I often travel through Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota on business. When I do, I try to visit one or two of the local yarn shops. Over the past several months, I managed to visit almost all of them. I’ve decided to split this post into two parts (and later I’ll update with the couple I still need to visit). This week I’ll tell you about the shops in the northern part of the city and suburbs; next week I’ll tell you about the shops in the center.
Recently, the fourteen (yes 14!) shops in the “Twin Cities” area held a yarn shop hop. They ask for a donation at every shop you visit which they use to support the city’s food pantry network. It was also possible to purchase an EZ Pass, or VIP Pass with a larger donation which entitled the bearer to premiums and a store coupon. I was unable to attend the shop hop this year, but it is on my radar for next year.
Great Yarn Shop Criteria
With all the visits I’ve made recently, I’ve started to come up with my own criteria about what makes a great yarn shop. This is what I look for:
- A well-organized selection of yarn
- Friendly, engaging staff (but not too pushy)
- Samples, samples, samples
- Character or cuteness
Each shop may not possess all of these qualities, but having several of them will warrant a return visit. I thought about giving the shops a star rating, but the all were great in one area or another.
There are six shops to the north of the city. After each shop I visited, I put the next shop’s address in my GPS – usually it was only 10-20 minutes away. These shops could easily be covered in a day – possibly in an afternoon if you are a speedy shopper.
Darn Knit (Anyway)
This cute store, Darn Knit (Anyway) is located in the northern suburb of Stillwater. It is housed in a charming old building with high ceilings. I found something I loved the minute I walked in, and then a few more items as I walked through the store.
Darn Knit (Anyway) carries yarn by Berroco, Malabrigo, Dream in Color, and many more. There are several kits available in the store and the staff was glad to help me personalize one with colors that better suited me. Speaking of staff – the two women working when I visited were friendly and very helpful. I appreciate the personal attention I was given.
Lila and Claudine’s
This really cute store is located in Mahtimedi. Lila and Claudine’s is named after the owners’ grandmothers, and although these grandmothers may not have appreciated each other in life, they are now permanently joined together. (Ask the owners for more on this story). The engaging staff person/owner made shopping here a joy – not only was she friendly, she was helpful in answering my questions and showing me yarn.
The shop was a little small, but carried a lot of well organized yarn. There were many shawl samples – several by one of my favorite designers, Martina Behm. There was a knitting group meeting going on at the time – it would have been fun to accept the invitation to join them.
Sheepy Yarn Shoppe
Sheepy Yarn Shoppe, located in White Bear Lake, is a nicely organized shop that carries a large variety of yarns. I shopped throughout the store, but nothing really grabbed me until I was about to leave and saw the Royal Petite yarn by Blue Sky Fibers. Although the yarn may be thought of as baby yarn, Blue Sky’s new classic patterns are fantastic. I would have loved one of each! – but I settled for just one.
The owner/staff person was helpful – a local customer came in needing help with a project and the was glad to walk her through it. Although the shop did not have the cute character that the others had, the shop is worth a return visit.
Double Ewe Yarn Shop
I didn’t expect much walking up to the Double Ewe Yarn Shop in Circle Pines, since it was positioned in a strip mall. (The website is outdated and carries very little information about the shop). I was pleasantly surprised though – the shop had lovely yarn and a friendly, helpful staff person.
The shop carries Cascade, Malabrigo, Dream in Color and many others. There were samples on display showcasing the yarns. What impressed me most, though was the knowledge of the staff person. When I had a question about a particular yarn, she knew where to look for it and what to use if they didn’t have that yarn. She also knew the fiber content of various yarns that would work for a different project for which I needed coordinating yarn.
All About Yarn
All About Yarn is a small store in Coon Rapids. The yarns carried include: Blue Sky Fibers, Cascade, Dream in Color, Malabrigo, Plymouth, and a full wall of Madelinetosh. There were samples throughout the store and the staff person was friendly and helpful.
The store specializes in Custom Fit Sweaters. I checked out the gallery on their website and it contains many beautiful (and well-fitting) sweaters. If I lived closer, I would definitely take a class and knit my first sweater.
After visiting, I understand where Amazing Threads in Maple Grove, got its name. The shop was amazing! There was a lot of wonderful, tempting yarn – their website lists nearly every brand I have ever heard of. The staff was friendly and super helpful, despite the fact that they had just received a Malabrigo shipment and were eager to explore it.
What impressed me most about this shop, however, was the multitude of samples on display throughout the store. Samples sell yarn. If I like something that is on display in the store, I want to make the same thing. I don’t usually wear hats, but I walked out of the store with yarn and patterns for two hats! The samples showed me just how beautiful hats can be.
Driving from Darn Knit (Anyway) to Amazing Threads and visiting all the shops in between covers just under 43 miles – Google maps says it will take an hour and fifteen minutes. If you are a yarn shopper, you would have a wonderful time – just be sure to save up before you go.
I hope you enjoyed riding along with me as I visited these six Minneapolis-St. Paul Area shops. Next week, I’ll tell you about five shops that are on a different line through the Twin Cities.