For Jac’s birthday, I kidnapped her. (You can read more about our adventure here.) As a part of the birthday shenanigans, we went to as many local yarn stores as we could in two days. The Colonial Yarn Shop was my favorite stop on the list.
I’ll admit it. When we drove up, we looked at each other and wondered if we were in the right place. I’ve gotten used to the generally pretentious trappings of most local yarn stores (LYS), and this one was so unassuming. Turns out, that was because they’ve got nothing to prove. Colonial Yarn Shop and its fabulous owner, Kathy Nies, were way too busy being the best at what they do instead of putting on airs about it.
This may seem like a strange thing to applaud, but over the course of this trip we were left wondering if the “community” aspect of the LYS was outdated. Of the ten or so shops we visited, I am only inclined to write about three of them. At some of them, they ignored us and at another the owner subjected us to a 15 minute lecture on why it was JoAnn’s/Michael’s/AC Moore’s fault the shop was going under.
It’s worth nothing that I received this lecture in response to the question, “Where can I find the Cascade?” And not, “Please tell me, a customer you have never met, about your store’s financial issues.”
At one shop, the owner was outright rude, making it clear that us showing up to buy yarn was a real inconvenience. You wouldn’t believe how many shops owners actually became angry or annoyed when asked what their favorite yarn was, a question that I feel the owner of a yarn store ought to at least be able to fake an answer for!
Okay, I’m done ranting. I swear.
The point of that little word journey is to demonstrate the contrast between The Colonial Yarn Shop and everyone else.
The shop itself is downright cozy. The selection is fantastic, and Kathy Nies’s desire to make sure her customers have access to exactly what they want was clear from the moment we walked into The Colonial Yarn Shop.
As we walked around the store, her only issue in choosing a favorite yarn was narrowing it down to just one selection! I loved walking up and down the rows of yarn with her while she told me the story behind that particular brand; what her customer had made out that one over there; how she thought no one would want this one, and then everyone loved it so much that she had to rush order more.
Community is a big deal at Colonial and in addition to showing me her delicious fibers, Kathy told me about the knit along’s (KALs) she hosts. She shared with me the work in progress for the current one: The #28 Mobius Cowl by Maie Landra, which was published in the Winter 2013/14 issue of Vogue Knitting.
We wound up leaving with two skeins of Kathy’s favorite yarn: La Jolla by Baah Yarn in Orange Amber and Mountain Goat by Mountain Colors Yarns in Ruby River. These will be part of an item in our fall line that incorporates seven different types of yarns.
La Jolla by Baah Yarn is a fingering weight yarn made of 100% Superwash Merino. The skein contains 400 yards of hand-painted, vibrant color. The yarn itself is springy and rub-on-your-face good. I can’t wait to make my first swatch with it and see how it knits up. You can find them on Facebook, Twitter, and on their website.
Mountain Goat by Mountain Colors Yarns is a worsted weight yarn made of 55% mohair and 45% wool. Despite the presence of mohair, the yarn is smooth with minimal fluffiness. Jac normally finds that particular type of fiber too itchy, but even she was loving on it as if it were a baby kitten. This is another beautiful, hand-painted yarn with fantastic colorways. You can find them on Facebook, Twitter, and on their website.
I can honestly say that if it weren’t for the three-hour drive, The Colonial Yarn Shop would be my yarny home. I can console myself in all of the superb shops around me since Philadelphia is a geographically advantageous place for fantastic fibers, but a piece of my heart will always be at the Colonial Yarn shop. If you are in the area, passing through, or feel like taking a yarn-based road trip, stop by and see them. You can find their website here, on Facebook here, or in person at:7 Front Street
Shiremanstown, PA 17011
If I had a dollar for every time a shop owner was rude, I would spend it at Colonial.