Harps and Thistles Yarn Emporium
2017 YDT Shop
Every year in September, I participate in a three week local yarn shop journey throughout Northeast Ohio.
The annual Yarn Discovery Tour (YDT) includes about 20 locally owned yarn shops. Some shops are attached to their own farms where they make their own fibers. Other shops are speciality and include looms to weave or fibers to dye. The single common feature of all the shops is that they are knitter friendly.
If you spend $10 or more at a shop during the YDT, you get a stamp in your passport and a pin with the store’s logo for your bag. If you get five, ten, or all the stamps, you are entered into a raffle for each milestone. The knitting community is at its friendliest with sayings like: see you on the Tour!
The past few years have seen an increase in spouses and friends who accompany the yarn enthusiasts. The shop owners are great at picking out who is a part of the entourage and who is the craftsperson. The entourage is usually who the shop owner will engage in conversation while the craftsperson wanders the aisles of yarn and accessories. If a person has travelled far to get to the shop or has never been to the shop, the owner will suggest local restaurants to visit or the next closest shop on the YDT. It has become a yarn and gourmet tour.
The YDT allows the yarn enthusiast the opportunity to explore new fiber types and encourages conversation. I have never been more excited and proud of my knitting then when on the YDT.
The shops do not compete against the other shops on the tour. Instead, they engage the craftsperson about what their shop offers as far as classes, workshops, specialty yarns/fibers, and so forth. The shops don’t postpone knitting circles or classes during the weeks of the YDT. Often times, you will walk into a shop in which several people are sitting at a table knitting/crocheting while chatting.
The participants of the YDT are very encouraging and supportive. I was at a yarn shop that I had never visited previous during this year’s tour. I found myself walking past and admiring a finished shawl on display. One of the shop owners walked over to me with an arm full of skeins. She complimented the shawl I was wearing and asked if I had made it. She even asked to touch the shawl (knitters and crocheters all enjoy texture and textiles, so it is common to feel a yarn or a finished display). The owner shared the details of the display with me: the yarn weight and amount of skeins required to make it. She helped me pick out the skeins and knitting needles required and even printed the pattern for me!