What Makes For A Good Yarn Shop?

I may be the owner and operator of America’s Knitting, but first and foremost, I am a knitter, through and through!

What makes for a good yarn shop?  The answer…SO many things.  Not every hero wears a cape.  Churchmouse Yarns & Teas has this in spades…

At the top of the list – it has to be inspiration.  What brings you back to your LYS time and time again.  Here in western Washington, we have so many yarn shops, that it’s pretty competitive.  What if you don’t need anything?  You have lots of yarn, you’ve got needles in every size, books and books of patterns, not to mention the internet.  What is it that makes you, ‘just want to go’?

Who is there; maybe your favorite employee, that has become a friend of sorts or knitting friends that you know possibly?  The yarn that is on your mind, that you just have to go visit it.  Maybe it’s a pattern, that is on your mind, the next in the queue of projects.  I know, you’ve had a week, and you are thinking of treating yourself.  OR, somebody earlier bought something, and you just have to see it for yourself.  The shop pattern you can’t get out of your head!

Ok, let’s veer off and talk specifics – great lighting, free parking and plenty of it.  Classroom space, great classes that always work out.  Here you go….enough yarn to knit a bedspread or a sweater for a huge man (come on….we’ve all been to those shops that only have enough yarn to knit a scarf or a hat or mitts, socks).  Friendly and knowledgeable staff, it’s a must!!  All these things contribute to a great yarn shop.

Lots of knitters, and yarn shops nationwide are familiar with Churchmouse Yarns & Teas.  Their patterns are sold throughout the country, and probably over seas.  If you’ve ever knit a Churchmouse pattern, you will know, that their attention to detail is spot on.  We’ve all had those patterns, where for the life of us, we don’t know what they are talking about – you practically need an interpreter.  OR, the designer assumes that you are a long time knitter and know everything – why do you even need a pattern.  How about those patterns that after you’ve knit them once — forget about it — it is never knit again by anyone.

Churchmouse patterns are classics for one thing, and so easy to understand, just let go and trust what you are readingWell, the store is no different!  Classic, friendly, happy, well lit, plenty of yarn on the floor and in the back, knowledgeable employees, great communicators, they are open 7 days a week, they work super hard, and it shows!  The displays are tasteful, quaint, and simply lovely.  The store is ALWAYS clean.  Thanks for leading the way, being a class act, teaching the craft and your knowledge of tea, and sharing your patterns with us Churchmouse!

I was at their latest pattern launch with some friends.  If you aren’t familiar with Churchmouse knitting patterns, please take a moment and check out their website – it’s worth it~


I Want That Wrap

Diana, (MommaRam) a member of the America’s Knitting Ravelry group knit this poncho called I Want That Wrap by Carolyn Kinghorn (Carolynkknits on Ravelry).  Here is her story:

Here is my finished I Want That Wrap, a free pattern on Ravelry created by Carolyn Kinghorn who is a member of my knitting group. She wore it to A Grand Yarn’s fall knitting retreat in beautiful Whitefish, Montana, last October and we all begged her to write up the directions for us. AGY left Spokane in December, but our Wednesday afternoon group kept meeting in various places and we held our own retreat this past weekend at Lake Coeur d’Alene in Idaho at a member’s summer house. Group picture on my project page with some of us wearing our ponchos.

When yarn shops close, friendships remain.  The local yarn shop is a valuable place that is to be supported!  Thank you for sharing Diana~






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.


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.


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!


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.


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