My mother gave me some wonderful antique needles and hooks that are the basics of my treasured collection. I add to that collection by visiting yarn and needlework shops when I travel. My husband, Kjell, is an absolute gem by helping me find some very out of the way places. Today's musings and images bring back many wonderful memories of adding to my yarn stash and the items I have made with yarn, needles and hooks we have found in many areas of the world.
We wandered through a shop in a large upscale shopping area in Malaga, Spain, near the port, but didn't purchase anything. Not only were there no content labels on the products that had unusual and unpleasant odors, I was concerned about the dye being colorfast and/or toxic. It was fun, though, to see and touch the very different offerings in that store.
In Santos, Rio de Janeiro, and other cities in Brazil for several weeks Kjell and I never did find a yarn/needlework shop although we were assured they were there by the Priest from the Norwegian Seaman's Church in Santos. While giving us an insider's tour of Santos, he told us it wasn't safe for tourists to go outside the tourist areas and we took his good advice to pass on yarn shops in Brazil.
While cruising the waters of Eastern Canada we found many, many art, craft, and yarn shops, sometimes right at the ports, where yarn supplies and the products of talented artists were for sale.
Back in the good Old USA in Bar Harbor, Maine, my husband and I walked a couple of miles capturing digital images of gorgeous fall foliage to a yarn shop where we purchased beautiful wood-turned crochet hooks. Since then, my husband, a Maritime Marine Engineer who turns wood as a hobby, has made exquisite crochet hooks and needles for me. When we left the Port of Galveston, Texas, to drive to Cincinnati a few years ago, we set the GPS to Big Sandy, Texas, where we stopped in to see Annie's Attic. What we found was a darling little store out on a country road with creaking wood floors and merchandise tightly displayed in two or three small rooms. The lady there said they have a large warehouse nearby where they ship all the items that have been available by mail order from Annie's Attic for years. I bought some beads, large spools of embroidery ribbon (I knitted and crocheted with it - fantastic!), and crochet hooks. It was fun to walk through the very old country store that is at the home address of a very large mail order business.
Knit Wits, 218 Whitehead Street, which is in the old downtown section of Key West. The lady eating her lunch when I arrived, presumably an owner, told me it is the only yarn shop within 200 miles. Although there is not a great volume of yarn displayed, there is a wonderful variety of specialty yarns. It was worth the stop to look around and I purchased three hanks of yarn that you see in the picture. The larger hank on the right is Conilette Jitterbug made in Wales; it's a sock yarn and includes a pattern on the label. The green/white Linen Tweed is from Universal Yarn, Inc., and is made in Turkey.
Of course, I have favorite haunts for yarn purchases closer to home, too. Shop for yarn, needles and hooks wherever you go. You won't be disappointed.