Wednesday, July 22, 2015

PNW Yarn Crawl 2015

For someone who loves yarn so much, and thus, yarn shops, it's seems incredible even to me that I've never completed a yarn crawl. Sure, I've done partials, but never one entire crawl. The LYS Tour of the Seattle area is just too big. It frightens me. There are 26 shops in a 115-mile long by 79.3-mile wide area! Sure, it's a five-day event (road trip!) but I just could not invest that much time this year. Besides, I wanted my husband to come with me, and as much as he respects my yarn fixation, the only way I'm going to get him on a five-day road trip is if there is beer involved (pub crawl!)

So when I learned that the PNW Yarn in my south Puget Sound area had been reformulated, I decided to do it all. With only seven shops involved, we could do it in one beautiful, sunny, spring Saturday. 
On May 2, I printed out our passports to keep us on track and we made our plan. I filled the water bottles, packed some snacks, and made sure to bring a large tote bag for the acquisitions.

Rainy Day Yarns, Gig Harbor, WA
We decided to start the loop by heading down to Gig Harbor to visit Sherri Hazen and her Rainy Day Yarns shop located right on Pioneer Way just before you hit Harborview Drive. Sherri stocks lots of American-made yarns and tools, some of which are local to our area. That's the best part. She also stocks major brands and has the largest inventory of machine washable fibers I've seen. I got some Plymouth Homestead and CEY Canyon for design design swatching while there. If you haven't been to this shop, plan to spend a few hours in Gig Harbor, and if you don't spend all your bucks at RDY, I recommend going to Tides Tavern for lunch. 

Amanda's Art-Yarn, Poulsbo, WA
Our next stop was a new one for me, and a chance to discover a Viking town! Amanda's Art-Yarn is located in Poulsbo, WA, a lovely little village on Liberty Bay with the nickname "Little Norway." I had to shield my eyes as we drove into town, because I saw about fifteen little shops, bakeries, and restaurants I wanted to peruse. We had no time for that, though. It was all about the crawl! When we walked into Amanda's shop, I was aghast. First I looked over all the other yarns she stocks and found myself some Imperial Yarn Columbia in sage green and some CEY Tiverton Tweed--two yarns I've yet to try. Then...then, people...I found Amanda's yarn! And that's what the majority of this shop is filled with and with good, good reason! That's Amanda Richardson herself in the picture above posing proudly with just a small sampling of the gorgeous yarns she dyes. Such a great talent. I also had a short talk with her about designing and so wished I could have stolen her away for more. But we had to get on with the crawl!

From Poulsbo we enjoyed the lovely drive over to Allyn, WA, to finally see Lois Henderson's new Allyn Knit Shop space. She has so much room and so much lovely yarn! I tried to focus and do something I'd been dreaming of--having a bunch of Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift in front of me to choose some colors for Fair Isle! I was so mesmerized with the Jamieson's and all the other beautiful yarns Lois stocks that I didn't notice my husband getting schooled on spinning by Lois herself. He's always wanted to learn and she was so nice to show him both on the drop spindle and the wheel. He bought some fleece. Will he spin it? Stay tuned!

After more chatting with Lois, we were on our way to the next stop on the crawl.

And that was to find another shop that is new to me, Fancy Image Yarn! It's in the cutest little house in Shelton packed with the colorful creations of Myra Garcia. I warn you not to go near this yarn paradise without some bucks--you will want several of her skeins. It's amazing that she can fill an entire store with just her fingering and DK hand-dyed yarns. She will even custom dye for you and specializes in school colors. I also loved Myra's sweater--it reminds me of Wanda Nell!

Our next stop was in Puyallup to see Milly at her new store, My Yarn Heaven. She's just getting set up, but she chose well for a starter inventory, like this nice selection of Lorna's Laces! I picked up a skein of my favorite Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport and Llambrosia by Frog Tree. I will be sure to check back in on her soon to see her stock and her business grow. I urge you to pop in there yourself and support Milly's new business!

A trip back down to Fife was just what we needed at this point. We were getting kind of weary and needed a breath of fresh air. When we found Leanna and Greg Stidham's Firwood Farm Alpacas, we were so glad to head out back and watch her little herd as they languished in the sun. She has chickens, too! Leanna came out and told us more about her animals and we learned that some of them were rescued from farms gone bankrupt where the poor animals were just left to go wild and breed willy-nilly. They are much happier animals now. I found a nice handspun skein of her fiber for my souvenir of this lovely visit. Read their story on the site and then head over for your own visit with the alpacas!  

Saving one of the best for last and to see some old friends, we wound our way back to Tacoma and to Fibers, Etc. to see Roberta Lowe. We found her in the large classroom in the back of her space, where she had relocated some of her inventory. You may have heard that her shop is very tiny and filled to the ceiling with yarn in very tight spaces. You heard right! It was good to see some yarns aired out in the sunny back room, but I love her shop as it is. It's like a curious collector's closet where you wind around and find treasures at every turn. Roberta stocks all the best, too. There's all the Cascade and Brown Sheep and Malabrigo and MadelineTosh and Classic Elite and even Habu. That's just one-tenth of all you'll find here. I was monetarily tapped, so I bought nothing that day. I know I can always pop down to Opera Alley and not only find whatever I'm looking for, but receive Lois' expert help in doing so. 

Here are all the lovely yarns and free patterns I collected on our first-ever entire yarn crawl. Now to start saving up for the next one!