In late summer/early fall I went on a road trip. Nashville, Tennessee, was my first stop, followed by Asheville, North Carolina, and Silver Spring, Maryland, with a few other stops in between. I drove through the Great Smoky Mountains and along the Blue Ridge Parkway. I shopped at yarn shops in Asheville and along the Blue Ridge, but I also stopped at several shops on my way home in northeastern Ohio.
Why Northeast Ohio?
When I visit my daughter in Silver Spring, Maryland, I usually fly. The drive is too long for a weekend visit. This time however, I made my visit part of the road trip that covered several states.
As I was planning, I entered my route into Google Maps. When I looked at the route from Maryland home, Google sent me through Cleveland. I have been interested in going to Cleveland to see the studio of yarn dyer, Jeanne, of Destination Yarns, and this looked like the perfect opportunity. A couple weeks before my trip, the Destination Yarn newsletter alerted me to the fact that there was a yarn shop hop on the weekend that I would be traveling through Cleveland. This gave me another reason to go through the area.
I first met Jeanne of Destination Yarn at Stitches Midwest in August, 2016. I loved her idea of dyeing yarn based on places she has visited. She chooses dye colors that reflect a city, country, or particular site. Each time I saw her booth at a knitting event or fiber festival, I would stop in to check out her latest offerings.
When I was in New York earlier this year to attend Vogue Knitting Live, I finally purchased a couple skeins of yarn. I found a pattern I liked, but needed an additional skein of yarn to complete the project. Destination Yarn was a vendor at Stitches Midwest in August so I was able to choose one last skein. I finished the project on my road trip and was able to show it to Jeanne when I stopped in.
Jeanne’s studio is located in a storefront in the downtown area of Cleveland. The large open room has a corner that is used for dyeing, several large drying racks, a table for wrapping and labeling the yarn, and shelves of retail yarn for sale. I was a bit disappointed that Jeanne wasn’t dyeing yarn when I was there, although since she wasn’t, she was able to talk about the different aspects of her business.
Destination Yarn sells her products through her website and at knitting and fiber events, in addition to selling at her studio. Since she is often away at a show, she does not have regular business hours. She holds “open house” events in her studio and also welcomes people to shop by appointment.
Yarn Shop Hop
There were 19 shops that participated in the Northeast Ohio shop hop called the Yarn Discovery Tour. You can find the complete list here. I only had time to visit six of the shops.
Yarn Works, LTD., north of Akron, Ohio, was my first stop. The women working in the shop helped me get started on the hop, explaining some of the rules to me. The small shop carried some beautiful yarn and their shop hop pattern was cute.
My next stop was Harps & Thistles Yarn Emporium. Although I didn’t find this shop as welcoming, their yarn was very nice. They had a small amount of yarn by local dyers, although nothing really grabbed me.
I stopped at The Designing Woman – a shop unlike most yarn shops I have seen. The store’s shelves were filled to the brim with nice yarn, although it was all still wrapped in plastic, so I could not feel the texture. The shop hop project was large and involved – the kit for it was way beyond my budget.
Crochet Innovations is tucked into the corner of a strip mall. The owner was very pleasant and helpful. Although I knit rather than crochet, the same yarn can be used for either activity. The shop carried some nice yarn, although the selection of local hand-dyed yarn was limited.
River Colors Studio was my last stop of the day. Finally, a friendly, welcoming shop with a lot of great yarn! I spent nearly an hour at this shop, looking at samples and auditioning yarn. I was inspired by the beautiful colors of local hand-dyed yarns and nationally known brands. It was nice to end the day on a high note.
On my way out of town the next day, I stopped at the Cast-On Yarn Studio, a small, but lovely, shop in Vermilion, Ohio. The owner was a joy to talk to. She carried a good selection of hand-dyed yarn. The cute shop hop project was designed by one of the local dyers.
I was disappointed in how the rules of the shop hop were set up. In order to get the “free” shop hop pattern at each shop, I had to spend at least $10. The passport stamp and shop pin were also available with this minimum purchase. No reward was given for just visiting the shop.
I had so much fun participating in the Minnesota Yarn Shop Hop and I expected this one would be similar. The Yarn Discovery Tour felt like it was focused on the shop owners rather than the customers. I’ve voiced my opinion in a survey and to a couple people who may have an impact, so I’ll see if the rules change in the future.
Another limitation is that several of the shops were closed on Monday, the main day I hoped to spend shopping. I wasn’t able to visit as many shops as I had hoped, because of this schedule problem.
Going Back to Northeast Ohio
Despite my disappointment – or maybe because of it – I’d like to go back to visit some of the shops that I missed. I’m especially interested in shops that are located on farms, selling yarn and fiber that they have produced. It seems that most of the shops have a lot to offer, so I’d like to give them a second chance.
Have you participated in a yarn shop hop? Which one? I’d like to see how other shop hops are run. Share your experiences in the comments below.