My Yarn Crawl

Chicago Yarn Crawl 2016 - Tote

The first day of the yarn crawl was awesome and a little disappointing at the same time.  The goal was to hit the downtown Chicago shops with some of my knitting friends.  If there was time left we’d also get to the shops in the northern suburbs.  I liked seeing all the different downtown shops but I quickly noticed that the downtown area doesn’t have much real estate.  The shops were smaller and that led to smaller selections of yarn.  Since I wanted sweater, or at least tank top, quantities I was frustrated at the end of the day.  I did have fun getting some buttons at these shops.

Chicago Yarn Crawl 2016 - Round 1

Luckily on Sunday I hit a couple of the western suburb shops and these were larger with more selections.  I absolutely loved Fiberista Club in Oak Park!  Almost, if not all, yarn selections had sweater quantities.  There was no falling in love and then not finding enough skeins for my project.  The layout was welcoming and the sample pieces out were ones that I personally liked more than other shops I visited.  I know baby projects are very popular; they’re just not what I look for other than special occasions.  I’d rather see sample projects I’d make for myself.

Chicago Yarn Crawl 2016 - Round 2

During the week I went back out to finish up the western suburbs.  I’d already gotten most of what I wanted but I did need a few more needle sizes and of course I found more yarn.  I’d already visited most of these shops last year and didn’t spend as long here.

By the end of the week I’d visited 17  out of the 21 shops!  Not quite all that I’d wanted, but Sister-Arts Studio was just too hard to get to with the construction and over crowded street parking.   Once I missed that first shop I wasn’t as inspired to try and get them all!

My new list of favorite shops is:

  1. Fiberista Club in Oak Park – my favorite selection and setup, very helpful it choosing the right yarn for your project.  This will likely become my luxury LYS with its focus on unique and hand dyed fibers.
  2. Knitche in Downers Grove – probably the shop I’d consider my LYS even if it’s not closest to me.  I like their setup, staff, and selection of Quince & Co yarn.
  3. Yarnify! in Chicago – they had an amazing selection that I didn’t appreciate until I visited more downtown shops.  I was a little turned off that they wanted to charge for their pin if you didn’t make a purchase.  Hopefully that didn’t continue once yarn crawlers let them know that other shops weren’t doing that.

 

2016 Chicago Yarn Crawl Starting

The 2016 Chicago yarn crawl is starting this weekend!  It runs from 7/30 – 8/7.  Last year I hit 10 local yarn stores, I think I’m going to try for them all this year.  This weekend I’m starting off with my knitting group to hit region 1 and maybe region 3 if we have enough time.  Those are the hardest for me to get to so this should give me a good shot at getting them all!

The sad news is that two out of my three favorite local yarn shops aren’t on the list this year.  Gentler times re-combined into one storefront and closed down the store in downtown Naperville and Wool & Company in St Charles is doing some mysterious re-opening of their store in October.  It’s sad to see what happens in just one year to these local shops. If you live in the area go enjoy the yarn crawl this year and support your local yarn shop!

 

2015 Chicago Yarn Crawl

Shopping Bags

This weekend I participated in my very first yarn crawl! I spent five years with this going on under my nose before my friend Laura told me about it this year.  I hit 10 of the region 4 stores.  On Saturday I foolishly thought I could get them all done in a day until I realized that meant I wouldn’t get to spend nearly enough time in each store!

I didn’t go into this with all that many expectations.  Most of my yarn purchases are done online or at Stitches.  My main goal was to see what it was all about and enter some raffles.  I didn’t think I’d buy very much … almost $400 later I know better.

Yarn

As you can see I did find something at every store.  To make up for the unexpected shopping spree I made a deal with myself to add all this yarn to Ravelry before I could buy anymore. Well, that’s done.  I’m ready for Stitches and my next yarn shopping spree!

Besides all the pretty yarn I got out of this it was also really fun to visit local yarn shops. Everybody was very helpful and welcoming in each store and it was comforting to spend some time with other knitters who “get it.”  I’m sure I’ll be going back to some of these stores now that I know which ones I like.

Of the ten stores I went to these were my top three:

  1. Gentler Times in Naperville – they have a wall of madelinetosh; nobody’s going to beat that
  2. Knitche in Downers Grove – upstairs area is a great place to do some research and see spotlighted “pop-up” products each month.
  3. Wool & Company in St Charles – nice selection and very helpful staff

The yarn crawl isn’t over yet!  Anyone in the area can still participate.  It runs through August 9th and I definitely recommend giving it a try if you’ve never participated before.  I know I’ll be going next year (with a budget this time).