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

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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!

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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!

 

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!

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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: https://taraswiger.com/podcast96/

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!
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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!

Set Your GPS to 39 East Main Street!

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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!

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Anne!

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?

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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.

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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….

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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?

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  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!
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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!