Schaefer Yarns Outlet: Interlaken, NY

Last month, I was driving up Route 96 in the Finger Lakes region of NY. And guess what I saw by the side of the road?

Schaefer Yarn Outlet

I had heard that Schaefer Yarns had been in the area, but I didn’t know that the owner opened an outlet after shutting closing her dyeing business.

So… I turned off the road (with my fabulously agreeable husband) to check it out.

Here is the outlet:


And here are the hours:


I suppose luck wasn’t on my side, because the shop wasn’t open. But, I did take a peek inside:

Schaefer Yarn Outlet

According to this news article I found, the outlet is leftover inventory, and it’s unclear if new stock is being added.

I can’t vouch for the yarn (or prices) of what’s inside… but what I can offer is directions! (since the address/directions are missing from the outlet’s webpage…)

road sign

From Ithaca, NY: drive north on 96 for about 20 minutes and turn left on Kelly’s Corner Road. Go a minute or two, and you’ll see a sign outside.

From I-90, drive south on 96 and turn right on Kelly’s Corner Road. Go a minute or two, and you’ll see a sign outside.

Directions for Schaefer yarn Outlet

If you’re in the area during some lucky hours… then stop by for a visit!


A Yarn Lover’s Guide to Washington, DC

Today’s guide to yarn stores in DC is written by Jennifer Crowley, the designer/teacher/blogger at


Jennifer Crowley is a knit and crochet designer who teaches up and down the east coast. You can check out her designs on Ravelry. Recent and upcoming publications include Sockupied, Knitpicks and Classic Elite Yarns.

When not knitting or crochet, she can be often seen zipping around DC and the surrounding area on her bike.

So you are planning a trip to Washington, DC, and you want to visit some yarn stores while you’re there? Well, you are in luck. In addition to being a city full of cultural attractions, there are a number of yarn stores in DC, accessible by a combination of riding the Metro, bus, or walking. If you are fortunate to have a car, the access to yarn stores improves even more. Recent changes have meant that old yarn stores have closed, and new ones are joining the group this year, so it’s a great time to go and check them out.

When I first moved to DC, I didn’t have a car, and was entirely dependent on my bike and public transportation. I have firsthand experience about what stores are the easiest to get to, and in this quick tour I’ll highlight the ones that are accessible by public transportation.

Yarn stores in Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia

I think of the yarn stores in DC by region. In Maryland, there’s: Woolwinders (8), The Yarn Spot (5) and Knit & Stitch = Bliss (4). In DC, there’s Looped Yarn Works (1) and The Knitting Loft (2). And in Virginia, there’s: Fibre Space (3), Uniquities (7) and Aylin’s Wool Gatherer (6).

Disclaimer: I teach classes at Woolwinders, Fibre Space, and The Yarn Spot as a contract. I do not believe this influenced my review.

Looped Yarn Works

Looped Yarn Works (1) is located on the second story of a beautiful building near Dupont Circle Metro Station, about a 2 ½ block walk away. Looped offers a nice range of different priced yarns. One of the things I love about Looped is the amount of Natural light they have in the store. Susan and Janie, the owners, have put such careful work into making the space welcoming to customers, and are constantly featuring new activities, visiting authors and other events in the store.

Looped Yarn Store DC

How to get there: Looped is located on 1732 Connecticut Ave, NW #200 (remember, they’re on the second floor!) in Washington, DC. The best way to get there is by metro, as there isn’t that much parking in that area of town. Dupont Circle, located on the Red Line, is very close to the store.

The Knitting Loft

The Knitting Loft (2) is one of the newest yarn stores in DC, having opened in the Summer of 2013. As a new store, their selections of yarns are still expanding, but the staff couldn’t have been more welcoming when I stopped by over the summer. The great thing about this store, is they are wheelchair accessible and on the ground level. Located near the Eastern Market, the store is the perfect stop on a day of window shopping.

How to get there: The Knitting Loft’s address is 1227 Pennsylvania Ave Southeast, and is near both the Blue/Orange Line Metro. You can get to it from both the Eastern Market or Potomac Ave stops – both are about a 3 block walk away, though Potomac Ave is marginally closer. Parking, if you choose to drive, is a little bit easier to come by, but I think it’s still easier to metro in.

Fibre Space

Fibre Space (3) is the hip yarn store of Old Town Alexandria. They specialize in hand painted and hand dyed yarns, but have a good range of workhorse yarns too. Fibre Space offers a vibrant array of classes and great space to sit and knit. I always love checking out the window displays when I come to visit – they always have something creative put up! This last time I visited their window had a mannequin with a packed box of yarn – referring to the fact that in a few short weeks they’ll be moving around the corner to a new location that offers more space and versatility. It’ll be exciting to see how the store continues to expand!

Fibre Space Yarn Store Alexandria VA

How to get there: While technically in Virginia, Fibre Space is very accessible to DC and so it’s easy for tourists to visit. Fibre Space’s address is 102 North Fayette Street (for now) and is about 6 blocks from the King Street Metro. It’s a little bit of a walk, but under a mile, and it’s a pleasant walk at that, with lots of stores to widow shop. If you choose to drive, it’s easy to get off 495 and go straight up Route 1 (N Patrick St). You should consider parking along King, Prince, Duke or Queen Street, or any of the cross streets. Then walk to the store. Most parking is one or two hours – so be careful how much time you spend in any one place. If you are planning to make an afternoon out of looking around Old Town Alexandria, take the Metro and save yourself the worry.

The Yarn Spot

The Yarn Spot (5) is my personal “local yarn store” and until I moved this past year, I could easily walk to it in about five minutes. The Yarn Spot features two great places to sit and knit (a circle of couches and chairs and a table) and a friendly welcoming atmosphere. Yarn is arranged according to weight, with a middle section that rotates out different yarns that are being featured. They also have spinning supplies and fiber. With a knowledgeable staff – this is the perfect store to go to if you have a “knitting emergency” and need some help. They feature a wide range of yarns, from hand dyed yarns to workhouse yarns like Spud and Cloe Sweater and Encore.

Yarn Spot Wheaton, MD

How to get there: The Yarn Spot’s address is 11406a Georgia Ave, Wheaton, MD. Unfortunately, they are a bit hidden from the road, but if you look for “The Anchor Inn” sign, they are in the shopping center located behind the sign. The store has parking if you choose to drive, or it’s about a 1/2 mile walk from the Wheaton Metro to the store.


Woolwinders (8) is one of my favorite yarn stores in DC for classes. They have very knowledgeable teachers and staff, and every time I go there I learn something new. They have a good selection of mid-range yarns, and highlight some really interesting higher range yarns. The last time I was there I appreciated their selection of Rowan Pattern books. I love how two of the walls of the store are windows, and how much natural light comes into the space. It really makes it easier to choose colors for my projects.

Wool Winders Yarn Store MD

How to get there: Woolwinders is a brisk walk from Shady Grove Metro Station – just under a mile. Located at 404 King Farm Blvd in Rockville, MD, this is also a good store to drive to, with plenty of parking street-side or behind the store.

Knit & Stitch = Bliss

Knit & Stitch = Bliss (4) is one of my favorite stores to go to if I’m looking for patterns or books. They have a really good selection, and a nice area to sit down and flip through all the books and patterns as you are deciding what to work on. Yarn selection runs from midrange to some nice high priced yarns, and they have a great selection of needles and notions. Located near the heart of Bethesda, there’s great shopping and restaurants nearby if you wish to make a short trip of going to the store and picking up dinner or lunch.

How to get there: Knit & Stitch = Bliss is located at 4706 Bethesda Ave, Bethesda MD. If taking the metro, walk West down Rockville Pike until you turn right on Bethesda Ave. If driving, there’s plenty of street parking available, and a few different parking lots if you don’t relish parallel parking.

Aylin’s Wool Gatherer

Aylin’s Wool Gatherer and its compatriot, Uniquties, are both a bit harder to get to by public transportation, but still worth the visit.

Aylin’s Wool Gatherer (6) has the honor of being one of the longest running yarn stores in DC metro area, running upwards of 35 years. Specializing in offering a wide selection of mid-range yarns, including some nylon blends I haven’t noticed elsewhere, this store is a solid addition to the Metro DC Yarn stores. When shopping, prices are listed on sheets throughout the store.

How to get there: Aylin’s is a bit hidden from the street, being located on the third floor of a building (however, there’s an elevator!). Their address is 7245 Arlington Blvd, Falls Church, VA. However, when walking or driving to the store look for the Starbucks in Loehmann’s Plaza, and go around the corner. You’ll see a side entrance to the building; take the elevator to the third floor. The store is down the hall. If you have difficulty, call the store at 703-573-1900 – they are old hands at giving directions. As to transportation, this is one store where driving is definitely easier, though it is possible to take public transportation. If you ride the Metro to the Dunn Loring-Merrifield Station, you can then walk to the Temp Bay D (follow the signs). From there, you can catch the 1B bus towards Ballston Station. Get off at Arlington BV & Graham Rd, and walk towards Loehmann’s Plaza.


Uniquities (7) offers not only yarn to knitters and crocheters, but is one of my favorite stores to check out for their spinning supplies. One of the other things I love about the store is their separate class space, which makes taking classes very pleasant. I also love their yarn choices, with a stunning collection of sock and laceweight yarns, and a wide range of worsted and aran weights too. They carry some of my favorite yarn lines, like Mountain Colors, Blue Sky Alpacas and Manos Del Uruguay.

How to get there: Uniquties is also a store that is easier to drive to. They’re located at 421 Church Street Northeast, Vienna, VA. Driving, there’s a spacious parking lot to park at. If you are looking to take public transportation, take the Metro to the Dunn Loring-Merrifield Station, then walk to Bus Bay B. Take the 2T towards Tysons Corner and get off at R 123 Maple Ave & Beulah Rd. The store is a block away.

Want more stores?

While the eight yarn stores I’ve highlighted here are the easiest to get to via public transportation, there are a few others that deserve honorable mention.

Thanks, Jennifer!

Do you look for yarn shops wherever you travel? We’re also got a guide to yarn shops in Sydney, Australia, and a guide to yarn shops in Manhattan.

House of Wool, Blackheath, NSW, Australia

House of Wool, Blackheath NSW Australia wool shop

I love traveling, and I love visiting yarn shops. It’s probably no surprise to you that I like to do both things at the same time!

I was delighted to hear about a new yarn shop, House of Wool, opening in rural New South Wales, Australia… which was directly on the road to my trip out to the country! Yippee!

House of Wool Yarn store Blue Mountains Australia

House of Wool is in Blackheath, a popular (and adorable) town in the Blue Mountains. It’s an area known for beautiful scenery… but it’s worth stopping in the towns to have a look at the shops, too!

house of wool yarn store in the blue mountains

The store just opened a few months ago, but it’s already obvious that it’s a fabulous place to be for yarn-lovers. It’s full of beautiful yarns (with a strong focus on local & eco-friendly yarns), has a full roster of classes available and sports a lovely interior.

Blackheath is about 2 hours outside of Sydney (you might also want to check out my guide to yarn stores in Sydney), and the scenery is worth the drive if you have time. It’s close to the famous ‘three sisters’ rock formation:

Three sisters blue mountains

Pretty, huh?

So, if you’re driving by (or scheming for a road-trip from Sydney), check out the House of Wool!

Are you looking for some fun yarn stores near you? Then check out my blog post on how to find yarn when you travel, and find some in your area!

A Yarn Lover’s tour of NYC (with pickle detour!)

Like me, my friend, Ellen, is a yarn-lover. And an all-around crafty-chick.

So, when it came time for Ellen to visit New York City for the very first time, I knew I needed to include the best yarn shops in Manhattan on our tour.

Map of favorite yarn shops in Manhattan, New York City

I admit it: this isn’t a guide that hits every yarn store in the city. If you’re a New York-native, it’s probably too touristy of a walk for you.

What this guide will give you is an amazing day’s journey around mid-town and lower Manhattan, with lots of eye-candy for the crafty person. (And… just because I’m obsessed- you’ll notice a small pickle detour you should feel free to add-on!)

This walk begins from Grand Central Station, and proceeds as follows: walk West on 42nd st, turn left (and head South) on 6th Ave. Turn left (head East) on 15th Street and then turn right (going South) on 5th Ave. Turn left (heading East) on Broome St., then left (to head North) up Broadway. The pickle lover’s detour heads East on Houston, South on Essex and loops back to Broadway (then continue North to rejoin the walk instructions). Head North on Broadway (eventually hopping onto 5th) will take you back up to 42nd! The walk is approximately 9 miles.

1: Kinokuniya

address: 1073 6th Avenue

Kinokuniya is a Japanese book store (read my review of its Sydney branch in this post). Why is a Japanese book store on my yarn-lover’s tour? Because Japanese craft books are amazing! Check out this adorable needle felting book I bought:

So cute! The best part is that you don’t have to know Japanese to enjoy these books: they’re amazingly well illustrated and the knitting/crochet books are charted. So, with a little previous experience (of knitting/crochet/needle felting) and some effort- this whole new world of books is available to you!

2: M&J Trimmings

address: 1008 6th Avenue

This shop is a wonderland of trimmings: buttons, edgings, closures… whatever you need to finish off a knitting/crochet project in style will be here!

3: Habu Textiles

address: 135 W 29th St # 804

This stop is a block off of our walk down 6th avenue, but well worth it. Habu is known for its unique and interesting yarns. And even though you’ll occasionally find it in yarn stores, nothing’s like visiting the actual shop!

4: Container Store

address: 629 6th Avenue

Okay… this may not be terribly exciting for many folks in America, but Ellen is from Nova Scotia, and they don’t have the container store. And if you’re going to be buying yarn, you need to organize it, right?

For those who have never been, the Container Store is a magical world of boxes and organizational gadgets that you never knew you needed… until now.

5: Lion Brand Studio Store

address: 34 W 15th St

(Read a full review of the store in this blog post)

If all you think about when you hear ‘Lion Brand’ is cheap big-box store yarn, this store will seriously surprise you! This is the only store where you can visit Lion Brand’s ‘LB Collection’: an exclusive line of luxury yarns.

Lion Brand Studio Store - one of the nicest yarn shops in Manhattan

Combine the exclusive yarn line with beautiful (and ever-changing) art displays and samples and a comforting LYS-atmosphere… and you’ve got one of the nicest yarn shops in Manhattan.

6: Purl Soho

address: 459 Broome Street

(Read a full review of the store in this blog post)

I love Purl Soho. And Ellen loves their blog… so it was a must-see on our list.

Purl Soho - one of the loveliest yarn shops in Manhattan

It’s beautiful. It’s well-stocked with delish yarn AND fabric. It’s also filled with irresistible samples (the visit inspired me to add their Wedding Shawl to my queue).

Purl Soho is one of the loveliest yarn shops in Manhattan – the main reason our walk extends down into Lower Manhattan. It’s worth the walk! You’ll also probably like shopping around the rest of SoHo, too.

7: Katz’s Deli

address: 205 East Houston Street

(Just so you don’t get corrected by locals, the street is pronounced ‘HOWs-ten’, even though it looks like the Texas city).

Katz’s is a legend (and wonderful pickles come with their sandwiches)… which gives it the first spot on my ‘pickle detour’. And, come on… you have to eat, don’t you?

Try a yummy corned beef sandwich (or my fave, the Reuben), and don’t be alarmed by the zany ticketing/ordering system. Go with the flow, and you’ll be fine. Besides, you may even spot someone famous! (I saw Tommy Hilfiger last time I visted!)

8: The Pickle Guys

address: 49 Essex St # B

Like I said, I love pickles. So, if you’re like me, The Pickle Guys is the place to visit.

There’s more than just pickled cucumbers, here… I bought some pickled garlic and pickled mango. Delicious!

I admit, the biggest flaw on this walk is planning to look at food after you’ve just had an enormous sandwich at Katz’s. My advice: forget that your stomach is bursting, and stock up on pickles for later. You won’t regret it.

9: Chinatown

Chinatown isn’t really a stop, but a fabulous place to walk through. Filled with interesting markets, restaurants and stores, it’s a real delight. Besides, it’s on the way, so why not enjoy?

10: Farmer’s Market

address: Union Square

The farmer’s market at Union Square is really fabulous: on my most recent visit, I spied an ostrich egg (!), local NY wines, cheeses and countless other yummies. You might also want to pop into Eataly, an Italian-style market that’s nearby.

Aside from these stops, enjoy the walk up Broadway and 5th! There’s lots to see!

Enjoy your visit!

Of course, this walk is only a tiny part of New York City, but it was a bite-sized chunk that Ellen and I could tackle in one day. We were back on the train, heading home by 7pm.

What are your favorite yarn shops in Manhattan?

Homespun Boutique: Yarn store in Ithaca, NY

store: Homespun Boutique
address: 314 E. State Street, Ithaca, NY 14850
date of visit: October, 2011

I had no idea what to expect when I visited Homespun Boutique. it’s a store with no website or Ravelry listing… which often means it’s an outdated yarn store with not so lovely yarns. Fortunately, Homespun Boutique far exceeded my expectations!

The shop isn’t enormous, but it packs a whole lot of luxury yarn into a little space. You’ll find most of the brands you’re used to finding in a well-stocked LYS, plus some wools from farms local to Upstate NY.

Half of the store is filled with yarn, neatly stacked on shelves, and other half of the store is stocked with bolts of beautiful and modern fabrics.

There didn’t appear to be a table in the main store area for sitting & stitching, but the store advertised classes, so perhaps there’s a separate area, or a table gets moved in. The shop is located right in the heart of downtown Ithaca, so it’s a convenient walk if you’re visiting! I would recommend a stop in if you’re in town!

Finding yarn stores in Bermuda

As many of you know, last week, I went on a fabulous cruise to Bermuda! And as with anywhere I travel, I’m on the hunt for yarn stores, with locally-crafted or somehow unique fine yarns as my ultimate goal.

I’ll skip to the chase: you’re not going to find any beautifully-crafted lovely yarn in Bermuda (or, if you do, please let me know, because you deserve a sleuth-award!). However, I found three places to buy yarn (big-box store brands like Lion Brand, Red Heart and Patons), and I found visiting these shops to be revealing about Bermudans and their yarn culture. And isn’t that what traveling is about?

The research

Before I set out, I always do a bit of research… I google for yarn stores (isn’t that how we find everything, these days?), I check for listings, and check out the LYSs listed in Ravelry. Not much popped up on the radar.

After lots of poking around, I found one blog post mentioning a yarn store in St. George’s, Bermuda and one forum post mentioning a department store that had a yarn/fabrics department. So, off I went!

Location: 21 Reid Street, Hamilton, Bermuda

Gibbons is a brightly-colored (as are most buildings in Bermuda) department store in Hamilton, Bermuda. The city isn’t very big, so if you’re ‘in town’ (as the Bermudans say), you’ll be within a couple blocks of the store. It’s one street off of the main shopping street (Front Street).

Head downstairs, and you’ll find that about a third of the lower level is dedicated to crafts, yarn and fabrics.

The yarn selection contains a fair bit of what you would expect to find in a JoAnn’s in the US: Red Heart and a variety of acrylics. Because it’s so warm in Bermuda, there’s not a large selection of wools.

Like the buildings, you won’t have any trouble finding a selection of great, bright colors! And, you’ll certainly find a selection of crochet hooks, needles and pattern books at Gibbons… everything you’d need for a project!

Betty’s Needle Crafts
Location: 17 Duke of York St, St. George’s, Bermuda

I stumbled upon Betty’s while walking around in St. George’s… it had eluded me in my pre-vacation internet search. Inside, it was a quaint (read: sorta crowded, sorta old-skool knitting) yarn shop that also contained some additional crafting materials, like sequins and the like.

There wasn’t a table to sit & knit, so I got the feeling it was a ‘stop and pick up your yarn’ sort-of shop.

Needles Etc
Location: 22 Clarence St, St. George’s, Bermuda

I had found Needles Etc online during my research, but unfortunately, they were closed when I arrived (at about 11am on a Wednesday… the store hours didn’t help to clarify the situation). I grabbed some photos from the window:

The store looked really beautiful, clean and bright (well… would have been if the lights were on), and I think it would be my favorite spot of all the yarn shops I found. I spotted some Paton’s yarn, but because I couldn’t go inside, I didn’t get a good survey of what other brands they carried.

And, in the Commonwealth tradition of yarn shops, they carried needlepoint/cross-stitch as well as crochet/knitting supplies.

Funniest Product Award

I also found a product that made me giggle (especially since I’m an amigurumi-lover…

So, you can have a knitted amigurumi creation without any actual knitting! *giggle*

What do Bermudans do with all that yarn?
Safe to say that the knitting/crochet tradition in Bermuda isn’t the same as in the US… but they do something utterly fabulous with all those bright colors of acrylic yarn!

Bermuda is home to the tradition of Gombeys, a dance that dates back to African slaves who were moved to the island. They dance and wear fantastic bright costumes…

… which wouldn’t be complete without yarn-fringe!

Aren’t they fantastic?!?

Of course, I don’t mean to imply that Bermudans don’t knit or crochet… they do (I’ve seen them on Ravelry, and I saw knitted and crocheted finished items for sale in the Bermuda Craft Market in King’s Wharf, Bermuda. But, the Gombeys really stand out as being different!

Have I said that I love traveling?

Knit & Needlepoint: Boston, MA

  • store: Knit & Needlepoint
  • address: 11 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116 now moved, see update at bottom
  • website:
  • date of visit: August, 2010

Knit & Needlepoint is located on Newbury street- the ‘high fashion’ street of Boston- less than a block away from the Boston Common. It’s a long street, so don’t despair… as long as the street numbers are decreasing, you’re going to find it!

Although the store isn’t your typical American yarn shop (as it is also a Needlework shop, like many of they yarn stores in Australia), that doesn’t mean it skimps on the yarn! Knit & Needlepoint has a fun & unique selection of yarn… including their own line of yarn! Their line of yarn contains yarns that are hand-dyed and custom made from a number of indie yarnies across New England. That means you’re guaranteed to find yarns you won’t find anywhere else (and isn’t that always what you’re looking for when you’re yarn shopping on vacation?)

A large proportion of the yarns in stock are ‘fancy fibers’: wonderful for making a creative scarf or artistic project. In addition to yarns, they also provide free knitting instruction (with purchase)… so even if you’re rusty, you can grab some fantasy yarn and get started.

Next time you’re in Boston, add this shop to your list of stops! And, keep an eye on our store spotlight, we’re going to be visiting two more yarn shops in Boston!

As of 2012, the store has moved locations. It’s new address is: 244 Newbury Street, Boston.

Morris and Sons: Sydney, NSW, Australia

Morris and Sons

  • store: Morris and Sons (formerly Tapestry Craft)
  • address: 50 York St, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • website:
  • date of visit: January, 2010

yarn at morris sons
This is my last post about the yarn shops I visited in my recent trip to Australia (although, fingers crossed that I’ll go back soon!). And, although I don’t mean to play favorites, I saved the best for last: Morris and Sons. It’s my favorite probably because it’s most like what us Americans think of as a ‘yarn store’: it’s a destination for people in love with yarn. What do I mean? They have Sit & Knit sessions, they have knowledgeable salespeople… gosh darn it, they have staff who are on Ravelry! And the staff will chat with you about what they are working on, and what they recommend, because they know their stuff. I really love that. And, as you can see in the photo at left, they have a table! Because they teach classes! It’s wonderful, really. Coming from America, I didn’t think any of this was too exciting, until I went to a large number of yarn stores that just sold yarn. I’ve come to love the community aspect of a yarn store… and this place has it.

morris and sons
Okay, enough of my ramblings about the greater functions of yarn stores in society… onto the details. Morris and Sons is a two-floor store, with needlepoint and such on the top floor, and knitting & crochet yarns on the bottom floor. Like I said, they have classes, a table, a book corner and of course, lots of yarn. As is the case in most places in Australia, the focus tends to be on lighter weight yarns (because it’s really warm!), but this place has a sizable selection in all weights. Noro, Jo Sharp, NZ Naturally, Debbie Bliss and Fila di Crosa are just some of the lovely brands that are there. And… here’s the most exciting part: for each type of yarn they have, they knit up an entire ball into a swatch! So, not only are you able to see how the yarn looks when it’s worked up, but you can get an idea of how much is in a ball… hooray!

In addition to yarns, there is also a wonderful needle/notions selection… including interchangeable circulars. And, although I haven’t yet ordered, they have an online shop, so it’s easy to browse their stock.

One final note for visitors… it’s right in the heart of downtown, so it’s really easy to get to! Get to either the City Centre or Wynyard subway stops, and just ask a person on the street, “I’m trying to get to York St., between Market & King”, and you’ll be pointed in the right direction (Sydney actually isn’t too big of a city). So, if you’re in Sydney, there’s no excuse not to stop by!

Sew and Tell: Berry, New South Wales, Australia


  • store: Sew and Tell
  • address: Shop 2, 133 Queen Street, Berry, New South Wales, Australia
  • website: N/A
  • date of visit: December, 2009

Like many other yarn stores in Australia, Sew and Tell sells many things other than yarn, including materials for sewing, needle felting, cross stitch and needle point. Even though the yarn collection takes up only a small percentage of actual floor space, the store hosts quite a collection of wonderful yarns and patterns.

Among the wonderful yarns for sale (displayed on the shelves in bags!) were: Noro (beautifully variegated colors), Tilli Tomas (luxury beaded yarns), sublime (super-soft wool blends), and a selection of sari silk yarns. In addition to yarns, Sew and Tell had a wide range of beautiful patterns, including an entire rack dedicated to lovely Noni Felted bag patterns. And many of the yarns and patterns were displayed in the beautiful samples surrounding the entire store. (I wish I had more photos to show you, but I was told by the owner that I could take a ‘general shot’ of the store, but could not ‘photograph anything specific’… so you’ll just have to imagine lots of lovely knitted samples on mannequins, on top of shelves, and even hanging from a display rack on the ceiling.)

Since the store carries much more than just yarn, you are likely to happen upon many different notions that you may not find in a yarn store in America. The store displays a large variety of buttons (probably mostly intended for sewers, but great for finishing knitted cardigans or bags) and other supplies that would be very useful for finishing your knitted/crocheted objects. However, the down-side to such a multi-faceted stock is that there is no class/meeting space to sit & knit. Also, (as I’ve been to this store multiple times in past years), it isn’t guaranteed that you turn up and meet a staff member very keen on yarn… so be prepared that you may be on your own.

Yarn store aside, I also need to put in a plug for Berry, which is an adorable town, and definitely worth a stop if you’re traveling down the South Coast from Sydney.

The Yarn Barn: Lawrence, KS

The Yarn Barn in Kansas

  • store: The Yarn Barn
  • address: 930 Massachusetts Street Lawrence, KS 66044
  • website:
  • date of visit: November, 2009

Weaving cones at the Yarn Barn
Let me begin by saying that even if the Yarn Barn were in the middle of nowhere, it would be worth the drive to visit. But, it’s in Lawrence, KS, which is (in my opinion) an adorable College Town- and putting the two together make for an excellent day. The Yarn Barn’s reputation precedes it: known as a yarn, weaving and spinning store extraordinaire that also ships, bringing fiber goodies to those who really do live in the middle of nowhere. The photo at the left is a small selection of the cones that are used for weaving (they can be used for knitting & crocheting, too, but are particularly great for weaving). As you can tell, the store is quite large, and the yarns are available in a wide range of colors. The store not only sells cones for weaving, but also looms, shuttles, and all sorts of crucial weaving supplies.

Yarn Barn in Kansas
As I said, the store also carries supplies for spinning. Just like with weaving, there isn’t a lonely spindle and a small basket of roving sitting in the corner (which, is the extent of many yarn stores’ spinning supplies). There’s wheels! And a selection of spindles! And dyes! And oodles of roving! I quite enjoyed walking through the roving isle- organic cotton, silk, camel, various wools… it was a fine selection, indeed.

Yarn Barn in Kansas
And of course, there’s yarn. I estimate that the store had (aside from cones) yarn covering about 33% of the store landscape, so it isn’t the largest selection of yarn in the country, but they had a number of yarns that I haven’t seen in many stores… like Buffalo Gold (really fabulous stuff)! And some beautiful locally-dyed yarns. As you can also tell from the photo, there is a large selection of samples which are hung very nicely from the ceiling, so it’s easy to get an idea of what the various yarns are like.

Aside from the weaving and spinning supplies, and yarn, the Yarn Barn also had a wonderful supply of needles, notions and books. From memory, they stocked at least 4 brands of knitting needles and a wide range of books and magazines and patterns. It was a lovely store, but had a completely different vibe than the LYSs that I’m used to. I was in the store for over a half hour, and was never asked if I needed help. I didn’t think the workers were grumpy (as some reviews I’ve read claim), but it’s such a big store with so many customers that it feels a bit like Target- if you want help, you need to find someone and ask for it. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, but certainly different from your tiny yarn shop with one employee working!

I know not many of you may travel to Kansas, but if you do, the Yarn Barn is worth a stop! It’s about 20 minutes outside of Topeka, and about an hour or so from the Kansas City, MO airport.