America’s Knitting….well, so is Canada!!

Whenever I travel anywhere, I always find a yarn shop to visit.  Also, while traveling, I always have my camera.  Well, in September, I went to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  AND, I found a yarn shop, 88 Stitches!

My friend Jana and I were traveling up to Vancouver, BC to attend Knit City.  It’s an annual event held up there in late September.  We always call it our west coast Rhinebeck.  It really is the perfect venue.  It’s just the right size, not small, but not huge.  It’s got tons of celebrities, or as I like to call them ‘Kniteratti’!  There are tons of booths full of yummies, and tons of classes with all the famous people, and an all around good time.

Jana knows me well, and had heard about 88 Stitches on the Grocery Girls podcast.  Last year, we had visited Baad Anna’s, which was located very close to our hotel.  This year it was 88 Stitches in Langley.  Honestly, it was the first thing we did — even before checking into our hotel!

It was a lovely early fall day, we found the shop with the help of some GPS, then parked the car.  When we went inside, the two lovely gals working, were happy to see us and eager to help.  It was clear that they were busy working, putting up new inventory.  We just wanted to look around, touch and feel, and take some pictures.  I was however, looking for a needle.

Leila (I think) was helping me with my needle situation, while Jana was looking around.  Then I started looking around, and found a rad basket and cute notions pouch and tape measure.  I totally get sucked in.  I made my purchase and took my pictures.  They had a wonderful selection of yarns including Sweet Fiber Yarns, Baa Ram Ewe, Berroco, and Lettlopi to name just a few!

As we finished up, we asked Marilyn for a few lunch suggestions before heading on into Vancouver.  She gave us three suggestions, and exceptional directions into Langley proper.  What an amazing town!!  The shops were amazing and the restaurants, and bakeries, and candy shops all looked wonderful.  We ended up at a brewery called Trading Post Brewing.  The place was rustic on the inside with an amazing covered patio out back with blankets and a gas fireplace.  The beer was good and we had fried chicken sandwiches that were dreamy!

Thank you Marilyn for the great directions, thank you Leila for the help with my purchase.  I still love my basket and bag.  I want to visit Langley again soon!

As always, if you want your LYS featured send us some digital pictures and a few lines and we’ll get them up right away.  Click on any photo to see it’s larger form.

 

Hurricane Harvey – Labor Day Weekend – Back To School

There’s so much going on! As I watch the aftermath of Harvey, and see hospitals evacuating because they don’t have any potable water, and wells breaking down, and families being held up in make shift shelters in convention centers.  My head swirls with the good fortune at every turn; the grocery chain HEB sending convoys of trucks with food to serve everyone, Anheuser-Busch pausing their beer production to send bottled water to Harvey victims, and neighbors helping neighbors to evacuate even the pets.

The same holds true within our own knitting community.  There are three yarn shops in Houston, with two more within a 24-mile radiance, not to mention the yarn shops affected in Louisiana!  I’ve seen a couple of fine offers coming from the knitting community to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey.  Here is a letter from Lauren & Trey of Lolo Did It I’m sorry this offer ran out….I’ve been experiencing computer and internet issues and couldn’t get this out any sooner – I AM SO SORRY!  Please follow Lolo Did It on Instagram, to get to know her lovely products.

Huge Thank You To Everyone

I realized this evening that I have quite a few people who do not follow me on social media, so I wanted to make sure to tell you everything that’s been going on over here.

Sunday night Trey and I decided we wanted to do something that had more of an impact on the relief effort than we could do all by ourselves. So we are dyeing a surprise colorway and all proceeds are going to the American Red Cross for the Hurricane Harvey relief effort in Texas and Louisiana. We have had an amazing response from our beautiful fiber arts community and I’m so proud and thankful to be a part of it!

Click “Shop Specials” for the Hurricane Harvey colorway, there is a link in the listing if you would like to donate directly to the Red Cross instead of purchasing a colorway. There are tons of local charities and relief projects to donate to directly as well. The sale of this colorway will end on Thursday 8/31 at 10pm PST. I have left the quantities unlimited except for 2 yarn bases, which I have completely run out of and can’t get re-supplied in time. Everything will be shipped by 9/18 – wish us luck dyeing it all for you next week! We are so ready and excited to take on the challenge for a good cause!

There are other amazing makers in this community who are also giving their time, donating proceeds, and making items for those in needs. Every little bit counts! Money isn’t everything, as always: a smile, a word, a gesture, a post, or a small gift will help someone whose life has been torn apart by this tragedy. I have had people tell me they will be knitting Roxie the Hippo and other stuffed toys for kids, which is just crazy generous! So don’t think you can’t make an impact if you can’t give money, make a donation, or make a purchase. All of our hands can make a difference!

Thank you all again!

Love, Lauren and Trey

Also, another offer in from WEBSOur hearts are with all those affected by Hurricane Harvey. Through 9/4/17, WEBS will donate 5% of sales to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief (up to $20,000). 

This is from their facebook page, and there is also a note on their website.  Speaking of facebook, they are also matching funds donated through their site to the Red Cross I believe.

Please consider helping out, and don’t worry, helping will be going on for quite some time.  The problem in Texas will take a long time to recover from.

While, we have our own problems, like computer and internet issues, and things coming up in our lives, with kids going back to school, and as we enjoy the long holiday weekend of Labor Day, please remember our friends in Texas & Louisiana. They will be needing lots of help to get back onto their feet for quite some time to come.  Texas, and Louisiana, you are in our hearts!

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

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.

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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~

Down For 7 Consecutive Years

FullSizeRender (21)America’s Knitting has been tracking yarn shops across the nation since August of 2007!  Every year around Labor Day we do a mass mailer out to all the yarn shops.  Once a year, we garner financial support from the yarn shops with minor monetary donation – this keeps us going throughout the year, doing what we do.FullSizeRender (22)

Our goal is to support the LYS from the islands of Hawaii to the glaciers of Alaska, to the Dakotas and the Carolinas, from my home state of Washington all the way across the nation to New York and beyond.  I really feel that the local yarn shop truly is the heart beat of our craft, be it knitting, crochet, spinning, or weaving.  It’s a place where learning happens and community happens.

FullSizeRender (24)The mailer does garner some support, but it also serves as a useful tool.  All the shops that have closed or moved, those mailers get returned to me for investigation.  As we keep up with these shops throughout the year through facebook, website and telephone, this final act finishes the job.  I believe America’s Knitting is the most accurate listing out there in real time.  I hear from knitters and yarn shop owners on a daily basis, as shops open up, close and move locations.

Having said all of this, having any small business is a challenge.  For the last 7 years, our LYS number has decreased with this year being no different.  We started 2015 with 1177 yarn shops, and as of today January 6, 2016 there are now 1,090; that is a deficit of 87 yarn shops.FullSizeRender (20)

Please support your LYS, or an LYS on your travels.  They are doing everything they can with on-line support, classes and long hours, some 7 days a week to be there for you.  Every sale really does make a difference.  All of the beautiful pictures you see in this post are from Myra Garcia of Fancy Image Yarn, in Shelton, Washington, one of my many shops that support America’s Knitting!

FullSizeRender (23)Here’s to another great year of knitting~

Follow us on Facebook and join our Ravelry group!

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Sunday’s at the Yarn Shop

It’s the weekend; time off…..time to get caught up, on sleep, chores, and also, you want to squeeze in a little fun.

Rainy Day Yarns

What is fun; shopping with the girls, going on a hike with the dog, date night with the husband, taking the family out to the movies?  Time off, it’s needed to decompress, unwind, cook the meals you’ve been wanting to make from Pinterest, go to or have celebrations, do our crafts.  I went on the PNW Yarn Crawl this weekend — that’s what I did for fun!

 

Yep, there were eight shops, and my friends really only wanted to do four.

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So, four we did!  The weather was perfect.  We started at Starbucks for coffee – that was perfect.  Then we hit the road — did 3 shops, then stopped for lunch at Smokin’ Mo’s (that was perfect).  At our second stop, we visited The Black Sheep Yarn Shop in Olympia.  It’s a new shop that we hadn’t been to before.  Michelle Cohen is the owner, and the store was busy for the crawl.  She had her children there helping, which was awesome.  They were learning sales and entrepreneurialism.  Michelle had lots of other helps too, but it really brings it home that these yarn shops are definitely small businesses.

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What is it like for the small business?  A lot of shops, now days, are open 7 days a week.  When I started America’s Knitting in 2007, most shops were closed on Sundays and Mondays.  As time went on, shops decided to be closed only on Sundays. Then shops decided to be open all weekend and closed on Mondays.  They are all different, but you have to have time off…for your other life.

Free Pattern from Allyn Knit Shop

Free Pattern from Allyn Knit Shop

It’s Sunday here in Silverdale, Washington this morning, and the sun is shining.  It’s 52* and a little breezy outside, fall.  I’m thinking about church, and when that starts.  My husband had to work today, because today was the only day that the plumber could make it out to our job.  Yep, we are contractors, small business people as is the plumber.  With the bad economy, many people went out of business; now there aren’t as many plumbers as there once was.  Business picks up, and the plumbers that are in business can’t get it all done.  The trade has sort of fallen off with no work, so they can’t even really hire anybody, so they are working on Sundays, so is my husband today.  It’s ok, it’s time to be grateful for the work, and people are happy to work!

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As I am home on this Sunday enjoying a little peace and quiet, I wonder what is going through the minds of yarn shop owners across the nation today.  They have to go open the store, maybe they are thinking about the family at home, possibly feeling left out, wanting a real weekend themselves.  Maybe the family will stop in and say hello.  If it’s slow, they are  probably getting caught up on bookwork, bills, taxes.  If they are busy, they are enjoying the sales of the day, seeing their customers and what they are planning to make, or seeing their finished items.  They are wanting a profitable day – maybe it’s a class day at the store and knitters are in, learning new techniques, learning to knit.  Is it all worth it?  I’m sure, every one of the shop owners feel they are living the dream, love, and enjoy every day of having their own business.  Working very hard to put their own stamp on it.

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I absolutely LUV yarn shops, as I’m sure you do.  If you are put off, or you weren’t feelin it…give it another try.  The local yarn shops is a great community, you’ll meet your knitting friends there.  You are missing out, by not knowing these wonderful people.  They do sometimes have a bad day, just like you.  Calling all yarn shops, send me photos of your store, your events, your town, your knitters.  I want to talk about your store.  If you are a knitter that loves photography, take some snaps of your LYS and email them over with a few lines.

-happy weekend, happy fall

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