Wednesday, October 3, 2012
The Yarn Tour
I've written before about how, once Mike gets behind the wheel, you may as well put on your seatbelt because you are in for a trip! He doesn't drive too fast or anything like that (well, maybe too far sometimes). He likes to make a run at seeing everything. One benefit of that mindset is that I can squeeze in some yarn shop runs along the way. While we were in New England, I got to stop at as many shops in our vicinity as I could locate on google. They ran the gamut from just okay to great.
First, I'll mention the shop pictured above which I visited back in June, while on the way to Squam in New Hampshire. It's in Camden, Maine, which is the quintessential New England harbor town. Everything about Camden is picture-perfect and The Cashmere Goat is located right in the heart of the waterfront. I was knitting on my Silk Moon Crescent shawlette and foolishly had not brought along enough yarn. I walked into The Cashmere Goat, scoped out their Noro shelf and came up with the exact same dyelot needed. Meant to be! It's a beautiful little shop .... all shining hardwood floors, big windows, relaxing places to sit and music that's interesting (not intrusive) and helpful (not hovering) people, if you need them. I couldn't help but imagine how cozy the shop must be on a blustery winter day. Camden is worth the drive up the coast and The Cashmere Goat is a bonus.
Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of the other yarn shops (you can get an idea of what they look like by clicking through the links). I was too busy looking at what they had to offer. My favorite yarn store experience during our September trip was KnitWits in Portland, Maine. I'd read about the shop on several blogs (Soulemama, for one) and am so glad we took the time to look for it. It's down close to the harbor, where we saw the most enormous cruise ship that morning. I wish I had taken a picture of it because it was huge! I can't imagine getting on one of those things with all those people. Anyway, KnitWits is a sweet little shop and Suzie, the owner was so nice to talk to. She was wearing a Miriam sweater (designed by Carrie Bostick Hoge, who apparently frequents the shop) and, when I admired it, Suzie took it right off and offered to let me try it on. (which I did and am now in the process of knitting my own) She recommended a great little pizza place (Otto's Pizza) and the Bakery on the Hill (that had fabulous, gigantic chocolate chip cookies), just down the block. (The pizza place made us feel as though we were in San Francisco, for some reason.) I highly recommend timing your visit to KnitWits so you can eat lunch there and finish with one of those huge chocolate chip cookies!
Next up was Knit or Dye in Brattleboro, Vermont, which I spied as we drove by. There were a group of knitters and spinners out on the porch and inside was a homey little shop, complete with a baby in a playpen! I bought some beautiful, locally dyed roving there. They had a good supply of Vermont handspun and hand-dyed yarn and some well-known commercial brands.
I don't know why, but no matter how many sizes and kinds of needles I pack, I always end up having to buy needles when I'm traveling and this trip was no different. I made a quick stop at Love 2 Knit Studio, in Scarborough, Maine to get what I needed.
Somewhere along the way, we managed to check out two different Shaker communities, Enfield, Vermont and Sabbathday Lake, Maine. Enfield was where I bought a skein of Scottish Blackface yarn, just because I'd never seen any before. It's definitely an outerwear kind of yarn. I'm not sure what I'll make with it. Having seen several other Shaker sites now, I think we have a real treasure here in Kentucky with Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill (only about 20 minutes from our farm). It's a beautifully, restored Shaker community with a wonderful restaurant and overnight facilities. If you are ever in this part of the country, please take the time to visit. I promise you won't be disappointed.
Moving on ..... I made a quick stop at White River Yarns, in White River Junction, Vermont. That shop was packed full of so much yarn, it was almost hard to concentrate! I hadn't intended to buy anything, but ended up with a skein of Jacob sheep wool from a local farm.
Last, but not least, when we were back in Burlington on the day we flew home, I discovered the cutest little shop close by the farmer's market. Nido Fabric and Yarn is just plain beautiful. It's on the second floor of an old building, with lovely patina-ed wood floors, exposed brick walls and high ceilings. The aesthetic was clean and spare, everything arranged in wonderful vignettes. It was gorgeous and I hope to return when I have time to look at every single thing. I bought a single skein of Swan's Island yarn (quite pricey at $30 and that's why I only bought one).
So, there you have it. I know that I missed some really good shops along the way, either from bad timing or just not knowing, but my plan is to keep working on seeing them all!