Steel Valley Yarn Crawl Part I
On August 1, Diane and SciFi Chris set off on the Steel Valley Yarn Crawl. Seven shops are participating, from August 1 to August 10. Details can be found on Facebook and Ravelry. I've listed the shops at the end of this post. At any of the shops, a ‘passport’ can be bought for $10, which includes a tote bag and raffle tickets. At each shop, you get a stamp on the passport. If you manage to get to all seven shops, then you are entered for the grand prizes, seven $25 gift certificates – one from every shop. The runner up prize is $10 gift certificates from every shop.
Every shop also has their own raffle baskets. The tickets that come with your passport can be used for these raffles. Also, when you buy a given amount at each shop, you can get extra raffle tickets for that shop. Each shop also has part of a shawl pattern. I think that was a neat idea, to have a Yarn Crawl pattern. The only downside, at least to crocheter me, is that its a knit pattern. It would have been nice for them to offer both a knit and a crochet version.
Diane picked me up at 9:30 and we headed off to the first shop of the day. Our goal was all five shops in the Pittsburgh area. The other two shops are in Ligonier and Grove City, which we decided were better as day trips by themselves. Ultimately, we only managed four shops before we decided we’d had enough driving for the day.
First stop, Yarn By Design in Oakmont. We weren’t the only ones there waiting for the shop to open. It was the same at the other shops, according to the folks we talked to in our travels. I’d only been to YBD once before. It’s a nice little shop, with a decent selection. Many samples of knitted items hung on the wall and were displayed throughout the shop. Several different types of yarn were on clearance sale, but strangely the sale items were cash only. Regularly priced items could still be paid for with plastic. Diane picked up some antique gold and olive green fingering weight yarn for a motif sweater. I picked up a pattern book (Mission Falls Goes Crochet) by 3RC’s own Robyn Chachula. I didn’t realize it was Robyn’s designs until Diane pointed it out and showed me the sample that she had crocheted.
Second shop was Natural Stitches. I’d been there a few years ago and had not felt particularly welcomed as a crocheter. There had been very few books, tucked away in a corner, and most of them were of the ‘arts and crafts’ type. Crochet I was told, when I asked about books on that previous visit, didn’t have very many good patterns for clothes. Therefore I was not expecting much.
Wow, was I wrong! Somewhere along the line Natural Stitches figured out that crochet was more than toys and afghans. There were many crochet books and they were no longer hidden away in the corner. There were also other yarn arts represented throughout the store, such as spinning and weaving. The staff was very friendly and eager to be helpful. There is a huge selection of yarn, including yarn that is very reasonably priced. The wall of Cascade yarn was amazing. Another nice feature is the information cards that are posted for all the different types of yarn. The cards not only describe the yarn, they give approximate amounts needed for various projects. The amounts are for knitting, but those amounts can still be used to estimate the amounts needed for a crochet project. By the way, the whole crochet uses 3x the amount as knitting isn’t that accurate. It just depends on the stitch being used. Basic double crochet uses just a slight amount more than knitting.
Diane picked up some very pretty pink yarn and she finally got a copy of The Book - Crochet One Skein Wonders, a favorite of 3RC. I picked up the book Creating Crochet Fabric by Dora Ohrenstein. The focus of the book is examining how different yarns create very different looks and textures. Very informative and useful.
At this point, Diane and I were starting to think about lunch. Natural Stitches had made a deal with some local restaurants, 10% discounts for yarn crawlers. On the recommendation of staff at Natural Stitches, we headed to Union Pig and Chicken, a BBQ place. The food there was fantastic! Because Diane was doing the driving, I decided to get really wild and have a beer with my ribs.
Full and well fed, Diane and I headed off to shop number three, Dyed in the Wool.
The trip to Dyed in the Wood didn’t go very smoothly. My garmin went a bit wacky, recalculating at random and taking us on a bizarre round about route. At long last, we found our way to Dyed in the Wool. Unfortunately, I don’t think it was worth that much effort. The shop is very small and cluttered. Small doesn’t have to be a bad thing in a local yarn shop, but small does mean that its important to use the space you have wisely. Placement seemed a bit haphazard. It also contributed to a grungy feeling, as if the shop needed a good cleaning. The woman behind the counter seemed far more interested in the knitting project she was working on than us. Speaking of knitting, this is a knit shop. Other yarn crafts aren’t really represented. On a wall of knitting supplies, there were two pegs with just a few crochet hooks. If there were crochet pattern books, I missed them. On a positive note, the women who were sitting in the shop working on projects seemed to be regulars, enjoying themselves, chatting and knitting. Diane bought a few skeins of yarn, I didn’t buy anything.
Our final stop of the day was Kid Ewe Knot. Full disclosure, this is my regular yarn shop. Its crochet friendly. For example, they were the only shop so far that had crochet items in their raffle basket. From my very first visit, I felt welcomed and the staff is knowledgeable and cordial. Unfortunately, the person who created the unique hand dyed yarn for the shop is no longer doing so. Kid Ewe Knot is making up for that by bringing in other lines of hand dyed yarn, some of them locally produced. There is a great selection of yarn, with a nice range of prices. Its very possible to get lovely yarn for a reasonable price. There’s also higher end yarns for when you want to splurge a bit. Despite having just been there last week for their Christmas in July event, I managed to find more yarn to buy. Diane also found some yarn to add to her stash.
Tired but pleased with our yarn crawling, Diane and I ended our day. Four shops down, with three shops left for another day.
Shops are listed in alphabetical order:
Dyed In the Wool
3458 Babcock Boulevard
Pittsburgh, PA 15237
141 East Main Street
Ligonier, PA 15658
Kid Ewe Knot
429 Washington Ave
Bridgeville, PA 15017
6401 Penn Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
Yarns by Design
622 Allegheny River Boulevard
Oakmont, PA 15139
435 Beaver Street
Wolf Creek Yarns
112 Blair Street
Grove City, PA 16127