Things I learned over the weekend: for a small state, Rhode Island has a great fiber community. It was the 3rd annual Great Rhody Yarn Crawl and although I worked late Friday night and couldn’t get to any stores on Saturday, I spent a nice Sunday afternoon driving around to as many local yarn stores as I could while making up for a stressful work week with gratuitous amounts of yarn.
|The grand plan.|
That’s the route I took (starting at point A) as well as the list of stores I visited plus the farm where the ‘culmination’ was held. I ended up skipping Love 2 Knit since it was the one store I’d been to a few times already and I was running short on time.
|The stores I visited.|
The idea behind a yarn crawl is the visit as many stores as possible, get your passport stamped, bring canned goods for donations, and enter into raffles to win prizes. Most stores run special deals as well. I really liked Eneri Knits, it was a decent size (the other RI yarns stores I’ve seen have been tiny!) and stocked a nice mix of yarns, including Malabrigo (how can a store not carry Malabrigo??) as well as some fiber. The Mermaid’s Purl was definitely the cutest of all of the shops, it’s located in downtown Wickford which is fun little town with lots of great stores selling unique gifts and trinkets. The Mermaid’s Purl is a small space but it is stocked floor to ceiling with yarn and the owners are very friendly. Manmade By Jonne was an interesting place, as suggested by the name it is owned and run by Jonne and it almost feels like walking into his own personal stash. There were yarns I’d never seen or heard of before as well as handspun yarn and numerous handknit items for purchase. Bella Yarns was a more spacious store but it didn’t feel that way because it was packed to the brim with shoppers. I almost felt like I was at a yarn festival, chatting and making friends with the other knitters while we waited in line.
|Mount Hope Farm ‘culmination ceremony’.|
It turns out it was a good thing I was running short on time because I think I’ve determined that 4 yarn stores in one day is my limit. By the time I got to the culmination ceremony at the farm I was quite tired and in a state of sensory overload: too many colors and textures to experience and decisions and rationalizations to make in too short a time! This led to fiscal weakness on my part when I encountered Play At Life (the dyer is in my spinning guilt!) and Stitchy McYarnpants at the mini-fiber-festival in the barn. Speaking of, here are the goods:
|Darwin approves of my stash enhancement.|
My goals during the crawl were to buy one thing at each store (it’s only fair!) as well as to try to find unique things, things that were unlike anything I already had. Starting clockwise from Darwin we have:
- Frabjous Fibers merino top and Ella Rae Lace Chunky (superwash Merino) and a free measuring tape from Eneri Knits.
- Two skeins of Berrocco Flicker (a really neat yarn that is mostly baby alpaca with a bit of acrylic and sparkle knitted into a tube) that will become a cool ruffly scarf from The Mermaid’s Purl.
- The colorful fabric is a project bag from Stitchy McYarnpants (love that name) and the equally colorful yarn on top of it is a merino/bamboo/nylong gradient-dyed sock yarn from Play At Life that I purchased at the farm.
- The red skeins on the armrest are some worsted-weight mohair (which I’ve never used before) that is actually pretty soft from an unknown company that doesn’t make it anymore, purchased at Manmade by Jonne.
- The brown skeins are pure alpaca from Juniper Moon Farm and are going to be sent to my mom as a get-well-after-surgery gift (she loves alpaca). The purple skeins were a $5 impulse buy: another ‘knitted tube’ type yarn from Araucania consisting of cotton and a touch of baby alpaca that I thought would make a cool summer accessory. Those came from Bella Yarns as well as a small sample of Eucalan wool wash.
Not a bad haul, eh? I love the yarns I have in my stash (primarily STR, VG, CY, Malabrigo, etc.) but sometimes it’s nice to branch out a bit and try different things, which was basically the point of this crawl. It would’ve been nice to get to more stores but my Saturday was taken up by the RI Spinner’s Guild meeting, which was great. It was an art yarn workshop which was rather difficult to participate in because my wheel isn’t equipped for art yarns (the orifice is too small) but I tried my best. This is what I made:
I present to you 42 yards of ugly-as-f*#k. The instructor had us tear of bits of fiber into a big pile and then just grab big hunks of the mixed-up pile and start spinning it and let it sort of do what it wanted without trying to smooth anything out or make it neat. Then we tried corespinning, autowrapping, and adding locks of mohair and other curly breeds. At the end I couldn’t resist plying my art-yarn single with a commercial yarn just to try to tidy it up a little bit. I don’t know if art yarn will be something I spin often (especially since I have no idea what I’d really do with it) but at least I tried a few new things!
I hope you had a fiber-filled weekend, as you can see, mine certainly was. What’s the best thing about your favorite local yarn store?