“Do you want to go to the yarn store?” That’s what my husband asks when we pass a few shops in town. (On one hand, he gets points for asking. On the other hand, why even ask? Obviously the answer is yes!) When I learned to spin and weave, though, I realized that the question isn’t always so simple.
If I want to buy cones of weaving yarn, spinning wheel bobbins, or tatting shuttles, not just any yarn store will do. I love finding a drop spindle or small loom in a knitting shop, but also finding a good variety of coned yarn, several brands of spinning wheel to try, and a staff member who can help you pick fiber for felting . . . That’s a destination. If you’re lucky, there might be one or two in your entire state.
We have fewer stores that offer tools and materials for spinning and weaving as well as knitting and crochet. One shop bucked the trend when Suzie Liles founded the Eugene Textile Center in 2008. A weaving designer, she brought together looms big and small, a variety of yarns, and books and DVDs to go with them. For spinners, there are wheels and fibers; for dyers, a whole section of paints and dyes and mordants.
Here in Northern Colorado, I’m lucky—not only do we have weaving shops nearby, but on April 12–14, 2018, Eugene Textile Center isn’t a road trip away. They’re coming all the way from Oregon to me—more specifically, to Interweave Yarn Fest in Loveland, Colorado. If I want to compare shades of Swedish wool yarn or watch ETC’s spinning expert Janis Thompson demonstrate spinning silk from a cocoon, I can traipse on over to the booth or the Fiber Spotlight Pavilion. Last year here are just a few of the goodies they brought along to the event.
You might think that Interweave Yarn Fest is primarily a knitting event, but three wonderful shops will bring a whole range of yarn, fiber, and other goodies for spinners and weavers as well as knitters, crocheters, and needleworkers. From right in Fort Collins, Colorado, Lambspun fills their booth with lovely fiber blends and yarns for all kinds of crafts.
And Susan’s Fiber Shop always amazes me with how much yarn, fiber, tools, books, and other gems she can get into her booth. (I picture the shelves of her Columbus, Wisconsin shop empty when she’s on the road, but Wisconsin friends assure me that’s not the case.)