Sunday, September 10, 2006

An Abundance of Riches

On Friday, I tore myself away from my dye workshop to go to a knitting session at my favorite LYS, Farmhouse Knits in Beaverton, Oregon. It’s so difficult to find the time to get away for these sessions on occasion, but every time I do I vow that I’ll make time more often. The gals at this session are such a hoot and it’s always a great time!

Here are a couple of photos of the knitting fun.

Just visiting Farmhouse is always a treat in itself! These photos were taken in a section of the shop with a small table for intimate group gatherings. This area of the shop houses some of the needles and a selection of mostly staple yarns. Of course, that’s staple yarns by the Farmhouse standard, which is miles above what you might find in some shops. There’s far, far more to this shop than one could ever gather by these photos. It’s absolutely packed with the most luscious yarns imaginable!

The owner of the shop, Sandy, is an added bonus. She’s a true fiber-lover and it comes across loud and clear when you visit Farmhouse. The selection is fabulous and the quality of yarns is amazing (you won’t find any acrylics here!). Once you get over the initial shock and delight of all the fabulous yarn tucked into every nook and cranny of the shop, you’ll begin to notice the abundance of knitted items hanging up around the shop, stacked in neat piles on top of shelves, sitting on worktables, and in just about every other place you can imagine. Sandy is a very talented and prolific knitter, with a special gift for combining yarns to create fabulous one-of-a-kind items. It’s a common thing to see her walking through the shop with a customer, picking and choosing yarn from the shelves and offering advice on yarns to combine to create amazing texture and variety in a project.

Sandy has also been amazingly supportive and encouraging to me as I embarked on the adventure of beginning Fearless Fibers. As a small thank you, I brought some yarn for her on Friday. This is my Alpaca/Wool DK weight yarn, but don’t ask which colorway … I custom painted this one for Sandy, so you won’t find it in my shops. It’s similar to the Morocco colorway on Mohair/Wool, but not identical.

For those of you who live in an area with limited choices for yarn shops, you may want to skip the next paragraph to avoid a terrible case of yarn-shop envy! OK. You’ve been forewarned …

Here in the Portland, Oregon area we have nothing short of an abundance of riches in the way of fantastic yarn shops! There are somewhere around 1.7 million people in the Portland metro area, so we are a sizable city but certainly not a truly large city like NY, L.A., or even Seattle. I’ve never counted the yarn shops myself, but another Portlander on the Knitty CoffeeShop board counted 17 that she knows of. That number doesn’t count the big box craft stores, such as Michael’s or Joann’s, that also have yarn available. Adding those to the mix brought her tally to 23. Additionally, she counted 5 more that are coffee shops that carry yarn, knitting books, and such, for a total of 28. If you ever visit Portland and decide to do a yarn shop tour, you better plan on a few days and wear your hiking boots, carry plenty of fresh water and pack a napsack full of food!

How about you? How many yarn shops in your area? Does reading about Portland’s shops give you a bad case of yarn envy?

Happy Knitting!


anne said...

forget the food—pack money!!
that sounds fantastic. we have one LYS in canton and one that is about 15 mile saway. cleveland has about 3 which are over an hour away. none of them are as good as our LYS though, so i only shop there!

loribird said...

Yes. Full on yarn-shop envy. We have ONE shop in town that sells yarn (along with consignment and vintage clothing) The selection is small, but decent, lots of Brown Sheep. If one were inspired to drive 1.75 hrs. there is another yarn shop, again small and with a limited supply (but different brands than the hometown shop.)
But there's always the internet!

AmysBabies said...

I am seething with envy! Here in Tucson we HAD a great yarn shop just down the street. Now my offline selection is reduced to Wal Mart, Joanns and Michaels. Yet another reason to move to Oregon!

barbp said...

For a minute I thought the first picture had a tall bookcase full of bottles of wine behind the knitter looking off to her right. I thought that is definitely the store to knit, yarn and wine!! Then I figured it must be knitting needles. Still sounds like the store to be in even without the wine.

Krafty Kitten said...

Unimaginable LYS envy! Picture this...

In town:
One super crappy Super Walmart with no selection, even by crappy Walmart craft section standards.

45min to an hour east-ish(usually more like 1 - 1.5 hrs back):
One very small Michael's. They carry no small DPNs, never restock, and can't be bothered to tidy up at all
One small LYS. The sock yarn selection consists of mostly lone 50g balls with no partner and not even on sale! Again, almost no DPN selection. Mostly baby and novelty yarns. Actually, the majority of the store is a used bookstore. You count your blessings if you can find three balls of anything in the same dyelot. Crabby staff.

An hour south:
A slightly better Michael's but still all acrylic, no 16" circs, and no DPNs under US7 (5 if you're REALLY lucky).
An incredibly run down Joanne's. You can get some good deals occasionally but good lord is it disgusting.
One LYS with moderate selection, slightly high prices, bad needle selection, and a really mean lady runnin' the joint. Ok for necessities. I try to avoid it though.
There's another I haven't tried yet but I don't like to visit that town anymore if I can help it.

Finally, 1-2hrs north:
One seemingly lovely and charming little shop in a historic building with great window displays. Closed everytime I try to go there though. *sob* I'm taking another shot at it next weekend. I'm hoping for fabulous needle selection and good sock yarn (even though I don't really need any at the moment).
One halfway decent Michael's.
One pretty darn good ACMoore. They sometimes carry smaller needles. Of course they're 7" Clovers and I really prefer something shorter but at least they are available. They do carry some lower end natural fibers and natural fiber blends. I was pleasantly surprised.
I hear tell of another LYS in the area but haven't found it yet.

I visited Asheville, NC a few weeks ago and loved how there was so much yarn access! :)
You have anything I've seen beat though.

Heide said...

Hey there Deb! I still have my lovely sock yarn that you awarded me for a contest you held. I'm heading down to Vancouver, WA tomorrow to look for a home. I can't wait to get to the Portland area... if nothing else for the yarn stores and Powell's! In Tacoma there are two yarn stores unless you count Michael's and JoAnn Fabrics... I don't. Maybe we'll run into each other down there sometime. I'd be the shopper with the glazed over eyes and string of drool dripping off of my chin as I fondle yarn in the corner! Cheers.

Anonymous said...

HI Deb..... yarn store envy oh yeah I live in Kingman Arizona so there is a Walmart.....and a yarn store with odd hours. So the bulk of my purchases are on line... which is how I met you and brought your sock yarn. Karen Austin