May 05, 2010
Yarn shop travelogue: coastal Maine
Maine is close enough to us that Boy and I sometimes go there for the weekend during the spring or summer so I get to stop by some wonderful yarn stores. I'll just focus on four stores that I like but Clara outlined a great roadtrip through Maine.
KnitWit in Portland
You will find known brands such as Rowan and Berroco as well as yarns from Maine companies. In particular, they have the most extensive collection of Fibre Company yarns I've seen which makes me succomb every time. The last time I visited, they were selling a house-brand yarn made in Maine that looked great for colorwork and was very affordable (I believe that it was less than $4 for a 200 yard skein).
Portland Fiber Gallery & Weaving Studio
Just a block away from Knit Wit is the Portland Fiber Gallery. They carry yarn (e.g. Imperial Stock Ranch yarn), fiber (e.g. Ashford), and spinning equipment as well as buttons, jewelry, and finished items made locally. They also hand-dye their own yarns and fibers which you can buy at the store and on their etsy store: everything from silk hankies to batts, from silk lace to merino/tencel yarn. The store also carries weaving supplies (you can rent or buy looms) and I was sorely tempted to get a knitter's loom.
Purl Diva in Brunswick
This is the store that I wished was near me as in "I wished I lived in that store". But then I would spend all my money there and be broke so it might be better for me that I am two and a half hours away. Ellen has wonderful taste and carries a wide spectrum of yarns, from Berroco to Handmaiden, via Isager, Madelinetosh, Sweetgeorgia, and Three Irish Girls. She also carries things that are made in Maine, like cute Purlsana pouches or Done Roving yarns.
String Theory in Blue Hill
This is the home of String Theory Yarn, the yarn that is lovingly dyed by Karen and Tanis. The store is a gorgeous house and the last time I visited, Karen was outside setting the freshly dyed skeins to dry: what a lovely sight! Of course you can buy plenty of String Theory yarn in all of their yarn bases but they also offer handspun yarn, buttons, jewelry, and project bags made in Maine.
I'll be travelling for most of May. I'm hoping to visit Purl in its new location in Soho, the Oomingmak coop in Anchorage, Three Bags Full in Vancouver, and go to the Maine Fiber Frolic. See, it all comes back to Maine!