Hiya all! SciFi Chris here with another post for the 3RC blog.
The Steel Valley Yarn Crawl has come and gone for another year. This year, the list of shops was expanded from 7 to 11. It is a challenge to get to all 11 shops in ten days. At least it is if you want to spend some time looking around the shops. I’m hoping next year that the time is expanded to 2 weeks and 3 weekends, although I'm doubtful that will happen based on the feedback I've gotten from the yarn crawl organizers. It took me four days to get to all the shops. I’m lucky enough to have my summers off. If I was working, I don’t think I would have been able to get to all 11 shops in the given time, especially since most of them close at 4pm or 5pm during the week.
Despite the challenge, I did manage to get to all 11 shops. I’ll be posting photos of the shops and my impressions of them. Just like my travels, the descriptions of the shops will be done over a few days. You might notice that there are more photos of the shops new to the crawl than the ones that were on the crawl last year. Since I already had taken many photos of those shops, I concentrated on the shops that had been added this year. If you'd like to see more photos of the other shops, check out the posts about last year's crawl. Part one and Part two.
In this post I’ll talk about my journey north and south, to Darn Yarns in Harmony, Wolf Creek in Grove City, Beaver Yarn Shop in Beaver, and Kid Ewe Knot in Bridgeville. I should note here that my original plan was to end the day in Sewickley at Yarns Unlimited not Kid Ewe Knot, but my plans were rearranged at the last minute due to a distraction in Beaver.
Darn Yarns , Wolf Creek, and Beaver are all located in towns that are also worth exploring. If you have the time, I’d suggest making it a day trip for just those three. Go up to Harmony in the morning, walk around the town, exploring the unique shops and visit Darn Yarns. Then head up to Grove City. Not the outlet strip mall, but the actual town, which like Harmony has many interesting shops to browse, including Wolf Creek Yarns. Then wander along the fun shops near Beaver Yarn. Shops which are the reason why I got distracted and had to change my itinerary for the day.
Darn Yarns Needles and Thread can be a little tricky to find if you don’t know where it is. Its tucked away in the corner of a group of shops. It is worth looking for, however. The shop is on the smaller side, but it is the definition of cozy. It has a welcoming atmosphere that encourages you to take your time and enjoy the experience of playing with yarn. In nice weather, folks can sit outside on the porch and knit, crochet, or spin. Darn Yarns is crochet friendly and has samples of crocheted items in the shop.
Darn Yarn is in the back corner of these shops. The parking lot is a bit small, but its not usually this crowded.
This is the store across the street, for those that would like a landmark to help find the shop. Its also a fun place to wander through.
Wolf Creek is about twice the size of Darn Yarns and is filled with a wonderful variety of yarns. I love the selections that are offered at this shop, from hand dyed to factory made. This is a knitting shop, however. There are very few crochet items. Despite this, I did not find an anti-crochet attitude from the ladies working there, who were very friendly. They were willing to assist me to go on Ravelry and find patterns, if I wanted.
Next up was Beaver Yarns in Beaver. This was one of the shops that was new on this year’s crawl. Its located on the second floor, above a frozen yogurt shop. (No, that isn’t what distracted me. Don’t let it distract you, either. There’s a real ice cream parlor, Witch Flavor, near the yarn shop. Go there.) Beaver Yarns is unique among the 11 shops on the crawl because its also an art studio. Half of the space is filled with paintings. Beaver is another small shop, but makes the most of its space. There are even comfortable chairs tucked away in corners for those that want to sit and play with yarn. Another nice feature is the ‘try me’ skeins of yarn scattered about the shop, so folks can actually work with the yarn before they buy. This shop is very crochet friendly. The owner of the shop, Susan, started out as a crocheter. She told me that she learned to knit because she opened the yarn shop. There were samples of crocheted items in the shop, including some lovely shawls.
A tangent story of the small world variety: Since I’m taking photos of the shop, I’ll tell the folks working there that I’m blogging for 3RC. One of the women helping out at the Beaver shop asked me if I knew Doug. I’m convinced that if I went to outer Mongolia to buy yarn, I’d be asked ‘do you know Doug.’ He frequents many yarn shops and being very tall and outgoing, he’s hard to miss in a crowd. If you went to the Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet festival and saw a man walking around with a yarn swift on a top hat, that was Doug. Anyway, I told the woman that I did indeed know Doug and was going to yarn crawl with him the next day. It turns out that she was the friend, Kim, that Doug was bringing along! Small world.
This is the part where I got distracted. Near Beaver Yarns, among the fun little shops that line the street, was a Grandpa Joe’s Candy Shop. I later found out there is another Grandpa Joe’s in the Strip District, but I had never before heard of the shop. It is a wonderland of candy and soda pop, of every flavor and type imaginable. All the standards are there, of course, along with candy from other countries, including Japan. I happily wandered around the shop, only somewhat avoiding the temptation to buy everything. I did manage to escape with just some ginger candy chews and pretzel caramel chocolate bark, plus some items destined for friends. As fun as it was, it did put me behind schedule. I wouldn’t be able to make it to Sewickley before Yarns Unlimited closed for the day. However, Kid Ewe Knot was open late enough that I would be able to make it there. Schedule adjusted, munching on pretzel caramel chocolate bark, I headed to Bridgeville.
No more picking out the cereal pieces from the marshmallows!
Full disclosure time: Kid Ewe Knot is my regular local yarn shop. Its crochet friendly and has a nice mix of hand dyed yarn and factory yarn. It’s a bit of a drive for me to get there, but I’ve always found it worth the time. It was here that the owner, Heather, showed me the new novelty yarn they had recently gotten in. Abracadabra color change yarn. It appears as a cream colored yarn inside, but exposed to sunlight it turns pink or purple! It’s a very quick change, both to color and back to cream. Kid Ewe Knot also had a special colorway made just for the crawl, hand dyed multi colored that came in a variety of fibers and weights.
First day of the crawl over, four shops down and seven to go. I was tired but happy, with lots of new yarn and candy. Next phase of the crawl was meeting up with Doug and his friend Kim, to journey to four more shops on the crawl plus a bonus shop not on the crawl list.