Last month, while we were in northwestern Montana, I visited all the yarn stores I could, without having to stray too far out of our way. On one of our trips around Flathead Lake, we visited Kalispell and I had the opportunity to go to Camas Creek Cottage, the LYS. The Shop Camas Creek Cottage is located in the heart of downtown Kalispell, along the strip of old downtown. Since this area is busy and has a lot of traffic, parking can be a challenge. But there is street parking as well as public parking lots (with meters). The shop is in an old building and is very quaint. There is a big table that is the focal point – for group knitting and classes. I was greeted by a nice lady who was knitting at the table and she quickly answered my questions and helped me when I needed something. The Yarn There are a lot of yarns for sale in this shop but I was, honestly, captivated by their huge selection of yarn from Big Sky Yarn Company. I had seen this yarn online and couldn’t wait to see it in person! And they had so much to choose from, it was overwhelming. Deciding to stay on a budget – one skein! – I did not stray far from this display. Camas Creek offers a huge selection of other yarns, as well as supplies for knitting, crochet, and needlepoint. The shop also carries some other things: antique jewelry, books, and other knick-knacks. Conclusion If you’re in the Kalispell area, Camas Creek is a great stop for anyone who loves the fiber arts. There is plenty of yarn to choose from and any supplies you may need can be found here. Visit them at: 139 S. Main Street Kalispell, MT 59901
Camas Creek Cottage
I’ve recently been telling you about the local yarn stores I visited while in Montana last month. And today I’m continuing on that theme with Polka Dot Sheep, based in Whitefish. Of all the shops I visited, I was most looking forward to this shop because they dye their own yarn! Yes, Aimee owns a LYS and dyes her own yarn under the Polka Dot Sheep brand. How cool is that? But let me tell you about the shop… The Shop Polka Dot Sheep Yarn is located a few streets off the main downtown shopping area of Whitefish, MT, which is a resort-like ski town north of Flathead Lake. If you’re in town to shop, it’s an easy walk to Polka Dot Sheep and the shop itself is adorable! If you are traveling with yarny friends, you can even stay above the shop in one of two lovely, modern condos. When I went, I was greeted by a friendly woman behind the counter who gave me a quick run-down of where everything was located in the store. Since I was there mostly for Polka Dot Sheep yarn, I didn’t stray too far from that section, but this LYS offered other yarns and tools. The Yarn A lot of the yarn in this shop is the Polka Dot Sheep brand. I’ll tell you more about Aimee’s dyeing next week, but her yarns are amazing. There was a huge selection of colorways and various bases. Other brands in the shop include Fully Spun and Malabrigo. Conclusion If you’re in northwest Montana, you absolutely have to visit Polka Dot Sheep. Aimee is such a talented dyer and I cannot sing her praises enough. The shop is lovely and you will not leave empty-handed! Visit them at: 14 Lupfer Avenue Whitefish, Montana 59937
Polka Dot Sheep Shop
One of the four local yarn shops I visited on our trip to Montana was Brave Dog Knits in Columbia Falls. This was such a cute town – and an even cuter yarn store!! Yes, there is a dog in the store – so adorable – hence, the name! And the logo for the shop is so cute that I had to buy a pin – for the first time ever! Let me tell you more… The Shop Located in downtown Columbia Falls, Brave Dog Knits is a little shop on a street of storefronts. There was plenty of street parking. A cute little dog greeted me upon entering, as did two other ladies, both employees, from what I could tell. When I told them I was front out of town, they pointed me to the Montana yarns, which was super helpful. This shop is literally overflowing with gorgeous yarn – and samples of yarn knit up! The Yarn While I was mostly focused on Montana dyers and wool, this shop had so many great dyers and brands. Some that I saw included Freia Fine Handpaints, Zen Yarn Garden, Ella Rae, Manos del Uruguay, Noro, Koigu, The Fiber Seed, Ancient Arts, Urth Yarns, Feederbrook Farms, Cestari, Brown Sheep, Reywa Yak Yarn, Queensland, Kelbourne Woolens, Juniper Moon. Some local yarns included Palouse Yarn, Mountain Colors, Dunlaveign Ranch, Earthstar Farms, and Ranching Tradition Fiber. I found wooly yarn from Earthstar Farms that I bought which will be great for a hat or mitts! Conclusion Brave Dog Knits is an adorable store that every knitter should visit when in northwest Montana. It’s on the way to West Glacier, so if you’re headed to Glacier National Park, it’s a great place to stop on the way! Visit them at: 609 Nucleus Avenue Columbia Falls, MT 59912
Brave Dog Knits
We’re back from an amazing vacation in Montana. And I was so thrilled to be able to get to several yarn stores while we were there. One that I thought I would miss was Joseph’s Coat Yarns and Fibers in Missoula. But then our flight times changed and we got to Missoula much earlier than expected. I re-found Joseph’s Coat on Google Maps and we walked to this lovely little yarn store in downtown Missoula. The Shop When I entered Joseph’s coat, two ladies greeted me – the lady behind the desk, who was the owner, and another lady, who appeared to be a customer. Both were extremely nice and fascinated by my non-existent Texas accent. The owner quickly pointed me to the direction of the Montana-made fibers and local dyers and I was in heaven. There was a huge selection of Montana goodies! The rest of the shop was filled with knitted samples of yarn, materials for weaving, felting supplies, knitting needles, and crochet hooks. There was so much to see! The Yarn It was so hard to decide what to buy! Joseph’s Coat has an amazing selection of Montana dyers. There was a ton of yarn from Mountain Colors, which I’ve always admired and never bought. There was also yarn from Natricia Alpacas, Tobacco Root Valley, Raven Ridge, and Montana Bison Wool. From nearby Idaho, there was a nice stock of Palouse Yarn Company, which was just lovely. Other yarns in stock include Manos del Uruguay and Skacel. (I was a bit too obsessed with the local yarns to venture into the other sections.) Conclusion Joseph’s Coat may not stock the fanciest yarns out there, but they have a lovely selection of Montana yarns, which is great if you’re a tourist. These are the kinds of stores I love to visit and support. This is someone’s LYS and they are super lucky to have this store in the neighborhood. The owner was so nice and even told me where I could buy more Montana yarn! Please visit this lovely shop! Visit them at: 115 S. Third W. Missoula, MT 59801
On a recent anniversary trip, we made a little detour to a yarn store. Matt was, for the first time, hesitant to make this detour, merely because this was a short trip and he wanted to focus on our anniversary. But then he decided that seeing a new island would be good. So we traveled from Jekyll Island, GA to neighboring St. Simons Island to see the sights…and the local yarn store: The Stitchery of St. Simons. (Unfortunately, due to an untimely phone transfer, I lost all of my photos of The Stitchery. So instead, I’ll be showing you the yarn I bought there!) The Shop We made this little detour to a LYS on a Friday and traffic on this small island was very intense. So intense that we drove right by The Stitchery! It also didn’t help that GoogleMaps doesn’t have the correct picture of the storefront, so we were looking for the wrong thing. Never fear, my sharp eye caught sight of the sign and we found the shop, eventually. The Stitchery is a very cute shop, filled to the brim with yarn, embroidery thread, needlepoint supplies, and other goodies. The lady who greeted me was very nice, exhibiting true Southern hospitality! We had a lovely conversation! The Yarn The Stitchery doesn’t have a ton of yarn, but they have some very lovely yarn. The reason I wanted to go was mainly because they carry yarn dyed on the island: Island Dyeworks. The owner of the shop, Bo, dyes this yarn! While I loved so many of the colorways of this yarn, which came on some super soft bases, I ended up only getting a mini skein (for Battenberg Blanket squares). I also bought a skein of sock yarn from another new-to-me dyer. Other yarns included Araucania, Beetstreet Yarns, Wonderland Yarns, Noro, Berrocco, Madelinetosh, Brediculous Yarns, and Plymouth Yarns. Conclusion If you’re in southeast Georgia or anywhere near Jacksonville, FL, St. Simons is a great day trip….and the Stitchery is well worth a detour! I love supporting local yarn stores whenever we travel. Keeping these small businesses going is essential for crafters and knitters alike! The Stitchery will not disappoint and I guarantee you will find something to love in this store.
COVID has changed our lives, no doubt about it. It has made many things more difficult. But it has also made a few things more doable. It has created opportunities for crafters to come together, virtually… An example of this is knitting retreats. Usually these are done in-person but a few offered virtual retreats in 2020 and 2021 and one was Hill Country Weavers, a yarn store in Austin, Texas. I was able to attend some classes because this retreat was virtual and it was a lot of fun. Virtual vs. In-Person I have always wanted to go to a knitting retreat. But me, like many others, are often dissuaded by the price of these retreats. They are usually for 2-3 days and cost well over $1500 for a shared room. A lot of people cannot afford this. COVID forced some retreats to go virtual and I’m so glad it did! I’ve always wanted to attend a retreat from Hill Country Weavers (HCW). A retreat that would have usually cost $1500 cost about $350 if you took full advantage of the classes and swag box. I decided to splurge on the retreat box and split it with my mom, a new crocheter. There are definite disadvantages to virtual events. You don’t get the camaraderie that you get in person. You’re not likely to make friends. But HCW had happy hours, opening receptions, keynote speakers, and vendor talks….plenty of opportunities to get the full “retreat” experience, even if it lacked social time with knitters. Classes Since I’ve never taken classes at a retreat before, I cannot compare them to virtual retreat classes. But I can say that the virtual classes from HCW were amazing. I took classes from Dawn Barker of Chasing Rabbits Fiber and Aroha Knits – and I learned a lot. Sure, I didn’t meet these makers and designers in person but I’m an introvert and I’m fine with that. I got what I paid for: I learned a lot. Marketplace I really miss shopping for yarn in person. So my complaint against the marketplace has nothing to do with this retreat. HCW offered lovely one-of-a-kind colorways from some of my favorite independent dyers: Chasing Rabbits, Suburban Stitcher, Spincycle, La Bien Aimee… But I would have loved to have shopped for yarn in person. Price You can’t beat the price of a virtual retreat. You don’t have to travel or pay for a hotel; you are only paying for the classes and marketplace. But I miss travel and would give anything to attend one of these in person. Still, I’m so glad I took these classes and participated in the retreat. It was a good way to see if I would enjoy an in-person retreat. Conclusion Hopefully, in-person retreats return soon. But I honestly hope that every retreat will offer a virtual component, as it benefits everyone.
Hill Country Weavers Retreat
When was the last time I reviewed a local yarn store? When was the last time I was inside a LYS? Wow. I told you about a LYS in Estes Park, CO in January – and I got to visit that lovely shop again on our Colorado trip earlier this month. But I also got the chance to visit a new-to-me shop, My Sister Knits, on the same trip. And I was so excited, I cannot even tell you. I had read about this store for years. When the time came, I doubted we’d get a chance to visit (due to fires and smoke and awful things) but everything worked out perfectly and I was able to go. In a safe manner, of course. The Shop I had read that this store is in a carriage house behind a normal home. But I didn’t think it would be nearly as charming as it was. You go through a gate to the backyard of the home – the “garden” – and you’re met with a tranquil place with plenty of spots to sit and knit. And there are chickens! Inside the two-story carriage house, you’re met with yarn….and more yarn. A very nice employee showed me all around and then took me upstairs, where the fingering weight yarn lives. I was in heaven. And completely overwhelmed. The Yarn There were a ton of Colorado dyers represented in the shop. And I was blown away by the Walk Collection display – so many colors to choose from! Among other dyers: Hedgehog, Hue Loco, Colorful Eclectic, Blue Sky Fibers, Brooklyn Tweed, Explorer Knits, Forbidden Fiber Co., Loopy Mango, Julie Asselin, Quince & Co., Six and Seven Fiber, Spincycle Yarns, TeenyButton Studio, Magpie, Farmers Daughter…. Basically, they had every yarn I’ve only ever heard of. Again, completely overwhelmed. Location This was my first time to visit Fort Collins and it was a difficult time to do it. The wildfires were out of the control the day we were there, making the sky orange and the visibility extremely poor. Still, the town was lovely and the street on which My Sister Knits is located is idyllic. The leaves were falling off the trees that lined the streets – it was like a photograph, outside of the smoke. The store is a bit hard to spot as the sign is small and the house is in a residential area. So just watch the addresses and you’ll find it. Once there you can’t miss it as they have some yarn decorations out front. Conclusion The knitters of the Fort Collins area are extremely lucky to be able to claim this LYS as their own. If you’re in the area, this shop must be on your list of stops. You will definitely not regret it! (And if you’re interested, I only bought four skeins of yarn. Two coordinated perfectly and one was a solid!! Yes, a solid!)
My Sister Knits
There are many yarn-related activities that non-knitters are, most likely, completely oblivious of. Like fiber fests. When I talk of fiber fests at work, people inevitably ask, “is this a place where you eat different flavors of fiber?” Ha! A yarn crawl is similar. No, we’re not crawling around in a room, looking for yarn. Let me explain… What Is It, Then? A yarn crawl is when a group of yarn shops in a defined geographic area get together to have events and prizes for a week or two. And yarn lovers try to get to all the shops in the crawl – within the time period – to win prizes…and buy yarn, of course. It’s basically an excuse for knitters to shop. But Why? A crawl is like an open house for a yarn shop. The shops put their best foot forward and try to make this time special. They will often host trunk shows from designers and yarn dyers. It’s always fun when you get to personally meet the dyer behind one of your favorite yarns. Sometimes a LYS will have a sale or give away free patterns…. And there’s sometimes swag. For the North Texas Yarn crawl, you can buy a tote bag to remember the occasion – and hold all of your yarn purchases. Pandemic Time There’s a yarn crawl in south Texas that I’ve always wanted to participate in – mainly to get to some new-to-me yarn shops. That crawl has been canceled this year, due to COVID-19. The North Texas Yarn Crawl, in my area of Texas, is still going forward. But most shops are allowing you to make your purchases online – and they’re hosting trunk shows on Zoom (like mine). This is a great alternative for those of us who cannot get out in public but who want to see new, pretty yarns. Conclusion The North Texas Yarn Crawl kicks off next week, on September 11. I encourage you to see if there’s a yarn crawl in your area of the country – or in a place you’d like to visit. What better way to vacation, after all, than going from yarn shop to yarn shop!? Yarn crawls are a great way for local yarn stores to band together, support each other, and build a community of knitters.
One of our favorite places to travel to is Estes Park, Colorado. We got engaged there and make almost yearly trips to spend time with our Colorado friends. It has a very special place in our hearts. And so does The Stitchin’ Den, Estes Park’s local yarn store. This may be the first LYS I visited outside the state of Texas. And so it gives me great pleasure to tell you about this charming shop. Location The Stitchin’ Den is conveniently located adjacent to the main shopping street in downtown Estes Park. It’s not the easiest place to find though, since it’s located in a building on a hill that contains several shops and restaurants. But if you eat at Claire’s – which I highly recommend, especially for breakfast – then The Stitchin’ Den is just a short walk away. Yarn The Stitchin’ Den offers a wide selection of yarn – from knitting staples to hand dyed yarn from Colorado. Some of the perennial favorites of knitters include Cascade, Plymouth, Skacel, Tahki, Juniper Moon Farm, Universal, and Lamb’s Pride. And I was pleasantly surprised to find Shibui on the shelves this past December. Some other goodies included HiKoo, Simplicity, and a delectable new-to-me Colorado dyer, Herd of Cats. This was the one thing I splurged on – a skein of sparkly Road Trip Sock Yarn with which I instantly fell in love. Wow. Another lovely yarn offered in this shop is Willow Creek Fiber Mill, a company from Estes Park. How cool is that?! Conclusion Very conveniently, The Stitchin’ Den sends out a regular Newsletter and posts frequently on Facebook. They have many fun events, in which I wish I could participate. The shop also sell more than yarn – they have cross stitch, needlepoint, and embroidery supplies. They also have a quilting shop next door to the yarn shop. I didn’t visit it but the fabrics looked lovely from outside! Details 165 Virginia Drive Estes Park, Colorado 80517 If you’re ever in Estes Park, be sure to stop by this yarn shop. It will not disappoint you!
The Stitchin’ Den
The last yarn shop that I made it to while in Canada was The Loop in Halifax, Nova Scotia. This was the last, somewhat frantic, stop in Halifax before we had to get back onboard. I made quick work of shopping, though, which shouldn’t surprise my husband by now, and found something lovely! Location I’m not very familiar with Halifax but having a big Citadel in the middle of the city helps with navigation. Our tour stopped at the Citadel and then, on the way back, the driver said he could drop us downtown to shop. I could tell we were close to The Loop, so we hopped out. The Loop is on the corner of Barrington and Blowers and was super easy to find. If you’re shopping in town, this is an easy walk between you and pier. On the way back, we walked along the boardwalk, wishing we had more time to spend there. It looked so lovely! What a great city! Yarn The Loop had a large selection of yarns. I was excited to see Lichen and Lace, Celtic Raven, Opal, HiKoo, Erica Knight, Good Fibrations, Trailhead Yarns, CoopKnits, Noro, and Juniper Moon. The skein I walked out of the door with was Hand Maiden. I don’t think I knew that Hand Maiden was a Canadian dyer. As it was, I was delighted to buy more local yarn while in Nova Scotia. Since I had purchased yarn at The Mariner’s Daughter this same day, I limited myself to one skein at The Loop. The shop owner was very nice and chatted with me the entire time I perused the store. I love meeting friendly yarn store owners! Conclusion If you are in Halifax and doing a city tour, The Loop will be easy to incorporate into your day. And you won’t regret it! I already wish I had bought more Hand Maiden while in the store! Details 1557 Barrington Street Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada Go support this lovely yarn shop!