Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Southern Yarn Crawl: Florida

With our fabulous Florida Destination as Gainesville, we were excited to find out that this Gator infested city was the home to two Local Yarn Shops (LYS). And as is often the case, the day we went in search of places to abuse our credit cards, one of the shops was closed. Fortunately, we went back a second day to include the closed shop. I thought it was universal that all yarn shops were closed on Monday, not Tuesday. Obviously, like so many things, I was way wrong on that one too.

The first shop we visited was Yarnworks ( http://www.yarnworks.com/ ). The lot was packed when we pulled up so we were a little concerned that some crazy sale was going on, but no it was the delivery service next door that was hogging up the lot. The sign promised to have needlepoint supplies and imported yarn, and I am here to say yes it did have some imported yarn. In a very small space, they had a significant amount of yarn. I was especially impressed with the variety of cotton yarns I saw there. The Egyptian cotton from the Great Adirondack Yarn Company and Blue Heron were just too tempting. The colorways were very similar, but I didn't care I had to have them.
I liked this shop, please don't get me wrong, and I spent some money there, but it did have a few problems. I found the staff there, a little older and reserved. They were not rude, just not nearly as excited by my visit. The shop was also very crowded with yarn and it was a little difficult to get around without running into things. We went back a second time and bought more yarn, but the ladies there never really warmed up to us.

The second time we went to Hanks, Yarn and Fiber ( http://www.hanksyarn.com/ ) they were open. Almost immediately I saw a difference between the two shops, sitting on couches with their kids in car seats and knitting on their laps, were women with tattoos and cool haircuts. The proprietors were very welcoming and glad to see us. I noticed a little kids area with a little girl working on giving herself some temporary tattoos on her arm.

The sock yarn selection was very nice, with Lorna Laces dominating the selection. Some beautiful colorways called my name, but I decided on the one called "Rainbow" and even picked out a cute little (okay not on my feet) sock pattern to make with the yarn. I even bought a hank of hand dyed yarn that sported the shop label. Hanks had supplies for dying yarn and spinning yarn. I was impressed by the selection of spinning wheels, but not enough to want to spin myself.

As much as I liked the feel of this shop, it did have a flaw. The yarn side was a little weak. The selection just could not compare to that of the other Gainesville shop. I just kept thinking these two shops were like meant for this location. What one lacked the other excelled at and vice/versa. Finally, as a strange bit of trivia both yarn shops were across the street tattoo parlors.

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