Today I’m sharing a few pictures from a recent visit to one of the Local Yarn Shops we have here in the Hampton Roads area. We have 3 really nice stores, and I would like to visit all three of them and share some pictures with you on the blog. Today we are visiting the Virginia Beach Yarn Shop closest to me.
Yarn Shops are a lot like people. They each have their own personality and style.
This yarn shop is called The Yarn Club and is here in Virginia Beach. I went over when they had a special trunk show with indie dyer, Dragonfly Fibers. I like going to these events, because you can actually meet the talented artists and the entrepreneur behind the products.
In a world with big corporations running the show, it’s so refreshing to be able to go to a local store and meet the actual people who make and care about their products.
That’s why supporting our local yarn shops is so, so important. If I can buy it locally from a shop, I will make the extra effort to drive over and do so. It means supporting a business in my community and voting with my dollars to support an independently owned shop and often a small artisan producer. It means jobs for people in a creative field, and I’m all about helping to keep that sustainable.
You know I love to use craft store products, and shop in Michael’s on a regular basis. I think that there are good products there, and they are perfect for everyday use. The super bulky weight wool and wool blends are perfect for those every day scarves and hats we all need. If you are a beginner, it’s better to start with the craft store and get the hang of things. I write a ton of my patterns to use this kind of yarn. But it’s never going to be THIS…
The tonality in product like this is like music to the eyes. It’s created in relatively small batches and done by human hands. There is nothing like a fantastic indie dyed yarn. It’s special in a way that is difficult to describe until you have handled it for yourself.
Knitting a pattern with this quality fiber instantly elevates a Plain Jane Scarf to a masterpiece.
You may not want to wear it to run out to the gym and then to walk the dog, but to wear to work or out for dinner makes even a simple coat seem tres chic.
Neutrals take on the most gorgeous tones when they are kettle dyed. And don’t even get me started on colors. They can actually be hand painted (Yes, for real. People hand paint yarn), or dip dyed or whatever other amazing techniques there are out there to dye yarn. Yarns can have rich tonal ranges or be variegated or self striping. In short, a good dyer can do A LOT with the fiber. I am only beginning to learn about some of these processes, so as I learn I’ll share with you what I find. In short, it’s like learning a whole new language!
Going into a yarn shop, it’s really easy to become quickly over whelmed.
Here’s how I suggest approaching a visit to a Local Yarn Shop.
- Go in with a project in mind.
- Pick out the pattern you want to knit, print it out or have your Ravelry account pulled up on your phone.
- Ask a shop clerk to help you pick out the best yarn for that pattern.
- If your pattern is comprised of more than one colorway, pick your dominant color first and then select your secondary colorway.
- When you go in knowing what you want to do, it makes narrowing down the choice so much easier! Otherwise, you just want it all! And you will go home with a bag full of stash enhancements with no real purpose.
Now, I have nothing against a little stash enhancement! But it’s best to save those for special excursions to Wool Festivals or if you find yourself visiting a new city and want to take home a souvenir from your trip. If you are in your home town and visiting the local store, I recommend going in with a project in mind.
Knowing what you want to make when you walk in also allows the staff to be more helpful. If they see your intended pattern, then they can make the best possible suggestions for product to yield the right finished object. Drape is as important a factor as the design elements or construction or the weight of yarn the designer used.
You don’t want to buy super bulky weight Malabrigo Rasta if your intended project is a pair of socks.
That’s a rather extreme example, but one I make to drive the point home! Especially if you are doing a yarn substitution, and we ALL do yarn substitutions, you want to make sure you are buying a fiber that is similar in properties to what the designer used in the pictures. Otherwise, if won’t fit the same or lay the same or resemble the picture in the pattern.
Nobody wants to spend all those hours and all that money to wind up with a project that doesn’t work. #amiright?
The first thing that hits us is always color. Then comes the yarn petting as we evaluate squish. We can often get carried away with the combination of color and squish and walk out with yarn that is not appropriate for any project patterns we currently have. Know Your Wool is a great FREE class on Craftsy and a wonderful way to begin to understand wool and how to choose fiber.
It’s always easier to find the right yarn for a project than getting a yarn and then to start shopping for a project. Though let’s be real, we all do it. I have a container full of yarn I bought, because I fell in love with it for whatever reason. But it sits there as very expensive craft room decor! Designers will have tons of extra yarn sitting around as inspiration for new designs, but for hobby knitters, I really believe that having the project you want first and then going to find your yarn is the best approach.
Though we all need pretty things to collect, and what’s better for a knitter than collecting gorgeous yarn? Especially if it’s something special or limited edition like this….
So this gorgeous, gorgeous product was created specifically for the yarn shop by Dragonfly Fibers to be revealed at the Trunk Show. It’s absolutely divine! Totally limited edition and very special product. So, of course, you might want to go ahead and buy a couple of skeins of something like this to store away until you find just the right project. Yarn this special is worth picking up, because you can’t just get it anywhere. It may not be dyed again, either. That’s the thing about these colorways from small batch Indie Dyers; it may be a one-of-a-kind product that won’t come around again.
The temptation in a shop like The Yarn Club is REAL! It’s a constant exercise in self restraint every time I go in there! I just want it ALL!!! Andrea is the store owner, and what a magnificent curator of yarn she is. So talented, and quite well respected in the industry for the eye she has for yarn and dye talent. I am truly blessed to have a shop like this only minutes from home. But I always go in with a specific list, so I don’t go too crazy! Believe me, it is not easy!
I bet I know what you want to ask me. Did I buy anything and if so, did I already have a project in mind. The answer is Yes to both questions. I had the hardest time deciding! But I got expert assistance in selecting the yarn base. Then I picked my variegated colorway from the selection of Dragonfly Fibers. I wanted something special, because the project I’m planning to make is pretty special to me. It’s the biggest project I will have ever knit, and I’m frankly a little concerned about finding the time to get it done. I bought some crazy gorgeous yarn, so I don’t want the project to take me the next 5 years to make. I want to have it finished by Christmas so I can wear it when the weather becomes chilly. Want to know what it is?
You’ll just have to wait until next month! I’ll share the special pattern with you then, as well as the amazing yarn I picked out for it. I can’t wait to get started on this beautiful project! I’ve got to go back in to have my hanks wound into cakes so I can get started on my swatching. I just can’t wait to see how it knits!
Until then, enjoy this gorgeous, fluffy fiber made for spinning. I am resisting getting into that, because really, I just don’t need another hobby right now. But it’s so tempting when I see stuff like this.