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.

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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.
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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.
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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.
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Aaaaaaand…we’re off!

We start our road trip going north up 91 from Bratt.

The first stop on our cross-country-and-back-again journey is Must Love Yarn in Shelburne, VT!

Owners

Kelly, Angela, and Jennifer met at a knitting group that started five years ago, and generously took the time to share with us their story of how Must Love Yarn in Shelburne, VT came to be. Thanks so much, ladies!

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

MLY: A few years ago, two local yarn stores in our area went out of business and a number of us from our knitting group began talking about how we really needed a new yarn store in the area.  We talked about it off and on for quite some time, but finally we got very serious about it last year and things really started taking shape, and here we are!

FF&WY: What makes your shop unique?

MLY: Our shop is unique to many stores because we try to carry a lot of local and regional yarns, as well as small indie yarn companies.  We have products from as close as the next town south, Charlotte, as well as Colchester, West Dover, Monkton, Middlesex, St. Albans, Stowe, Brattleboro, Waitsfield and a few others!  We love supporting small, local companies and trying to help them grow their business as we grow ours.  We are in an area frequented by tourists and people traveling to the area for business, and they really enjoy being able to take a piece of Vermont home with them, in the form of yarn, or fiber arts related products.

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

MLY: The fiber arts community is so important to us, so besides holding classes and workshops we also have two social knit/fiber arts groups that meet weekly.  One group meets Wednesdays 5pm-7pm and the other is Sundays from 1pm-3pm.  There are a number of our customers who attend both groups, and some who can only come one day or the other.  There are knitters, crocheters and spinners of all different abilities who come together to share their stories and skills with one another, and one thing is certain, we always have a great time!

MLY Shop

I love this blurb on their About Us page, as it really sings to the beauty of shared passions bringing people together to create something bigger than themselves. We applaud your entrepreneurial spirit!

“Three women, all with very different lives, careers and stories, brought together by our love of knitting.  We had each thought about the logistics of opening a yarn store, but on our own couldn’t find the time and resources to make it a reality.  After a bit of talking, we realized that three heads were better than one, and that together, we could really make this work.  So after lots of planning we put things into motion and here we are!”

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Thanks again, Must Love Yarn, for being the 1st pin placed on our map! Okay, technically it’s #2, since #1 is our studio location in Brattleboro, VT. For those of you who want to visit Must Love Yarn, the store is located at 2538 Shelburne Rd., Suite 1, Shelburne, VT. You can also give them a buzz 802-448-3780, or even order online via their website, where you can find our Queen of Hearts MCN yarn, as well as our Cheshire Cat fingering Mini Skein Packs!

And thank you, readers, for joining us on this adventure. Happy knitting!

The “Perfect and Best” Road Trip

Greetings, Frabjous Friends!

We’re coming back into this blog space with adventure in our hearts! It’s not possible for us to really get on the road and travel through all 50 states (because, yes, we’ll include HI and AK, too!) to visit every one of our amazing retail partners, but we’ll follow this brilliant map as best we can, to bring you stories, photos, and projects from all over the country.

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Check out this itinerary for the perfect road trip, brought to you by Discovery News and a sophisticated algorithm to determine the best start-anywhere trip, complete with a list of the best landmarks to check out while you’re there.

Of course, we think the best landmarks are yarn shops! So, we’ll take the trip from home, featuring and interviewing our friends in each state as we go, starting right here in Vermont!

Stay tuned for our own detailed itinerary, with the shops we’ll be visiting along the way.

In the meantime, we have a limited edition colorway from now until June 30th, to celebrate the excitement of primary season. Get your needles into some Caucus-race today!

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Cruisin’

I can’t give you official numbers yet, but our Spinzilla team continues to impress the heck out of me. It’s pretty amazing how much these gals can spin. The overwhelming sentiment is that we’ve all grown as spinners with the consistent practice that this week pushes us to perform.

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I mean, just take a freaking look at that plying. Whew.

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Full, full bobbins of fine yarn. That’s what’s happening over here with the electric, too:

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Spinning while traveling has been fun, but also difficult to lug around…not because of the Firefly (although I should mention that it is rather heavy), but because of the bulk of all the fiber I’ve brought with me!

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Today’s challenge has been to find something we love about a color we typically don’t like or a fiber that we’ve been avoiding in our stash.

And tomorrow is Selfless Spinning Day! It’s all about giving tomorrow. Spin for someone you love!

On Sunday, we have an in-person meet-up at Handknits in Brattleboro from 12-4pm. Even if you aren’t on our Spinzilla team, you can still come and play, have snacks and spin with fiber friends!

Ready to rock…what are you spinning?

Spinzilla 2015 is ON!

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Stephanie and are starting with stash from Frabjous Fibers, of course. Ends and scraps and oddments. I’m hoping it pushes me past my self-imposed color boundaries and comfort zones. I’m not really into brights, but here’s my pile:

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Our team members have also started posting photos of fibers ready to roll. This is Amy’s gorgeously well-ordered Three Feet of Sheep in the limited Autumn Leaves colorway on BFL-Silk:

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And I love this peaceful scene of fiber in wait next to a beautiful wheel…

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And Haley even stayed up until after midnight so she could start counting yardage at 12:01. I have to admit I conked out just before I could start counting my own yardage. Oh, well! Cheers to you, Haley!

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Any other teams out there working on challenges during Spinzilla week?

Tomorrow, our challenge is to spin a new-to-us fiber type. Maybe some yak has been lurking about in the stash for a long time, just waiting until the perfect moment to try it out. That moment is now! Er…tomorrow, actually!

Happy spinning, everyone!

TNNA Wrap-Up, and…the Winner!

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So, maybe we needed a little recoup time.

Hi there!

Resurfacing, we find that we owe you a giveaway winner, some peeks at newly revealed product, photos from the show, and update on Tutorial Tuesdays!, and, um…probably other things I can’t remember right now.

Firstly, we went to Ohio! A colorful time was had. We reconnected with fabulous longtime customers and we met some lovely new folks, too. We shared an enormous selection of brand new colorways on our Wonderland Yarns bases, adorable new felt, and other forms of fiber joy.

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This is what we looked like either immediately before or after (I can’t even remember) the feeding frenzy that was the Sample It! event, which immediately followed our all-day booth set-up. Holy cow. You guys. That was craaaaaazy.

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We managed a tiny bit of playtime and wandering, found some BIG needles, and someone (*cough cough* Melody *cough*) might have turned me green with envy when she acquired one of these.

The most important thing to tell you is this: we’re filled with gratitude for everyone who came to visit our wonderland at the end of the row. We love you!

It was an exciting, exhausting whirlwind, but we’re glad to be home and back to the dyepots. We’ve got orders to fill!

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We released 11 new colorways in our Mini Skein Packs at the show, btw. I might be picking a favorite here.

Also, alllll the new yarn:

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The neutral need is satisfied! Huzzah!

I’m pretty sure, though, that what you really want to know is who takes the prize from our previous post, so here you go: it’s Jamie!

Jamie asked a question about how to separate your fiber for spinning equal amounts to ply. We’ll definitely be discussing this on Tutorial Tuesdays! If all goes well, we’ll be posting our first video on Tuesday, June 16th! Stay tuned!

Happy Friday!

One More Day!

We’ll keep the guessing game open for our fiber giveaway until tomorrow night (that’s Wednesday, March 18th!).

Oh, and since it’s proving to be difficult, we’ll put everyone’s name in the bucket for at least venturing a guess, with additional entries for correct guesses on the fiber types. Sound good? Now, head on over to comment on the Giveaway Post and we’ll announce a winner on Thursday!

In other news, there has been shawl progress:

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Are you working up a LightWaves shawl, too? Keep up with our intimate little KAL on Ravelry. I’m starting in on my Too Much Pepper waves today, after I peruse videos on the German short row technique.

Which short row technique do you like best?

A Knit-Along: won’t you join us?

Good morning!

Have you joined our Wonderland Yarns group on Ravelry yet? We’re hosting a knit-along beginning on March 1st, and we hope you’ll join us. Really, we just want another excuse to play with mini skein packs.

We’ve chosen the LightWaves pattern by Susan Ashcroft of Stitchnerd Designs for our first go ’round with community knitting:

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photo by Stitchnerd Designs

Doesn’t it just scream for mini skein packs? The color combining potential is boggling my brain, and I’m glad we have a few weeks to decide on colorways!

We’re offering some incentive for participants and to grow our Rav group and community:

Let us know you’re joining in and which Wonderland Yarns colors you are planning to use, and we’ll enter you in a drawing to win yarn for our next knit-along!

Share on social media when we post about the knit-along and we’ll enter you again!

Gain more entries into the drawing by sharing progress pics as we go, and of course, your finished shawl!

For those who would rather work on a smaller project, check out the link to the Wave Cowls pattern that the LightWaves pattern was inspired by. We think this would work well with a mini skein pack. LightWaves will require a 4 oz. skein in addition to a mini pack.

We’ll post more details about the drawing as we get closer to starting. In the meantime, watch our Facebook page for announcements you can share, and think about your favorite colorways!

In the meantime, we’re all trying to finish up some projects to free up needles for the knit-along!

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Melody’s $5 in Paris is coming along in Too Much Pepper and our Roses Red limited edition mini skein pack.

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I have to admit I’ve stalled a bit on my Enchanted Mesa, but mainly because I need to get something else off the necessary interchangeable needle cable.  It’s good incentive to get two projects done before the end of the month!

What are you working on?

Play Time

So, there was this one day, in between all the snowy ones, when I was handed a pan of yarn and told to “go for it.”

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After I went for it, Melody did, too, and she knit up this hat in about 2 seconds flat with one skein of our TweedleDeeDum bulky.

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We all kinda feel this way about it.

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Win a pile of Frabjous/Wonderland goodies!

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Okay, so first: the pattern I was working on. We have a fresh, free downloadable pattern available just about every month at Frabjous Fibers, so I decided it was okay to hold off on sharing the legwarmer recipe here for now. We want to test knit with our bulky TweedleDeeDum merino, and make the pattern available in one of our upcoming ebook pattern collections. So, there’s that. Did you know we have a group on Ravelry? It’s just getting started, and we’ll soon do a knit-along. Let us know if you have any ideas for that, and in the meantime, head on over and post some FOs. We’ll feature some of them right here on the blog!

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If you haven’t been around our Facebook page, you may not be aware that we are conducting a SURVEY! We want you, our dear friends in fiber, to provide some input on new products for 2015. Yes, we do! In exchange for taking the time to answer a few questions, you can enter your name in a drawing to win a $100 prize bundle of yarn or fiber from Frabjous Fibers/Wonderland Yarns!

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I’m finally really, truly getting started on my Enchanted Mesa pullover. Really! Truly! So, I’ve posted it up on the Works in Progress thread in our Rav group. Our lovely Melody has begun the $5 in Paris pullover, and we both have Too Much Pepper as our main color, with mini-packs for the stripes. Hold us accountable! She gave herself a Valentine’s Day deadline and has a head-start, but I’m going to try and match her. Tall order, but I like deadlines.

We’ll post our Survey results right here on the blog! Run on over, and share your thoughts!

Happy knitting!