I go sometimes) has a similar selection. Our walmat even has mor choices… sigh

  89. My local sewing shop (where I go sometimes) has a similar selection. Our walmart even has mor choices… sigh

  90. My local sewing shop (where I go sometimes) has a similar selection. Our walmart even has more choices… sigh

  91. For a short time Dressew had aisles of top quality yarn all for $1.99 /skein. Pattern books too. While they had it I built a substantial stash of sock yarn and made a beautiful mohair sweater. Met a nice lady there from a LYS who couldn’t buy wholesale as cheap as they were selling it. Don’t know where they got it but now it’s all gone and that’s that.

  92. Oh,something else they have at Dressew along with the wigs – wings!!!! Saw them first at Hallowe’en and I see they still have them on display with the other costume stuff. More pairs of wings than you can imagine. Wear a pair of feathery wings while you knit!

  93. hahahahahaah report me to google for cheating the game (i sell link building methods which is black hat and against googles rules)……… i like to cheat the system to try and make money by breaking the ethical code of conduct

  94. Have loved Dressew for ummm +40 years (its been in same location +50 years). Re sock and other yummy yarns needles “etc”, depending on “seasonal” occassions, yarns are either upstairs or downstairs, but always there. Golden rule of course: buy it when you see it as it may be gone before you are able to return.
    Re needles, must add that if you are in this needle dilemma in Vancouver again try Wool Is Not Enough (“WINE) at 77 Cordova Street… my fave in my city. Of course Shoshona’s yarn stock at WINE is also pretty amazing!!!

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