The North Shore Yarn Crawl 2012 has come and gone, and I’m a little poorer than I was last week. But it was worth it. The shops were awesome. The crawlers were out of control. Coveted Yarn was both awesome and out of control, but that’s nothing new. Yarn crawling on St. Patrick’s Day was a lot of fun, since there was already a festive vibe in the air. We yarn crawlers passed quite a few pub crawlers everywhere we went, but who says you can’t do both?
We’re a little North of Boston, but we can compete with any major city when it comes to the variety and quality of yarn shops. City yarnies may not have as much ground to cover, but all I had to do was follow the ocean the whole way. Cities can’t beat that kind of natural beauty.
I don’t know what happened to winter, but we passed it, skipped spring and went straight into summer. The weather was warm and perfect, and on Sunday it was in the 70s. It was a perfect weekend for driving, shopping and eating Mexican food, and I did plenty of all of the above. This year I wrote out a wish list of things to search for such as books and a particular project. Last year I was on a Noro kick. This year, Debbie Bliss was the focus. I wanted to pick up some of her pattern booklets and the yarn to make the striped pullover from the spring issue of her magazine. As it turned out, I couldn’t find the Bella yarn needed for the pullover, so I didn’t end up with a larger project. But I made some impulse purchases for smaller projects, and I found some of the items on my list.
As always, my sister/crawl partner and I started in Salem at our LYS Seed Stitch Fine Yarn. The store was hosting two local independent hand-dyers, and I couldn’t keep away. I bought two skeins of yarn, one from each dyer. The acid-green yarn at the top is from Toil & Trouble, “bookishly inspired” yarns. The color is Ecto Cooler, from her Geekery collection! Sigh. You had me at “Geekery.” You know I had to buy some green yarn on St. Patrick’s Day. I’m eager to start knitting with this but I don’t know what to make. I’m tempted to just knit a plain pair of socks and let the awesome color speak for itself, but this color is crying out for…something…maybe a tree or leaf motif. I’ll have to search through my patterns. The yarn on the bottom is from Knittink, a dyer who takes the names of her yarns from comic books (yay!) that are “geekery inspired.” Sigh. You also had me at “Geekery.” There’s definitely a theme going on here, and the funny thing is, I didn’t even catch the word “geekery” on either label until I got home. This color is Burnished Turquoise #1. I’m planning on making a basic slouchy hat with this. I have yet to knit a slouchy hat, and I’m going to start working on one soon because I can’t wait to knit with this yarn.
We drove over the bridge to Beverly, where three shops on the crawl are located. Two are a couple of blocks apart in the downtown area, one is farther away in Beverly Farms. I love downtown Beverly because it has a quiet sort of cool with, among other things: two yarn shops, a tattoo parlor, great places to eat, including a vegetarian restaurant, an art school, funky shops, and The Cabot Street Cinema Theater. I love this city; Beverly’s cool without calling attention to how cool it is. We hit The Knit Stitch and Creative Yarns and had lunch in town. Both stores have been open for just over a year; they each opened less than a week before last year’s crawl, and I’m very glad they’re both still here. Creative Yarns carries a lot of Debbie Bliss booklets but they didn’t have the ones I was looking for, so my search continued. It’s just as well, I’m still working my way through all the Noro I bought there last year.
Yarns In The Farms is always worth a stop, even if it is tiny and gets a little too crowded for my comfort zone during yarn crawls. My sister picked up a Classic Elite yarns pattern booklet, and I bought an adorable pattern for knitted Russian matryoshka dolls. I have a thing for matryoshka dolls. It calls for Malabrigo but I’m not going to buy expensive yarn for these, I’ll probably purchase some Knit Picks in some
obnoxious cheerful colors instead.
All of the shops so far are fairly close to each other, but the real road trip is the drive up to Gloucester. I can’t visit Gloucester without stopping into Coveted Yarn. I wish I lived closer (or they were closer to me!) so I could go to their knit nights and evening classes. I love CY because they’re my local source for spinning fiber. I order a lot of fiber online but nothing beats being able to see the colorways right in front of you instead of having to go by an online photo. CY always hosts Mad Color Fiber Arts, and this year she took over the entire back room. I can’t resist racks full of gloriously vibrant spinning fiber! Check it out in this photo! I took my time picking out which colors to buy, while keeping an eye on the ridiculously long line at the checkout counter. By the time I joined it there were 16 people in line ahead of me! But CY fans are that hardcore, and CY reciprocated the love by handing out door prizes to everyone in line–just for waiting in line! Joey C., a Gloucester blogger, filmed this really cool video on Saturday and you can live vicariously through it here. I love how he can’t quite believe how bananas people can get over yarn. Believe. But he totally gets into the spirit of the event, and his enthusiasm is wonderful.
I bought two colorways of Mad Color, a superwash merino/nylon/wool top in bright pink, red and brown, and a polwarth top in purple/hot pink/violet shades. I bought a verrry chunky Louet bottom-whorl spindle at Coveted. It was so warm on Sunday evening that I took the purple roving and the spindle out onto my porch, where I spent a frustrating hour trying to spin the polwarth. The staple is shorter on this fiber and I think the Louet spindle is too heavy. I dropped the spindle a lot more than I usually do. Also, it wobbles while it spins. I’m pretty sure it’s not supposed to do that, so either I’m doing something wrong, or the fiber isn’t the right kind for this weight. Unless I got a defective spindle…but I’m sure I’m the problem, somehow. It would be nice to know the weight of the spindle but it wasn’t on the label. Two ounces, maybe? My first ever spindle was a Louet top-whorl spindle of a similar weight, and I avoided it for a long time because I didn’t think it spun well. But once I had more experience at spinning I was able to get the same results with it as with my lighter spindles. I’ll try to spin the polwarth on another spindle, but for now I’m a little disappointed because I really want to use the bottom-whorl.
Saturday was exhausting, but the crawl was only half over. On Sunday I headed North for more yarny goodness. I’ll tell you all about it in my next post. Good night!