Tag Archives: Rose City Yarn Crawl

Rose City Yarn Crawl 2020

8 Mar

Despite my self-imposed yarn moratorium, I happily spent a day out and about for the Rose City Yarn Crawl (RCYC). It’s a four day event to explore the local yarn shops in and around Portland, Oregon – but I was only devoting one day to it this year.

I knew from the start I wouldn’t get to all ten shops, but I had a plan in which I could visit six. I mapped out a route that included stops for groceries, dog food and library books and set off.

As always, the shops were full of beautiful yarn and projects.

I was (mostly) faithful to the yarn moratorium. I bought two complimentary skeins from a dyer I really like and one from the yarn shop closest to my house. It will be closing its brick and mortar store soon and becoming an exclusively online shop so I got their last RCYC colorway. Instead of yarn, I bought two knitting books, some candles, and a tote bag.

What struck me about this year was how much joy I got from talking with the people who created the items I bought. I had ordered something from the tote bag maker a few weeks ago. As I was telling her my story of the day I ordered – how I had the kids reading silently as my sister and I messaged each other waiting for the orders to open – she asked me, “Is your last name Gillespie?”. Small makers pay attention to their clients.

I had a great conversation with the dyer I love. She is a former English teacher and has yarns based on Harry Potter, Anne of Green Gables, and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.  Clearly, we have similar tastes in literature.

I was exhausted by the time I got home, but I was also happy. The shops had been full of people – coronavirus wasn’t keeping the knitters away. And I was glad for those moments of connection. Knitting, like writing, can be a solitary pursuit, so it is joyous when we can connect with others.





Rose City Yarn Crawl 2018

4 Mar

The Rose City Yarn Crawl is a four-day event for fiber enthusiasts (knitters, crocheters, spinners, and felters) to explore the many shops in and around Portland, Oregon.IMG_0001

I set out with a budget and a time limit. I brought only cash, to ensure I didn’t exceed my budget. Fortunately, I approached my limit of money and time almost simultaneously.

I actually started the crawl Friday night on my way home from work, stopping at the shop closest to home. That evening, after I got home, I planned my route for the next day. Although I finished the crawl last year, I knew I wasn’t up for a full day of shopping – and I had errands I needed attention this weekend.

Saturday, I rose early and puttered about as I looked over my master plan and packed my bag. I arrived early to my first stop, Dublin Bay Yarn Shop. I listened to an audiobook in the car, while I waited for the doors to open. As soon as they did, I was out of the car.

There was browsing and a lot of touching. Fibre people love to touch. Surrounded by so many beautiful colors and textures, it can be hard to make a decision, but I finally made my purchase.

I had paid for a 30 minute ticket to park, but decided to walk to the next shop, a mere 8 blocks away. I bought another ticket but accidentally pushed the 2 hour button.  Well, better too much time than too little.

It was a beautiful brisk morning. The sun was making an effort to peek through the clouds and there was no rain. I wore a hand-knit hat and gloves and had a spring in my step.

At the second shop, Pearl Fiber Arts, I had the chance to talk with two local yarn dyers before deciding on my purchases. I had an equally enjoyable walk back to the car. As I arrived, I saw another car parking across the street. More yarn crawlers, I said to myself as I dashed over to offer them my parking receipt, which still had an hour on it.

Two more stops followed, and, by the end, I had quite a stash.

I bought yarn for a sweater I will knit for myself (the yarn on the left). The photo on the right is yarn for some Christmas gifts – you can’t start holiday knitting too early- and for some other as yet undetermined projects.

Maybe next year, I will have time to finish the Yarn Crawl and fill my passport, but I arrived home very satisfied with my experience this year.


Crawling to the Airport

6 Jul

Rather than driving directly to the airport for my 6pm return flight home, my sister and I took a leisurely drive to the airport yesterday in order to participate in the Lakeside Yarn Crawl.


Unlike Portland’s 4-day Rose City Yarn Crawl, the Lakeside Yarn Crawl begins in mid-June and runs through Labour Day. That gives you two months to visit the twelve participating LYS (local yarn shops) that rim the Southern end of Georgian Bay in Ontario.

Our first stop was True North Yarn Co. in Barrie.This was the only shop of the 12 in the yarn crawl my sister had been to before. The first shop on a yarn crawl is always tricky. You don’t want to get carried away and spend too much, but you don’t want to walk out without supporting a local yarn shop. I bought a colorful self-striping yarn.

Our next stop was also in Barrie. Eliza’s Buttons and Yarn is a treasure, tucked away in a strip mall just off the 400. That’s a major highway for those of you not from Ontario. Deb, who was manning the store that day, was a gregarious knitter.She and her sister, Lyn, design patterns under the name Cabin Fever.  I was anxious to get to this shop because I knew from the passport that they stocked the signature yarn of the crawl and I wanted to ask about it. Deb told us about Dragon Strings,  the local dyer who produced the yarn, a cashmere blend called Lakeside, dyed to match the colors of Georgian Bay.


I didn’t purchase a skein here, but chose another skein by the dyer in Fall colors. Me & my earth tones! My sister did get one, however, and we left feeling as though we had found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

After a bite to eat at Panera, we went off the 400 and onto what William Least Heat Moon calls a blue highway. our destination was Alliston, and two more shops.

The first, Alliston Yarns, is what we like to call a grandma shop. It caters to an older, more traditional knitter. This is not the place to look for hand-dyed Blue-faced Leicester, but you can find a great gran for knitting aster or baby blanket. I got a skein of gradient sock yarn here.

A little further down highway 89 was our last stop, The Knitting Basket, in Rosemont, a tiny town about 10 miles west of Alliston. Angie, the owner of this shop, was my favorite shop person of the day. She runs her small business out of her house in this rural area. My sister and I fantasized about how we could do this when we retire. For a small shop in rural Ontario, she has excellent yarn. She has a lovely mix of everyday yarns and a range of independent dyers. I finally got my skein of Lakeside here! My sister and I each got a gift bag, too. We had a lovely chat with Angie about how her business operates. If you are in the area, you should definitely stop in to see her.

So, here’s my stash.


My sister’s GPS indicated we could get to the airport on more blue highways, so, rather than return to the 400, we meandered through the Central Ontarian landscape and small towns towards Toronto, stopping for a Tim Horton’s in Bolton.

I got to the airport in a timely manner and had a bit of Canadian money left, so, I did what any self-respecting ex-pat should so: I bought the candy I can’t get in the USA!

Here’s my other stash.


Yarn Crawl!

4 Mar

I watched the clock all day yesterday, looking forward to the end of the day when I could leave work and embark on Day 1 of the Rose City yarn Crawl, a four-day event for fiber enthusiasts (knitters, crocheters, spinners, and felters) to explore the many shops in and around Portland, Oregon.


The sun was shining as I zipped down highway 26 and through the tunnel into downtown Portland. Destiny was on my side as I pulled up to the first shop, Dublin Bay Knitting Co., where an empty parking space awaited me right in front of the shop. I thanked the knotting gods, fed the parking meter, walked in and got the first stamp on my passport.

Fourteen shops are participating this year and although they all sell yarn, they sell different brands and each has its own ambience. Dublin Bay plays Downton Abbey on a continuous loop and offers free scones and English tea. I wandered the shop for a while, looking at yarn and knit items on display, calling to me to knit them. Another shopper had her young son with her. He was mostly hanging around the snacks chatting up whoever would talk to him.

“What’s you name?” he asked me confidently.

“Adrienne,” I replied. “Do you knit?” I asked, trying to be a little funny.

“No. My mom does. She’s going to make me a red cape and a hat.” he replied.

“Oh, is that a superhero costume?” I asked curious about this confident little chatterbox.

“No, it’s a character from The Walking Dead. Do you watch that show?” he said without batting an eye.

Seriously,  I thought, he watches that? I looked over at his mom, standing at the checkout counter. To my judgmental eye, she looked as though she should have known better.

“I don’t watch that show. Scary shows give me nightmares.” I responded truthfully. “Do you get nightmares?”

“No, I don’t get nightmares from that.Zombies aren’t real. I know it is just people dressed up in makeup.” he replied, repeating the mantra he’d clearly heard been taught.

His mom called to him from the counter, letting him know it was time to leave. I said goodbye and watched him skip out with his mother, looking like the picture of innocence.

Unraveling Portland #SOL15

6 Mar

The first weekend in March always brings The Rose City Yarn Crawl.


A Yarn Crawl is an organized event focused on exploring the yarn shops of an area over a specific time period. This year’s crawl runs from Thursday, March 5th through Sunday, March 8th. Every participant has a passport and the goal is to visit all 15 yarn shops in the Metro Portland area. I have only filled the passport once. I probably won’t fill it this year, due to other events this weekend, but I am not letting that stop me from having a bit of fun.

I have made it to three shops already.

KnittingBee-logo ForYarnsSake-logo-new   DublinBay-logo

The really cool thing is that every shop has yarns the other doesn’t. Oh, there is sometimes a little overlap, but there is something unique at each. And that is part of the difficulty. I set  a budget, allowing myself a finite amount I can spend. So I have to be careful. I am on a mission to get yarn for Christmas presents I plan to knit. I’m not divulging what or for whom, just in case they read this. Sometimes, the decisions are hard to make, but  I rarely by at the first shop I visit and this year was no exception. I don’t want to dip into my cash too early.

I ended up buying some lovely fingering weight yarn made by Three Irish Girls. It is Adorn sock yarn and the color way is Red Forest. I think, once knitted up, it will look like autumn leaves.  IMG_1830

The Naming of Yarns SOLSC 9

9 Mar

The Naming of Yarns is a difficult matter,
It isn’t just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I’m as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a yarn must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES. (apologies to T. S. Eliot)

During the yarn crawl, I allowed myself a fixed amount of money with which to buy some yarn. Most of the yarn is for me, I think, though some of  it might become someone’s Christmas present. For the neophyte knitter, yarns can be overwhelming.  A knitter begins with the weight of the yarn. The weight you choose is usually determined by what you want to make. The pattern you choose usually indicates what this should be but there is some wiggle room, if you know what you are doing.

And then we come to the naming. First, there is the brand name. The second name comes belongs to weight and/or fibre blend. The third name is the color, and like Crayola Crayons, these rage from ordinary to whimsical, to esoteric. All the yarn I bought during the Yarn Crawl is fingering weight far, appropriate for socks, shawls, gloves… Here’s what I bought:

1. Brand Name: Bumblebirch    2. Name/fibre:  Heartwood (75% superwash merino/25% nylon)          3. Color: Hellebore


1. Brand Name: Blue Moon Fiber Arts    2. Name/fibre:  Socks  that Rock (100% superwash merino)       3. Color: Pirate’s Booty


1. Brand Name: Blue Moon Fiber Arts    2. Name/fibre:  Socks  that Rock (100% superwash merino)      3. Color: Dixie Chick


1. Brand Name: Blissful Knits   2. Name/fibre:  Platinum Sock (55% SW Bluefaced Leicester/45% silk)      3. Color: Enchanted Afternoon


1. Brand Name: Black Trillium Fibres    2. Name/fibre:  Lilt Sock(85% superwash merino/ 15% Mulberry Silk)      3. Color: Butter Beer


1. Brand Name: Three Irish Girls   2. Name/fibre:  Adorn Sock (80%  merino/20% nylon))                         3. Color: Mairin



March comes in like a lion: A Slice of Life Story

1 Mar

And so it is March. Finally. February might be the shortest month, but if feels the longest. But, thankfully, March is here, and so is the Slice of Life Story Challenge.  And March has come in roaring. This is also the NCTE Regional conference weekend ( more on this tomorrow) and  Rose City Yarn Crawl weekend.

What is that you might ask? An annual Portland experience, the Rose City Yarn Crawl is a four-day event for fiber enthusiasts (knitters, crocheters, spinners, and felters) to explore the many shops in and around Portland. Basically yarn crazed people driving all over the metro Portland area. We recognize each other. Sometimes you see the same people for a couple of shops in a row. Sometimes you see a trainer but recognize him/her by the Rose City Yarn Crawl tote bag and passport she is carrying.


At each shop, you get a stamp on your passport. Last year was extra fun because each of the 19 shops handed out a button to pin on the bag.

The yarn crawl runs from Thursday February 27-Sunday March 2. I visited 3 shops after work yesterday & 2 today. As I entered the third shop last night, two women I’d seen at the previous two shops, entered behind me. They proudly walked up to the counter to get their FINAL stamp on their passports. Yup, they did it all in one day. In previous years, I might have been disheartened by this. But I’m an experienced yarn crawler. I’m in it to have a ball.

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