Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Yarn Store Reviews

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I've been to a few yarn stores in the places where I've traveled recently on business and thought I'd share my thoughts on them.

This summer, I spent a week in Salt Lake City attending a chemical dependency seminar. I was astounded by how beautiful Salt Lake City was. But I also had to miss my 2nd anniversary, so my husband came up for the weekend and we hiked around the mountains. It was really beautiful, we had a great time. There was still a ton of snow on the ground and it was June!
I had a few hours the day my husband came in from the airport so I checked out a few local yarn stores.

Utah Stores:
The first was the Unraveled Sheep in Sandy (no website and wish I would have taken pics.) I spoke for a while with the owner, who was incredibly knowledgeable and friendly. The store wasn't set up incredibly well, it just didn't seem really inviting and they had a pretty small selection, but if I lived closer I would definitely go back. They carried mostly the high-end basics, Berroco and Rowan and such, and had lots of books and patterns.
The owner actually saw the list of other local yarn stores I had written out and told me which ones she would recommend stopping by, I thought that was pretty cool.

My next stop was The Wool Cabin in SLC (also no website). This place was cool and earthy but a little too granola-y for me. I hadn't worked much with wool and, as the name indicates, that's mostly what they had. They were also huge on socks which I hadn't started yet so I didn't pay too much attention but they did have a huge selection of sock yarns. The store was very well laid out and it was very active and everyone there was very friendly.

I saved the best for last and stopped by Soul Spun Yarns in SLC next. This is absolutely my favorite yarn store. The owner wasn't even there, but the store had a very cool chic-but-not-snobby vibe that few stores have. There were tons of knitted and crocheted items, both from magazines and books and free patterns online, which I thought was really cool. There were a lot of cool yarns there that I hadn't seen before and they were all displayed really well. All the yarns, for the most part, were divided into color (check out the website, it shows the cool setup of the store and has a free pattern), which I thought was a cool approach that most stores don't use. And there was a bigger crochet emphasis than I have seen at any other local yarn shop. I would highly recommend stopping by if you're in the area, even if it's a bit of a drive I think it would be worth it. I really wish I lived closer.

I was in Norcross north of Atlanta on business last October. I didn't have much time and remembered how nasty Atlanta traffic was so I only checked out one store:
Why Knot Knit in Buckhead, GA. This was a neat little store, tucked in a loft in artsy Buckhead. I thought the store was set up really well. There was a table where a few ladies were sitting around knitting and the store was broken up into different sections. There were quite a few sample knitted items, which I always like to see. She also carried a lot of cool yarn lines I hadn't seen before, because we are seriously yarn deprived in Oklahoma, like Blue Sky Alpaca (picked up some Organic Cotton which I love love love) and Manos del Uruguay, which I also like a lot.
The owner was nice but scattered and wasn't extremely helpful. Overall, it was a great experience and I'd definitely go back.
Ooh, and if you're there you have to go to Basil's Mediteranean Cafe just down the street for dinner.

I was also just in the Portland, OR area in December but had no time for a yarn store visit. I heard that there are several cool ones, there, though. I heard from the locals that The Yarn Garden is cool and has a huge selection. I also heard that Mabel's Cafe and Knittery was a lot of fun.

And the local stores, which I am slowly discovering because they are few and far between in our seriously fiber deprived state. So far I've been to a whopping four stores, one of which just closed, and I'm not sure there are many more in the state...

Gourmet Yarn Company was one of the first local yarn stores I visited. It's a fun little store tucked in a sprawling shopping complex in north Oklahoma City. It's pretty spacious for a yarn store and doesn't carry a huge selection but they display what they carry pretty well and the staff is always super friendly and helpful and now knows me by name ('cause sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name.) Cheesy, sorry. I learned to knit through classes there and had an absolutely awesome knitting teacher, Jeff (I think), who could not have been more patient and less condescending. They have monthly knit-ins and even knitting retreats, which I haven't yet been able to make. They also offer quite a few classes.

Carol's Knitting Studio (no website) is a new yarn store on the south side of Oklahoma City on Penn. south of 89th. I just love this little store! The owner, Carol, could not be any more friendly and is very good at entertaining husbands. She has scads of sock yarns and some cool stuff you don't see very often, like Buffalo yarn. There are a lot of handmade things to display the yarns they have and I hear they offer a lot of cool classes.

I finally got to visit Sealed With a Kiss in Guthrie, OK, about an hour north of Oklahoma City but entirely worth the drive. This is the largest yarn store I have been in next to The Woolie Ewe in Plano. It is very well laid out and the staff is incredibly friendly and helpful. They offer a lot of great classes and fun knitty activities and have a huge selection of books and patterns.
Guthrie is a really neat town, too, it's fun just to walk around their downtown area. And there's a great resturaunt close by called Granny Had One that makes the best soul food around.

That's all for now, hopefully I'll be able to add more soon!


Blogger Heather said...

SLC has some great yarn shops, I wish I could get up there more often. Sounds like a fun trip.

12:36 PM  
Blogger DAWN said...

My, my but don't you get around. I mean that in the nicest way possible;)

2:07 PM  
Blogger Kay said...

Gourmet Yarn is about to get a bigger selection of yarns. Margaret just got back from Peru and will be adding to her stock in a very short while. She has also made several inquiries about getting some of the more popular sock yarns, Opal, Cherry Tree Hill, Koigu and Mountain Colors! I can't wait!

2:15 PM  
Blogger Prayerful Knitter - Shelly said...

Oh Tandi, this is such a treat to read your reviews. Thank you so *very much*!

I hope to see you tonight at Borders.


4:38 PM  
Blogger Evelyns little corner said...

Thanks for looking at my Blog,That afghan was easy but I got confused putting the last flower on ,you have an interesting blog. I live in way southern utah so its been along time since I was in slc..

8:37 PM  
Blogger defiant goddess said...

Hi, Tandi,

Thanks for dropping by. Looks like I have some shopping to do! :)

9:48 PM  

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