Makers’ Mercantile

When I hear the word ‘mercantile’, it conjures up visions of an older building full of provisions, from olden days.  Makers’ Mercantile, located in Kent, Washington, is far from the olden days, haha, but they are a mercantile.  They have provisions for all types of making!

The store is good size with great light and it’s full of color!  I was greeted right as I walked through the door, everyone was very friendly, and the store was busy!  On the left hand side of the store there is a nice long table, full of chairs.  I wished I had taken a picture of it now, so you could see it.  I didn’t because there were so many people sitting, knitting and talking that I didn’t want to make them feel uncomfortable with the camera.  Next time I’ll be brave and ask if they care.

They really do have it all for makers of all kinds, yarn — lots of yarn, for knitting and crochet, needles and hooks and notions to go along with that.  I saw a room and section dedicated to fabric and that is where you would find all the buttons.  What struck my eye was the cute bags I saw, and the kits you could purchase to make the bags.  They even had cork fabric!  If you are more of a knitting basket kind of person, they had baskets too.   They have some weaving equipment and of course ball winders and swifts.  If this isn’t enough…they have a café of sorts in the back.  They had the most scrumptious selection of macrons for purchase and they can make you a coffee or tea.  I use the word scrumptious because I bought some macrons, and let me tell you they were scrumptious!

CLICK ON ME — See that cork bag on the left….that’s a kit that you can make yourself!

The day I was there they were expecting Olive Knits, Marie Greene in a matter of days for a book signing and talk.  They had her newest book right up front, Seamless Knit Sweaters In 2 Weeks!  I did purchase one, and want to knit all of them — sweater knitting is so hot right now.

What a fun and interesting store!

Fiber Arts Fine Yarns

When I started America’s Knitting, I wanted all the nations yarn shops all in one place online for everyone’s convenience.  How boring, it wasn’t enough.  I wanted to know all the yarn shops and talk about all the yarn shops.  So I started doing spotlights on yarn shops every chance I got.

Of course I started local…ones I could get out to for a visit – take some pictures!  Well, I live in Washington – NOW WHAT?  Well, I went down to Oregon and visited some shops in Portland and did spotlights, and my girlfriend Dawn took a trip back home to Connecticut, and shared a visit to a yarn shop for me.  Then I started getting contacted by yarn shops themselves and did a few yarn shops…Maine, California, Montana.  Then some of my readers started traveling and sending me photos and a few lines and I posted those spotlights…Arizona, Alaska!

Well my girlfriend Libbie just relocated to Florida for her husbands work.  She visited a yarn shop called Fiber Arts Fine Yarns in Odessa!  I asked her if she could take some pictures for me…and she did.  Here is what she had to say about the store:

The owner was there and was super friendly. They were  showcasing customers finished projects. Good parking. A little coffee shop cafe in the same strip mall as well as a brew pub next door. (Darin appreciates that!). He was able to taste a few local brews and grab a growler while I bought some locally dyed yarn.  That all being said, I haven’t been back. But, I haven’t really been knitting. In a rut.

Libbie needs to meet some knitters and join a knitting group!  I always say, you’ll meet your best friend at the yarn shop.  All that being said, Libbie & Darin are still getting settled in and are building a house.  Libbie needs her knitting mojo back!!  Thank you Libbie for taking the pictures and getting them to me.  I hope you get back to knitting SOON~

*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!!

Yarn Crawl…do you crawl?

They are pretty much nation wide now!  I love the concept of an organized event, created towards a fun outing for all the enjoy!  Knitters plan and plot out their course, and sometimes even take a husband, a non-knitting friend, or pups for company.  Most do I think, crawl in groups…but there are even some loners out to crawl.  It could take a day or a weekend, for all this fun to take place.  I say knitters, but these shops also create a free crochet pattern for crawlers as well.

The premise is that the shops come together with meetings all year long to come up with a theme, a set of rules, free patterns, and some prizes to make it super fun!  We have a couple of these crawls in my region of western Washington state.  I’ve done the crawl over in Seattle one time.  The crawl in the south sound I do every year….so far.  The crawl in Seattle is too big for me.  If someone wanted to drag me, I could be persuaded, but that hasn’t happened yet.

Sometimes, life’s circumstances veer knitters off course.  Knitters almost always come back, and this is always a great outing.  Visit all the shops, check it out, see what’s happening.  The first thing you do is print out your passport. There will always be something in one of the shops that really speaks to you.  Each shop has a project and free pattern.  They typically have a yarn that goes with the project that they are offering at a discount, and then decorations and other items that coincide with their theme.  Each shop has snacks to offer the crawler.  Then, there are daily prizes and something for the finishers.

Because it takes all day, or in some cases all weekend, you have to have coffee out or lunch.  It’s Fun!  I think knitters know how to have fun….from KAL’s, to joining yarn clubs, to going to events, to going on yarn crawls.  Personally, I love all things that include and support the yarn shops, that’s my favorite.  This weekend is KnitFit in Ballard, Washington.  I’m not taking any classes, but I will be going to just check it out and go to the market.  Out of 28 vendors, only 1 is a yarn shop.  So, does a sale from an indy business take away from the business of a LYS?

 

Glamping With The Plucky Knitter

Being a gal from the Pacific Northwest, I love the play on words the Plucky Knitter used on her ‘Glamping’ retreat held this last weekend, in my neck of the woods (hee)!  We consider ourselves outdoorsy people here in the Northwest.  This retreat weekend was held in a truly unique venue, that speaks to a northwest style with lots of wood and big timbers; Island Wood located on beautiful Bainbridge Island, Washington.  I can totally see how the play on words comes in with ‘glamping’ as the campers had their own cabins and meals served catered style in a community mess hall.  This event included classes, shopping, friendship bracelets, fine dining and s’mores of course.

The Plucky Knitter aka Sarah Dimond and her lovely yarns, fall into the ‘exclusive’ category, in that they are extremely popular and sought after.  She works with luxury fibers, and of course her colors are custom.  You will find merino, cashmere, cotton, linen, silk, camel, alpaca and even yak fiber in her line of fine yarns.  As soon as she dyes up batches and gets them ‘on-line’ they are sold out.

Yep, I said on-line.  But, America’s Knitting is all about the yarn shop!!  Yes, that’s true — but I didn’t want anyone thinking that I am out of the loop.  I try to know what’s going on all around the knitting industry.  Especially, when things happen in my back yard, I must go and investigate.

For the most part, I, (and I hope all of you) purchase yarn and notions from your local yarn shop.  Whenever I travel, I take my knitting (that goes without saying), and I always look up and see where the local yarn shops are (on America’s Knitting of course).  I look at what I have going, and try and squeeze in a trip to a LYS.  BUT, sometimes…someone gives you yarn from their stash, or gifts it to you.  Sometimes you are buying craft yarn because the recipient isn’t going to take care of it or you are on an extreme budget, but must cast on.  I’ve even heard stories of yarn on sale in the catalogs that was the perfect color purchased in the middle of the night.  You see where I’m going with this — we are addicts.

There’s so much out there from booths at venues such as Rhinebeck, the Stitches events, the Vogue Knitting LIVE events, the catalogs, the on-lines….and then there’s our trusty LYS that is always there for us.  They are open often times, 7 days a week, all day.  They furiously and tirelessly knitting up shop samples, and plan schedules of classes and in-store events, from holiday open houses, to fashion shows, trunk shows, book signings, sales and the list goes on.  These shops pay local county taxes, state taxes and federal taxes, and they are there for us, and provide most of all, technique and community.

The Plucky Knitter works very hard too; her online presence is always up to date, she has a successful Ravelry group, gorgeous photography, fun and current pattern support, and playful swag that’s always good for a smile.  The Plucky Knitter is a family owned business out of Michigan; and Sarah and her sister Hayley are the face of the brand.  There is NOTHING not to like there, I love their yarn….just wish it was a little more available in your LYS.  But, one could say made in USA, except I’m not sure of the sourcing of their yarn.

Plucky Knitter does occasionally have trunk shows at yarn shops — they were seen at Knit On Pearl Yarn Shop in Jackson Wyoming, and Wool & Honey yarn shop in Cedar, Michigan, and their custom dyed excusive yarn colorways for Churchmouse Yarns & Teas on Bainbridge Island, Washington.  So, if Plucky yarn is on your radar, follow Sarah on any number of social media venues, and maybe she’ll land at a yarn shop near you!  The Plucky Knitter also participates in Stitches South and has their own Shindig annual event~

 

We Like Crochet TOO!!

Joanie, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, crocheted this afghan for her son-in-law.  I love the colors, and I think that’s also what really makes it.  Chevrons are back in, and you are seeing them everywhere from wrapping paper, to fabrics like drapes and upholstery to clothing.  The pattern is called Ripple Afghan by Better Homes and Gardens.

We call ourselves America’s Knitting, but we love crochet too!  Thank you Joanie for sharing your work.

Sheldon the Sheep goes to Hartford!

Ronda, owner of Main St. Yarn Shop in Hardford, Wisconsin crocheted Sheldon the Sheep.  So cute, so full of personality! Ronda used Patons North America Classic Wool Roving.  Next time you are driving through Hartford, won’t you stop and say hello to Sheldon?  Sheldon the Sheep is the creation of Curly Girl Coop~