PopUp Shops

Yarn shops are getting very creative with new and limited merchandise in store.  I am loving this idea.  Indie dyers working together with the local yarn shops.  The Indie dyer gets to be involved in the local yarn shops without having to fulfill huge orders and local yarn shops get to have the indie dyers on site without having to purchase a large inventory order.  It seems like a win win for everyone.

I recently went to see Earl Grey Fiber Company over at Rainy Day Yarns located in Gig Harbor.  It was a planned girl day.  My friend Jana and I planned to go, check out Earl Frey Fiber yarns, have some lunch, do a little shopping, and get in some knitting time, chat and get caught up.  We both really needed a day like that.  It’s so great that the yarn shop can instigate a great day.

As I look out the window, typing this, I am looking at snow falling, but just two weeks ago, it was almost spring like and beautiful outside, with the sun shining.  I had heard of Earl Grey Fiber Company before and do follow them on Instagram, but typically shop at yarn shops.  This gave me an opportunity to go out and actually see the yarn for myself.  I follow lots of folks over on Instagram.  Often times, not always, you’ll see a yarn and love it, purchase it and then when it arrives you aren’t thrilled with it.  I don’t know if the excitement has worn off, or if the picture was enhanced to make it look better than it really is or what.  But seeing all the colorways together really gets the creative juices flowing.  Seeing them all there, made me imagine socks, and all those fade projects that are so popular.  If I don’t get on the bandwagon, fades will be a thing of the past. Heather, owner of Earl Grey Fiber Company was wearing a lovely Find Your Fade, and she also had some bags there.  Jana and I were admiring her fade and we looked at all the bags, and I thought I knew which bag I wanted until Sherri (owner of Rainy Day Yarns) came over and was looking at them too.  Then I started looking at them in a different way — that just wouldn’t happen online.  I suddenly changed my mind to choose a different bag.

So, 2 skeins, a bag, and new needles later, we left the store for lunch.  We headed down to the water and lunched at Tides Tavern.  Tides Tavern is right on the water with their own dock for boaters and a deck for outside dining.  We sat in the crowded bar and noshed on quesadillas and beer.  We visited, laughed and even got a few rows in.  Then, we were off to shop.  I really wanted to go to Ann Taylor LOFT, and Jana, being the one who gets all these store emails, knew that they were having a storewide 40% off sale that day.  Again, so much fun looking around, trying on clothes in the dressing rooms; we both left with purchases.  After our shopping portion of the day, we headed back to Kitsap County for a little coffee and knitting time.  We indulged, and split a yummy cookie, and got some relaxing knitting in over at Cups!

My kids are grown, and I work from home, but I still need a girl day every now and then to unwind and do all the things girls love to do.  It’s important sometimes to skip the housework, and get away from husband and family and work.  Rainy Day Yarns also has other small batch dyers in store like Sunsoaked Sister and Buxom Cat Knits (formerly Hula Hut Yarns) and their own in house Rainy Day indie dyed yarns.

Get out to the yarn shop and just see what’s new.  If you can’t make a purchase, it will surely get you re-inspired to finish that languishing project that needs some of your attention.  You will be glad you did and you will enjoy yourself.  I always say … “you’ll meet your best friend at the yarn shop”!

ps~these pictures can be seen in their larger form by clicking on any of these pictures.  These pictures look a hair fuzzy and the website creator tells me its an issue with the current theme and a new site is being built and will be live sometime soon – stay tuned!!

Cable Fiber Studio

Back in October, Diana Cripe, the moderator of the America’s Knitting group over on Ravelry spent the weekend in Port Angeles, Washington with her husband…here is her story!

While in Port Angeles, for the weekend of Oct. 12-14 for a model RR show that my husband was involved in, I went to this great yarn shop downtown.  I found out the day before, that Saturday was their 7th anniversary and they were having a Yarnival!!  You know I had to check this out.

The owners, MarySue and Beth were very nice and welcoming.  For the Yarnival they had two games to play to find out what your discount would be.  You could either toss 3 stuffed sheep and you got 5% off for each sheep that went into the basket, or you could spin the spinning wheel that had numbers of what discount you got.

I did not do either as I got a great skein of sock yarn from the sale shelves for 20% off, so that was nice.  They also had a drawing so you filled out a slip of paper with your name and email, etc.

They have a very nice shop with a lot of different yarns.  They have a very nice area in the back with a large table and also a nice sitting area.  There is also shelving full of fleece.

After dinner I found out I had won the grand prize from the drawing.  It was a bag of 20 skeins of Cascade 220 Superwash Merino in a variety of colors.  Wow, was I surprised!

What a great store with wonderful owners and lots of fun yarns etc.  If you are ever in the area, please stop in.

Thank you Diana – I really appreciate you taking pictures and telling all about your yarny adventure!

A Hat, A Shawl & Some Baby Socks

Carmel started out the year knitting fair isle hats, and she’s still doing that, and here it is November now.  She’s even started teaching others fair isle knitting.  Here is her Epistropheid hat by Kate Davies.  I love the way it turned out, and the pom pom is perfection!!

Next up with Sherri, owner of Rainy Day Yarns in Gig Harbor Washington.  Sherri is a knitting machine, all while running a business and taking care of her family.  Here is her Josephina shawl by Amanda Rios in Hula Hut Yarns Luna DK.  This pattern is free on Ravelry.

Finally, I finished two pairs of Lumberjack socks by Tin Can Knits.  Our employee had identical twin girls.  I had always loved this pattern, and thought I’d start small with the baby size and give them a go.  I used Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash.  One was a variegated and a solid.  I did a reverse on the second pair.  It’s wonderful when you can purchase a pattern, and have so many sizes to knit from.  What a value from Tin Can Knits.

 

Fidalgo Artisan Yarn

Back in April, my husband and I went to Orcas Island to visit my Step-Mom for the weekend!  As the name suggests, it’s an island, so you have to take a ferry boat to get there.  The ferry departs from a town called Anacortes!  As it happens, Anacortes has a yarn shop.  The name of the store is Fidalgo Artisan Yarn.

This store is so unique!!!!!  When I arrived Emily was working.  She was busy winding yarn for a customer, but was so welcoming and happy.  Who could not be happy working in a store full of yarn, fiber and clothes.  Yes, clothes….we’ll talk about that in a bit.

The store is easy to find, it’s right downtown.  We parked on the street, and there are all sorts of fun shops all around, and restaurants too.  This store is “FULL” of hand dyed yarn by owner Lori.  The only brand names you will see in this store is needles and notions and patterns.  Everything in this store is crafted by hand, right down to the Spectator Hats – we’ll get there in a moment.

There is so much to take in, you just can’t be in a hurry!  There is alpaca, silk, wool, bamboo, mohair, even camel.  All weights will be found at Fidalgo Artisan Yarn.  The colors are so beautiful, from clean brights, to neutrals, to soft colors.  Owner Lori came in while I was there, so I was able to meet her.  She is pictured below in the turquoise shirt.  She truly has a gift for color and dying yarn.

There are hand crafted wood bowls for yarn that are crafted locally, hand made jewelry, artisan clothing hand made and those fun spectator hats.  I also found fiber for all the spinners out there and some patterns by Churchmouse Yarns & Teas.  Fidalgo Artisan Yarn is on Instagram, so follow along, and remember they ship!

I had made up my mind prior to walking in that I needed a pair of sock blockers.  I did get my sock blockers, and also some yarn for a shawl.  if you are headed up to the San Juan Islands, get up there early, so you can get into Fidalgo Artisan Yarn and tell them Mary from America’s Knitting sent you in!

*you can click on any photo to see it’s larger form

It’s Been A While

I’ve actually had a pretty busy year, but haven’t posted in a while!  My latest event that I have attended is an annual event held in my area.  It’s actually one county over from mine in Allyn, Washington.  It’s the Knit In The Park annual event held at the Waterfront Park every summer.

It’s a wonderful event in a great setting!  Vendors come and set up to sell their wares under the huge gazebo.  It goes from 10-4, and knitters and crocheters gather.  It’s a potluck, so everyone brings food to share.  You bring your own chair and your knitting.

Folks gather in their collective groups and knit and visit the day away.  Because it’s held in July, the weather is always very nice and there’s a breeze that comes off the water.  This year was very hot with temps up over 90*!  Everyone is so friendly — knitters walk around through the groups to introduce themselves and see what everyone is working on.  There are always demonstrations, I saw weaving this year.  

Lois from the Allyn Knit Shop always organizes the event every year and conducts the door prize drawings.  Her store is located down the road a piece.  You can follow Lois and her business on Facebook!

It’s very relaxing to get away for the day, enjoy the summertime weather, and gather with your knitterly friends and get some knitting in.  You can hear conversations of gals talking about what their next class is to be, and you will often see families there as well with their knitter family members.  I go every year and always enjoy myself.  It’s an event I always look forward to!

As always, you can click on any picture to see it’s larger form~

Tolt

My friend Jana & I kicked off the new year right, with a visit to Tolt!  Yep, I’m just now getting around to covering this store, and getting my spotlight up.  I’m a busy gal…knitting, designing kitchens, keeping up my house, hiking and watching my grandson!!  ANYWAY — Jana and I really wanted to go and see Shannon Cook aka Very Shannon!  She had just released her Valley of the Moon series, and was to be at Tolt for a launching.  So, of course we had to go; it’s just a ferry boat and car ride away…and, it’s just how we roll!

The weather was dreadful out — January in the pacific northwest can be that way.  Dark, wet, cold and windy BUT THAT DIDN’T STOP US! We arrived and was greeted by Shannon herself.  It wasn’t that busy yet, so we got to have a lovely chat with her.  She showed us her new designs and the yarn that she used (WOOLFOLK) for the projects.  It started getting a bit busy, so we decided to shop.  Then, we were invited to sit and knit a bit.  They had a lovely large wood table in the back with some chairs, and there were other ladies (locals) knitting.  There was room and we did have our knitting with us, so we decided we would.  Smiles all around.  The store is so friendly, we felt like locals ourselves.  It was a Saturday morning, and it was so fun to see what the other ladies were knitting.

Behind us, was another knitting spot…some comfy chairs by a wood stove.  There were other gals gathered ’round, chatting and knitting.  It was very cool and relaxed feeling.  Nobody was in a hurry at all (Tolt is in the country), there were young moms with their babies, women with their husbands, locals, and then us that came through from a distance, and then Shannon from Canada.

While we were sitting there, knitting and visiting, we took some pictures, and thought of other things we wanted to buy, that we had forgotten about, with VeryShannon on the brain.  After some time, we used the restroom, and got in line to make our purchases.  We then took off to brave the weather and head back home.

You know, I know people who never venture very far from home, but heading out to Carnation for the day, sort of felt like a mini vaca, even if it was just for a day in January~

*If you ever think to take some snaps of yarn shops on your travels, please share by emailing me and remember you can see these pictures in their larger form, by clicking on them*

 

 

 

Easy Goes It shawl

Sherri’s back with another shawl!  Sherri knits all kinds of things for her store.  Yep, she’s a crazy fast knitter and actually does a lot of knitting.  Every time I visit her store, Rainy Day Yarns in Gig Harbor, Washington, her store is light, clean and organized.  She’s never knitting, knows where everything is at and always has a smile on her face, ready, willing and able to help.  BUT, Sherri’s a normal everyday knitter just like the rest of us.  On vacation with her family, she knits in the car (just like us), she knits at home in the evenings (just like us), she knits at the doctors office (just like us), and she visits yarn shops and goes to knitting events (just like us)!  All or most of the samples in her store (which change all the time btw) are knit by Sherri!  She’s a true wonder – LOVE HER!  Here is her Easy Goes It by Finicky Creations.  The yarn Sherri used for this shawl, is her own in-house line of yarn called Rainy Day Yarns Twisted Sock (oh yeah, and she dyes yarn).  You should totally think about joining her Color of the Month, she ships!!

Lieselotte Shawl

Meet ‘merrysherri‘!  That is Sherri’s Ravelry name – and she owns Rainy Day Yarns in Gig Harbor, Washington!  I love this store, and I love Sherri!!  Her store is chock full of yummy yarniness, including her own special hand dyed yarns that she sells in house.  But, here we have the Lieselotte Shawl by Beatrice Perron Dahlen.  Sherri used Skacel Concentrics  Hikoo yarn for this project, and I can see why – it’s GORGEOUS!!  The color is #1023 Shades of Gray – lovely!!  The Lieselotte is a free Ravelry download~

Apple Yarns

Last October, Diana, the gal that heads up our Ravelry group, visited Apple Yarns in Bellingham, Washington!  Bellingham has three yarn shops.  Sounds like a town/city that gets a lot of knitting done.

Bellingham is also a college town, and the home to Western Washington University!  Apple Yarns, however is located in what Diana would call auto row amongst several auto dealerships and similar industry businesses.

When Diana was there for her visit, there were two different ladies working, Claudia Barbo, and Francine Heaton.  Francine is the lady on the left and Claudia is the lady on the right in the photo.  Claudia designed both scarves that the ladies are wearing.   While Diana was there, and visiting with Claudia & Francine, they mentioned that knitters drop of their cars to be serviced, and then pop in and knit a while, and wait there versus waiting and knitting at the dealership.  I just wonder how many people have learned to knit at Apple Yarns whilst waiting for their car.  I wonder if Apple Yarns does any targeted advertisement over there HAHA!

Diana loved the classes room area very much!  Thank you so much Claudia and Francine for spending time with Diana and allowing her to take some pictures.  So, whether you are a college student, waiting to get your car fixed, or are mainly a resident of Bellingham, or a visitor, stop into Apple Yarns, and take a class or just hang out and work on your knitting, so you can get on to the business of shopping for that next project!

**You may click on any of these photos to see their larger forms**

Diana Cripe~

It’s A Country Christmas

In a dream, you may wander into a small cozy yarn shop, with a roaring fire, a cute dog all curled up on a loveseat (wearing pearls) surrounded by wonderfully soft colorful yarn.  You would be walking through the store slowly, as you touched merino, yak, mohair, silk and cashmere.  The light is warm, and in the back corner are lovely women knitting and visiting, and there’s a friendly woman who smiles and says ‘welcome!

Only it’s not a dream, it’s The Artful Ewe, in Port Gamble, Washington!  Every early December, Port Gamble has their Country Christmas.  What is Country Christmas?  Imagine, hay rides, hot chocolate, Santa, a town filled with lights, shops open, and when it gets dark, fireworks!  The Artful Ewe is my local yarn shop (LYS), so it’s easy for me to run over and capture this for you, and it’s my pleasure, Happy Holidays!

But first, you have to get to know Heidi Dascher and her business The Artful Ewe!  Heidi & I have something in common, her store opened in May of 2007, and America’s Knitting went live in August of 2007.  Heidi and I are probably very close in age as well, I would guess, so of course we had a life before her store, and my website.

Heidi’s Grandmother Gunda taught Heidi to knit when she was 7 years old.  Grandma Gunda was right handed and Heidi is left handed.  It wasn’t easy, as you can image, but Grandma was very patient, and Heidi learned to knit the right handed way.  Heidi laughs about it now!  Heidi was self-taught and, of course, by Grandma Gunda, no formal knitting, like classes and such, so she didn’t know any different.  Fast forward many years to 2005 and a meeting at the Kitsap County Knitters Guild (where other left handed knitters are), and the subject comes up.  Heidi says I’m left handed, and as ladies watch her knit, mention, you knit right handed.  Funny the things you learn along the way in life.

In my first paragraph, I mentioned the dog curled up on the loveseat wearing pearls.  That too is a real thing.  That would be Grace!  Heidi has a number of animals in her life but Grace & Semillon are Whippets, and they go to work with Heidi.  Now, mentioning work, I have to disclose that The Artful Ewe is only open to the public on Friday, Saturday & Sunday.  This is because Heidi is busy Monday through Thursday dying yarn back at the homestead.  Yep, Heidi’s store is filled with exotic yarn that she hand dyed herself.  You won’t find any brand names like Cascade, or Plymouth, or Kraemer Yarns, or even Swan Island, or any other brands for that matter.  You will only see the yarns that Heidi dyes herself.  This is what I would call a specialty store, for exotic yarn.  I would say that her prices are extremely competitive and the yarn is very high quality.  You truly, just have to see it and experience it for yourself.

Heidi’s dying history starts back in 2004.  She started this endeavor mainly just for her own personal knitting wants.  Her friends wanted her hand dyed yarn too!  Then she branched out to venues like Arts in Action over at the fairgrounds, and then more venues.  The local knitters guild joined up with the local quilting guild, they started doing once-a-month demonstrations at the Walker-Ames house in Port Gamble.  When that fizzled out, the town property manager offered to let Heidi use the vacant fire hall on the weekends, demonstrating fiber arts processes like spinning, weaving, knitting and felting.  She and her friend Linda Jacobs set up and opened the doors on Mother’s Day weekend 2007, and people showed up!  Six months went by, and then Heidi signed a lease and moved into the smaller space that she occupies today.

Today, Heidi is living at the family homestead dating all the way back to Grandma Gunda, dying yarn all week for her store, being an entrepreneur, and in charge of her own destiny.  She says “The Artful Ewe is my happy place”, and she means it.  So she’s got her homestead dogs that stay home and protect the home front, and her shop dogs (Whippets Grace & Semmy) that are her companions on the job.  Heidi loves to keep the shop fresh with new colors all the time, so if you are shopping and see something that you like, I suggest you buy it because you may not see for a while.  Heidi teaches knitting and spinning for free on the days that she is open.  When Heidi speaks of teaching others she uses words like ‘joy’ and ‘magic’  What perfect words to use at Christmas time.

The Artful Ewe gives financially to the Country Christmas fireworks display, and is truly part of the Port Gamble community and she also part of the fiber arts community at large.

Please click on any photo to see it larger form, and wander into The Artful Ewe on your journey to our little part of the world.  Happy Holidays to one and all, from The Artful Ewe and America’s Knitting!!