Okay, better late than never. I give you:
Yarns of the East (where “east” means Chapel Hill, NC and Fairfax, VA)
I first visited my sister in Chapel Hill. While she was at work, I
stole borrowed her car and visited a few yarn shops.
The first was Yarns Etc, a very nice (but small) yarn shop. I bought some lovely roving from the local Three Waters Farm. The roving is 4 oz of dyed Black Blue Faced Leicester. It has these dramatic undyed black streaks throughout. There were two colorways that I liked and my current plan when I can’t decide on a color is to go with the color I normally wouldn’t choose. So the dark green/brown roving was put back in favor of this lighter, almost pastel roving. I’m very curious how it will spin up.
Speaking of spinning… I spent some time in a local coffee shop while I was with my sister (after I dropped her off at work, I had to wait for the yarn stores to open, or sometimes I would come back and have some time to spare before I had to pick her up. I don’t normally spin in these situations, usually I knit, but I decided to spin this time. I got a yummy drink and spun my black alpaca fiber that I got at Madrona earlier this year. (I was going to post some of these pictures from my phone to the blog, but the app wasn’t working and I was too lazy to work around it.)
Yummy drink and “spinner’s leg” covered in fiber bits.
I got a decent amount of spinning done in a few hours there. I didn’t spin all of this in the coffee shop- some of this was done in the airport during my layover on the way back to Seattle. I think all the parents in that waiting area should thank me; I think I had every kid, from age two to twelve, sitting on the floor in front of me, just watching my spindle spin. That was pretty fun.
I’m trying to spin this singles a little thicker than I normally would. I’ve divided the roving in half so the final yarn will be a 2-ply. I didn’t sample- I’m a rebel. (Sample in spinning is like gauge in knitting.)
I also visited Shuttles Needles & Hooks in Cary, NC (no website). This was a fun shop, even though I didn’t end up buying anything there. The shop is in an old house, and by “in” I mean that it takes up the entire house. Every nook and cranny is filled with yarn or roving or notions. The second floor has some yarns and a big space filled with looms. And things that I assume are accessories to looming. This shop was a bit like a treasure hunt, which was very fun since I wasn’t looking for anything in particular. The book selection was great and I probably would have gotten a book or two if I weren’t trying to keep my luggage-weight down.
Look, you can see a stove under the basket there! Luckily, they only use the bathroom for shop storage so you don’t have to go look for Noro in the john.
One reason that I didn’t buy anything at Shuttles Hooks & Needles is that I love to buy local yarn when I’m on a trip. You can get Berroco or Cascade or even Dream in Color in shops all over the country now. Don’t get me wrong, I like those yarns. But if I’m going to buy yarn somewhere else besides my own LYS, I want it to be special. I don’t want it to be the same yarns that I see over and over in every shop in the country. I know that this may seem silly, especially since I can buy any of these “local” yarns online via Etsy or other merchants, but it means a lot to me. I love it when a yarn store carries yarns that are locally made or dyed.
That’s one of the reasons that I loved Fibre Space in Alexandria so much. This store was a lot of fun. I’ll definitely be going back there next time I’m in Virginia. It’s not huge but it has a great attitude. I mean, look at their logo! It has a space ship. That just hits me in all my weak spots. And in case that wasn’t enough to win me over (which it was, btw), they carry local yarns and make a point of labeling them so that they’re easy to find! The staff was friendly, helpful, and chatty, but not pushy about it. The back room had spindles and rovings and they had awesome shirts for sale with their logo.
I knew that Blue Ridge Yarns was local, since I had bought some of their yarn in VA before in the shop where I took a wheel lesson. This time they had a merino/bamboo blend sock yarn and you know that I can’t say no to that. The other yarn is a fun cotton “homespun” in a really pretty blue. I have to think of something neat to knit with it.
I didn’t know that Dragonfly Fibers was based in Virginia. Once I saw the “local sign,” I jumped on this dramatic Dragonsock colorway.
And this is a new company that I hadn’t heard about before. The label was so slick that I thought they were a big, national company until the clerk told me that the Neighborhood Fiber Company was a small dyer who had started in VA before moving to OH. I liked her yarn so much that I almost bought a wool/silk laceweight- and I don’t even knit lace! I am in completely in love with this merino/cashmere blend sock yarn.
I’m hoping to use some of my “Virginia yarn” in a project soon. If you’re ever in northern VA, stop by Fiber Space! They rock.
Photos of me courtesy of my mom, who also taught me to knit all those years ago and never minds coming with me to yarn stores. Thanks for the yarn!