Knitter’s guide to Portland—the S.W.

Every trip to Portland should include Powell’s. The sheer size and breadth of offerings (literary and otherwise) in this one store (though housed in several buildings) is just amazing. It makes me happy to know this bookstore exists and thrives!

The main location for Powell’s is in Downtown Portland in the Southwest section. I’ve never been to another bookstore that stocked such an array of knitting books—it took up one side of an entire row in Powell’s. It was just overwhelming. And the kicker was that they even carried Malabrigo yarns at the end of the row!!

Since a few skeins of Malabrigo weren’t enough for my knitting appetite, I found Knit Purl a hop and a skip away from Powell’s, a few blocks SW on SW Alder (x SW 11th Ave). Once there, I was blown away by the window display.

A fox scarf on a cardboard fox in a winter wonderland at Knit Purl.

A clean, modern design executed with wit and whimsy! Why didn’t more yarn stores have such simple yet impressive displays??
More animal figures in the second window followed by floating balls of yarn for a third, smaller window display.

The inside of the store carried through on the window displays’ promise of a clean, modern interior. Knit Purl wasn’t overstuffed with yarns—it had enough space so my eyes could take in the yarns at a leisurely pace. The yarns were neatly organized against the walls in typical X-divided cube bookshelves, arranged by weight then by brands. They carried a nice assortment of Madelinetosh yarns and other high-end labels (Swans Island and they’re an exclusive retailer of Brooklyn Tweed yarns in Portland). The knit samples there that really caught my eye were by Julie Hoover, a Brooklyn Tweed designer, whose pattern designs were also being sold. The woman who manned the shop was helpful without hovering and browsing was a pleasure—I found a gorgeous colorway (hickory—a muted dark taupe with overtones of gold) of Madelinetosh Tosh sport which will be gifted to a friend for her birthday.

Around Knit Purl, there’s Case Study Coffee on SW 10th Ave (x Yamhill). I washed down a Brown Sugar Apple Pie with a Bourbon Caramel Latte (not overly sweet) there and would do it again if I could. And on SW Alder, between 10th and 11th Aves, I passed by a food truck lot that was filled to the brim with all sorts of cuisine—from Korean to coffee—which I would’ve loved to try had I not spent so much time in Knit Purl!

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