But I hated my needles. They were Brittany birch dpns, size 0, 5 inches long. The socks are knit on 4 needles, which means I have to have all 5 in the set. The first night I owned them, one of the needles snapped in two. I went out the next day and bought another set. They are so soft and flexible that all but 2 of the 9 needles have warped. Then Tiny Dancer got ahold of one and snapped it in two. By the end of the first sock, I was grinding my teeth at these warped needles. I really grew to detest them (and I swear the ladder at the middle of the bottom of the sock is their fault!). I was determined that the second sock would be done on a brand new set of needles.
In all of Birmingham, population ~500,000, only 3 yarn shops were listed. One of them was supposedly half a mile from my BIL's house, but when I got there it was someone's home with no signage. I still don't know what the deal was with that. The second one disappointed me. There was a large group of knitters hanging out there and no one seemed to have the time to wait on me (I was never quite sure who worked there and who didn't). There seemed to be more knitters than yarn in that store (I wasn't thrilled with the selection). When I finally did get someone to answer some questions it turned out they didn't carry any dpns smaller than size 2! Bah!
And then I stumbled on a gem. This shop is everything I think a yarn shop should be.
It was a dream. We stopped by on our way out of town, and My Old Man and the boys waited in the car while I went in, so I didn't get to shop the way I would've wanted. The woman working there was so warm and friendly. She didn't seem irritated about having to put down her knitting to help a customer. The layout of the store was really inviting, and there was TONS of great yarns. I got to touch Lorna's Laces Helen's Lace for the first time ever, after stalking it online for months (loved it) [for a shawl I know I'm not going to have time to knit]. She helped me figure out which needles to get for my lace socks (Crystal Palace bamboo, 6"). And when it turned out they were out of this really cool needle protector she had been recommending (called a "knitwit" - I'll post pics when I can), she gave me her own personal one!
It was one of the best LYS experiences I've had. I can't wait to be in Birmingham again sometime so I can really shop there. They are moving from Helena to Homewood later this month, so if you're in the area, definitely look them up.
I've held off on starting the second sock until I finish Cozy, which is just a few inches from done. But my hands are itching to try the new needles, and I really can't wait to have my very own handmade socks (the first I've made for myself).