Clothed In The Lamb
I finished! Yay! Twenty-one yarn shops in 5 days! Feels like such an accomplishment!
This morning we got started at Find Your Stash in Castle Rock (Stash for short). What a cute place! It's in a little brick house with a picket fence. I love the way the place is decorated, especially the repurposed library card catalog next to the front desk. In addition to a whole lot of beautiful yarn, they have fun knitting accessories like bags that say, "I knit so I don't kill people" (I can so relate!). As I waited to get my passport signed, the customer checking out said this was her fourth visit to the shop this week for Christmas knitting supplies. It's obvious the LYS is a home away from home for knitters in this neck of the woods, and I can see why.
Then we ventured into Black Forest and found a treasure, Table Rock Llamas. I've heard several crawlers speak highly of this shop. Now it's my turn! They really had everything: great people, beautiful yarns, tantilizing samples, and supplies of all kinds. I enjoyed a nice chat with the ladies there then took a look around, venturing to the back building where spinning and weaving is. What a nice collection of fibers, including cotton and silk in several forms (including cocoons). There were pretty pieces of pottery to be had as well. But the treasure was not something I could carry home in my yarn crawl bag. Sharon was teaching a beginning spinning class and I got just the tips and ideas I needed to make my own beginning spinning classes better than ever! Thank you, Sharon!
After lunch, my mom joined me for the last two shops on the west end of Colorado Springs. I'd never visited Needleworks by Holly Berry, but what a nice knitting boutique this is! They have a wealth of amazing samples and yarns of every kind. Not only do they sell great novelty yarns (for example), but the knitted samples show them off perfectly. Toward the back, there is a table of samples of noteworthy patterns and styles, each with an explanation card. I finally saw my first Baby Surprise Jacket in person!
Then it was on to Green Valley Weavers and Knitters. I was here with my mom not too long ago, but there was plenty of fresh fibery goodness to enjoy. If you're looking for education in Colorado Springs, this shop has you covered. Just take a look at their class list! When I got my passport's last stamp, the shop lady announced I was finished with the yarn crawl and people cheered! Shortly after, another lady finished, and I found out she is from Lakewood and the Recycled Lamb is her LYS too! What a perfect way to end, by coming full circle.
Thank you to the organizers of this amazing event. I know it took a lot of planning and execution, and it was well done, even down to choosing a week with perfect weather conditions.
I'm finished blogging about Yarn Along the Rockies, but I'll be talking about it on Episode 26 of the podcast sometime next week, so please tune in! You can download the podcast right here on the blog, or find us on iTunes and Ravelry. If you'd like to subscribe to the RSS feed, you can find a link in the column to the left. Welcome to the many new listeners who have already contacted me, and I look forward to talking with you all again soon!
Whew! We're almost to the end! Today I visited 3 shops new to me, all in the Boulder area.
As one of the best known LYSs along the front range, Shuttles, Spindles, and Skeins is a shop I've been looking forward to making my way to for a long time, and I was NOT disappointed! What a great place to find just about anything fiber-related you could possibly imagine! Spinner extraordinaire Maggie Casey was in house and greeted me and other vistors warmly. And though they too were out of buttons, Maggie was giving away the cutest little lamb buttons to use in their place.
I LOVE IT! In fact, I may just find real buttons for all the shops I didn't get little round ones for! I spent a good deal of time looking around and could have taken even longer. Finally, I asked Maggie if there was anything they didn't carry. She replied they have no Noro or Rowan, but with all there was to do and see, I hadn't even noticed their absence. The girls met shop dog Bridgette who gave a friendly woof when they stopped petting her to come with me. Great shop! Can't wait to visit again when I'm in the Boulder area.
Up Broadway a few miles was Gypsy Wools, a quaint shop in the heart of Boulder. Along with a friendly staff, they had a nice selection of mohair locks, something I haven't noticed anywhere else so far, as well as some lovely natural yarns. I did have to circle the block 5 times and finally park 3 blocks away, but hey, I didn't get a ticket this time! They didn't have a restroom for customers but directed us to the historic Boulderado Hotel next door. What a nice chance to visit the lobby of this beautiful piece of history.
Mew Mew's Yarn Shop in Lafayette was our final stop of the day. In addition to beautiful yarns and sample pieces, shop owner Sue had displayed framed samples of award winning tatting made by her grandmother and entered in fairs in the 1920's. With a legacy like that, it's no wonder Sue is in the fiber business! And as you can imagine, Mew Mew's caters to cat lovers as well as fiber enthusiasts! And if you're missing Noro or Rowan after visiting Shuttles, Spindles, and Skeins, you can pick it up here!
Tomorrow, I'll be finishing up with a visit to Castle Rock, Black Forest, and my home town of Colorado Springs!
Today's crawl was dedicated to southern Denver, and my first stop's reputation preceeded it. A Knitted Peace is a comfy little yarn shop in the heart of old Littleton. It has a reputation for its yarn and class selection, and I can see why. One thing that stood out to me was the quantity and quality of the knitted samples in the shop. I've been considering knitting Stephen West's Rockefeller, and this shop had 2 versions displayed. A stunning piece of knitted art donned the wall in the classroom, and gorgeous yarns were found everywhere. I've never seen a wider selection of Zauberball. Great shop, great selection! I'll be visiting again, I'm sure.
Colorful Yarns is a shop I've visited before. I was pleased to see they have since expanded into a neighboring space. If you are looking for a somewhat rare book on fiber arts, you'll probably find it here. Additionally, they have a wide selection of the most popular yarns. A nice shop with nice people.
A short drive down Araphahoe Road took us to the Knitty Cat, the shop my older daughter told me was her favorite (because they offered really nice hors d'oeuvres for shop visitors). I so enjoyed meeting shop owner Ann and her mother. Ann was wearing an artistic knitted vest and I could see her sense of style reflected throughout the shop. Wish I had more time to spend there, because like all really great LYS's, this was a place where you just want to stay for a while. I'll have to go back sometime soon.
Our final stop was Zen Knitting in Parker. This shop may be small, but I saw yarns there that were new to me. There was a Tolstoy Faux-Fur Cowl of Tahki Coyote which begged me to knit it. Shop owner Susan and I had a wonderful chat about the need for better quality in knitting patterns. She had paired yarns and patterns throughout the shop in a thoughtful and strategic manner, and it was clear she was happy to share her knitting expertise with customers. A nice little shop to end the day.
On Monday, September 10, I continued my yarn crawl by visiting Yarn West in Evergreen. My Google map got me a bit turned around, so I gave the shop a call. Lucy answered and gave me excellent directions from where I was to the shop. As soon as I entered, Lucy smiled and gave me a warm greeting. She showed me around the shop which was full of beautiful yarns and notions. If you like yarn bowls, be sure to check out their handmade pottery! I noticed a swatch of chunky yarn, and told Lucy about my new chunky project (more about that coming soon in Episode 26 of the podcast). She told me about Navajo knitting, a new technique being championed by another Lucy (Neatby). I always love learning new things, so thanks, Lucy! She then introduced me to shop owner Laura, and we had a nice chat. There were customers at the table in the front working on socks (including a first for one knitter and a knee-high multi-colored for another). This visit had everything we're all looking for at an LYS, lovely yarns, lovely atmosphere, and lovely people.
From Evergreen, I enjoyed a wonderfully peaceful mountain drive to Conifer and the Knit Knook. This shop was tucked back in a shopping center, but they are moving as of October 1st to a much more visible location up the road, and I plan to visit again when they're in their new digs. The shop was sold down and kind of empty due to the move, but there were still beautiful yarns to be had and wonderful people to talk to. Their coffee bar had already moved, so if you like to sip and knit, be sure to visit again in October. As I left, Susan gave perfect directions for getting back on the highway easily. Thanks so much to shop owner Diane for choosing to participate in the event even in the midst of a big move! That says a lot about this great LYS!
The time is here! If you live on the Colorado front range, you may be participating along with me in the first annual Yarn Along the Rockies yarn crawl! This is a fabulous event from September 8-16, 2012. Twenty-one local yarn shops are hosting hundreds of (dare I say a thousand or more?) fiber lovers from all over Colorado.
Participants in the crawl get a passport at their first shop and collect stamps from each shop they visit. After their passports are full, they turn them in to be entered to win one of 4 Grand Prize Baskets full of fibery goodness! Additionally, each shop is hosting their own prize drawing for all who provide their names, e-mail, and phone number. So in theory, each participant could be entered into as many as 21 drawings in addition to the Grand Prize drawing.
There are of course knitting bags to be had as well, canvas ones with the Yarn Along the Rockies logo on the front. Each also has a map showing participating shops. Most shops are providing buttons that can be pinned to the bag to show your visit. However, participation is FAR GREATER than expected, and many shops have already run out of buttons (I heard one shop owner say she had ordered 200 initially and run out on the second day). Kudos Colorado yarnies for this AWESOME turnout! Yes, that means your chances of winning a prize are smaller, but since each participating LYS is making donations to charities of their choosing, everyone wins! And most of the shops will be getting more pins. For those out of the way shops I won't be visiting again immediately, I plan to send a SASE and request they return it with a pin when they get more.
I wasn't able to join the crawl this weekend, but today (Monday) my girls and I set out to visit our first 8 shops! Of course, we began at The Recycled Lamb where I teach. It was great to see Jan and Effie there when the crawlers hit the shop as soon as the doors opened. I got my passport and first stamp there and purchased my canvas bag. As I left, crawlers from my home town of Colorado Springs were arriving!
Then it was on to Knit Knack in Old Town Arvada. This quaint LYS is a little off the beaten path but worth the excursion. They've been in business for about a year (CORRECTION: This shop has been in business at least 5 years. After visiting 8 shops in 1 day, you can imagine I got a little mixed up. Thanks so much to the two readers who corrected me in the comments below), so if you live anywhere near Arvada, be sure to pay them a visit. My girls enjoyed petting Woody, the lovely shop dog. While I was there, I saw a Swirly Gig Earflap Hat on the counter and fell in love with it. Of course, I bought the pattern! Love sock monkeys? You can't miss the giant one in the window!
Next we went to Wild Yarns, a tiny but delightful LYS in Denver's Highland Square shopping district. Tucked away like your favorite knitting project, this adorable shop is home to skeins of local yarns and fibers and quaint hand-made knitting trinkets. It's a little hard to find, but harder to forget!
Next we were off to downtown Denver to visit Bags By CAB, a shop carrying local yarns as well as items knitted and crocheted by local artisams. And if you love handbags, make your way to the back half of the shop where you will find the most unique and beautiful creations! But be sure to bring your pocket change because parking is metered. Unfortunately, I only had 20 cents on me, enough to buy 12 minutes. And since I had to park around the block and had my 4 and 6 year olds in tow, it wasn't enough time and I ended up with a $25 ticket! Guess I'll be having a pattern sale soon! Come to think of it, you might want to visit Bags by cab, I mean taxi, as that would have been cheaper.
The Lamb Shoppe was a wonderful place to unwind after the little present on my windshield. They have a coffee bar, although after the $25 hit I decided to forgo that indulgence. Soothing jazz music complemented the yarn and coffee fumes perfectly. I could have stayed there for hours if I had been sans kids. They had a wonderful variety of gorgeous yarns, of course; and service was top rate! In fact, when I saw a house for sale around the corner, I couldn't help but fantasize what it would be like to live so close to such a beautiful LYS! Then I realized it would be far too expensive -- not the house, all that yarn!
After following my printed Google map all day, I was glad I knew the way to the next shop on my list. I Love Knitting is right next to my Judaica shop, but amazingly, I had never actually gone in before. They had a large selection of yarns on sale for the crawl, and it was fun to look through the shop. By this time, instead of collecting LYS pins, I was just asking at each shop if they were out. The ladies here told me they had never ordered any, disappointing those of us who fancied our canvas bags proudly displaying our yarn crawl accomplishments. Perhaps next year they will jump on board with the rest.
After a little lunch, we worked our way to Fancy Tiger Crafts. I was thrilled to find a parking lot marked for Fancy Tiger customers on the south side of the building. (If there was anything I found lacking at most of the shops today, it was parking. This shop and The Recycled Lamb had the best parking situations by far.) As I walked in the door, I realized why it's a craft store. This is a place for fiber artists who enjoy embroidery, quilting, and needle work as well as knitting, crocheting, spinning, and weaving. The spacious store was smartly and beautifully decorated with its own unique style. I saw a little basket with Fortissima Sock darning and reinforcing thread and remembered my Malabrigo socks on the needles. From what I've heard, Malabrigo isn't as durable in socks as one might hope, so I picked that up to reinforce the heel and toe. It was so hard to pass on the yak and other rare varieties of yarns. My girls drew my attention to the knitting-clad antlers on the back wall. Hmmm, I wonder if my husband would mind if I did that to his hunting trophy.
And just as I was getting really tired, I was in for quite a treat! Fabric Bliss is a true knitting boutique with a delightful flare. Charismatic shop owner Aurora greeted customers with a smile and a little treat of cookies or Hershey's kisses. She was careful to point out to everyone the basket of custom-dyed skeins from Pigeonroof Studios in her shop's signature yellow. This shop isn't just for yarnies though. Quilters will love the array of fabrics available to them as well. I chanced upon a skein of Madelinetosh superwash merino that I just couldn't pass up. The Turquoise colorway glowed in my hands! It begged to come home with me, and I obliged.
So after the first day of yarn crawling, my children came home and went right to sleep, giving me the perfect opportunity to share my experience with you. You can find information on the event at www.yarnalongtherockies.com. A local TV station also did a piece you may view at www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tv5ePWCWZlM&list=UU-2MJlKSq9_pYk5-bdvMhnw&index=2&feature=plcp. If you're anywhere near the Colorado front range and love yarn, join us! And I'll be back tomorrow with more yarn shop reviews!