Great Northern Yarn Haul, Completed

This was my haul, on the Great Northern Yarn Haul. I started out really, really disciplined, looking and willing to buy only the yarn for two cowls for the nurses who cared for Mom during her last months. But once I had those, there were other forces pulling at my wallet! From right to left,

*Pale pink: The Fibre Company, Cirro (alpaca/cotton/wool) for one of the aforementioned cowls. So SOFT!!

*Hunter orange: Plymouth Encore (acrylic/wool) because the hat I made for my sister and brother-in-law to wear       walking/hiking in Vermont, especially during hunting season, is looking very bedraggled – and it’s hard to find that   color!

*Yellow: Dirty Water Dyeworks (merino/nylon) for the second cowl. With a color name of “No. 2 Pencil”, how could I   resist?

*Gold: Sun Valley Fibers (merino/cashmere/nylon) This is the one I bought for me – probably for socks. I didn’t           really need more sock yarn – but it felt so nice!

*Indigo: A Wrinkle in Thyme Farm (Romney/Border Leicester/Finn flock, 10% nylon, dyed at the farm) They were          generous enough to let me park in their parking area for the night with my camper. I had to buy something! So         when I mentioned to one of the Quaker Knitting Goddesses in Portland that I wasn’t sure how I’d justify an                unplanned yarn purchase, she suggested that she could use a pair of socks, and it had been a while since I’d           knitted her anything. OK!

*And Poems Sock: (wool/nylon) Probably socks for my sister; these are her colors. And it was half price. I’m such a   sucker…

One of my last stops was Mapleview Farm Alpacas, in Brandon, Vermont, which mills their own yarn; here are some of the fiber producers:

And my last stop was in Rutland, where Green Mountain Yarn and Fiber has their mascot on the porch:

In all, over the course of a couple of weeks, I visited 27 of the 28 shops and farms on the list. The one I missed wasn’t open the day I was in that part of Vermont. I enjoyed some gorgeous scenery along the way, explored areas I’d not otherwise have visited, knitted with others, drooled a lot over some amazing fiber products, and got to meet some new people. I now know where to source some special fibers, and feel inspired!

Great Northern Yarn Haul #4

Tuesday, July 27: Leaving Portland after lunch, I headed for the next stop on my Great Northern Yarn Haul tour. A Wrinkle in Thyme, in Sumner, Maine, is full of hand dyed yarns in gorgeous colorways. I followed the sound of voices, and in the back room were several women knitting, so I joined them for their regular Tuesday knit group. And I had permission to camp in their parking area overnight, so I was in no hurry to leave, and settled in with knitting and a book after knit group was over, and I’d had plenty of time to drool over the yarn! It rained that evening, and overnight, but the morning was crisp and clear, and I reloaded the kayaks and headed out. 

Guinea foul serve as tick control.
A Wrinkle in Thyme Farm shop

Wednesday, July 28: The next yarn haul stop was in Bethlehem, New Hampshire. LYS (Love Yarn Shop) is easy to find, and have a great collection of breed specific yarns, as well as some wonderful hand dyed sock yarns. Then it was on to St. Johnsbury, Vermont (New Hampshire is not very wide that far up!) and The Yarn Bank. As the name suggests, it is a recycled bank; one can still admire the workings of the vault door. After a survey of what they had for yarn, and admiring the items people were working on, it was over to Ball and Skein, in South Albany, Vermont. Oh, wow! Luscious fibers, hand dyed, but what they have that is no where else is their own line of skein winders and swifts. The setting is stunning, remote, and overlooking a small pond – but most business is on line or at festivals, so don’t assume they are open! The neighborhood had some quirky creativity everywhere, it seemed:

Cloverworks Farm was right around the corner, relatively speaking in that rural area. Another not normally retail farm, their collection of hand dyed, breed specific yarns was in bins, in the truck, ready to go out to yarn shops!

View from back yard at Cloverworks. And then their geese and sheep:

Then I headed on to Two Sisters, in Jeffersonville, Vermont – getting there seven minutes late! Between road construction, thinking they were open until 5 and I didn’t have to hurry, and stopping for wonderful views, I missed out. Oh, well – then it was on to visit my sister and brother-in-law in northern Vermont.

It was a day of stunning scenery (I had to drive past Mount Washington, and untold numbers of wonderful lakes and ponds, long views, winding twisting back country roads) and gorgeous weather, with pleasant temperatures and puffy clouds. And lots of wonderful yarns to resist!

Great Northern Yarn Haul #3

Thursday, July 22: The previous night I’d gathered with a flock of other knitters in Boscawen, New Hampshire, near Concord. We’d eaten extremely well, with several of us contributing food. That morning I headed out, aiming for Elegant Ewe, in Concord, the first yarn shop of the day. On the way, I was amused by this sign – I like when a business exhibits a sense of humor! From Elegant Ewe I continued on to Rochester, NH, and Smitten. This was not my favorite stop – hard to spot while driving, my directions had me pull on to a side street with no parking, and, once I had figured out I could park in back of the shop, the steps up to the entrance were very steep for my aging joints! In all these shops, I was looking for two yarns that would be right for two cowls I want to make, in the perfect weight and perfect colors – but mostly I’m interested to see what local yarn shops choose to carry, and how they display it. And so I cruise through, making sure I see everything – there’s a lot out there I’d love to knit, but don’t NEED right now, and I’ve been very disciplined about not buying.

Next on the list was Spinning Yarns, in Dover, New Hampshire. This one was easy to find – but there was sewer construction tying up the area, the policeman directing traffic was no help at all in suggesting where I should look for parking (“Just find any legal spot.”), but I was able to find a spot not too far away in a public lot. And I did find one of my target yarns. Then it was on to Maine, a very pleasant drive on back roads across to York and

This is a great shop, right on US Route 1 and with a lovely large parking lot where it was easy to park the camper. There I found a yarn that I hadn’t realized I was looking for, but I like to keep on hand something in safety orange, and they had it.

My last yarn stop of the day was in South Portland, at Knitting Nook. This was also easy to find, and while I did like their small but carefully curated collection, I resisted purchase. Then it was on to Portland, my destination for a few days. Portland has a gorgeous park, Eastern Promenade, on the north eastern edge of the city, overlooking the harbor. There I met a friend I’ve watched grow up, and we sat on a bench and enjoyed all the people out on a perfect evening, sailboats racing in the distance, kayakers in the harbor, and a full moon rising as we left.

Great Northern Yarn Haul #2

Isn’t this the cutest yarn shop ever?!? Parked in front of the Mad River Fiber Mill, which also is a yarn and fiber shop as well as a small batch fiber mill, this stop was two of the listings for the Great Northern Yarn Haul. And on the wall of the mill:

Funny colors for sheep!

Great Northern Yarn Haul

The Great Northern Yarn Haul is sponsored by yarn stores in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. I’m using this as an excuse to go see what’s out there – I want to go to Portland anyway, and need to go visit my sister, and if I warp my routes to those places, I probably can visit more than half of the list of 28 shops. I’ve already crossed Six Loose Ladies off my list; I was there for Knit in Public Day (see previous post from a few weeks ago) and I go most Wednesdays now that we can knit together again.

Far View Farm is in Langdon, New Hampshire – and as you can tell from the photo, has a great view out to the Green Mountains in Vermont. They raise Icelandic sheep, and have the natural wool processed into yarn in the full range of colors of those woolly creatures. They also have fleece, as natural or carded roving, sheep skins, and some things from other vendors in their small store – and eggs and meat, although I’m more interested in the wool!