After we said good-bye to Rosie’s Yarn Cellar, Jac and I vowed to make October the month of the local yarn store. Now we’re making good on that promise. Last week we visited Hidden River Yarns in Manayunk and this week I want to tell you about Yarnings in the heart of Skippack Village.
It’s funny, of all the yarn shops we’ve profiled here on Lattes & Llamas in the name of helping our fellow knitters and crocheters discover somewhere new and exciting, we’ve never actually told you about the LYS Jac and I frequent. Maybe it never occurred to me since Yarnings isn’t new for us? It’s the place I pop over to when I need a specific size of knitting needles right now or when I want to pick out some lovely yarn for a swap partner on Ravelry. But I admit, it’s a gross oversight that we haven’t told you about Yarnings before today.
Skippack, Pennsylvania is a bit out of the way for me. There are other yarn stores I could frequent that aren’t a 45 minute drive, but it’s worth it. And not just because Jac and I love to grab brunch at Mal’s Diner across the street from Yarning since they have fantastic coffee and make a mean omelette. Skippack prides itself on authentic charm, and that means only allowing small business. You won’t find a Starbucks in Skippack, but you will find one-of-a-kind shops like The Grand Fromage, Le Butler’s Pantry, plenty of antique stores, and of course Yarnings. When I go there, I like to pretend I’m in Stars Hollow. And isn’t that what every Gilmore Girl fan wants from their yarn shopping experience?
It was destiny that Yarnings wound up there. Gayle, the store’s owner, was sitting at Mal’s talking to her brother about opening a yarn shop and he looked across the street and said, “Well, that place is for sale.” I think I speak for the local yarn enthusiasts when I say that I’m glad it was!
Our visit was off to a sort of awkward start, because I had to call and make the appointment. I pride myself on being very charming in person, but I’m really kinda weird on the phone. I can’t quantify it further than that, but in most cases Jac talks to people on the phone and I talk to people when we’re face to face. Between the two of us we make one socially capable person. ;)
I don’t remember the exact circumstances, but Jac was busy and I had to call to make the interview appointment. I freaked out a little. I talked a mile a minute and I’m pretty sure Gayle didn’t really know who was going to show up since I hung up the second we had established a day and time. Luckily, she’s way cooler than I am and was able to roll with my crazy. Despite my lack of social graces, we wound up hanging out for two hours talking about yarn, the history of the store, and some of her favorite customer stories.
The store is super cozy. When I’m skipping down Skippack Pike pretending to be in Stars Hollow, I imagine that Yarnings is Miss Patty’s School of Ballet. I hope that Gayle will forgive me for the comparison, but we can all agree that if we could hang out at Miss Patty’s we would hang out at Miss Patty’s. And we aren’t the only ones who think that Yarnings is like a fiber filled home-away-from-home. Most local yarn stores are defined by their knitting groups, and this is no exception. Yarnings is such a popular spot to socialize that they have multiple yarn “nights” (several of them are actually daytime things; you can check out the calendar here) a week that each cater to a different group of knitters. When I asked Gayle what her favorite thing about the shop was, she didn’t even hesitate before saying “the people.” Each group has it’s own personality, and the groups foster the kind of loyalty that extends beyond the yarn store. As Gayle put it,
There just aren’t that many places around anymore where women can go to come together and do this stuff.
She’s right. For the most part, quilting circles are a thing of the past. Most modern women, including myself, can’t spend our days hanging out with the other village women, crafting and bonding. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade in voting, education, and not being property of my husband for that, but I do think we’ve lost something there. Knitting may be a solo sport, but I’ll still take any chance I can get to to have craft night with my friends.
Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t bring up the yarn. Yarning’s boasts two gorgeous floors of yarn, and it’s organized in a really user friendly way. There’s a wall of sock yarn. There’s a room that is just floor to ceiling kid/baby friendly yarns, kits, and books. There’s specialty hand dyed, and everyday work horse yarns. If you need it, chances are Yarnings has it. Don’t miss out on this shop guys, you’ll regret it.
Gayle’s second favorite thing about owning an LYS: “Wrapping my arms around yarn 24/7.” We feel you Gayle.