Last week I wasn’t home taking care of business, I was off playing hooky. Not the standing on the street corner, smoking cigarettes, getting into trouble hooky—I’m a little old for that—I was wandering the streets checking out yarn shops.
It was the annual local yarn shop tour, me and my buddy Kristi have been checking out for the last seven or eight years. She could only take one day off work, but I spent two more visiting 21 of the 26 shops. It was the 10th anniversary, so the shops were handing out pins.
Now some of you might be wondering why bother. You can buy any yarn you want online, right? Well, there’s a certain amount of truth to that, but you can’t see the colors or feel the softness through the computer screen.
And knitters and crocheters are a generous lot. They’re constantly offering tips and tricks to make your projects more successful. Did you know that the crazy busy yarn shop in downtown Bellingham has a sale section upstairs? I was the only person in the shop for the first time ever; it’s usually wall-to-wall people at Northwest Handspun. While I didn’t pick up the locally dyed and spun yarn they were featuring, I did leave with some sale yarn.
As I was walking out, the owner was on the sidewalk sewing and stopped me to see what I’d purchased. Did you know that adding a strand of mohair to the heel and sole of your sock can stop those pesky holes? The mohair fibers strengthen and naturally felt together to keep your socks in good shape. I’d given up on hand-knit socks; our tile floors seemed to generate holes in minutes. Now I have something new to try.
The shop up in Lynden we’d visited last fall has moved and more than tripled in size. I picked up some lovely yarn for pillow covers—the MR has complained about softness. The owner mentioned that all of their stock at Wear on Earth is available online, so if I run out of yarn for my project I won’t have to head nearly to Canada to get more.
Apple Yarns also sells online. None of the skeins in-store are tagged, so they can easily change the price to be competitive with other online retailers. While I’ve been to Great Yarns in Everett over and over, I was surprised to note their huge selection of Noro yarns. I bought the book Crochet Noro and have been wanting to try out some of their amazing designs.
A friend had mentioned that Yarn of Eden down the road in Country Village was really tiny. Well, they’ve expanded to a new space, and the workers were so helpful.
I love the feel of Tolt Yarn and Wool just south of here in Carnation. I’ve never taken any of their classes, but I see one in the future. I just want to sit in their lovely space.
Our own local Quintessential Knits where I spend my Tuesday afternoons in knitting group was filled with friendly faces. One of the featured designers, the genius behind Fiber Fetish, told me all about the Portland Yarn Crawl. With two girls in school in Oregon next year, I may have to add that to my calendar.
I was excited to note that one of the workers at Quintessential had designed felted bags for another shop. I didn’t realize that was part of her expertise. My felting attempts have been a bust; it’s nice to know I have help just down the street.
Along with tips, tricks, and a better feel for some local shops, I spent a fun day with a sweet friend. I even talked my dad into joining me for coffee when I was out on my own. We caught up at Makers’ Mercantile—just a short drive from him. I enjoyed a yummy, gluten-free treat, and he got Baby Girl’s senior photo. We also played with photosensitive yarn. They sell white yarn that turns pink or purple when it’s out in the sun. If the girls were younger, I’d definitely find a project for that.
Now I have wonderful new patterns, beautiful new yarn, and lots of catching up around here. The MR tells me something has eaten the leaves off my broccoli. I was thinking 6-inch tall plants were safely on their way. I’ll try the homemade garlic insect-repellent. Maybe they still have a chance.
Have you experienced the joys of supporting local shops?