This past month, there have been a number of yarn stash acquisition(s). My stash has definitely grown quickly – especially this last week! My closet is going to hate me…. So, buckle up, because this is going to be a long post! (but there are plenty of fun pictures!)
A small amount isn’t my “fault”. Because you see, someone turned 50 at the beginning of July!
Isn’t that cake awesome?! A local bakery, Lylli & Ivi created it for me.
They did a great job creating what I wanted: a brightly colored, knitting-themed cake that had fondant accents (I wanted mostly buttercream frosting). I don’t know what happened to the knit fabric piece, but I do know that the yarn balls were cake balls – and even the needles were edible (and delicious!).
We had a party with lots of family and friends. While I said no gifts, there were a couple of people that didn’t follow that. One friend as my daughter what to get. She initially told her “nothing” but when pressed, she said her mom liked yarn 😄. She bought me three skeins of Red Heart in these bright, colorful variegated yarns.
Papa stole half a skein of the Parrot Stripe because he felt it would make a perfect God’s Eye.
Did you ever make one as a kid with twigs or popsicle sticks? Ours is a giant version! We’re not sure where we’ll put it yet, but we have a few ideas. It certainly is bright and stands out! (Does this even count as yarn stash acquisition if my hubby uses it?!)
Shave ‘Em to Save ‘Em initiative
Actually, this post was already getting so long, I decided to save my description of what Shave ‘Em to Save ‘Em is all about for a future date. Stay tuned to find out what yarns I have picked out!
Driftless Loop Shop Hop
Now comes my BIG purchase … er, purchases!! Mom and I went on our annual shop hop – the Driftless Loop last week. 7 shops in 2 days. Minimum of 5 hours of driving, not including stops for lunch, other shopping and bathroom breaks. Next week, I’ll tell you a bit more about our trip along with some tips, but here is my haul:
I bought something at each of the seven stops – whether a shawl pin, some button/pins, but most was yarn. The items on top were gifts. The shops each offered a freebie if you were the first 50 in the door. Since we split our travel into the two days, we got a gift at each place!!
Just Stitch It
We started at Just Stitch It (Caledonia, WI). It’s a small little shop out in the country and doesn’t carry much yarn, but amazingly enough there seems to be plenty I can find to purchase. They also carry lots of tools – and a wide selection of fabric! So from here, I snagged a skein of Abacus Dyeworks (a local Winona, MN dyer!), Authentic Sock yarn in the fun colorway Child’s Play. I found some sale fabric with bright feathers that I want to turn into pillowcases. Our freebie this year from them was the container of colorful stitch markers. They also had a stack of books/magazines that they were giving away – so I got the Nicky Epstein book for free! Mom also bought a skein of yarn and some fabric.
Blue Heron Knittery
Next was a drive down the into our third state for the day to visit Blue Heron Knittery (Decorah, IA). By contrast to the last shop, this one is much bigger and is jam-packed with yarns! They have a wonderful selection to cover an array of projects: from less expensive blended yarns to the more expensive independent dyers/spinners.
Their free gift was a printed fabric bag (Mom checked – they sell these for $8!), a set of Knitter’s Pride double-point needles, a small ball of fingering weight yarn and a mini sock pattern. I fell in love with the colors of the ONline 426 Cotton Smooth Yarn (color: 103) so I bought 3 skeins to make a shawl. It’s 100% cotton so it will be a lightweight shawl – wonderful for summertime. Mom bought a couple of shawl pins, but I think she also bought some yarn too!
Next, we had a loooong drive back through Iowa to the Lansing bridge where we crossed over back into Wisconsin. We had started right away at 9am in Caledonia but it was after noon when we reached Viroqua (this leg of the journey took well over an hour). We stopped and ate a picnic lunch at a local park before continuing with our shopping at Ewetopia. Ewetopia is a large, bright, spacious place that offers a wide variety of yarny options. They also have some “support” materials like children’s potholder looms and leather soles for slippers. I think they have a kid’s play area in the corner, but I was too busy shopping to pay attention.
This shop is where I started to get into trouble in my yarn stash acquisition! I love supporting local businesses, and Ewetopia isn’t just a shop – they also have their own fiber mill and produce some of their own yarn. So it was hard not to leave with some of their yarn. It doesn’t show up very well in the picture but the two skeins complement each other really well. They are Ewetopia Pashm (DK) in the colorways Aster Blooms (left) and Black Magic. The little skein is a mill end that just looked fun. Their freebie was a needle gauge and a delicious nut sweet, along with a free pattern (they had a few to choose from). Truthfully, I have no idea what Mom bought. I know she got a mill-end as well, but I’m not sure what else.
We also made a side-stop as we were headed to the next location. Westby, Wisconsin as a wonderful local creamery where they make the most delicious cheese curds. They are made fresh daily – and I love that they come in natural (white-ish) coloring, as to me they taste better. If you’ve never tried fresh cheese curds, it’s worth seeking out. Bring them to room temperature and they will “squeak” in your mouth as you eat them!
YarnCakes in West Salem, WI was a new stop on the hop this year. It’s a small building with several rooms that are filled to capacity with fun yarns, books, tools, etc. One word of caution: they have a cat in the shop, so if you are allergic, it’s something to consider.
It felt like we were on a roll by the time we got here. Instead of all those choices making it harder to pick, my decision making skills were getting lightning fast 🙂 (well, at least fast compared to usual). I found this speckled skein of Berroco Pixel (DK superwash) in color 2259, that I thought would make a wonderful hat. Their freebie was a Bluebird of Happiness mini kit that I haven’t had much time to investigate.
Not everything we purchased was a yarn stash acquisition… Mom and I both fell in love with these adorable knit gauge earrings – so we both had to buy a pair. They just happened to match my shirt perfectly the next day when I took photos! The earrings come from Oink Pigments if you aren’t in the West Salem area. What did Mom buy here? Other than the earrings, again I don’t know… I guess I started to lose track of what we all purchased!!
Fitting Knit Shop
Our last two stops for Friday afternoon were both in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Fitting Knit Shop is right on Main Street in the heart of downtown. This is another small shop, but they seem to have upgraded their choices of yarns from last year. I was having a tough time choosing between a couple different yarns so in the end, I just purchased this shawl pin. Their freebie was a stitch marker. This time I do know what Mom bought. She also got a shawl pin along with three skeins of a bright lime green cotton yarn. It was one of the yarns I was considering. When my wallet has recovered, I may have to go back…
Unwound Artisan Yarn Shop
I’ve talked about Unwound multiple times before (here and here on ASimpleHomestead and Dye Monkey’s latest visit). They are another small shop, just a couple blocks from Main St. What I love about Unwound is that they focus in on Indie dyers and small businesses! (2021 update: Sadly, Unwound Artisan Yarn Shop was unable to survive the pandemic and had to close their doors)
Their freebie (which we actually went back for on Saturday morning) was some cedar chips and a small bag to help keep your woolen projects smelling fresh, a small stitch marker, and a Drifltess UN (unwound) button. I also had to pick up another button – “I Crochet Past My Bedtime”. Not pictured: when I went back on Sat, I bought my daughter an embroidered pizza pin and made her a fabric hoop where she can display her pins (and not lose them!)
The bright blue skein of yarn was dyed by Kait’s (the owner) husband. The yarn is Hixon Sock in the colorway Big Blue Bridge, both names paying homage to local places. The speckled light blue yarn is from Four Boys Fiber in the Sparkle base, colorway Mist. I have yet another set of BLUE skeins that are matched up perfectly to become a shawl. (Blue is the predominant color in my stash closet!)
And finally … we save the best for last (at least in my opinion). We took our time last Saturday to get to yarnology (Winona, MN). We first stopped to pick up some fresh berries: strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries; all were at a local pick-your-own place (but we bought pre-picked).
yarnology’s freebies included a Blue Sky Fibers canvas bag, a small crochet hook (I can’t remember the size), some fun amigurumi patterns and a wool dryer ball. They said they were being sneaky by giving us just one so we’d want to purchase others, but we already have 3 others at home (and love them!).
I managed to restrain myself this year and only buy one yarn … but then I bought three skeins! These were in yarnology’s “Underground” – a room in their basement where they put last chance / clearance items. The yarn is Mrs. Crosby Pocket Book in the hummingbird colorway. They had five skeins left – and we bought all five.
Mom and I both fell in love with the color so my plan is to design a knit DK-weight shawl. She’ll make hers with her two skeins and I think I should have enough to make 2 shawls with the 3 skeins I have – one for me and one for my sister. Then we’ll have matching shawls! Does it count as a yarn stash acquisition if I use it right away?! (Nope, I don’t think so….)
You made it to the end of the yarn stash acquisition list!! Congratulations. You deserve some chocolate. Or maybe some knitting / crocheting – related purchases of your own 🙂
Or feel free to let me know – have you ever done a shop hop? Do you have any recent fiber purchase you want to brag about? I’d love to hear about them!!