Paradise Fibers

One of my very favorite things to do, is go to a yarn shop.  That’s why I started America’s Knitting.  I wanted all the yarn shops to be in one place, where the database of shops could be updated in real time, be correct and complete.  I wanted knitters to know who the yarn shops are, and where they are located.  I can always remember traveling (before cell phones) and being in a hotel room, and turning to the back of the local phone book yellow pages, so I could look under ‘yarn’ for a local yarn shop.  I always remember being so excited if I found one, and of course, we had to make time to track it down.  It was challenging, in an unfamiliar town with possibly, just a map.  I love GPS.

So, I finally got to visit Paradise Fibers in Spokane, Washington.  I had heard of Paradise Fibers (who am I kidding, I hear of all the yarn shops), but hadn’t made it by yet.  Actually, I have property in Spokane and this was the reason for our trip east.  It was my husbands birthday that actually fell on the weekend, so we took a drive across the mountains, looked in on the property, visited Paradise Fibers and went out for a really nice dinner and stayed over in a hotel.  All of it was delightful, and all was good with the property!

I’m not all that familiar with Spokane…my husband more so than me, but even he didn’t know where it was.  So, I pulled out my phone and went onto America’s Knitting and looked it up.  All shops are connected to Google Maps, so away we went and we were there in 15 minutes.  When we “arrived at our destination”, we see this sizable brick building, that looked OLD!  I didn’t really know what to expect; but my husband took the dog on a stroll around the neighborhood, and I went inside.

Old hardwood floors, and brick walls everywhere.  It was an old building for sure, but it didn’t smell old, and a lovely young lady greeted me.  I introduced myself and asked it I could snoop around and take some pictures.  She said that would be fine.  She was working, and helping some customers, and then she joined me, and gave me a tour.  I told her how surprised I was by the size of the building and the range of inventory that they had.  It was then, that she told me of their online presence.  Then it all made more sense.  They do occasionally have a knit night or a class, and they are thinking of expanding on those ideas.  They also had a few specialty dyes from Ancient Arts, out of Canada, created just for them.  That excited me because I had heard of Ancient Arts, but had never knit with it, so I did purchase a skein of sock yarn as a treat.  I wanted both, but it was expensive yarn, and I’ll have an opportunity next time to pick up the other one.

I saw lots of yarn that I would have loved to purchase.  It’s really too bad that my stash is so extensive.  You really do feel like a kid in a candy store.  Makes me wish I were one of those fast knitters!  Thank you Hannah for showing me around and being so nice to me, and letting me take pictures.  It was fun!!

** remember you can always click on any of these photos to see their larger form **

*Happy Anniversary to CHURCHMOUSE YARNS & TEAS*

Churchmouse Yarns & Teas, located on beautiful Bainbridge Island, in the state of Washington, is celebrating 17 years in business!  The store started out as an up-scale yarn shop, and they have grown to a destination yarn shop visited by knitters and designers from around the world.  In addition to their lovely store, and fabulous selection of yarns, they have a fine line of patterns that are sold in yarn shops far and near.  The store teaches knitting along with lots of other classes.  They have trunk shows, events and retreats, and hold a sizable on-line presence.

Their style is classic, and tasteful simplicity!  Their patterns are timeless and ageless (except for their wee ones line).  Their staff is sweet and knowledgeable, and their brand…..inspiring!

Living in western Washington myself, I have access to lots of fine yarn shops…all different.  Fortunately, for me, getting to Churchmouse Yarns & Teas is an easy 25 minute drive for me.  Those of us frequent patrons have simple names for the business.  Lots of us, simply say Churchmouse, others fondly refer to the store as ‘the Mouse’.  And we further refer to the employees as ‘mice’.

This success, didn’t just happen — the store started with a business plan, works very hard, and hasn’t stagnated – they’ve grown.  Last weekend was their latest pattern launch, and this weekend, they celebrated their anniversary.  Churchmouse has a facebook page, and they also a Ravelry group, and are on all forms of social media.  I encourage you to follow them on their journey, and I hope that you are lucky enough to be able to visit their lovely store some day soon.  Congratulations to Kit & John, and all the mice, on your anniversary.

Here’s to 17 more years!!

Town Square Fabric & Yarn

I’ve been on a ‘StayCation’ of sorts all this week.  My husband and I are both self employed and work together.  Wes was off on a kayaking trip up in the Broken Islands, so I took the week off, to just enjoy being at home with our dog.  Well, this is why people go away, because while you are at home, you really aren’t on vacation.  With that, Monday, I had to go pick up material for one of our jobs (bathroom remodel).  So, I thought….darn it, I’m going to check out a yarn shop I have never been to before.

Town Square Fabric & Yarn, is located in Burien, Washington!  I know people, who have visited this shop before, and now I have visited this shop.  It’s a quaint shop, located in a sweet part of town with lots of small businesses around, and parking on the street.  You’ll notice, in their name that ‘Fabric’ has top billing, when in fact, the store is probably 80% yarn.  The owner, Cindy, was in, and we had the opportunity to visit, and I had the opportunity to wander about and take some pitcures.

Like most yarn shops, lots of samples and displays, but what drew my attention was her stock of Lopi yarn, and patterns.  I’ve been looking for this, and you don’t always see that brand in my area.  Other notable brands I saw; Heritage Yarns, Kauni, Alegria, Cascade Yarns, Queensland, Imperial and Raven Frog Fibers.  The store has a nice table too,  where you can sit and go through patterns, and put a project together or attend a class.

The store was preparing for a class on shadow knitting with Bobbi Daniels out of Alaska.  See the ’12’ scarf to the right?  That is shadow knitting, and this scarf doesn’t just have the number 12 on it, it’s a Seattle Seahawk scarf. The number 12 signifies the 12th man on the field, the fan!  Did I just geek out that much??  Back to yarn…. I did purchase a Lopi pattern book and some Lopi yarn for a sweater.    It was fun to sit at Cindy’s table and browse through the Lopi patterns and look at Lopi colors.  It’s a highly recommended practice while on vacation or staycation.

In closing, Cindy told me that she is considering phasing out the fabric to make room for MORE yarn.  Yarn is where it’s at, so I guess knitting is alive and well in Burien!  Town Square Fabric & Yarn is on facebook, and as with all of our photos, please click on any of them to see their larger forms.

If you are traveling for work or pleasure, please use our website to locate a yarn shop near you.  All of the shops are connected to Google Maps, so you can have direction to any shop.  Our website is mobile friendly, so you can use our website in your car and on all of your devices.  You can visit a shops website from our listings, and you can also call the store from our website.

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Also, if you would like to see a spotlight of your LYS, please contact me!  We would love to shine a light on their business.  Happy travels and happy knitting~

 

 

Stitches West 2017

Every year, Stitches is held in various parts of the country.  Stitches is a huge knitting event full of classes and a vendor market.  We have one here on the west coast, and someday, I will attend.  In the mean while, Yvonne, a regular contributor attended this years event, and here is what she has to share with us!

During the weekend of February 23rd to the 26th, Stitches West was in Santa Clara, CA and so was I. Luckily I only live about 20 minutes from the convention center where the event is held.
I spent the week before the show going through my Ravelry queue for yarn needs for patterns I wanted to knit. I went through my stash and accessed what I lacked (dk and worsted weight yarn). I followed the Stitches West forum of Vendor Previews to see who was bringing what. I marked my show floor map with which vendors I wanted to go to first to ensure I got a chance to buy their special yarns.
When the doors opened at 5pm on Thursday night for the Market Preview, only attendee’s taking classes are allowed into the Preview. We took a one hour Market Class on Friday on Invisible Joins.  Map in hand I dashed to my first Vendor, Magpie Fibers in the YOTH booth. I was after their DK yarn in the color Woodsmoke, for the show. They had said they were bringing in a limited amount. SCORE!! I got a skein and a contrasting color to make I don’t know what yet! Then it was on to look for a yarn that Mary (America’s Knitting Mary) wanted me to get for a friend. Again, it would be available in a limited amount, so I wanted to make sure I got it. SCORE! When I went back on Friday she was out of that color way.
Friday, we (my friend Carole from Santa Barbara was up for the weekend) headed back to the convention center for a day of walking the floor and shopping for goodies. One of our favorite vendors turned out to be Stunning String Studio from DeKalb, IL. They had lots of samples of their projects with kits that included the yarn, pattern and the number of stitch markers need for the project. I purchased the kit for Interpolate Shawl in green and purple.
We continued to walk the show floor, oooh and awe over all the beautiful yarns, mostly hand dyed and all the lovely samples that showcased specific yarns. I made my way to The Knitting Tree LA (Los Angeles) and discovered Woolfolk Yarns. Oh My Gosh, their merino is as soft as cashmere. I bought two skeins that will be scarf/shawl at some point. We made it to Webs and I found  Madelinetosh dk for one project and Madelinetosh sock for another project. Carole and I combined out purchases and managed to get a 25% discount!! We went home exhausted, thank goodness I started dinner in the crockpot that morning.
Saturday we spent with our husbands going wine tasting and having dinner in San Francisco.
Sunday after church, it was back to Stitches to see if we “needed” anything else. Carole bought another shawl kit from Stunning String Studio and I bought 3 more skeins from Woolfolk to make the 3 Color Cashmere Scarf from Joji Locatelli. We also stayed for the Grand Prize drawing but didn’t win one of the three $400 cash prizes they gave away.
We had a great time and are looking forward to 2018 and doing it again!! If you want to come with us next year, bring an air mattress and sleeping bag and you can crash at my house and we’ll shop till we drop.
Yvonne*

Ewe And I

I am *knot* a monogamous knitter, and I’m *knot* a monogamous shopper!

I love yarn shops — HELLO — that’s why I’m America’s Knitting.  I’m all about the yarn shop.  So, a couple posts back, I visited Loose Ends Fiber Arts.  They had asked when I was coming to Centralia, and I finally went.  Well that’s like a two and half hour drive for me.  My husband kept me company, and we brought our dog Mae.  We started off with coffee, made a pit stop, and had lunch after visiting the yarn shop.  Wes walked the dog while I was shopping in the yarn shop, and taking pictures.

Well, not even half an hour down the road is a town called Chehalis.  There is a yarn shop there too, and it’s called Ewe And I.  How could I drive all that way, and not slide into that store?

It has a super fun back story, and unique too!  So, There are two businesses really inside the store; Ewe And I ‘yarn shop’, and Black Sheep ‘Creamery’!  Meg Gregory with her husband Brad Gregory have a farm, and they have sheep, lots of sheep.  So, with the sheep, they get milk and make cheese.  They also get wool, and make yarn.  It’s a going concern, they’ve won awards and you can find their cheese other places besides the yarn shop!  You HAVE to check out their website to really see it all. 

The yarn shop is very nice, they carry lots of yarn, and brands you know.  Notables that I saw… Rowan, Knitted Wit, Jamiesons, Opal, Brown Sheep and of course their own yarn in the natural shades of the sheep.  I did purchase some Knitted Wit, as I have never owned or knit with that yarn and it felt like a special treat.  The store is what I would call full service, in that, they sell yarn and knit, but they also spin and weave.

The ladies were very nice and told me all about the store.  I encourage you to check out their website and of course, the creamery website too.  They are on Facebook as well, so you can keep up even if you can’t make a visit.  Thanks for showing me around Meg and allowing me to take some pictures … I’ll be back~ **you can click on any photo to see it’s larger version**

…”I’m not going to a yarn shop, and I’m not buying any yarn”…

FAMOUS last words!

My friend Ann was visiting her daughter Molly in San Francisco, California.  Molly is a traveling nurse.  I had never heard of this before, but it’s a thing.  And why not….Molly’s young, not married, no kids.  These are the times of her life, and she finds herself in San Francisco, California.  So of course Mom has to go visit and check up on the daughter.  San Francisco is a fun town with awesome weather.  Lot’s a great restaurants, good chefs, and hello…the wharf!

So, being the enabler that I am, I told her to go to America’s Knitting to see where the nearest yarn shop was.  Ann says, “I’m not going to any yarn shops, and I’m not buying any yarn!”  I’m thinking (okay)!  So, she checks in at the airport, she’s posting pictures daily on social media, and texting kind lovely words about Molly, and pics of her walks and shopping.  Then….BOOM, she’s at ImagiKnit!

Turns out, Molly has a friend that’s a knitter, and knowing that Molly’s Mom knits, she tells Molly that her Mom has to go to ImagiKnit because it’s the best yarn shop.  So, they get address and directions from America’s Knitting and voila they are visiting a yarn shop.

Ann told me that the shop was very interesting, and that they had a lot of yarn.  The folks that worked there were very nice and greeted her when she arrived.  She looked about, and took some pictures for me.  San Francisco has some very old buildings chock full of charm and that is how I would describe this store.  If you click on the photos you can see larger photos, better able to catch details.  The store was busy with shoppers.  Ann noticed brands such as Madeline Tosh, Malabrigo, and Cascade.  She thought the store was unique, but she didn’t make a purchase.  It’s ok to look, seek inspiration, or just be in the company of fiber.  I really appreciate the pictures, because I don’t know when I will get there, but I love yarn shops and hearing all about them.  Thank you Ann for sharing, and thinking of America’s Knitting with your pictures, they are great!

 

* 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!