The Yarn Crawl
A yarn crawl is the fiber arts version of a pub crawl where you have the opportunity to experience a variety of local yarn shops in a geographic area. This is the second year our Guild has participated in the Western North Carolina (WNC) Yarn Crawl. Seven of us retreated to a cabin in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina and spent the weekend crawling, eating, talking, laughing, knitting, spinning, and of course participating in a little retail therapy.
First, a little about the WNC Yarn Crawl. This is a free event held over Mother's Day Weekend. Each participating shop has its own distinctive personality and offers a taste of local and hand dyed yarns, as well as a variety of brand name fiber and equipment. Typically, there are indie dyer pop-up shops and trunk shows, exclusive Crawl colorways, project kits, special discounts, and always daily door prizes at each stop!!! Westem North Carolina Yarn Crawl website https://www.wncyarncrawl.com
Our trip included visiting five of the eleven participating shops plus two extra fiber-related activities. Map in hand, we set out to explore . . .
Sun Dragon Art & Fiber Brevard, NC
Rebecca Smith is the owner of Sun Dragon. We love visiting this shop! Rebecca and her staff our warm, enthusiastic, and always helpful. If it’s your first visit to Sun Dragon, you’ll get a tour of this small shop that is brimming with yarn and so much more. First stop is what Rebecca calls the “pretty wall” which she is standing in front of in the photo above. Among the yarns featured on this wall are Sweet Georgia and Daydream Dyeworks. Honestly, the whole shop is ‘pretty’ from my perspective.
One of the shop’s most popular colorways is indie dyer YarnBaby’s vibrant ‘Dark Side of the Moon’, an 80/20 blend of super washed merino and nylon. They always sell out of this fingering weight yarn!
Sun Dragon is known for their extensive stock of notions. Pictured here are just two of the many items to choose. Sheep Squeezers from 1 Sock Wonder, a crafter with local Brevard connections, are the perfect socks to keep your yarn contained.
One of a kind handmade sheep earrings were made by local artist Sue Dial for the Crawl!
Sun Dragon Art & Fiber, 43 S Broad Street, Suite 102, Brevard, NC
Friends & Fiberworks Candler, NC
Friends & Fiberworks is the largest shop we visited. In addition to an abundance of yarn and fiber, the shop also carries supplies for other fiber arts from rug hooking to needlepoint felting.
I fell in love with the vibrant rainbow colored skeins of uneek hand dyed self-striping yarn. To highlight the yarn, there were several completed projects to drool over. Cleverly, these projects were made up into kits with the yarn and pattern tucked into cute little packaging. A kit for a Linen Stitch Cowl followed me out the door . . . .
Friends & Fiberworks, 19 Westridge Market Place, Candler, NC
Silver Threads & Golden Needles Franklin, NC
This shop is the farthest in our Crawl travel but an absolute must visit! It’s just a beautiful shop with the nicest staff, ‘nuff said!
I am in love with tweedy yarns right now and these are some beauties - The Fibre Co. Arrranmore light (Gaelic name: Árainn Mhór) ‘a tweedy blend of fine merino wool, cashmere and silk with a color palette reminiscent of the wild Irish coastlands’. What better to knit up the ‘Celtic Myths Shawl’ than a couple of skeins I purchased in the Cronan colorway.
The day we visited, a local indie dyer, The Fiber Faerie, was featured. Her colors were simply delightful!
Silver Threads & Golden Needs also has a modest stock of weaving yarns.
Silver Threads & Golden Needles, 41 E. Main Street, Franklin, NC
Black Mountain Yarn Shop Black Mountain, NC
We loved Black Mountain Yarn Shop in the past, but their new store is not only larger, but even lovelier. It is open, warm, welcoming and the yarns are displayed beautifully with lots of tempting finished samples on display.
Andrea Mowrey’s ‘Shift’ projects are everywhere and Black Mountain had several examples including this stunning ‘Shifty’ sweater. I returned to the wall of Spincycle Yarns multiple times just to stare in awe (or was it lust). I am amazed at how many photos I took of this yarn display. Here’s just one of them.
Black Mountain Yarn Shop, 104 E. State Street, Black Mountain, NC
Earth Guild Asheville, NC
Part of our group headed to Earth Guild in downtown Asheville. This shop has the largest selection of weaving yarns and accessories of the shops on the Crawl. In addition to other fiber arts, it carries supplies for basketry, book arts, candle making, dyeing, leatherwork, paper making, polymer clay, and wood working.
And, if that’s not enough, there are several Chocolate shops nearby!
Earth Guild, 33 Haywood Street, Asheville, NC
Fiber Feel Day WNC Farmer’s Market, Asheville, NC
We were in luck to have two fiber-related events occurring nearby during the Yarn Crawl. The first was Fiber Feel Day which is described as a fiber tailgate market of locally raised alpaca, sheep, and mohair fleeces, fiber, yarns, natural dyes, and finished textiles. It was a very rainy Saturday and the market was housed in an open air shed. Nonetheless, the vendors were troopers and so were we!
My favorite vendor was an enthusiastic young woman making her debut - Jennifer Marsico of Lily and Lila’s Fiber. Jennifer raises and specializes in humanely sourced angora. Although, it was just too dreary of a day to bring along her bunnies, I did take home a little bit of Lily and Coco.
WNC Farmers Market, 570 Brevard Rd., Asheville, NC
Southern Highland Craft Guild’s Fiber Weekend Folk Art Center
More than two dozen members of the Southern Highland Craft Guild were demonstrating a variety of Fiber Arts techniques including felting, quilting, weaving, knitting, tatting, spinning, dyeing, and lace making. Unfortunately this year was raining, but typically the Guild invites visitors to bring their own handwork and fill the hill behind the Folk Art Center with a community of people engaged in various fiber arts!
The shop and displays in the Folk Art Center are also well worth a look!
Folk Art Center, Milepost 382, Blue Ridge Parkway, Asheville, NC
That just about wraps up our 2019 WNC Yarn Crawl extravaganza. Well, except that we had to make another trip back to Sun Dragon because I was a drawing winner!!!!! Here are all the goodies from my prize.
You’ll notice the two yarns on the right from Echoview Fiber Mill in Weaverville, NC. It is also on the Yarn Crawl and although we did not make it there this year, we have enjoyed our visit in the past. Echoview is a spinning mill, knitting operation, and design house making quality knitting and weaving yarns from natural fibers. The shopping is wonderful, but viewing the mill process is worth a visit just by itself.
The Yarn Crawl is an event that I and our Guild have on our annual calendars. If you live in or near the Carolinas we highly recommend the WNC Yarn Crawl or locate a Yarn Crawl in your local area. My plan was to provide a list with links to upcoming Crawls, but there were just so many that the idea was impractical. So I suggest typing ‘yarn crawl’ into your search engine and see what pops up!
Finally, here are some tips for a great Yarn Crawl Weekend:
Before you go, check out the websites of the participating shops and make a list of “must visit”. Also, note special events (pop-up shops, refreshments, trunk shows, demonstrations) that are only occurring on a special date or time.
Group the locations to plan your daily itinerary. We recommend two to three shops a day.
Although it is great fun to all travel together, it’s ok to split off sometimes to accommodate the group’s varying interests.
Check out what other nearby activities and events may be going on during the Crawl.
We grab a hearty lunch while we’re out on the Crawl. Ask the shop staff for their recommendation (that has never failed us).
We each bring our own breakfast items and then share light dinner snacks - cheese, crackers, fruit, olives, cold cuts.
Bring a wish list and/or pattern(s) to keep your purchases on track. That doesn’t mean a splurge isn’t in order too.
Ask the shop staff what is new or hot. Also check out locally sourced fiber and yarns that may not be available elsewhere. Look for Crawl specials, custom hand-dyed Crawl colorways, and exclusive Crawl kits.
Don’t forget to sign up for prize drawings at each shop.
Although not always a huge purchase, I try to buy something at each shop. Yes, I use the larger online retailers, but I also want to support the local yarn shop. There is where you can get the indy-dyed yarns, the locally sourced fibers, helpful classes and instruction, and, without them there would be no Yarn Crawl.
The staff at local yarn shops are almost always friendly and very helpful. Case in point, a suggestion for a more economical yarn substitution for a pattern and assistance in figuring up the number of skeins needed for a desired size (saved buying 2 extra skeins).
Carry a small knitting or spindle project with you. Every shop has a cozy little space where you can sit and relax if your fellow crawlers are still shopping.
We’ve found it helpful for someone to bring a swift and a ball winder as Inevitably once we return to the cabin, we want to start a new project using that treasured skein from the day’s excursion. For the same reason, you may want to bring along a variety of needle sizes.
A group ‘Showing of the Haul’ is needed every evening!