Did you know that the tiny state of Rhode Island has 15 yarn/knit stores in it? No? Neither did I, and I can now say that I have been to them all.
This weekend was the first Great Rhody Yarn Crawl, which was also set up to benefit the Rhode Island Food Bank.
And I originally did not intend to do the full crawl. In my little mind I thought I would go to one or two shops...and that quickly manifested into them all. Because you see, they give you a passport. And each yarn store will stamp the passport. And with each passport stamp and food item donation you got a raffle ticket. Quickly, my mind turned the passport stamps into Pokemon...Gotta get them all. But, man was it fun!
|Hand-dyed and spun yarn from a local vendor at the Slater Mill|
Big kudos go out to the ladies that established this yarn crawl. Not only did they get all the yarn stores in RI to participate, but they also got donations for some killer raffle prizes (Please, Knit God...let me win at least one!) that included lots of great yarn, Eucalan wool wash, Serendipity needles, patterns and much, much more.
Some of the stores had special discounts going on for the crawlers, while others had special presentations - one even had a meet-and-greet with West Warwick author Ann Hood who wrote the novel 'The Knitting Circle' which will soon be an HBO movie starring Katherine Heigle of Grey's Anatomy infamy. Two stores had alpacas visiting from local RI alpaca farms. For me though the best part was walking into each store and seeing huge boxes of food being donated to the Rhode Island Food Bank.
I'm going to give a brief over-view of the stores my friends and I visited:
|10 skeins of mystery yarns|
Handmade in RI
My friend Claire and I then made our way over to new yarn store Eneri Knits in Exeter. I loooooove this store. It was so cute (they are one of the stores that had Alpacas on Saturday) and pleasing on the eye, plus they weren't overly expensive in the yarn department. The owner also brings her dog to the shop which makes me smile. Their store is spacious and has a huge room set up for classes. On Friday night Ann Hood came to do book signings, but I did not make it to meet her.
Next on the trip was The Mermaid's Purl in Wickford, which is a cute shop that I've been in before. I'm a huge fan of Wickford, it's the quintessential coastal New England town. They had some cute kits set up and I picked one up for
myself a gift to make for someone for Christmas. We also went to Unwind in East Greenwich. They looked like they had great yarn, but everything was in a neutral color scheme and really wasn't doing anything for me.
Once back on Aquidneck Island I went over to Knitting Needles to say hi to the owner and ask her help on how to knit some Bossanova yarn I picked up. Then it was onwards to my favorite local yarn shop Knitting Needles to spend some time with Betsy the owner who had wine and cheese and a great 15% off deal....I finally got my mohair to make my White Owl Wristees (more on this once I start it...).
Saturday, I met up with another Amy, a friend from college whom I haven't seen since I graduated, and one of her friends. Saturday was a cold, dreary day more reminiscent of November than April and maybe that's why we all felt slightly overwhelmed by all the yarn we saw. But Saturday was definitely a slower moving day.
We went down to Sakonnet Purls in Tiverton which is a great shop...but overwhelming in the amount of yarn they carry. It's a great place to go if you have a specific project in mind, but if you're just browsing...prepared to be overwhelmed. But they did have a shop kitty who was super cute and friendly. I was a little turned off by one of the employees there, but seeing as how it was a crappy miserable day out I'm willing to give allowances.
Next on the list was Bella Yarns in Warren. One of the co-owners there is a weaver and it was interesting to see some of her weaved items. The Yarn Outlet in Pawtucket really didn't do much of anything for any of us. And Peter Patchis in Central Falls was...a little scary. It was in an old factory building filled almost floor to ceiling with cone yarn for weaving and textile work. But what was a little cool about them is that they sell knitting machines.
Our final, but not my final, stop on Saturday was a newer yarn store all the way up in Woonsocket called Yarnia. I love Yarnia. And wish it were closer. It's owned by a young man (!!!) from Canada who not only knits, but spins and weaves as well. It too is set in an old factory building, but the shop was so warm and inviting and all I wanted to do was cozy up on the couch and break out my knitting (which is still the seed blanket o' doom..). I will definitely stop by Yarnia again on my next venture north to I-90.
Today was the last day of the crawl and I had three shops left: Manmade by Jonne in Warwick, Fresh Purls in Providence and Wayland Yarn Shoppe in Pawtucket. Out of the three, Fresh Purls is my favorite. I've been there before and really like it. My knitting teacher and good friend Stephanie accompanied me on this adventure...which ended with the culmination ceremony at the Slater Mill in Pawtucket. All the pictures spread across this entry are from the Mill. The big thing at the Mill besides drawings for raffle prizes (Um. Knit God? You still there? I'd really like to win something...) was a meet-and-greet and book signing by Scottish designer Ysolda Teague author of Whimsical Little Knits 1 and 2.
|Ysolda Teague & Me|
Interesting little fact about the Slater Mill, it was the first water powered textile mill in North America. And while I didn't do a tour, it was interesting to see some of the old machinery floating around. I love old mill buildings, but most often than not they are in set in depressed areas...after the mills shut down and new technology was created to make goods, a lot of the towns built surrounding the mills kind of lapse into an impoverished area which is very sad to see.
|Inside the Slater Mill...vendors|
All in all I had a great adventure in little Rhody. I've been to parts of the state that I have never been to before, and have met some really nice people. I am so happy and overwhelmed by the amount of people who not only participated in this event, but also made contributions to the food drive. If I'm lucky I will win one or more of the awesome raffle prizes, but even if I'm not I know that not only did I help support local RI businesses but I also made a difference for someone who relies on food pantries for their meals. I hope that there will be a Great Rhody Yarn Crawl in 2012...and I will start saving my pennies just in case.