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Yarn Store Crawl, day 6


Today is the last full day I’ll spend in Maine and there is only one yarn shop on the agenda today. I traveled to Blue Hill, ME to visit String Theory Hand Dyed Yarn. Knit and chats are held on Saturday mornings and I timed my visit to be able to join them to work on my unfinished Rhinebeck sweater. Tanis Williams and the Saturday morning knitters were very welcoming and I ended up joining them for their regular sandwich lunch and part of the afternoon.

Flower Bell Stole in Caper Sock, cactus colourway

Flower Bell Stole

If you’re ever in the area you should definitely visit the shop. Not only is it housed in a beautiful, historic house (Eben Mayo House) with many fabulous hardware details, but it may be the only opportunity you have to see some of the yarns in person. String Theory only wholesales a few of their lines to other yarn shops. Some, like Caper Lace, are only available online or at their shop in Blue Hill – and this is one yarn that has to be touched to truly be appreciated.

The other reason to visit is their sale section in the seating area and the “fusion” colourways. Fusions are one of a kind colourways that won’t be repeated or are test dyes. Some of them are absolutely stunning. I picked up an Autumn Fusion in the Bluefaced Leicester wool base that is absolutely stunning.

I forgot to pull out my camera to take shots of the shop so instead I’ve included a photo of my Flower Bell Stole, size large, knit in Caper Sock in the Cactus colourway.

Yarn Shop Crawl, day 5


My day started with a visit to One Lupine Fiber Arts, a gallery featuring local artisans’ work on the main floor and with a yarn shop on the lower level. While they carry a few commercial yarns, the main feature is their line of hand-dyed yarns and fibers.

Swans Island, Northport, ME

The natural colours of Swans Island yarns

I headed south out of Bangor to my next stop, a visit to Swans Island Company’s showroom and weaving studios. Swans Island’s yarns are dyed with all natural dyes resulting in soft, variegated hues. Visitors to their heritage farmhouse (c. 1780) have the option to rummage through the yarns on the sun porch. These treasures are experimental dye batches or colours that didn’t end up exactly right, and are available at a reduced price. I was lucky enough to grab some of a blue batch that turned out a bit too purple, along with several other treasures. While tempted by the entire shelf of Bittersweet, I managed to walk away with only a few skeins in fingering weight.

Summer weight blankets at Swans Island

Summer weight blankets

One of the weavers kindly provided information on the weaving processes used in their blankets and I got to experience one of the looms up close. Their exquisite summer and winter weight blankets have been added to my wish list.

The Cashmere Goat, Camden, ME

The Cashmere Goat

A number of knitters had told me that I had to pay The Cashmere Goat in Camden, ME a visit. The large shop is in one of the few wooden buildings in downtown that survived the Great Fire in November 1892. Barbara (owner) and Misty were both in the shop when I arrived and were very welcoming and responded warmly to my designs. Misty eagerly introduced me to one of their favourite fastenings – the Jul leather closures that screw into place. I was immediately drawn to the French Curve Leather Closure. It attaches to your garment with 2 pedestals on either side and closes your garment with a button like movement in the leather. No marring your garment, no need to make buttonholes. It’s a fantastic afterthought closure.

Sea Buttons

Sea Buttons

The Cashmere Goat has a variety of buttons but I was drawn to Laura Pierce’s Sea Buttons, made from items found on the beach. I was torn between these stone ones and some made from white china with green patterns but in the end decided on the stone ones.

Over the Rainbow Yarn, Rockland, ME

Fabulous local Maine yarns at Over the Rainbow

After I tore myself away from the friendly atmosphere of The Cashmere Goat, I moved on to Over the Rainbow Yarn in Rockland, ME. This is a bright, welcoming shop just off the main street; however, what impressed me the most was the display of local yarns just steps inside the front door. By the way, if you’re in the area on November 2, my fellow Ontarian, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee will be at shop. She’s a great speaker!

The last stop of the day was in Belfast, ME at Heavenly Socks Yarn. Tucked away in a basement on Main Street, this store stocks more than just sock yarn – despite the name. Their shelf of Peace Fleece had been just been restocked the day before I visited. Is it just me or has this yarn become softer than it was 10 years ago or so? After seeing the beautiful sweater worn by the staff person on duty, some Wild Mustard ended up in my knitting bag.

posted under Knitting, Knitting Designs | Comments Off on Yarn Shop Crawl, day 5

Yarn Shop Crawl, day 4


A Loom with a View, Newburyport, MA

A Loom with a View

Before heading out to Maine, I had one final shop to visit in Newburyport, MA. A Loom with a View is a small yarn shop with a big presence. I arrived at opening time on Thursday morning and enjoyed a few minutes with Elaine and Betsy before their morning class arrived.

Vintage button
In addition to a diverse collection of yarn, they also offer a selection of vintage buttons. One of their customers shops estate and antique sales hunting for unusual buttons and provides them to the store. I ended up buying this gorgeous button with red glass.

After leaving A Loom with a View, I drove to Kennebunk, ME for a quick stop at The Ball and Skein. I arrived just as the morning UFO / Pick-Your-Own-Project class finished. I was impressed with the bright, natural light in the class area and selection of local yarns.

Knitwit Yarn Shop, Portland, ME

Knitwit Yarn Shop

My next stop was Portland, ME and Knitwit Yarn Shop. This unique shop reminds me of an old general store. The long, narrow shop is lined with tall, wood shelving and at the back is a knitting bar with stools (love!). Knitwit, as the original flagship store for Quince & Co. yarns, carries the full range of yarns and colours. It was a delight to meet Suzie who was so enthusiastic about the Flower Bell Stole that she wore it around the store for a while. I left with a skein of Swans Island fingering and a commemorative Knitwit project bag printed with their “yarn on the brain” artwork.

Portland Fiber Gallery

Ray spinning at the Portland Fiber Gallery

A few blocks away is Portland Fiber Gallery, a spinning and weaving studio and gallery space. If you can’t make it in person, you can purchase their hand-dyed fibers and yarn through their etsy shop.

Copper Buttons by Ray

Copper Buttons by Ray

Several avid spinners were on-site while I visited, including Ray who also makes stunning metal buttons. I couldn’t leave without these gorgeous copper hearts.

My final stop of the day was at Purl Diva in Brunswick, ME. I was welcomed by owner Ellen and Loki (the friendly shop dog). Ellen shared her difficult decision to close her shop after running it for the past seven years. She’s moving on to new adventures and is currently running her closing out sale. You can stay up-to-date on the store’s Facebook page. Wishing you all the best in your next endeavors Ellen!

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