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The YarnPlaces featured places section highlights unique yarn shops, farms, and related yarn businesses and events that are of interest to the fiber arts community.

Steam Valley Fiber Farm, Trout Run, PA

interns&goatkidsToday’s interview is with Phylleri Ball, owner of Steam Valley Fiber Farm in Trout Run, Pa. Read about her journey from crocheter to ranch owner, and  the wonderful mohair and mohair blends her farm produces.

Can you tell us a little bit about your farm related to fiber arts? The type of animals and number of animals? Is there anything that makes your farm different from other farms?

Steam Valley Fiber Farm was established in Northern Pennsylvania in 1998 with 5 Colored Angora Goats. Fifteen years later the herd size has grown to 80+ head of Angora Goats, Nubian Goats and Border Leicester Sheep. Owner, Phylleri Ball, has been a Fiber Artist for over 30 years, specializing in spinning, dyeing, & rug weaving. Her Mohair roving and hand-dyed yarns are well known on the Sheep & Wool Festival circuit. As a member of the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, Steam Valley’s goal is to produce fine fleeced animals raised using sustainable farming practices, with fiber processing by regional mills.

agbumblebee1308Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the history of your farm? How did you get interested in creating fibers for knitters? How did you come to fiber arts farming? Readers will love to hear your story – so tell it!

I began crocheting 35 years ago and learned to spin and dye wool from my sister who is a weaver and spinner. The same sister sparked my enthusiasm for raising fiber animals by buying me my first Angora rabbit. Later on, she also taught me to weave. While living in Colorado in the 90’s, I began raising Angora goats and loved their personalities and fiber. We moved 5 Angora goats and a truck full of Angora rabbits to Pennsylvania, where I established my fiber business after my first show as a vendor at the New York Sheep and Wool Festival in 1998. My Angora goat herd expanded and Border Leicester sheep were added as their wool is perfect for blending with Mohair. I love to play with color, so dyeing fiber and yarn became the focal point of my fiber production. I enjoy the Natural Colored fleeces as well, which has resulted in my Steam Valley line of Mohair yarn in natural shades as well as dyed colors. A typical day on the farm includes a fleece being washed in the basement fiber processing room, dye pots brewing on my porch which serves as a dye studio, amidst barn cleaning or fencing, and feeding livestock.

steamvallsportWhat type of products do you create for the fiber arts community?

For the hand spinners & felters , I create dyed locks and Mohair blend rovings. Border Leicester wool is added to our Mohair roving as it provides elasticity in the spun yarn and makes it an easier to spin roving. In addition to Mohair roving in every color of the rainbow, we have sequential colorways that change color in a repeated pattern. For the knitter, crocheter & weaver, we have three lines of yarn. Our Hand-Dyed yarn is dyed on the farm in stunning variegated colorways. Our Mohair yarn is produced from Steam Valley’s Angora Goats, wool from our Border Leicester sheep and additional wool from other Pennsylvania wool growers. The newest fiber product is natural and dyed Corespun Rug Yarn, also know as Big Stitch Yarn. You can knit, crochet and weave with the Corespun Yarn to create rugs, chair pads, bags and baskets. Our Mohair & Corespun yarn is carded and spun by a regional fiber mill, making our Steam Valley yarn completely produced in Pennsylvania.

Do you sell fiber products directly to consumers? How can someone purchase products from your farm or produced by your farm?

Our fiber products are marketed directly to our customers through on farm sales, the local Farmer’s Market, craft shows and Sheep and Wool Festivals. Products can be ordered through our website at steamvalleyfiber.com

agplayground2Can we visit your farm?

Farm visits are welcome my appointment. We offer free one hour tours to see the livestock. Our shop at the farm is open by appointment or whenever you find us at the farm by ringing the big dinner bell next to the house.

Do you have any specialties that you would like the fiber arts community to know about?

My newest passion is Corespun Rug Yarn. You don’t have to own a loom to make a wonderful, durable rug. A pair of fat knitting needles or a large crochet hook can turn the Corespun Rug Yarn into fabulous rugs or chair pads. The thick Corespun yarn is ideal for weaving on the Peg Loom, which is my favorite way of working with Corespun yarn.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Mohair, the fleece of the Angora Goat, is a versatile fiber. Angoras are shorn twice a year as their fleece grows one inch per month. The first two shearings, or clips, are called Kid Mohair as it is the young goat kids who produce the finest and softest of fleeces. Yearling Mohair, the 3rd & 4th shearings of the Angoras, is still incredibly soft but it has more strength than kid Mohair. Fine adult fleeces, from goats up to 5 or 6 years of age, is still excellent fiber for hand spinning and yarn because Mohair’s luster gives dyed fiber an incredible sheen. Coarser Mohair, from older goats has been used for centuries in rugs and upholstery, due to its durability and strength. Hence rug yarn made from the Mohair of mature animals is supreme for rugs, furnishings and other non-clothing uses. Once you meet the adorable, capricious creatures, you can’t help but fall in love with them too.

Alamitos Bay Yarn Company, Alamitos Bay in Long Beach, CA

yarnco3Today’s interview is with Cindy, owner of Alamitos Bay Yarn Shop in Long Beach, CA, a LYS with a great selection of yarns, a wonderful sense of community and weekly knitting cruises to boot (how fun is that?).

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?

Alamitos Bay Yarn Company is located on Alamitos Bay in Long Beach, CA. where knitters and crocheters from all over So. California enjoy our weekly “Knit & Cruises” from spring through early fall. Imagine, two hours of cruising in an electric boat, enjoying lunch and wine while knitting and/or crocheting with your friends. Pure heaven!

yarnco2 Continue reading “Alamitos Bay Yarn Company, Alamitos Bay in Long Beach, CA” »

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 www.purgatoryfallsalpaca.com 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!

Pridie Collection- Boutique Yarn Shop, Peterborough, Ontario

pridieToday’s interview is with Christina Pridie, knitwear designer and owner of the Pridie Collection- Boutique Yarn Shop in Peterborough, Ontario. Christina’s designs are available on Ravelry.

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?

The Pridie Collection – Boutique Yarn Shop is a quaint little place that is filled with eye candy everywhere you look. There is tables and chairs inside and outside to ssk (sit, sip and knit) a while. We have a self serve station where you can purchase hot & cold beverages to suit your stay. We teach classes in both knitting and crocheting for the beginner to advanced levels. We also do some charity knitting where our customers get involved making mittens for the kids in the Public Schools and also chemo hats for The Canadian Cancer Society. Everyday is a stitch in but we also host a Knitting Bee every Thursday afternoon and evening for those who like a scheduled day and time. Everyone has a great time, especially me.

Continue reading “Pridie Collection- Boutique Yarn Shop, Peterborough, Ontario” »

Needle Rock Fiberarts, Telluride, Colorado

needlerockstorefrontToday’s featured yarn place is Needle Rock Fiberarts in Telluride, Colorado. Dubbed The Mountain Knitting Store, it is a LYS that appeals to locals and tourists alike. The interview is with the shop’s owner.

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?

Located in beautiful Telluride, Colorado, Needle Rock Fiberarts provides supplies to all yarn enthusiasts – knitters, crocheters, spinners, needle pointers, weavers & needle felters. We host 2 weekly open knitting circles, offer lessons to beginners & workshops for the more advanced. We’ve been called Telluride’s living room, as ladies love to come & hang out with their stitching, enjoy a cup of tea at our kitchen table & share the latest news, gossip & the chance to show off their projects.

Continue reading “Needle Rock Fiberarts, Telluride, Colorado” »

Marr Haven Wool Farm Shop, Allegan, Michigan

marhaven3Our featured place this week is Marr Haven Wool Farm Shop in Allegan, Michigan. Our interview is with the farm’s owner.

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?

Our shop is not the typical yarn shop, it is all about wool. The relaxed atmosphere is promoted with the couch and chairs placed so visitors may sit and knit, chat or view the peaceful countryside around us.

Our soft, natural yarns are from the merino rambouillet sheep raised here. An inventory of some items for knitters include knitting needles, patterns and books. We have an extensive supply of unspun wool and exotic fiber for spinners and felters in the processed form of roving, top and batts along with instruction patterns, books and kits.  Continue reading “Marr Haven Wool Farm Shop, Allegan, Michigan” »

nancy O, Ridgefield, Connecticut

nancy0facadeToday’s interview is with Nancy O’Connell, owner of nancy O, a LYS with something extra, located in Ridgefield, Connecticut.

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?

nancy O is a full service knitting and yarn boutique, which is also a gift and fashion boutique. The shop is housed in a a lovely antique building which dates back to 1790, and has been lovingly restored, featuring a large entry way with an open staircase. Turn right, and enter a world-class knitting boutique, where an amazing hand-picked assortment of yarn and fibers grace the large stately fireplace, with a knitting lounge around another fireplace, where you can snuggle up and peruse the large knitting library, visit with friends, or simply knit to your heart’s content. Turn left, and you’ll find wonderful assortment of girts, baby boutique, beautiful sweaters, and accessories. Many are hand-crafted, or reflect the fibers, colors and textures found in the yarn boutique.

nancyofashiongifts Continue reading “nancy O, Ridgefield, Connecticut” »

Liberty Alpacas, Maple Valley, Washington


Antebellum – Reserve Color Champ at Alpacapalooza

Today’s interview is with the owner of Liberty Alpacas, in Maple Valley, Washington. They are breeders of champion huacayas who sell their products directly to the consumer.

Can you tell us a little bit about your farm related to fiber arts? The type of animals and number of animals? Is there anything that makes your farm different from other farms?

We raise champion huacaya alpacas, resulting in royal fineness in a variety of colors! Our speciality is grey and fawn but have a full spectrum from light to dark colored fleeces, roving and 100% alpaca yarns from our own herd.

Continue reading “Liberty Alpacas, Maple Valley, Washington” »