#Crochet #TipsTuesday: How To Find Great Yarn Stores on Your Next Trip

How to find great #yarn stores on your next trip | #TipsTuesday on Underground Crafter #crochet #knittingBack in March, I traveled to Atlanta for work. I got into town a bit early, so I had the chance to visit a local yarn shop, Needle Nook.

My haul from Atlanta. | How to find great #yarn stores on your next trip | #TipsTuesday on Underground Crafter #crochet #knitting
My haul from Atlanta.

My journey on public transportation from the hotel took a bit longer than I planned, but the woman was kind enough to let me in although the store had just closed. I discovered a beautiful regional yarn, Sprout by The Fiber Seed, and I also picked up a finger stitch counter. (The buttons are from the Tuesday Morning located in the same strip mall.) Outside of the shop, I started chatting with a local customer and she showed me some stunning projects she had just finished.


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This experience is just one of many great ones I’ve had while traveling, so in this post, I’m sharing 6 ways to find yarn stores while on vacation or trips for work.

Craftsy

But first, why visit yarn shops while you’re traveling?

Besides the fact that you can (almost) never have too much yarn? There are so many reasons to visit local yarn shops away from home, but here are some of my favorites.

  • You can discover yarns that aren’t available in your local area. Ask if the shop has a section for local or regional yarns, or if they have any exclusive colorways. Then you can get a souvenir while adding to your stash!
  • You can meet local crocheters and knitters. Locals can share suggestions that can help you with the rest of your trip, including advice on restaurants, attractions, or events.
  • You can visit neighborhoods you might have otherwise missed. Some yarn shops are off the beaten path for tourists, so you’ll get the chance to see parts of the area that wouldn’t have otherwise been on your itinerary.
  • You can contribute to the local economy. You can support the communities you travel to by shopping at small businesses.
  • You can have fun. Because it’s a yarn shop!
  • You can bring friends or spend time alone. If you’re shopping with other crocheters or knitters, a trip to a yarn shop can be a great bonding experience. If you need a break from your travel companions, you can tell them to enjoy their favorite hobbies while you check out local yarn shops.

Now that you’re convinced, here are 6 ways to find great yarn stores while traveling.

ILK 300x250b February 2016 BannersDo some research before leaving home

If you have the time, doing some research up front can help you plan your trip and give you a head start on making new friends. It can also help you separate the subpar yarn shops from the great ones so you don’t waste your time. Here are 4 ways you can do some research before you start your trip.

  • Ask in Facebook groups. If you’re in crochet or knitting groups on Facebook, mention that you’ll be traveling and ask members for suggestions for the best yarn shops in the area.
  • Find local Ravelry groups. Click on the groups tab and either search for the name of the place you’ll be visiting or browse local groups.

How to find great #yarn stores on your next trip | #TipsTuesday on Underground Crafter #crochet #knitting

Groups in large metropolitan areas may already have a list of suggestions posted, like this one posted in the New York City Knitters Ravelry group.

How to find great #yarn stores on your next trip | #TipsTuesday on Underground Crafter #crochet #knitting

If not, you can start a new thread asking for recommendations.

  • Use hashtags on Instagram or Twitter. If you’re active on Instagram or Twitter, ask about #yarn shops and be sure to use popular hashtags for place you’ll be visiting. You can also tag any locals you know already, or the local tourism office.
  • Ask your favorite crochet and knitting authors, bloggers, YouTubers, etc. If your favorites live in an area where you plan to visit, ask for recommendations. Some bloggers even have a list of favorite local yarn shops already, like my Visitor’s Guide to New York City Yarn Shops.

Keep in mind internet safety as you ask for suggestions. It’s probably not a good idea to announce to everyone on Facebook the exact dates when you won’t be home, but it’s probably alright to ask, “I’ll be in Salt Lake City in April. Do you have a favorite local yarn shops to recommend?”

If you don’t have time for research before your trip

Don’t despair if you got wrapped up in life before your trip. Once you get to your destination, here are two ways to get fast results.

  • Do a quick web search. Type “best yarn shops in DESTINATION” into your favorite search engine.
  • Use YarnPlaces. YarnPlaces is a website that helps you “find places and events related to knitting and crochet.” You can search for yarn shops, fiber farms, fiber mills, events, and more. You can learn more about YarnPlaces in this interview with its founder, Cindy. KnitMap and the Daily Knitter Yarn Shop Locator have similar search features.

For best results, click through to the store and call to verify the hours before you head over!

What are your favorite ways to discover new yarn shops when traveling?

Unexpected treat

I traveled up to Saratoga Springs for a few days for a work-related project. I knew I’d have plenty of down time, so I packed enough yarn for 3 projects. Except, I packed the yarn before leaving in the morning. Early in the morning.

When I opened my suitcase in Saratoga, it turned out that one of the yarns I brought with me was already assigned to another project. In the dark, it looked just like this yarn (even though in the light of day, there is no resemblance between the two).

Luckily, there happened to be a local yarn shop literally around the corner from the hotel. My colleague agreed to make a stop over there before we set up to for the day.

Visit to Common Thread, yarn shop in Saratoga, NY on Underground Crafter

 

 

Common Thread turned out to be a delightful local yarn shop.

Visit to Common Thread, yarn shop in Saratoga, NY on Underground Crafter

In addition to the welcoming staff, they have a great yarn selection.

Visit to Common Thread, yarn shop in Saratoga, NY on Underground Crafter

The shop organizes the yarn by weight, so medium and bulky was in the second room and the lighter weight yarns are closer to the front door.

Visit to Common Thread, yarn shop in Saratoga, NY on Underground Crafter

They had a great selection of madelinetosh (one of my favorites) and some fun looking kits.

Visit to Common Thread, yarn shop in Saratoga, NY on Underground Crafter

They even convinced my colleague, who hasn’t knit since she was in college in the 1970s, to buy some yarn and needles for a one-skein cowl (the Quick Slip Cowl by Andra Asars) for her daughter.

The highlight for me, though, was the wall of local yarns.

Visit to Common Thread, yarn shop in Saratoga, NY on Underground Crafter

There’s something really special about visiting a yarn shop and finding some yarns that you can’t pick up at home. There was a great selection of undyed wool and alpaca from regional farms, as well as some great hand dyed yarn.

I ended up picking up a skein of Stillwater Island Alpacas called Melanie and a skein of FlockSock from Holiday Yarns by Jennifer Vancalcar in Wolverine.

Visit to Common Thread, yarn shop in Saratoga, NY on Underground Crafter

And, a few notions, too. I had been looking at the Knitter’s Pride Symfonie Dreamz cable needles for a while, and I couldn’t just let my colleague knit in the round for the first time in 30+ years without a stitch marker.

This turned out to be a fun diversion. If you’re ever in Saratoga, I suggest you check out Common Thread!

NaBloPoMo

I’m participating in BlogHer’s National Blog Post Month (also known as NaBloPoMo) by blogging daily through November, 2014.

Interview with knitting designer and LYS owner, Aimee Alexander

Today, I’m really happy to share an interview with Aimee Alexander, a knitting designer, publisher, and local yarn shop owner.  Like me, Aimee is also participating in the Indie Design Gift-a-Long.  You can find Aimee online on Ravelry (as getknitty, through the

Aimee Alexander.
Aimee Alexander.
Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first learn to knit?
Aimee: I became interested in knitting at a young age when watching my mother knit. I’d help her ball yarn and learned soon after. She taught me the basics, but then dropped me off at our LYS and the owners there shared what they knew.
UC: What inspired you to start designing?
Aimee: I own an lys and started designing when I couldn’t find patterns for things my customers were interested in knitting. This, of course, was long before the Ravelry In-Store sales program. We don’t have that problem anymore, but I found I really enjoyed designing and I continue to do so.
I also edit and publish other peoples patterns. No long ago, I created Polka Dot Sheep Publications to encompass the addition of designers. Ravelry members can read more about it here.
Aimee's Crisscross Applesauce. (Click to link to pattern.)
Aimee’s Crisscross Applesauce. (Click to link to pattern.)
UC: Most of your patterns are for children’s items (and hats!). What do you enjoy about designing these types of projects?
Aimee: I have three small kids, ages 6, 5, and 3…
UC: Several of your patterns are published through the Knit n Needle yarn shop. Tell us how that collaboration began.
Aimee: I own Knit ‘n Needle Yarn Shoppe/PolkaDotSheep.com in Whitefish, MT. It’s a brick and mortar LYS. We just celebrated our 10th anniversary.
Aimee's Charlie's Sock Yarn Hat. (Click to link to pattern.)
Aimee’s Charlie’s Sock Yarn Hat. (Click to link to pattern.)
UC: What’s your favorite knitting book in your collection?
Aimee: Just one?
UC: Tell me about a designer you discovered through participation in the Indie Design Gift-A-Long. What attracted you that designer’s work?
Aimee: I really admire Jean Clement of Desert Rose Designs. I’ve had the splendid opportunity to moderate a Gift-a-Long thread with her and have appreciated getting to know her more. Her patterns appeal to our customer base, too. We’ve had some success with her Treyi Vest without having knit a shoppe model.
Thanks so much for stopping by for an interview, Aimee!