I’ve been traveling a lot this fall….between Barcelona, Los Angeles, and Rhinebeck, I also managed to squeeze in a trip to Austin, TX a few weekends ago and to see my brother for a few days! We had a great time catching up and I couldn’t believe how hot it still was down there!

I’ve only been to Austin twice, and it’s such a great city for tourists and locals alike. I’m sure you’ve heard by now that Austin is renowned for its independent and quirky shops and businesses, great food, and really friendly people (not to mention its beautiful architecture and top-notch university and nice weather….etc…etc…), but I’m here to bring you two of my favorites which, coincidentally and providentially, are across the street from each other.

Hill Country Weavers is a famous knitting/crochet/spinning shop, located in the heart of Austin’s coolest district on South Congress Avenue.

HIll Country Weavers

Hill Country Weavers

I love the ambiance of the shop: it’s an old home where every room is filled with yarns from every manufacturer imaginable. It also has a fantastic selection of reference and pattern books that you don’t see all that often in a yarn shop.

Hill Country Weavers

Hill Country Weavers

Hill Country Weavers

One thing that they did with their display that I especially loved was grouping the hottest new yarns from established and independent yarn companies all in one place as soon as you walk in the door. The displays, filled with notable yarns and samples from, among others Madelinetosh, The Fibre Company, Brooklyn Tweed, and Sweet Georgia Yarns, were enough to entice me to linger for almost an hour! For one thing, I’d never seen the Shelter yarn from Brooklyn Tweed before – I loved the colors and the traditional wooly-feeling goodness of it!

Hill Country Weavers

Hill Country Weavers

Of course, I was not able to leave the shop without at least a few goodies, one of which I’ve used before and loooove, and a couple of which are new to me and felt too yummy to pass up.

Yarn from Austin

Top to bottom, we’ve got: (1) more Alpaca Silk from Blue Sky in a chartreuse color that I didn’t capture very well here – I loooove this DK yarn (I most recently used it for my Refraction Cowl design) and had never seen this color before, so that was an easy decision….; (2) a new-to-me yarn from MountainTop by Classic Elite yarns called “Vail,” a fingering weight blend of alpaca and viscose in a deep charcoal color – this yarn will have amazing drape to balance out its alpaca warmth; and (3) Acadia from The Fibre Company in a pretty silvery-grey with silk slubs – normally, I don’t go for yarn with slubs in it, but I saw a sample cowl knit in the Acadia that felt amazing and that was holding up well against pilling and wear, so I was sold! As an aside, these three yarns look really good together….hmmm……

So that was a respectable haul from my time in the store. The weekend I visited, there was also a “yarn crawl” taking place among many yarn stores in Austin, so it made HCW an even more lively place to be and I loved it – I already can’t wait to go back.

Not to be outdone, Allens Boots is across the street from HCW and has the most astonishing selection of cowboy boots I’ve ever seen.

Allens Boots

This was also my second visit to Allens’, and boy did they not disappoint. The boots are sorted only by size, allowing you to browse to your heart’s content and try on every style that they have available in your size – like Payless, only infinitely better.

Allens Boots

I had the enviable task of wandering my particular aisle (size 7.5 or 8, depending on the boot) for nearly an hour, trying on boots of all colors and shapes. I think it’s the truth that you never know whether you’ll love the boot until you try it on. (It’s also true that no matter which pair you choose, they will be comfortable – how do they DO that?) I was aiming to get a pair of black boots, since I already have a brown pair with turquoise stitching, but wouldn’t you know it, the two pairs I narrowed it down to were both brown. Such is life and cowboy boots. Here’s a pair from Old Gringo that I almost ended up with, a surprising choice given how short the leg is, but oh man were they comfortable and good looking. Not much detail stitching or bells and whistles, just a sleek, timeless pair.

Runner up

And here’s the pair that came home with me from Charlie Horse – I did manage to choose a pair with some black laser detailing, but it was the deep cherry-brown color of the leather and the super pointy toe that finally drew me in.

Cowboy boots

I’ve been wearing them around the apartment “to break them in,” but really I’m just wearing them because I love ’em so much. (Although I will say this: that short pair is still in the back of my mind. It may only be a matter of time.)

After so much successful retail therapy, I called it an afternoon. I mean, I didn’t want to push my luck….

Have a good weekend, y’all!

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