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July 2013

The Chicago Yarn Crawl: 30 LYSs Big!

chicagoyarncrawlThere’s a huge yarn crawl of 30 LYSs happening in the Chicago area this coming week.  Each participating store is offering a one time 10% discount on purchases ( excluding sale items, needles and classes ), a store exclusive pattern and a raffle for a gift worth $100. In addition there will be three raffles for grand prizes- one for folks who have visited at least five stores; one for those who have visited ten stores and one for those who make it to fifteen of the thirty stores. Participants pick up a passport at the first store they visit and get it stamped at each store they visit.

The Chicago Yarn Crawl runs Saturday, August 3 through Sunday, August 11, 2013. The drawing for grand prizes is August 25.  We have created a Chicago Yarn Crawl Map with info on each store for your use!

And for those of you in other parts of the country, see our Yarn and Fiber Events Map for what’s happening near you.

Free Beginning Knitting Clinic in Atlanta, Aug 3

atlknitguilAlthough readers of this blog are probably not brand to knitting, you may have some friends who wonder about our favorite past time. The Atlantic Knitting Guild is holding a free clinic for beginning knitters this Saturday, August 3 from  3-6 p.m.  at the Sandy Spring Branch Library. Experienced knitters will available to answer questions and for beginning instruction. Participants are asked to bring size 8 or 9 bamboo needles, and a medium weight yarn in a light color.

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The Fourth Annual Chaplin Creek Fiber Festival, Aug 3 & 4

chaplincreekThe Fourth Annual Chaplin Creek Fiber Festival in Franklin Grove, Illinois features demos and workshops related to the fiber arts including spinning, spindling, dyeing and felting as well as a marketplace with mill spun and hand spun yarns, natural and dyed rovings, and many other fiber related supplies. The Fiber Festival is being held in conjuction with the annual Summer Harvest Festival, so there should be something fun for everyone in the family.

The Chaplin Creek Fiber Festival is Saturday August 3rd and Sunday August 4th from 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM in Franklin Grove, IL. For more information, see the Chaplin Village Creek website.

For other fiber events, see our Fiber Events Map and Directory.

Purgatory Falls Alpaca Farm Shop, Lyndeborough, New Hampshire

purgalp4 Today’s interview is with the folks at Purgatory Falls Alpaca Farm in Lyndeborough, New Hampshire, who sell their wonderful alpaca yarn and products from their farm home (and through Etsy).

Can you tell us a little bit about your shop? What is the atmosphere like? Is there anything that makes your shop different from other yarn shops?

Here at Purgatory Falls Alpaca Farm, we offer a variety of yarns and roving. It is an atmosphere where you can meet the animal that your yarn comes from as we raise the alpacas and llamas right here where the yarn is sold. Our shop is in our home and so you get to see where Dana weaves her beautiful alpaca scarves and blankets, not to mention rugs and fabulous Gypsy bags. It is a wonderful place and you should plan to spend several hours feeding the alpacas their favorite treat, carrots, and sampling the delightful yarns available in Dana’s hand dyed colors!

purgalp5Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the history of your shop? How did you get interested in knitting/crocheting? How did you come to open or own a yarn shop? Readers will love to hear your story – so tell it!

Tim and Dana started Purgatory Falls Alpaca Farm in 2005 with six alpacas. The yarn shop is an outcropping of the growth of the farm. Dana lives to dye and it shows in the gorgeous naturally dyed and acid dyed yarns she sells in
the farm store. She creates beautiful scarves, blankets and shawls as well. We also do hand spinning of your dog hair or special orders of both dyeing and spinning. If you have a special project and would like some help planning it, we’re here to help.

purgalp6 purgalp9purgalp10

Which yarns do you carry? Traditional yarns? Exotic or unusual yarns? Novelty yarns? Local farm yarns? Eco-friendly yarns? How large is your inventory?

purgalpOur inventory is solely our own alpacas and the few woolen fleeces that are special and available to us through local farms that we know. We carry handspun yarns and roving dyed in our shop. Every spring through summer, we are out gathering herbs and flowers to make our beautiful natural dyed yarns.


What, if any, classes do you offer at your shop? Do you offer any type of social gatherings for knitters and crocheters?

Several times during the spring through fall, we have gatherings at the farm for knitters and spinners. We also offer classes throughout the summer in natural and eco dyeing. We can offer spinning and weaving classes by appointment, one-on-one or small groups.

What trends do you see in knitting in general, and yarn choices in particular?

I am thrilled to see that the craft of knitting and spinning as well as weaving and other fiber arts are very “in.” It’s so gratifying to me to see young folks picking up the art of making your own articles from yarns that are crafted locally.
I take great pleasure in seeing the items that are made from my yarns and knowing that it’s all sustainable here on our

purgalp2Do you have favorite yarns? What do you use them for?

Alpaca, alpaca, alpaca, both Suri and Huacaya! I use them for everything from hats, scarves, shawls, blankets to felted winter boots and hats. Alpaca is king!

Do you have a mail order business?

We sell through our website at and the link is Yarn Store.
You can also call us for an appointment to come visit the farm and select your yarns right

purgalp1Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Come see us!

A New LYS Opens in Portland, OR- Yarntastic! Fiber Arts

yarntasticWe love to see new LYSs open and today we’d like to welcome Yarntastic! Fiber Arts, a new shop in Portland, Oregon. Owned by Lesley Bracken, a master knitter who has studied everything from color theory to hand dyeing to advanced knitting techniques, Yarntastic is spacious, yet welcoming, with a knitting nook that invites customers to hang out for a while. Lesley plans to carry a broad range of yarns- established brands like Cascade, Rowan, Mirasol, Frog Tree, and Dream in Color as well as indie yarns like Nerd Girl and Cat Mountain. Classes will be offered in the future, and a schedule is in the works. The shop is located in historic Sellwood/Moreland, already a great destination neighborhood.  See the Yarntastic! Fiber Arts website for more info. We wish Lesley and Yarntastic! the best of luck!

Fiber Arts Festival at Castle Farms, in Charlevoix, Michigan, July 27-28

castle farmsThe Fiber Arts Festival is a two day event at lovely Castle Farms in northern Michigan. The festival will host a fiber marketplace of over 50 vendors, interactive fiber arts demonstrations and live sheep and alpaca exhibits. The kids will enjoy demos of the  working dogs that move sheep from field to field around the farm.

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Mr. Rogers Gets a Sweater

As a child of the 60’s (literally), I thought this  deserved a mention. The 11 foot tall bronze Mr. Roger’s statue in Pittsburgh (Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood) was yarn bombed recently. The yarn bombing? A zip-up cardigan sweater- the kind he famously wore on his children’s TV show. Apparently those sweaters were hand knit by his mother- there is even one in the Smithsonian! Anyway, it made me smile- thought I’d share it.


Anything and Everything Knit and Crochet at Stitches Midwest, Aug 8-11

stitchesmidwestStitches Midwest is one of four annual fiber extravaganzas hosted by the Knitting Universe. This year, Stitches Midwest will offer an enormous selection of classes with top notch teachers, four two day in-depth workshops, a fashion show, a student fashion show and banquet, and a huge marketplace of over 125 vendors. The event will be August 8-11, 2013 at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center & Hotel, Schaumburg, IL.

Here is a quick look at the classes and workshops being offered:

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Looking for a Fiber Vacation? Consider the Fiber ME Tour with Halcyon Yarn in Maine

fiber-me-2013-d0sMaine is one of my favorite summer places and Halcyon Yarn is one of those yarn shops I’ve always wanted to visit, so when I came across the FiberMe tour it really piqued my interest. The five day tour up and down the Maine coast includes visits to artists’ studios, mills, farms, and galleries. Here’s a quick overview:

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