About two years ago, my husband and I became involved in a business in Minnesota. Since that time I have traveled often through the Twin Cities – Minneapolis and St. Paul.
I started exploring the yarn shops in the Twin Cities area and was amazed at how many shops there were in such close proximity. I wrote about my visits to shops north of the cities and those in the central part.
About a year ago, I discovered that the shops coordinate a yarn shop hop each April – I visited the week after the shop hop. I was determined to participate in the shop hop this year.
Minnesota Yarn Shop Hop
This year fifteen shops participated in the event. Although the event is technically free, a donation for a local food pantry is requested. The donation (suggested $5 per shop) can be paid at each shop visited, or a passport to all the shops can be pre-purchased for a $50 donation. Each shop passes on the donations to a local food pantry, spreading the love all over the city.
In exchange for the donation, each shop offered a free pattern, a special bead, and a chance to win in a raffle. If all the shops were visited, the shopper would also get a necklace on which to thread the beads.
Each shop commissioned a limited edition dyed yarn to use in the free pattern. Some shops had put together kits with yarn for the projects. Others sold the yarn by the skein – knitters could use it for the free pattern or one of their own choosing.
The shop hop follows a theme – this year the theme was “Heroes.” Each shop chose their own hero to highlight. Some heroes were famous, others were more “everyday” type heroes.
I surprised myself and did not go overboard on yarn purchases. Four or five of the projects using the free patterns caught my eye, so I plan to make them. I purchased the limited edition yarn for one of them. I also purchased a couple skeins of yarn for other projects and some non-exclusive yarn for one of the free patterns.
How It All Worked
Although I’ve done a smaller yarn shop hop, and, in the past, quilt shop hops, this yarn shop hop was new to me. I wasn’t sure what to expect, so I planned two-and-a-half days to see all fifteen shops. It would take awhile to drive from one to the other, so I allowed myself driving time plus 30 to 45 minutes to shop at each store.
The shop hop started on Thursday when all the shops were open from 10 am to 8 pm. I hoped to cover seven shops. I started at the first one on my list – walk in, get my passport stamped, pick up my bead, fill out the raffle ticket, look at and receive the free pattern, decide not to buy the kit (I have the perfect yarn at home), shop for a couple minutes in a crowded store, and leave.
These steps were repeated at each store. I found that I was less interested than I expected in shopping for yarn for other projects. The stores were a bit crowded with other shoppers. The focus was on the featured project, free pattern and limited edition yarn. Once I saw the project, I was ready to move on to the next shop. By early afternoon, I could see that this event was not going to take as long as I expected, so I changed my plans.
I had mapped out a route to visit the shops, but modified it when I realized I would be visiting more shops on Thursday than I thought. Although my adjusted plan could have been tweaked, I didn’t do too bad in following a mile-saving route.
I stayed in a hotel on the western side of the city, so I started with Lakeside Yarns, one of my favorite shops. The pattern was a beautiful capelet.
I drove north to Amazing Threads – also a favorite. The pattern here was a ponchetta (similar to a poncho). I absolutely loved the limited edition yarn here and purchased some to make the project. I was tempted to buy more – six or eight skeins might have satisfied me – but I only bought the two required for the pattern.
My next stop was All About Yarn. This shop featured two patterns – a knitted hat and crocheted fingerless mitts. Their yarn was a speckled red, white, and blue yarn reflecting their heroes – first responders.
I continued on to Double Ewe Yarn Shop, where three patterns were presented. The knitted cowl, scarf, and hat share the same lace pattern. The royal purple yarn was tempting, but I resisted.
Sheepy Yarn Shop had chosen Amelia Earhart for their hero – she is also one of my heroes – so I was eager to visit the shop. The owner’s granddaughter is a knitwear designer and designed an aviatrix scarf for the shop hop. I loved the pattern and the yarn, but the color does not work for me. I looked for different yarn for this project.
After a yummy lunch at Hazel’s, just down the street, I shopped at Knit and Bolt. This was a new shop for me, one of only a few that I had not shopped at before. As the name indicates, the shop carried fabric and yarn. Although not a large shop, it was bright and seemed to carry a nice selection. I’d like to go back to explore it further when I’m not shop hopping.
The next shop I visited was Needle and Skein, formerly Linden Yarn Shop. I’ve been to this shop before and I find the staff very friendly. They carry lovely yarn and a good selection of Chiaogoo needles, which I had been hoping to try. I purchased a circular needle and so far it’s wonderful.
The next two shops I visited were on the far south side of the cities. I had never driven out that far and hoped the drive would be worth it (spoiler alert – it was). The first shop, Twisted Loop Yarn Shop, is located in a public library. When I first heard about it, I thought they meant that was in an old library building, but the shop is in a room off the lobby of a newer, still used library. Although the free pattern was cute, I was more excited to find Candy Skein yarn, a brand that I had only recently heard about. I loved it and couldn’t pass it up. I think I’ll have to go back to this shop some time.
The second southern shop was Unwind Yarn Shop. Unwind had chosen personal knitting heroes for their theme. The owner showcased a shawl based on a pattern her grandmother would have worn. Each customer was asked to write the name of their knitting hero on the display. For my hero, I chose my oldest daughter. My great-grandmother taught me how to knit when I was young, but my daughter inspired me to pick up my needles again about ten years ago and I haven’t put them down. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be knitting.
I moved on to StevenBe -yes, I’ve been to this shop several times. I always love this large shop with luscious yarn, but managed to leave with only the free pattern – an exercise in willpower.
Also near the center of the city is The Yarnery, a shop located in an old house. The Yarnery offered two free patterns – a baby sweater and a shawl. Either of the patterns could be made with the yarn kit which was available in two colors. I was getting a little tired or maybe “yarned out” at this point, so again I passed on the yarn.
3 Kittens Needle Arts is a shop that splits its space between needlepoint supplies and yarn. Here, I finally found a skein of the perfect color of grey for a project that I had been looking for. This shop had free patterns for a knitted cowl and a crocheted hat – my pattern collection was growing.
The last shop for the day was Knitting from the Heart. A cute shawl pattern was added to my folder but I passed on the yarn kit. I had visited thirteen shops in one day – I was tired. I went across the parking lot to eat at Panera Bread before driving to the hotel.
On Friday morning, I had two shops left to visit – both were shops I had visited before and both were favorites. The first shop was Darn Knit (Anyway) in the suburb of Stillwater. The free cowl pattern will work much better with yarn I have at home than the beautiful, but poor-color-for-me yarn that was featured.
My final stop was at Lila and Claudine’s. The owners were so excited that I was wearing socks that I had made from the yarn I purchased the last time I was in the shop and asked me to show them off. This shop’s free pattern used bright colors that I usually don’t wear, but they were great and I couldn’t resist. Watch (eventually) for my lime green and purple shawl.
I had a great time shop hopping, and will probably do it again. I revisited all of my favorite Minneapolis area yarn shops and found several new ones. There was at least one shop that was not part of the hop, and before I pass through the cities again, I’ll see if there are others. I was once told that there were over twenty shops in the area.
The yarn shop hop took less time than I expected so I had extra time to take in another yarn event on Saturday. I’ll tell you about it next week.
I hope you enjoyed hopping with me today!