Yarn Shop Review: WEBS

Yes, it’s true … until last week, I had never been to the famous WEBS, located in Northampton, MA! I know, I know.  It’s only a couple hours away, and I actually head that direction all the time … for family vacations, and for dog agility trials. How is it that I’ve never been there before? For one thing, I guarantee you the Wrath of Bored Children if I scheduled a stop at WEBS halfway to our family vacation destination (Nana and Boppa’s lake house in upstate New York). For another thing, dog agility trials usually take place during business hours — making yarn shop stops difficult. Also, showing up at a yarn shop tired, dirty, and covered with dog hair … not the best plan.

So, there you have it — all my excuses rolled up together.  You can imagine my delight when my friend suggested we visit together! I was thrilled.  She had a business meeting in the area, and asked me along for the ride — and the side trip to WEBS.

IMG_4671

I have heard stories of how overwhelming this Mecca of yarn shops can be, so I made sure to have a list (with photos!) of what projects I would consider buying yarn for.  I also was willing to consider speculative yarn purchases, though it had to be a great deal AND yarn I loved in order to qualify. I’m pleased to say that I refrained from buying off-list, and managed to spend a mere $65 (after WEB’s generous discount — they even let me and my friend combine purchase totals to get the best possible discount).  Details follow, after a quick review.

WEBS is huge — at least four times the floor area of any shop I’ve been to before.  They had many, many gorgeous yarns, including most (all?) of the Madelinetosh yarns, a good selection of Blue Moon Fiber Arts, and several yarns I’ve never seen before.  It was great to be able to feel their own yarn line (Valley Yarns) in person. I peeked into the classroom area (jealous!), and the discount shelves in the back warehouse were impressive to say the least.  There is a whole section devoted to spinning, and a lot of weaving yarns too.  (I successfully bypassed those areas — I don’t need any more hobbies!)

Staff were plentiful, friendly, and helpful.  I was pleased to have my latest FO (a Catkin in Tosh Light, French Grey and Byzantine) recognized and praised. Turns out one of the staff is a Catkin fanatic — what fun!

On to the purchases: I bought some beautiful Madelinetosh Prairie in Turquoise — 840 yards of gorgeous merino laceweight single-ply yarn, enough to make a Mariposa of my very own.  In fact, I’ve already cast on! 🙂

IMG_4674

 

I’ve had Escargot in my queue for quite a while.  Love the swirl! I’ve had a hard time finding the right colored yarn for this project … so I popped it on the list for the WEBS trip. I’m pleased to say I found Valley Superwash in shades of plummy Mulberry and cheerful Grass green that suited my fancy. I’m sorry to say that I can’t seem to photograph the yarn to reveal true colors — the plum looks more like hot pink in my photos :(. The stock photo from WEBS is a better match.

IMG_4677

 

Last but not least, I found yarn for a Lavenda Droplet Jumper. I had hoped to find the right fingering-weight solid-colored yarn in WEBS famous back warehouse shelves. Alas, I struck out.  Instead, I settled on some Cascade Fingering in Ruby Red.  The store only had six skeins, in two different dye lots.  But, lucky me, the “other” warehouse had the eight skeins I required, all in one dye lot! Because I was in the store but the skeins were not, WEBS offered to ship them to me for free.  It’s not quite as nice as taking home the yarn, but UPS claims the yarn will be with me soon — getting pretty yarn in the mail is fun too!

 

Advertisements

Yarn Shop Review: Unforgettable Yarns

On Thursday, June 16th, I attended the Grand Opening of Unforgettable Yarns, a new yarn shop that is set up in the corner of the Andover Bookstore. They promised snacks, yarn tasting, snacks, and discounts on all purchases … how could I say no?  My knitting group usually meets on Thursday nights, so we decided to go to the yarn shop opening instead.  As it turns out, only two of us were able to make it, but I think we both had a good time.

I had stopped in earlier in the week for a covert sneak peek, so I knew a little bit about what to expect.  The bookstore has devoted a corner of the first floor to yarn.  There is a full wall plus a large bookcase filled with a good selection of workhorse yarns by Cascade Yarns, plus a shelf full of Noro yarn (Taiyo, Kureyon, and Silk Garden).  They also have a rack of needles and notions, plus a variety of knitting books (including many of my favorites).

I have to say, I didn’t know how fun a yarn tasting can be! There was a long table set up with caked yarns on paper plates.  Jars of knitting needles and an invitation to knit was all I needed — I knit a little with the Ultra Pima cotton, Cascade 220 Superwash, Cascade 220 Heathers, and the hand-painted Heritage sock yarn.  The 220 superwash is sturdy and serviceable. I can see myself picking up a ball or two for a last-minute baby project.  The 220 Heathers are GORGEOUS.  I actually bought two skeins on spec when I dropped in last week to scout the shop.

2398 Cascad 220 Heathers

I chose this pinky-coral colorway, and plan to make a Ruffled and Ruched Scarf with it. Pretty, no?

I really liked the hand-painted sock yarn, but (frankly) I really, really don’t need any more stripey fingering-weight yarn in sock quantities. I had a 3×5 card in my pocket with three possible projects on it, two of which were light sweaters.  I really want to start making more tops for myself, so I focused on those.  I ended up buying some of the delicious Ultra Pima.

2423 Cascade Ultra Pima

After hemming and hawing, and with help from my friend Heather (who has an excellent eye for color), I settled on a pretty violet-blue-purple. I’ll be making a Ruched Yoke Tee for me!

This isn’t a huge yarn shop with a wide selection …. yet! But, I did overhear one employee say that if it was more profitable than cards, it could take over that space. Also, the owner talked about a lot of cool classes that will be coming up, so overall I think this shop has a lot of potential.  I plan on making regular purchases, to show my support.  Hooray for local yarn shops!