* Good Prices *

Hey Everyone — So, last weekend, I took a trip down south (south Washington) to visit a couple of yarn shops.  Teva, at Loose Ends Fiber Arts had been asking me to come and visit her store.  Working full time, working America’s Knitting, knitting and walking my dog keeps me pretty busy, but my husband Wes & I thought we’d take a drive last weekend down south, to check out her store.

Loose Ends is in the town of Centralia, Washington, which is south of Olympia, Washington’s state capital.  We had a dry but chilly day for our drive, but I knit in the car while Wes drove.  We brought Mae with us, and she got a nice little walk in with Wes while I visit the yarn shop.  Loose Ends is located in the original downtown area with parking on the street.  They call the area, the antique district as there are lots of antique shops, for your antiquing pleasure.

When I arrived, the store had a couple of customers, and the owner, Teva, was in.  She quickly greeted me and I introduced myself.  It was a surprise visit, as I didn’t even know I was going to be making the trip when I got up that morning.  I guess I could have called when I was on the way down….but I just thought of that, so it was a surprise.  She was happy to see me and meet me.  She was busy with her customers, a mother/daughter knitting team.  She was winding their purchases, so I just looked around and took pictures.

My first observation was that she carried lots of Cascade Yarns.  That’s not really surprising, as this is a local company to Washington state, and their line of yarns is vast and wide.  But, I also saw Noro, Madeline Tosh, Juniper Moon Farm, Malabrigo and Universal Yarns.  The second thing that I noticed, was that another customer had come in.  The prices were very good.  I know that there is suggested retail on things, but the owner does have some discretion on what they want to charge for things, and what goes on sale, or if they need to charge more for things, depending upon their overhead that has to be covered every month.

I saw, what Teva called the ‘fiber room’.  That is where she keeps the roving, fiber, top…..I’m not a spinner so I don’t know the lingo or what I’m talking about – but she had a room for it.  Also, in the back was a room with a table where she holds knit night and classes.  Before I left, a group of young gals came in to shop as well.  It was a busy Saturday at the store.  

While I was there, I purchased some self striping sock yarn (I’ve never knit with that kind of yarn before, I’m excited), and a Valentine card.  Teva had the cutest cards in store for Valentines Day.  I could tell Teva was a very comfortable, friendly gal that could quickly become your friend.

If you are headed to Centralia to go to Great Wolf Lodge, the outlet stores, or possibly Dicks Brewing…or maybe you’re on your way to Portland, Oregon.  Stop in to Loose Ends Fiber Shop — you have to have lunch anyway.  Teva has really good prices on yarn, and the vintage feel of downtown is so relaxing.  You won’t be sorry!  Loose Ends Fiber Arts is on Facebook and Instagram, so follow her and her store~

**You can click on any of these photos to see the larger version of them**

Annual New Year Report AND Purly Shell

Todays blog post will combine two things; a trip to a yarn shop on Thanksgiving weekend, and our annual LYS report that happens every January!

Diana Cripe is our moderator over in our Ravelry group.  She and her husband took a little camping trip over the Thanksgiving weekend with some friends.  Here is what she had to say…

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, we stayed at Cape Disappointment State Park with friends.  When we went to check in, I noticed the gal helping us was wearing what looked like hand knit fingerless gloves.  When I asked if she knit them, she said she had, and that there was a great yarn shop in Ilwaco, just a short distance away.

On the Friday, my friend and I went for a visit.  The store is called Purly Shell, and the owner, Heather, was very nice and let me take photos and ask her some questions.  She is a spinner and has her own handspun in the shop. She has it displayed on the walls hanging in nets, which I thought was quite clever, as Ilwaco is a fishing town.  The Christmas tree has a couple of Wingspan shawls that are draped like garland, also fun and creative.  The business also carries brands that you would recognize as well as her specialty dyes.

I bought a beautiful hand dyed yarn from a Portland area dyer that she had.  The color way I got is called University of Washington but the colors are more subdued than typical UW colors.  I’m anxious to see how it knits up!

Now on to the 2016 LYS report.  Every January I report on the yarn shops.  Startups open, shops close, and shops certainly move around…but here is how the numbers shake out for 2016.  We started 2016 with 1,089 yarn shops and finished 2016 with 1034 shops…that is a deficit of 55 yarn shops.  When I started America’s Knitting in August of 2007 we had 1,445 yarn shops with a decline every year since.  Having a discussion of why the LYS is in decline, takes on many forms — an over saturation of the market? — a decline in the craft? — a tightening economy where folks have less disposable income?  You will have to give this some thought and decide for yourself as to why local yarn shops are on the decline.

One thing I do know, when you support small business of the local yarn shop, you are directly impacting families and communities.  They are open for us daily with their commitment to the craft.  They teach and build community through classes and open knit groups – you meet your friends at the local yarn shop.  With a store front, you can see and touch the yarn, and see how it knits up into samples.  With a local yarn shop you can be inspired!

America’s Knitting is a yarn shop registry with a heart!  We humanize yarn shops, so they can be remembered through stories, pictures and people, not merely data!  I help yarn shops tell their story.  You can have 12 yarn shops in a major city and they are all different, because they are owned by different people with a different story.

If you visit a local yarn shop on your travels, please take a few snaps and email them over with a few lines~

Yarnhouse Studio

Kathie Malcher, one of our roving reporters, traveled to Alabama in October of this year.  Here is what she sent me:

Mary –

I was in Auburn, Alabama the last weekend in October. On Saturday, the 29th, I stopped into the Yarnhouse Studio in Opelika.  It serves Opelika and Auburn.  The owner, Jan, said that it was the only yarn shop for 90 miles.  It is located in beautiful, historic downtown Opelika.  It is owned by 2 sisters and they have over 100 years of combined knitting experience. The day that I visited, Jan was working so I got to meet her.  She is the person in the picture that you see. 
The store looks like it is small when you come to their front door, but, believe me, it is not – the store has 3 large rooms and they dye their own yarn right in the store.  I believe that their hand dyed yarn came in all weights.  There is no other indie dyer in the area.  Yarn lines that they carry are – Cascade, Berroco, Brown Sheep, Baah, Blue Heron, Cestari, Classic Elite, Done Roving, Juniper Moon, Malabrigo, Shibui and others – a great selection of quality yarns.  They cater to knitters, crocheters, spinners, weavers and felters.
A delightful shop – great lighting – and friendly people.  Stop by if you are ever in the area.
Thanks,
Kathie
20161029_130504Thank you Kathie — you are always so good to remember America’s Knitting, and help us out with a peek into yarn shops around the country.  I used to live in Montgomery, Alabama when I was a child.  I loved the south, the people are so warm.  You did a great job, and this shop looks right up my alley!  Click on any of these photo to take a closer look. Please support our local yarn shops~ 20161029_130537

Shop Small

If you haven’t figured it out yet, America’s Knitting is all about the yarn shop!  From coast to coast, up north, down south, Hawaii & Alaska!

I love yarn shops, the little quaint ones in old buildings with old floors, the classy ones with upscale brands, the ones that have locally hand dyed yarns, and everything in between.  I’ve said it before, that yarn shops are like a flavor of ice cream…what’s your pleasure, no two are alike.  You can have 13 shops in a major city, and they will all be different.  WHY?  Because they are all owned and operated by different people.  It’s the human being factor.  We are all special, unique and have something different that we bring to the table.

You’ve heard the phrase, it’s a small world — well, our little corner of the world, the United States, is 1.927% of earth’s total surface area and 6.598% of earth’s land area….so they say??  We have Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday coming around again, this time of the year.  Why have they come up with these special days?  To give us reasons to shop and spend money, or to try and focus on meaning, behind our spending?

In the spirit of Shopping Small, this Saturday after the Thanksgiving holiday, I want to also say shop USA!  The economy is like our stitches, continuous and connected.  When one company succeeds, it can employ more people, and there town or city succeeds.  When that town or city succeeds, the whole state succeeds.  When one state succeeds, it becomes a model to other states….and so it goes.

I had the opportunity to meet Victor Schmidt of Kraemer Yarns, located in Nazareth, Pennsylvania!  Like every knitter, I immediately go to yarn….”I have a yarn called Nazareth”.  In chatting with him, he tells me that this company dates back to 1887!  Now, he has my attention — WHAT?  Kraemer Textiles has been custom spinning yarn for many types of industries for over 100 years.  The company began their hand knitting line in 2005.  Yep, they spin 20,000 pounds of yarn every week.  That is enough yarn to circumnavigate the globe.

Kraemer Textiles is now on their fourth generation since 1887 — isn’t that amazing!  I love stories like this.  The Schmidt family purchased Kraemer in 1907.  The textile manufacturers specialized in yarn for the apparel and the home furnishing industries.  The company watched the market, going to overseas companies as time went by.

Enter a knitting resurgence — the Schmidts developed a line of colorful wool and acrylic-cotton blend yarns, giving them fun local names like Mauch Chunky, Naturally Nazareth, Little Lehigh and Tatamy Tweed.  Kraemer knitting yarns are now sold in over 300 yarn shops across the country, giving the company’s craft specialty part of the business, at 10 percent.

The company creates fiber for the carpet industry, apparel industry, and also produces yarns for lots of indy dyers in our great nation.  They are looking to grow their hand knitting part of the business, and I hope they succeed.  This is a great story.  This business, Kraemer Yarns, is very easy for shops to work with because there is NO minimum order for brick and mortar stores, but at the same time, they give volume discounts on large orders, and shipping is free to anywhere in the 48 contiguous United States.  This sounds to me like they WANT your business to succeed.  They also participate in SHOPATRON.  So, how this works is, you can go to their business, and purchase what you want online, and it get’s filled by a shop carrying what you need.  So you get what you want and need, they sell their yarn to the public and the yarn shop gets the sale.  WIN/WIN~

On Small Business Saturday, let’s support small business, and family businesses like the Schmidt’s, Kraemer Yarns.  Let’s be conscience of this all the time, every day.  These businesses pay taxes and employ people, and when we support them, they in turn support our towns, city, states, and country.  It’s challenging to run a small business, to pay the overhead involved, and to be open for you.  The local yarn shops are at the heart of our knitting community.  Their establishment is where we meet our knitterly friends, and learn new things.

Kraemer Yarns is open to the public in Nazareth Pennsylvania for tours, they also have a company store that is open seven days a week on site, and they teach knitting.  Victor Schmidt, pleasure to know you, and blessings onto your business, Kraemer Yarns.  Here’s to another 100 years, and another 300 yarn shops selling your yarns!

Brooklyn Tweed’s Arbor & Charity Knitting at the Churchmouse

Last week Arbor was released by Brooklyn Tweed!  It was everywhere on social media, and I was curious.  Worsted spun construction, what does this mean…I’d never heard of it before.  I had seen the color selection, and in the photos, the yarn looked soft.  Is that possible for something to look soft.  Well anyway, fortunately for me a local yarn shop, Churchmouse Yarns & Teas, carries the full Brooklyn Tweed collection — so I decided to take my camera, and drive to Bainbridge Island and check out this yarn for myself.

I love that Jared’s yarn is made in the United States.  It really means a lot to me.  I’ve enjoyed the Shelter, Loft & Quarry.  I have never knit with Plains (yet).  So, dk weight, I wondered if it would have the same construction as the others, but no.  There are 30 colors from which to choose, and it breaks down like this: 50 grams | 145 yards | DK weight

  • 100% Montana & South Dakota-grown Targhee wool
  • Dyed in Saco, Maine. Spun in Springvale, Maine

Here is where the story shifts a bit… while I was there at Churchmouse, there was a large gathering at the table.  These women where very busy.  There was a real cohesiveness about this group; it wasn’t like a class.  They were a happy collective, working together in a focused fashion to an end goal.  There, I’ve described what I saw.  This was the Charity Knitting Group.  Churchmouse has a charity knitting group that meets every third Thursday of every month!  In chatting with Carrie Trapp, Churchmouse employee and group leader, she told me that the group started in 2002, and has become very philanthropic.  They disburse items to probably three different groups at any given time; from men’s and women’s shelters in Seattle, to the street people.  They were busy knitting hats and felted bags, but I believe they knit different things at different times.  They do the knitting, and there are others that help with the disbursement.  In the little felted bags, they even include toiletries.

I was amazed and humbled.  The fruit of their generosity is abundant.  During this time of harvest and thanksgiving, these women are to be applauded!  Thank you to the Churchmouse for sowing the seed of charity.

In closing, I didn’t purchase any Arbor yet — as you all know, it’s the year of the baby for me, and I have a grandson to knit for!  You can click on any of the photos to see a larger version~

 

Sight Unseen

Where to begin…..

This is a busy time for me, and it has been for a while now.  My husband & I are building a new home, in our spare time.  It’s been over a year now, and our money is and has been stretched thin.  LUCKILY, my friends have had my back.

My friends took a trip to Skagit Valley this spring to check out the tulips.  I, had to work, and wasn’t able to go.  To bad too, because they visited Wild Fibers in Mount Vernon, Washington.  The interesting thing is…..I’ve covered this store before.  It seems that whenever somebody visits this shop, they take pictures and tell me all about it.  I, myself, have never been there…..but if people love the store, I will cover it a hundred times…..WHY? because, these stores change, just like any other store with the seasons, staff, and product.

So, if you haven’t been to a yarn shop in a while, go check them out again!  Some day, I am going to get to this shop myself!  All the pictures are courtesy of my friend Ann Poor – thank you Ann for thinking of me….and they loved the store very much!

 

Sin City Knit Shop

One of the shops listed on America’s Knitting yarn shop directory, is Sin City Knit Shop in Las Vegas, Nevada!  The America’s Knitting website is also supported by our Facebook page and our Ravelry group.  Through these various social media outlets (we’re on Twitter too), we meet different people.  Along the way, last April, I met Frances.  She was on a business trip to Las Vegas, Nevada!

Here she is, in front of the store.  I remember that she was tired and a little stressed from her work trip and was anxious to check out the local yarn shops.  I also remember her explaining, needing a little help on her project that she packed for the trip.  Frances was able to get to the yarn shop in her down/off time, they were very kind and helpful, and she was happy.  As it turned out….she needed to rip out the project and start again.  Still feeling a little frazzled from the work schedule, she decided to purchase a new project to work on, and save a recast-on of her project, for after she got home.  She was so happy with her visit to Sin City Knit Shop, she returned for a second visit, before her journey home.

I love so many things about this story — I love that Frances needs her needlework to help her decompress and relieve her stress.  I love that it keeps her company when she has to travel for work.  I loved that there was a nearby yarn shop on her travels and that America’s Knitting was able to help her out.  I love that she was able to venture out and visit a knit shop community.  That’s what yarn shops are – they are company, they are community, they are your support system when you need help.  They are a sanctuary!  Sin City Knit Shop was a treat for Frances during a stressful work week away on business.

Of course, Frances sent me these photos you see, but she also sent me her story; granted, it got deleted in my text messages on my phone, I’M SORRY FRANCES.  If you are out there Frances – thank you for sharing your story and your pictures.  Please comment on this story if I left anything out.

It’s summer and people are traveling…for work, for family obligation, for reunions, for fun and leisure with family, for vacation.  If you are out and about and visiting a yarn shop, please send me some snaps and a few lines.  We are interested in what goes on…..

As always,

Mary*

 

 

Coastal Yarns

Coastal Yarns, Cannon Beach, Oregon!  Cannon Beach is an amazing place right on the Pacific Coast, with history dating back to the Lewis & Clark Expedition.  The quaint town is a destination for coastal getaways.  AND, they have a yarn shop YAY!!

Libbie Hartley was there on an anniversary getaway weekend with her husband, and checked out Coastal Yarns.  Libbie took some pictures for us.  She was surprised and excited to find that the store was having an Alana Dakos, Never Not Knitting trunk show in progress.

Libbie had reported that the weather was wet to almost stormy.  She also reported having an awesome time.  I think that when you are away (even if the weather isn’t always cooperating), and you are in a fun place, you can always find fun.  Having a local yarn shop in the vicinity is just a bonus.

Libbie treated herself to some new Blue Moon Fiber Arts yarn while on her visit.  I love it when readers share their vacation with America’s Knitting.  If you are somewhere here in the states on vacation, and find a yarn shop, take a few snaps and write a few lines and email them over to me.  I’d love to spotlight a local yarn shop on your travels.  Thank you Libbie for taking the time to check out this fun yarn shop.  You may click on any of these photos to see a larger version~

 

 

Yarn of Eden

Carmel & I did a 2016 New Year yarn crawl of three shops back in January.  I covered Tolt & Mad Cow Yarn, but here is my coverage of Yarn of Eden.  Don’t we have interesting yarn shop names here in the Pacific Northwest?  I love a cleaver business name~

Yarn of Eden is located in Bothell, Washington!  They are located in Country Village – a charming shopping center full of fun shops.  Carmel & I had breakfast not far from this yarn shop.

It’s a small store but packed full of great things.  One of my very favorite things, Chica Bags!  The owner, Kathleen,  was there to greet us and show us around.  She told us all about her upcoming plans for the store, trunk shows etc.  The store also carried Knitter’s Pride needles.

The store had a lovely knitting spot to hang out in comfortable chairs up front by the windows, with an additional space for classes in the back of the store.  We saw lots of shop samples, and had a lovely visit.

Carmel & I are getting ready for the PNW Yarn Crawl happening this weekend.  We will be hitting the road on Friday.  If you happen to see us, say hello!  We’ll be starting at Amanda’s Art Yarn & Fibers in Poulsbo, and finishing up at the Allyn Knit Shop in Allyn.  We’ll be posting on Facebook, Ravelry, Instagram & Twitter.

Carmel & I are located in Washington state, but we’d love to feature your LYS, or a shop on your travels.  Take some snaps, send them to me on facebook or email, write a couple of lines, and we’ll do a spotlight!  Until next time…Mary*

 

Beyond The USA

Patrece1I have a friend named Patrece – and she is a little fireball!  She’s happy & fun – she loves to knit and she also loves to travel.  She travels locally, across our nation, and also abroad…what’s next Patrece ?? parts unknown??  She was very kind to share her latest travels with me, and want to share her photos with you. Patrece4

This time, Patrece travels to British Columbia, Canada!  I know we are America’s Knitting, but Canada truly is our neighbor.  You won’t find these places on our map, but here you can take a peek inside with Patrece!

Patrece3Patrece started her personalized shop hop with Button Button in downtown Vancouver, BC.  That is Patrece in the mirror – she’s so cute!  I think buttons can certainly make or break your project.  It’s really important to have a great selection to choose from and this shop looks like it fits that bill.

Patrece2

Patrece5Then, Patrece jumped over to Granvillew Island for the Maiwa School of Textiles.  Granville Island is the cutest must see in Vancouver.  It’s a shoppers and tourists paradise.  I’ve been many times and love the honey vendor and the baker that makes the macrons. Patrece11

Patrece met some knitters at our Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat that is always held every February in Tacoma, Washington.  These gals were from Vancouver BC, and study with Jean Wong.  Patrece also studies with Jean Wong.  They were able to meet up for a hot beverage and then they all hit up Urban Yarns together.Patrece6

Patrece7Patrece bid them a farewell, and jumped to Gina Brown’s Yarn to see what was happening over there.  Wool Is Not Enough was not open, but she took a picture of their store and peeked in the window.

Patrece9 While she was in Button Button, she ran into the owners of Three Bags Full, so she had to check out this store.  All in all, a great trip, wonderful exercise and socializing.Patrece10

Until next time Vancouver! Thank you Patrece for sharing your wanderings with America’s Knitting, we love our neighbors to the north and always enjoy what they have going on.

If you click on any of these phots, you will see the large version of it.  Also, if you want to be a roving reporter for America’s Knitting, take some snaps, write a few lines and email it all over to me and I will create a posting for everyone to enjoy~