Back 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 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 Galore and More Button Jar is 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!