|On the Road:
The second Purls was opened only 18 months after the first shop, at the request of customers who were leery of the often-arduous cross-town trip. It was located on East Speedway on the east side of Tucson.
Editor's Note: Since we visited in March 2001 and wrote this review, Purls East has moved to East Broadway, still on the east side of Tucson, across from the Hilton East. This review is of the original store on East Speedway.
We haven't visited it yet, but Sharon Wittenberg tells us the new space is, "Bigger and with a Knitters Nook and stuff for those antsy spouses who think that they will get cooties if they spend more than 5 min. in a yarn store."
Please note that the review below pertains to the East Speedway store. We hope to visit the new store soon, at which point we can update this review.
The space is considerably larger and tidier than the original Purls.
Fluorescent lighting and long aisles are made more intimate by personal touches like an antique wooden armoire, two large tables, and various baskets, jars, and vases filled with accessories.
Similar Abundant Inventory
With more space comes more yarn. I found aisle after aisle lined with neatly stacked bundles of Jo Sharp and Lorna's Laces, a huge variety of Trendsetter yarns, Brown Sheep, Patons, Baruffa, Classic Elite, Schaffhauser, Austermann, Phildar, Berroco, GGH, and several others.
This shop is managed by Susan MacGregor, whose title is Captain of Purls. I could quickly see that she possessed an essential trait for this business: exceptional knitting skills made less intimidating by a healthy dose of modesty.
Sadly for Purls East, Susan is finishing law school and hopes to pursue either criminal or Indian law.
During my visit the shop saw a steady stream of loyal customers, including several women working on projects at one of the tables.
There was no country club "clique" atmosphere here. Everyone was invited - dare I say expected - to join in the banter.
Entertaining the Non-Knitters
After visiting the east store, continue driving east on Speedway for several miles. The road narrows and makes its way through beautiful old orchards and horse farms. Eventually you'll come to B & B Cactus Growers.
This has long been my favorite stop for extraordinary cacti and succulents, which B & B ships anywhere in the U.S. The specimen garden is something to behold.
Further east on Speedway is the Tanque Verde Guest Ranch, one of Tucson's oldest dude ranches. If you call ahead, you can arrange to take a guided horseback ride that culminates in an old-fashioned cookout.
There are also hiking trails that start here and lead into the Saguaro National Monument East.
Looking north from here, in the distance you'll see a large white ranch. It belongs to one of Tucson's most famous part-time residents, Paul McCartney.
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7531 E. Broadway
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