Greetings, Wonderland friends!

We hope you’ll forgive our radio silence for the last several months post-TNNA. We’ve been deep down in the Rabbit Hole of creating and expanding, with some exciting new products and events in the works!

Streamlining and uniformly branding our media outreach has also been part of why things have been a bit quiet, as we redesign the blog, our newsletters, and soon our website. We are quite active on Facebook and Instagram in the meantime, however, where we post about projects, tips, wips, contests and more nearly-daily.

To begin to play a bit of catch-up, and in the spirit of WIP Wednesday, one of our summer releases was the Which Way shawl, born from our Mad Hatter sport Combo Pack (one 4-oz skein plus one Mini Skein Pack), and we love to see everyone’s shawls turning up on Ravelry. Here is a selection of some of our favorites:


Clockwise from top left: Which Way shawls by Ravelry users @Darthknitter, @cbass, @KnittingWizard, @Wiartonknits, @myasisdragon, and @redrhonda.

I’ve started too many projects and still have my own Which Way on the needles!

What are you working on this week?

-shannon (Team Frabjous)




Back on track – Virtual Road Trip 8th Stop: The Woolery!

Road Trip Day 8-page-001

Oh my, we’ve been off our road trip track for a while! We’ll hop back on in KY this week, visiting our friends at The Woolery. You can find them online or at 315 St. Clair in Frankfort, KY.

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FF&WY: Why/when/how did your shop come to be?

TW: The Woolery was established in upstate NY in 1981, selling sheep and angora rabbits as well as spinning and weaving supplies; we relocated to North Carolina briefly, and found our eventual (final) home here in the beautiful Bluegrass State of Kentucky!


FF&WY: What makes your shop unique?

TW: Our customer service team definitely sets us apart from a lot of retailers. We have customers who know our staff on a first name basis, and even ask for them by name on the phone with specific questions. It is not uncommon for a staff member to receive thank you cards or gifts from appreciative customers year-round! We also have a wonderful, large showroom, with dozens of wheels and looms set up for customers to ‘try before they buy’ or learn to troubleshoot on. We get a lot of random requests and queries, as well: one gentleman in Scotland, an archaeologist, needed a historically accurate spindle to display with some beautiful medieval spindle whorls he had uncovered, and came to us for help finding one.

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FF&WY: What do you love about your town? If an out of town guest came to visit, where would you take them?

TW: Frankfort is a delightful place to visit! Buffalo Trace Distillery is right here, just a mile or so away, and is a premiere destination for very fine bourbon, as well as boasting beautiful grounds and offering hourly free distillery tours. We also have both the new and old state capitol buildings (some would say our capitol building is the prettiest in the country), the Kentucky History Center, Rebecca Ruth Candy Factory (try the bourbon balls), and the Kentucky River which flows right through the middle of our downtown! Frankfort Cemetery hosts numerous Kentucky governors in respite, as well as famed explorer Daniel Boone, and has a breathtaking overlook of the river valley. It’s a truly beautiful, historic little town.

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FF&WY: Fiber Emergency!

TW: We got a frantic call late one afternoon from a production studio that needed flax tow shipped overnight to Canada for a new movie being filmed.  We had it in stock, and arranged for the international, overnight delivery.  Several months later, Academy Award winning The Revenant was released in theaters…with our flax tow used as a prop! We sent two spinning wheels once to a penguin rescue reserve in the Falkland Islands, to be used at the B&B for demonstrations on how to spin the famous Falkland sheep wool!

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FF&WY: What is your favorite yarn brand?

TW: Our Bluegrass Mills 6/2 cotton comes in so many great, rich colors and is such a versatile fiber, I’d say that’s the latest addiction. It weaves beautifully!

 Many thanks to the kind folks at The Woolery for spending some time with us today. Please join us next week when we stop at Nomad Yarns in Plainfield, IN!


A Rainbow-licious Giveaway!

We interrupt our virtual shop-hop to get prepped for TNNA 2016, AAAAANNND…to introduce you to a new item for Mini Skein lovers. We’re so excited about it, we want to give one away!


To enter the giveaway for our new 20-Skein pack, So Fond of Rainbows, please visit our Facebook page for official entry (click on the “Giveaway” tab if you don’t see the post) after you comment here!

In about a month, we’ll be hosting a design contest with this pack, and there are big prizes to be had! $300 gift certificates for winning patterns, as well as publication in a rainbow-centric pattern e-book for fall. Stay tuned for details!

Dashing in to Yarn It & Haberdashery!

Road Trip Day 7

Today we find ourselves in Columbus, at Yarn It & Haberdashery, a community resource for yarn and fiber lovers located at 1093 W. 1st Avenue in Grandview Heights, OH. Welcome!


FF&WY: Why/when/how did your shop come to be?

YI&D: I’ve always been into knitting and crochet since I was 8 and even focused on knitwear when I did fashion design at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The big turning point for actually opening a store was after many years of working the craft circuit with my own handmade goods and going onto TLC’s Craft Wars hosted by Tori Spelling. You had to have some big catch for what you would do with the $10k prize money. Mine was to open a store. Although I didn’t win my episode I kept the dream alive and I did open my dream store several years later with the full support of my husband.  I did a podcast with Tara Swiger about it here:

FF&WY: What makes your shop unique?

YI&D: I like to think we are finely curated because we pay attention to what is around us and what is missing. We seek out brands and colors that other stores aren’t carrying in our area to bring a fresh breath of air to our local market. We are huge suckers for color so we are known for being a color store and getting people to think outside of the box. We don’t have all your typical classes either like some other stores. We encourage our beginners class to dive right into a project. We also let the teachers decide what to teach because if they’re passionate about their class or project it shows when they do their classes and makes for a happier environment. We have open knitting all the time and don’t have restrictions on using our store yarn or winding yarn not bought from us. We figure why close out a possible connection? We are also confident that once you come in you’ll find it very hard to leave without picking up something new.


FF&WY: If a visitor came from out of town, which places near you would you suggest that they visit?

YI&D: In Columbus, we have such a great mix of everything: art, music, indie scene, FOOD. We love our food here and have tons of great restaurants and food trucks. We have a cute shopping boutique area of all small businesses and art galleries called the Short North. Just down the street from our store we have a plethora of great restaurants ranging from pizza to fine dining, Mediterranean, Indian and Italian and traditional Chinese soup dumplings. Of course, they have to get our locally roasted coffee next door at Luck Bros Coffee. Where we are located is the perfect little retreat for a day, since you can get food, fiber and coffee with a place to sit and enjoy.


FF&WY: Do you have regular social meet-ups, like a knit night or KALs?

YI&D:  We have several social events every month. We have our regulars that come in to sit and knit on Mondays and Thursdays. Sundays are a great random sit and knit day since most of the other yarn stores in the area are closed Sundays. The last Thursday of every month we run a UFO (Unfinished Objects) Club where we play a little lottery for all the people that finished their project that month. At the beginning of each quarter we pick 4 UFOs, write them down and laminate the paper and each month we do a different one. Everyone puts a $1 into the pot whether they finished it or not and the lottery winner gets the pot that month.


FF&WY: What’s your best “Yarn Emergency” story?

YI&D: I can’t think of any specific one but we have a lot of conferences that come through here and multiple times we’ve had ladies take Uber down to us to pick up a new project because they forgot their knitting at home.

FF&WY: What are the most popular patterns/yarn bases/colors among your customers right now?

YI&D: Stephen West is always hot in our store because we cater to the “neon realness” that he boosts.  Fingering and sport have been our most popular weights and pretty much anything rainbow or neon gets snatched up pretty quickly.

FF&WY: What is your favorite yarn brand (yes, this is a trick question)? 🙂
YI&D: It’s so hard to choose but Wonderland is definitely in our Top 3 brands that customers just can’t wait to get. The Pack of the Month almost always sells out the same week we get them in!
FF&WY: Also, we love hilarious, heartbreaking or hilarious AND heartbreaking knitting stories. Entertain us!
YI&D: I think the most heartwarming thing is that we have truly built up a community in our store. People who never knew each other before are now hanging out here and making plans outside of the store. When someone is going through a rough patch (cancer, divorce, loss of job) we all pitch in together to help them feel better whether it is helping to buy them some yarn for a new project, bringing meals to them, or just a warm hug before they leave for the night. Its much more than just a store or business, for some of our customers it is a sanctuary to get a little relief and happiness at the end of a hard month, week, or day.
Well, you know what to do now when you’re in Columbus. Thanks so much Yarn It & Haberdashery!

In Case of Yarn Emergency, call Fiberworks!


Bye-bye, PA, and hello OH! Pin #6 has dropped into the Dayton area at 1350A North Fairfield Road in Beavercreek, where you’ll find Fiberworks!

FF&WY: Why/when/how did your shop come to be?

FW: You may be sorry you asked! My current shop took a long time coming to be. I had planned to spend my life teaching French in a small college somewhere, but a 3-day workshop in spinning and natural dyeing led me down a different path. When we moved to Albuquerque the following year, I connected with Las Arañas Spinners and Weavers, and I joined a cooperative of painters, potters, silversmiths, and weavers who operated a shop in Santa Fé. After finding that my handspun yarns were a big success, I helped form Textile Crafts Cooperative, a shop in Albuquerque’s Old Town. When we moved to Omaha, it seemed natural to find a group of fiber artists, stained glass artists, painters, potters, and woodworkers and open Twenty Talents Gallery to sell our work. I also had a home studio where I was spinning, teaching, and selling spinning wheels, fibers, and related books and equipment.

When we moved to the Dayton area five years later, we purposely bought a house that had a large room with direct access from the outside that could serve as a studio/shop. I continued selling my handspun yarn at arts festivals and to knitting shops around the country, and began to carry more brands of carding and spinning equipment, dyes, and wooden knitting needles and crochet hooks. It was wonderful to be able to be home with my children when they were young, but I began daydreaming about having a “real store”.

One Sunday when I was 59, in an adult ed. session, I heard a psychologist speak about “following your dreams”. On my way home, I passed a storefront with a “FOR RENT” sign in the window, stopped, wrote down the phone number, and called the next day. When I discovered that I could afford the rent and no lease was required, I was in seventh heaven. I figured I would turn 60 whether I took a chance or not.

It was fun to create a cozy space where knitters could congregate and enjoy “kindred spirits”, especially on Tuesday and Sunday afternoons and Thursday nights for Knit ‘N’ Knibble. It quickly became obvious that stocking only my handspun yarns in addition to spinning supplies was not feasible, so I began meeting with yarn reps and succumbing to the charms of gorgeous yarns.

After 4 years at that location when we couldn’t possibly have stuffed in another skein of yarn, the city decided to widen the street in front of the shop, taking away our entire parking lot. Our new location, at the crossroads of the two major streets in Beavercreek, is twice the size (but four times the rent) and required a two-year lease (which was beyond scary). Now, almost seven years later, we have expanded into the shop next door, which we have devoted primarily to spinning, dyeing, and felting supplies. Our main room is brimming with yarns from Araucania, Cascade, Crystal Palace, Debbie Bliss, Ella Rae, Hi-Koo, Jojoland, Juniper Moon Farm, Louisa Harding, Madelinetosh, Malabrigo, Misti, Noro, Opal, Queensland, Schoppel Wolle, Sirdar, Universal, and Wonderland, as well as notions, books, patterns, and needles galore. We’ve recently added several styles of Fair Trade African Market Baskets-perfect for transporting every size project.


FF&WY: What makes your shop unique?

FW: We are open 7 days a week and try to provide a comfortable home away from home with a wide variety of everything a knitter, crocheter, spinner, or felter could want. Deb K., who is here every weekday, provides expert help with every aspect of knitting and crochet, and has a soft spot in her heart for the well-behaved pets who sometimes visit our shop. Her fingers are never still, and she knits most of the shop models. Arlene loves to addict willing victims to spinning, using a variety of spindles and wheels, aided by the lure of luscious hand-dyed fibers (from Frabjous Fibers, of course).

FF&WY: What do you love about your town?

FW: Being close to I-75 and I-70, we receive many visitors travelling both north-south and east-west. Many stop here in the Dayton area to visit sites important to aviation history. Some come because it is the home of Esther Price candy.  Our shop is located between two large malls, the Mall at Fairfield Commons, and the Greene, both with many upscale stores and boutiques, and many dining options. One of the best things about the Greater Dayton area is its support of fibers. If you visit the websites of the Dayton Knitting Guild, the Miami Valley Knitting Guild, the Greater Dayton Crochet Guild, and the Weavers Guild of Miami Valley, you will find meetings, workshops, meet-ups, and knit-ins almost every day of the week. There are no fewer than seven yarn shops in the area, and all are thriving. If you come on the third weekend in September, you can add to your stash at A Wool Gathering, a large (but still manageable) fiber festival north of Yellow Springs.

FF&WY: Do you have regular social meet-ups, like a knit night or KALs?

FW: We have “Knit Knite” on the 4th Friday of the month (or a week earlier, if too close to a holiday) with a pot luck dinner starting around 6:30, and lasting until the last person leaves. A “Lunch Bunch” come regularly on Thursdays to knit, chat, and order lunch. Sunday afternoons are also a popular time for knitters to gather here.


FF&WY: What’s your best “Yarn Emergency” story?

FW: Since I know what it’s like to have broken a needle or run out of yarn when the LYS is closed, I have my cell phone number listed on the front door under “In Case of Yarn Emergency,” and it’s on the answering machine’s message as well. I live only 7 minutes from the shop, and am happy to help out in emergencies. One year during the first week in January when we close to count everything in the shop, I got a call from a woman who was traveling through the area, had run out of yarn for a shawl she was knitting, and saw on the yarn company’s website that we carried that yarn. She was almost in tears when she arrived and discovered that we were closed for inventory, but ecstatic when I opened the door and she found that we even had the same dye lot.

And THIS (omg, Arlene just sent me this message to add to best-ever yarn emergency, and it’s pretty good): We just had an “interesting” yarn emergency. My son and I were at the shop tonight after closing at 5 to try to organize and price a large shipment of needles seemingly packed by gorillas, when we received an urgent phone call to see if we were open. I said ” come on down” since we would be there for quite a while longer. It turned out to be a very pregnant customer who was already three centimeters dilated and wanted to finish a beautiful shawl. With only five rows to go, she had run out of Malabrigo sock yarn. Needless to say, I wound that skein into a ball in record time!

FF&WY: What are the most popular patterns/yarn bases/colors among your customers right now?

FW: The Eyelet Shawl pattern has been very popular in the Cheshire Cat mini-skeins and the Eyelet Cowl pattern in March Hare. We all know that the most popular colors are the ones used in the model garments. 😀

FF&WY: What is your favorite yarn brand?

FW: That would be like having to name my favorite child! My favorite brand is always one that uses high-quality natural fibers and has a marvelously “squishy” feel. (That sounds suspiciously like Wonderland Yarn, doesn’t it?)


FF&WY: We love hilarious, heartbreaking or hilarious AND heartbreaking knitting stories. Entertain us!

FW: Sorry, this knitting story is only heartbreaking…..One of our customers went to a great deal of effort and expense to knit a beautiful afghan for her brother and sister-in-law. When she went to visit, she was somewhat upset not to see it in the living room or family room. The real blow came when she found that it was being used as their dog’s bed!!

Wow, thank you so much Arlene! So far, your yarn emergency stories take the cake. And readers, you all know what to do when you’re in the Dayton area: visit Fiberworks!

Next week, we’ll be visiting Yarn It and Haberdashery in Grandview Heights. Hope to see you there!

new releases and a *giveaway!*

As we gear up for TNNA 2016, we’re rolling out the new additions to our collections a little bit at a time, each week as we chug along towards the big weekend of June 11 – 13. This year’s event is in Washington DC, and we are incredibly excited about showing our fresh colorways and bases in a new venue. There will be some surprises at the show, for sure, but we’re making most of our 2016 collection available in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!

This week’s new release is a Mini Skein Pack for our Color Morph collection. Allow us to introduce #39 The Walrus & the Carpenter!


We love this pack, morphing from a rich, butterscotch brown to deep, forest green. We also love YOU, and don’t you think it’s about time we have a giveaway?

Click on this link to enter to win the above colorway in your choice of yarn weight!

Good luck!

“Do you carry yarn, or just this stuff?”


nstitches-square-96aNatural Stitches is where our fifth pin has dropped at 6401 Penn Ave. in Pittsburgh, PA! We thank them so much for sharing in our virtual LYS road trip. 🙂

FF&WY: Why/when/how did your shop come to be?

NS: Our shop opened in November of 2007, after seeing a need in the Pittsburgh area for a full-service yarn store.

FF&WY: What makes your shop unique?

NS: Natural Stitches is unique because of the amazing team of knitters, crocheters and spinners who work here!  We have a thoughtful and fun staff who truly enjoy helping customers — whether it’s finding the perfect yarn for their project or learning a new technique.


FF&WY: What do you love about your town? If a visitor came from out of town, which places near you would you suggest that they visit?

NS: What’s NOT to love about Pittsburgh?  We have fantastic museums, great sports teams, an amusement park, a beautiful zoo, the National Aviary, and more bridges than any other city in the world.  (Really!  Look it up!

FF&WY: Do you have regular social meet-ups, like a knit night or KALs? Does someone bring the best cookies ever and want to share their recipe?

NS: We have knit nights on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday evenings, but we always say that anytime the doors are open, we love to have visitors!  This year, we are having a series of knit-alongs called our Shawl Adventure, where each shawl that we knit will teach a new skill.  And manager Yvonne makes killer brownies but refuses to give out her recipe.  😉

FF&WY: What’s your best “Yarn Emergency” story?

Recently we had a customer who had dropped some stitches come to the shop. Her mom (who resides in California) had taught her to knit over the holiday break.  Customer called mom and said “I’ve made a mistake, help.”  Mom said “Find a yarn store, walk in and beg for forgiveness.”


FF&WY: What are the most popular patterns/yarn bases/colors among your customers right now?

NS: Currently, the First Point of Libra shawl from Laura Aylor is one of our most popular patterns. Not only do we have a knit-along centered around this shawl, but it makes use of the ever-popular gradient kits from Frabjous!  I think since we announced the KAL I’ve had to reorder twice, and our normally well-stocked shelves are still a little bare, because we sell at least a kit a day for this!

FF&WY: What is your favorite yarn brand (yes, this is a trick question)? 🙂

NS: Well, just since you’re asking, we’d have to say Frabjous Fibers.  Of course we carry yarns from the big boys (Cascade, Berroco, Rowan, Universal) but our small hand-dyers and independent companies like Frabjous, Yarn Hollow, Baah and Reywa are very near and dear to our hearts. 

FF&WY: Also, we love hilarious, heartbreaking or hilarious AND heartbreaking knitting stories. Entertain us!

NS:. One of the funniest stories involves someone whose bamboo needles got too close to the flame when she was cooking dinner. Our customer came in, head hung in shame, with a burned needle tip. A load of laughter followed when she told the story. We are also often asked if we sell odd items such as: “Mexican Things” (we have no idea what kind of “things”), Mason jars, puppies (no, we’re not kidding), diamonds, and our favorite was “Do you carry yarn, or just this stuff?”

HA! Well, we’re pretty sure Natural Stitches has plenty of yarn, so if you’re in Pittsburgh, check them out and get your knit on!



Set Your GPS to 39 East Main Street!


Pin #4 drops on Ewebiquitous in Lititz, PA!

From Anne,

Ewebiquitous is a cute, little fiber arts shop located on Main Street in historic Lititz, PA–a town that was voted “Coolest Small Town In America” in 2013.  Here are a few of the many reasons that you just HAVE to come to Lititz and visit us at Ewebiquitous……

FF&WY: Why/when/how did your shop come to be?

EWE: Creating, planning, organizing, starting, and running not just a yarn shop, but a fiber arts shop, has been a goal of mine starting in my 40s as something that I wanted to do sometime in my 50s.  The only thing that I didn’t know was that God saw it fit for me to open my doors for business not even one month after I turned 50!  It was all about being in the right place at the right time for the doors of opportunity to open for me!

The credit for the name, “Ewebiquitous” goes out to my college friend, Paul, who studied with me at Drexel University in Philadelphia.  Paul always prided himself on using big words; this is probably why he is a successful neurosurgeon today!  Ha!  Well, he used the word ubiquitous back in 1987 and it always stuck with me.  Well, being one that loves to have a play on words, I opted to alter the spelling a bit and, as a result, Ewebiquitous was born!


FF&WY: What makes your shop unique?

EWE: Ewebiquitous is a very new shop and just celebrated its 16-month birthday.  We not only offer a wide variety of yarns for knitting and crocheting, but we also carry wool yardage and materials for rug hooking, needle punch supplies, perle cotton threads, needles and hoops, rug braiding supplies, and a plethora of notions, needles, and gifts.  And, oh, did I mention that we carry a host of little felted pouches from a certain company located in Vermont?

The other aspect of Ewebiquitous that we pride ourselves on is the promotion of the creative works and talents of artisans from 11 different states and Prince Edward Island.  We promote a number of artisans that are local residents of Lititz, in addition to the surrounding area.  Every Second Friday of the month, we feature a different artisan and promote their talent and have them in the shop for a live demonstration with the hopes of not only promoting an interest in that artisan’s work but also an interest in perpetuating that specific craft.


FF&WY: What do you love about Lititz?

Geez, where do I begin???  Let me start by saying that my first visit to Lititz was as a college student back in 1985 with my future father-in-law.  He knew Lititz and the surrounding rolling acres of farmland located in Lancaster County like the back of his hand.  I remember strolling down Main Street for the very first time and totally being taken aback by the quaintness of the town, how clean it was, how everyone was so pleasant, church bells ringing from every corner, and the ducks coming out of the stream to be fed like they were on cue!  And then there is the chocolate….. oh, the heavenly chocolate that Wilbur’s Chocolate Factory creates.  Hershey may have their Kisses, but let me tell you that the Wilbur Bud, whether it be milk or dark, has it all over the little Kiss!  Wilbur’s has been a staple to Lititz and has put us on the map for 113 years!  And, by the way as a consumer note, when you visit the factory to sample your first buds and can’t decide how many bags to buy, it is cheaper to buy a 5 lb. box!

Of course, what is the next best thing to chocolate you ask?  Why, pretzels of course!  And if you are smart enough to come to Lititz, then you have to visit Sturgis Pretzels, the first commercial pretzel factory in America, dating back to 1861.  Here, you not only learn their history, but you get to make your own pretzel as well!  And no trip is complete until you stop by their store and indulge in some pretzels, especially the chocolate caramel covered ones!  Just saying….


And then there is our local pub, The Bull’s Head Public House, was recently honored as the Best Beer Bar in Pennsylvania.  I mention them, Wilbur’s and Sturgis Pretzels since they are from as few as a 100 steps (The Bull’s Head)–OK, if you take big steps it is even closer–to right around the corner or right down the street for the other two!  But, in all seriousness, I have tried to highlight what we are known for.  What you might not see listed in the travel brochures is the generosity and kindness of the people that call Lititz home.  I say this because, as I noted in the beginning, my goal for my 50s was to open a fiber shop in Lititz.  What I didn’t mention was that my goal for my 40s was to purchase a home in this beautiful little town.  I did accomplish that, however, I don’t actually live there.  I am a full-time resident of New Jersey and I make the 82 mile junket each and every weekend to run my shop.  Who would do this unless the location of their shop was in Utopia?

  In the 31 years since my first visit to Lititz I knew that this was a place that I wanted to call home one day.  It was the place that I wanted to take my method of relaxing and turn it into a business.  I have a long way to go, but I have been truly blessed with everyone and everything that has crossed my path since I started on this journey.  My creative and entrusted employees:  Jeannot, the knowledgable and ever so polite and courteous one; Kate, my friendly Southern Belle who is just so good at everything; Rhianna, the bagpipe playing knitter and artisan; and Io, the master at knitting and crocheting, especially socks!  These ladies are the backbone of Ewebiquitous.  They are the “Me” when I am not there since I work a full time job.  These ladies bring their talents with them everyday and promote the upbeat aura that I want relayed to my customers.  We have strived to create a visually stimulating atmosphere for the customers to enjoy.  My goal is for you to want to come back, not only because of our merchandise and classes offered or that we strive to know “Who” you are when you grace our door, but more importantly, that we are a small company and that we are constantly on the hunt to bring you the handworks of artisans from all over the country.  My goal is to not be like every other yarn store and so far it’s working!
Jeannot, Kate, and Io

EWE: I have a passion for Lititz and for how it and its people that I have been blessed to meet have changed my life for the better.  I promise that if you get your map out and project 40.1573169 Latitude and -76.3069014 Longtitude that you won’t be disappointed, other than to wonder why you didn’t experience the charms of this town previously.  So, here’s hoping that you grace our door one day!

Oh, Anne, thank you so much for sharing the story of Ewebiquitous with us! We hope to visit in real life very soon, as we’re sure some of our readers will!
Next stop: Natural Stitches in Pittsburgh, PA!

Pulling in at Main Street Yarn!

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Today, we’ve landed in Rebersburg, PA, at Main Street Yarn, located at 121 E Main St.


FF & WY: Why/when/how did your shop come to be?

MSY: Main Street Yarn will be celebrating its 3rd anniversary on April 11. We are partnered with my husband’s shop, Forefathers Books Shop, in a former brick bank building in Rebersburg, PA, which is a very small town in Centre County — definitely a destination stop. Keith and I have kept the integrity of the building from the high pressed tin ceiling and gorgeous bank vault in the book shop area to the crash bar bank door which is the entry from the parking lot to Main Street Yarn. We looked for several years for an appropriate location that would be large enough for both shops and sturdy enough to hold over 30,000 hardback books. We work together in the business, although Keith is there much more than I, because I continue to work fulltime for U.S. Senator Bob Casey in a regional office in Bellefonte, PA. Keith or one of his staff handles yarn shop business when I am not available. Over the years there have been a few texts or quick telephone calls to clarify something. Fortunately, I have very understanding customers.
I learned to knit at age 4 and stopped at age 6! I picked it up again in college in the early ’70s but moved to counted cross stitch for 20 years. During a break in University employment I went to work in a local yarn shop and loved it. I learned so much — including how to knit socks, which are my knitting passion. I haven’t stopped knitting and the rest, as they say, is history.
Kim and Charlie
FF&WY: What makes your shop unique?
MSY: My portion of the building was renovated with white walls and natural ceiling lighting to show off the colors of the yarn. I try to keep the atmosphere homey from the electric fireplace to coffee and snacks which are always available on Saturdays. I am an avid fan of hand-dyed yarns and I estimate at least 60% of my inventory is hand-dyed fingering weight yarns with a bit of DK and Worsted tossed in for variety. Some of my customers favorite dyers are Frabjous Fibers and Wonderland Yarns (mini skein sets are growing in popularity); KnitMona; Unplanned Peacock; Meadowcroft; Nooch Fibers; and Wandering Wool. The latter was the first hand-dyed in the shop and it will always be a staple (along with Wonderland Yarns, of course!)
Getting known is difficult in a rural area, so I started setting up at local/regional fiber shows. I love meeting new people, “selling” my yarns, and building a customer base. Each is a different venue and often different people, but I’ve never had a bad time at a fiber show! My newsletter is  gaining readership as is the Facebook page. If someone wants to sign up for the newsletter go to the website and register. Also, for those who are on the internet but do not have a personal Facebook page, my shop page scrolls in the middle of the website, so you can keep up with the latest.
This year I hope to do 5 shows and the first is tomorrow — For The Love of Fiber in Bellefonte, PA. It is hosted by the Centre County Knitting Guild and is a very nice event. I have some new items for shoppers and lots of mini-skein sets. I will be displaying WIP samples to provide ideas and insight into how to work with a mini-skein set. I recently wrote a post on my blog Sock-Crazy and several shops have shared it.
I will again be doing a Knit in Public event this summer and hope to see growth from last year. We have lots of fun and as always, there are door prizes.
FF&WY: Do you have regular social meet-ups, like a knit night or KALs?
MSY: The Penns Valley Area Knitters, a group I formed 10 years ago, meets in the shop two Saturdays a month. It is a very casual group and not a dues collecting organization. We share projects, offer help to each other, and snack. I always make sure there are goodies for everyone. They can range from cookies and punch in warmer weather to dip and crackers along with soup in the winter. I have my first KAL planned but can’t reveal quite yet (however it does involve yarn from your company!) We strongly believe in charity knitting and annually donate at least 100 hats, scarfs, mitts, mittens, lap robes, etc. to the local community outreach center. They are distributed with the Christmas food baskets and are so appreciate. It warms our hearts knowing we are helping others ward off cold temperatures.
FF&WY: What are the most popular patterns/yarn bases/colors among your customers right now?
MSY: The majority of my customers are sock and shawl knitters so fingering weight yarns are a large percentage of my inventory. Superwash merino with a nylon additive and great yardage makes them smile each time they look at a new indie dyer product. Many are also hat and cowl knitters and like more commercial yarns for those projects, although the multi-color worsted weight yarn I recently purchased from Frabjous Fibers and Wonderland Yarns is very popular.  I carry a nice selection of commercial yarns from Berroco, Plymouth and Universal yarn companies. These are good, solid basics which everyone needs at some point in their knitting.
I continue to knit shop models which help people with ideas. I have learned that creativity needs a little push sometimes and I am trying to help people with color combination and pattern choices.
FF&WY: What is your favorite yarn brand (yes, this is a trick question)? 🙂 
MSY: Personally, I’m hooked on your Mini Skein Packs in Cheshire Cat fingering. I also really like yarns from KnitMona and Wandering Wool.
Thank you so much, Kim!
Next stop, as we knit on down the road is: Natural Stitches in Pittsburg, PA.

Next Stop: SuzyB Knits!

We’ll be spending the next few Fridays in PA, where we’ve had a great response to our request for stories and photos from our retailers.

Road Trip Day 2 - Smicksburg, PA-page-001

Pin #3 on our map is SuzyB Knits at 52 Clarion St. in Smicksburg, PA. Thank you so much, Susan, for taking the time to share your story!


FF&WY: Why/when/how did your shop come to be?

SBK: Why SuzyB Knits: my grandmother and aunts always called me Suzy, even though my given name was Susan. Why the B? Well, my middle name begins with B, but, as many who have come to know me understand, I love a little “BLING” in everything so the “B” is truly for the “BLING!” And, the Knits, of course….it is “nuttin’ but knit” in my world.

The shop was born after the local yarn shop that I worked at closed. And, well, see, my husband and I had purchased this house across the street from that shop in 2004 so that I could have an easy commute to work. What a life: get up and walk across the street to the greatest job in a yarn shop! When my employment ended there the decision was made (with a lot of encouragement from my mom, Nancy) to continue doing what I love to do. “Everyone should be able to live their passion to its fullest.” So, with my mother’s encouragement, SuzyB Knits became a reality in 2007. Our beginning was quite humble: a tent in the yard during the towns’ festival weekends selling my handspun and hand dyed yarns and hand knit items, and teaching knitting on the front porch. But Nancy, my mom, believed in me and encouraged me to convert a room in the house into a shop so that I could be open regular hours. It became a reality that I could never have imagined without my mom’s encouragement. In November of 2009 we were in full swing and celebrated with the Smicksburg Christmas Open House. It was a huge success. This was truly a successful event because my mom was there to see the dream unfold and my business dreams take flight. Sadly, my mom passed away in December of 2009 of pancreatic cancer. She is a main part of my inspiration, and knowing that she was here to witness the launch of this dream carries me through every day.

FF&WY: What makes your shop unique?

SBK: SuzyB Knits began with my own handspun and hand dyed yarn, but I believe in supporting small cottage industries and companies that support a cause so I stock a variety of hand dyed yarns from various dye artists. My inventory is not the basic stock of yarn. As I said, I love bling., so you will find and abundance of sparkle, bling and novelty in my shop. What would life be without some sparkle to illuminate those dreary days? Oh, and I must not forget my all time favorite employee who greets everyone with a smile! (see below)


FF&WY: What do you love about your town? If a visitor came from out of town, which places near you would you suggest that they visit?

SBK: Smicksburg is a world apart and somewhat “off the grid,” so you won’t find a bar of cell phone service here. However, it makes for the perfect retreat to get away from the fast pace. It is an old order Amish community so if you are fascinated with the Amish, here is the place to see them as they were before they became caught up in modern living. We are a small town, but are truly blessed with two wonderful restaurants to dine at. There are two great pottery shops and a variety of other shops in town. It is quiet and a wonderful place to spend the day just knitting on the porch at SuzyB Knits.

FF&WY: Do you have regular social meet-ups, like a knit night or KALs? Does someone bring the best cookies ever and want to share their recipe?

SBK: We have a knit day which is 1 pm to 6pm+ on Saturdays or Sundays. It is determined by what day suits best for that given week. Newbies are always welcome, but it is advised to call in advance to be sure of which day. We occasionally do a pot luck. Even though we are “off the grid,” we have managed to get pizza delivery which is always on the menu.


FF&WY: What are the most popular patterns/yarn bases/colors among your customers right now?

SBK: Right now everyone seems to be working on the “Rings Around Cowl” out of the Cheshire Cat fingering Mini Skein Packs.

FF&WY: What is your favorite yarn brand (yes, this is a trick question)? 🙂

SBK: I have developed a true love for Wonderland Yarns Unicorn and Cheshire Cat, but I am also kinda partial to Mango Moon, Be Sweet, and Dale Garn (since I’ve designed a few patterns for them), and I also love Mountain Colors and Great Adirondack. Oops, I can’t leave out SuzyB Knits handspun! 🙂

You can visit SuzyB Knits at 52 Clarion St. in Smicksburg, PA, or give a ring at 814-257-8326 to check in about the next knit night.

Again, thank you, Susan, for sharing your story with us. We’re sure your mother is proudly watching over you as you live your fiber dream!

Pin #4 will drop on Main Street Yarn in Rebersburg, PA!