I'm a person who likes to know my surroundings. So after living in Mississippi for almost four years, the fact that I still haven't fully explored the major cities and regions of my new state--that bothers me. Granted, two of those years were fully occupied by pregnancy--a baby and a dissertation, which is a baby all on its own--so I give myself a little slack, but still! It bugs me. That, combined with the shock of having Yarns Downtown (a wonderful yarn shop in my neighboring city of Columbus) recently close its doors, has put me on a mission. I'm beginning a yarn crawl across Mississippi--part to support the few local yarn shops Mississippi is lucky enough to have, and part to better get to know my state. First up? Oxford, Mississippi.
Oxford is located in the north-central part of the state, and is the home of the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss). Oxford is a beautiful city, full of gorgeous old antebellum houses. Before moving to Mississippi, if you asked me to envision a classic Southern small town, Oxford is what I would picture. In addition to being the home of Ole Miss, Oxford is famous for being the home of William Faulkner's residence, Rowan Oak, (John Grisham reportedly owns a residence in the area, as well) and great shopping around "The Square," a literally square-shaped town square that circles around the Lafayette County Courthouse. It's one of the most picturesque city center's I've ever seen.
Just off the Square is where you'll find Knit1 Oxford, my primary destination on this trip (location, hours, and directions). Once you've reached the yarn-bombed bicycle outside the front door, you know you've found the place!I can't say enough good things about Knit1 Oxford. The staff was so friendly and welcoming! The minute I walked into the door I was greeted with a smile and given a quick tour. The shop is small, but well organized and filled with a wide selection of yarny goodness. Tons of different sock yarns, plenty of cotton (for our Mississippi heat), and a wide selection of wool as well. And novelty yarn, too. A group of five or so ladies were working on projects around a table, and it definitely was the kind of yarn shop that you would find yourself hanging out and knitting in.
What yarny goodness did I succumb to on my visit? Let's take a peek ...
The shop sells kits with all the novelty yarn necessary to make the adorable baby hat shown on the cover of the book, Welcoming Home Baby. I've admired the hat, but never had a desire to buy a full skein of the Cha Cha yarn it calls for, so I snapped up the kit.
- Definitely make a visit to Rowan Oak. It's really close to the city center, and the grounds are beautiful and so peaceful.
- Visit Square Books while shopping on the Square. Awesome independent bookstore. Around the square, they have a separate shop for kids books called Square Books Jr. Amazing selection of great books!
- The Square has numerous great pizza shops. If you're a foodie, try City Grocery on the Square. It's won several James Beard awards and I had an amazing corned beef sandwhich there. Yum.
- Take a drive through the Ole Miss campus.