Welcome to YarnPlaces.com

yarn-shop-maps-small-united-statesWelcome to YarnPlaces.com! For our initial blog entry, I thought it would make  sense to tell you a little bit about who we are and what we are trying to achieve. My name is Cindy and I am the editor of YarnPlaces.com.  I am kind of an artsy-craftsy girl interested in all sorts of things artsy-craftsy things. One of my favorite artsy-craftsy things is, you guessed it, knitting! I have recently been on a serious knitting binge, having completed four Christmas stockings, 6 hats, 2 scarves and 3 purses in the last two months.

I am married to Mike. Mike finds all this knitting a bit obsessive, yet he proudly dons my creations. Mike is more quirky-techy than artsy-craftsy. He runs a website that maps all kinds of quirky things… Bingo Halls, Rock Shops, Hot Dog Stands, Bastille Day Celebrations…. he has maps for over 1,000 topics! The site is MapMuse.com, if you want to check it out. Over the years, one of the most popular topics on MapMuse.com has been Yarn Shops.

One day, Mike and I were hanging out at our local coffee shop. He was doing his MapMuse thing and I was knitting an elf hat for our daughter, Zoe. I remember being particularly enthusiastic about the project- the little elf had requested it herself- and I knew it was going to be outright adorable. Well, Mike must have been inspired by my high-flying needles that day because he came up with an idea.  Now, Mike comes up with lots and lots of ideas.  In fact, he is kind of an idea machine. I tell him he should be on that show, Shark Tank. But I digress…

Mike’s idea this day was to do a website dedicated solely to knitting places. It would include not just yarn shops, but also fiber festivals, fiber markets, fiber expos, knitting retreats, wool farms, knitting groups, guilds, fiber tours, knitting cruises, yarn crawls… any and everything related to knitting  places and events (and of course, her sister craft, crochet).

“We could map it all!” Mike said with his handsome smile. Mike smiles like that when he thinks about mapping things.

Then he added, “And you could write original features about the cool places we find.”

“What?” I said.

“Yeah,” said Mike, “You can be the editor.”

“But I’m a social worker,” I said.

“But you love knitting.”

That was true. I did love knitting. I thought about it:

1)     There wasn’t anything like it on the web.

2)     It could be really useful.

3)     I really did love knitting.

4)     I needed a job.

It was sort of a no-brainer.

“Let’s do it!” I said.

That was a year ago. Since then, we have put countless hours into research (think of all the knitting places!), and site development. I think the site is pretty self-explanatory, but I’ll give you a few highlights.

We have four categories of information accessible through maps (see tabs above):

Yarn Shops         Wool Farms           Groups             Events

We have done a ton of research over the past several months, but things do change. If you find information that is out of date, you change it yourself on the site. Likewise, if you know of a place we are missing, you can add it. I’ll verify all changes and post them.

Aside from the maps, we have a couple of other features. One is this blog. I will be using it to tell you about cool places and events I discover surfing the net and in real life. If you know of something special going on in the knitting world, write me about it. Or if you prefer, write about it yourself, and I will post it.

In addition to the blog, we will periodically feature a knitting place. This place will be chosen from entries submitted to the site. See the Features tab for more information about submissions. Our first entry is my favorite local yarn shop in Vienna, VA.

Lastly, we have Forums and Classifieds sections.  There are two forums: one is dedicated to knitting places and events and the other is an open forum. We envision the Classifieds section to be a sort of Craig’s List for knitters. If you want to weed out your stash or arrange a swap, you can post it here.

PostScript:

When Mike read this initial blog entry, he thought it was a little too folksy. He didn’t want people to think we are some flaky, fly-by-night outfit. He wanted to know if I could write something more professional sounding.

So here are my professional-sounding reasons we are not some flaky, fly-by-night outfit:

  1. Mike’s website, MapMuse.com, has been around for 12 years, and is the premier niche mapping website on the web. It has over a million visitors a month. We would like to do something similar with YarnPlaces.com.
  2. We have a research staff dedicated to keeping information up-to-date.
  3. I will give YarnPlaces.com my full attention, seeking out interesting and unusual places and events, and responding to readers’ tips and questions in a timely manner. Although I am social worker, I do have some writing experience (I have had two children’s books published). I also have a true enthusiasm for the subject.

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