Two weekends ago I participated in my first “yarn crawl.”
Before then, I didn’t know there was such a thing! The only reason I found out about it was because of an invite from a crochet/knitting MeetUp that I am a member of (I have yet to go to a meeting). I checked out the webpage to see what it was all about and I got really excited! It sounded like so much fun. We would be going to two alpaca farms, 10 yarn shops, and even stopping at a yarn truck (Whoever heard of a yarn truck? Not me.). Also, they were doing something a little different this year. This time around, they made a tote bag which had an unfinished knitting pattern on it. In order to complete the pattern, you needed to collect a pin from each shop which gave a piece of the pattern. Additionally, you were given a passport which you needed to get stamped at each location in order to be entered in a drawing to win some great prizes.
Sounds fun right?!
(Yes – I know I still can’t knit. Hush!)
Anyway, I thought about it for a while but never decided whether or not I would actually participate since it would involve a TON of driving and we would most likely be towing along our 15-month-old (I figured it would be “we” since I didn’t want to go on my own and couldn’t think of anyone who would WANT to go with me).
A short time after I learned about the crawl, my husband texted me while he was at work asking if I had ever heard of the San Diego Yarn Crawl – he had heard about it from a co-worker who knew that I crocheted. I told him I had heard of it, but that was about it. We didn’t discuss whether or not we would do it and that was that.
Until the crawl started!
The day before it started, I reminded my husband about it and he was a little surprised since we didn’t actually decide to do it. But he was all for it if that was what I wanted to do (isn’t he sweet?).
The morning of the crawl, I checked Facebook and saw a post stating that the tote bags were in short supply and that only two shops still had any in stock and that supplies were limited! (You could have preordered one from your local shop, but I was still unsure that I was going so I never did.) I was incredibly disappointed because I figured that by the time we reached one of the two shops they would be gone and I would miss out. True, I didn’t NEED a bag (since the pattern would be online after the crawl) but I really wanted one. If you’re going to participate in something like this, you need to go all-out!
Since it didn’t seem likely that I’d get one, I began to not care about the crawl and was going to give up and not go after all. But my husband insisted! He knew that I was looking forward to it and he was determined that we find a tote. So, we set off with baby (and MIL) in tow and figured that if we didn’t get the tote bag, we’d at least grab some lunch while we were out. Whether or not I did the crawl was based solely on if I got the tote at this first shop so we didn’t plot out any other stops after this one. The closest shop that (supposedly) had tote bags left, was Yarn & Thread Expressions in La Mesa so we set off to the south-east county with our fingers crossed!
What luck! They still had some tote bags available! Whoop! :D
I purchased my tote, collected my first pin and stamp on my passport, and began to explore the first of many shops to come…
After we left this first shop, we grabbed some lunch and headed off to the next closest destination – an alpaca farm! After some winding roads we made it to A Simpler Time – Alpacas & Mill in El Cajon.
Some of the alpacas!
We took a little tour of the mill, stared at the alpacas, and browsed the shop. Then we headed back home since baby needed his nap and was cranky. Let’s be honest – we all kind of needed a nap!
The next day (with baby staying behind with Grandma), my husband and I set off to the east for three more shops. First stop was the Ramona Country Yarn Store in, you guessed it, Ramona. There I was also able to meet up with the Yarnover Truck to pick up another pin! And I also met up with a member from my old MeetUp group (you know, the one I DID go to?) which was nice since I hadn’t seen her in years! :)
After collecting my pin and purchasing some yarn, we set out to Julian to visit Kat’s Yarn & Craft Cottege. We did a brief check of the place, picked up my pin, and set off to do what we really wanted – buy some sweets! :P We bought some packages of candy and, on the way down the hill, picked up a delicious pie from the Julian Pie Company.
The last stop of the day was the second alpaca farm – La Dolce Vita Alpacas. Here, we got to pet and feed some alpacas! They’re so fluffy and soft! Please enjoy this awkward photo of me feeding an alpaca (I have generously blocked this nice lady from my photo since I don’t know her. Imagine I am giving this alpaca my love).
“He’s so fluffy, I’m gonna die!”
We liked this farm a lot. It was so clean and, considering we got to pet the alpacas, we wished we had brought the baby to this one instead. He would have loved it, I think. After this stop, we set off for home where we ate the aforementioned pie. Yum, yum!
Since the previous two days were the hubster’s days off, the next two were to be done alone. Luckily, my MIL was more than happy to watch the baby for me so I could go without worry. Day three I decided to hit the coast with my last stop being the shop near my Grandma’s house. As early as I could manage, I set off for my first shop: Needlecraft Cottage in Pacific Beach. Since I had never driven out here before on my own, I was a little worried about what I’d find. Mostly, I was worried about the parking situation (which is my worry about any new place I go to). Amazingly enough, I got a spot right in front of the shop! :D
After collecting my pin (and two more skeins of yarn), I started to head north to Encinitas where I would be visiting two of the other shops on my list. The closest stop was The Black Sheep. Like the previous shop, I was worried about the parking since it is located on the Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 101). I parked in one of the first spots off the main road only to realize that the shop had its own parking lot right in front of the store which faced a side street. Oh well! After a brief walkthrough, I collected my pin (and, you guessed it, another skein of yarn!) and set off for Common Threads which was only about 5-10 minutes away. I tried to reach this one close to the next hour because I knew they were holding a raffle every half hour. Who doesn’t love a raffle?! I reached the shop just in time to put my name on a ticket and started to browse as I waited for my name to be called…
Of course, I didn’t win. Dang it! Just like at the first shop! (Which I forgot to mention had a raffle for free food from a taco truck. TACOS!)
I liked this shop a lot. The staff members/owners were very friendly and it was such a pleasant atmosphere. I will definitely go there again (when I have some money :P). I purchased two more skeins of yarn (I know, I know…) and headed off to my Grandma’s since she lives close to the last shop.
We chatted a bit and I explained to her what I was doing that day. I asked if she would like to go to the next shop with me since I thought she’d enjoy it as she was a crocheter herself until her arthritis got too bad (she wishes terribly that she could sill do it. She’s tried everything!). She was happy to go with me and we started off to Yarning for You in San Marcos. We did a quick little walkthrough, picked up my pin, and then went to lunch (no purchase here!). After that, I headed back home to eat some more of that delicious pie!
Day 4 was probably the day I was least excited about. This time, I had to go south to Chula Vista and also to two shops deep in San Diego. I rarely go south of San Diego, so Chula Vista is quite the trek. Additionally, I avoid downtown San Diego like the plague (too many one-way streets and terrible parking – waaaaaay out of my comfort zone).
My first stop, since it was the furthest, was at Yarns at Border Leather in Chula Vista. I think I was one of the first people to arrive that day and they were still getting things set up for the day. I picked up my pin and they were impressed that I had only 3 shops left. :) The associates were all very friendly and they had a huge selection of yarn! (The parking wasn’t too bad either :P) I will definitely be going back there sometime. Due to the amount of yarn I had accumulated already, I decided not to pick up anything at this shop even though I was tempted by one skein of yarn in particular. Maybe next time?
Anywho, I started back north towards South Park Dry Goods Co. in, um, South Park. It was the cutest little shop set right at the edge of a residential area. Unlike the other shops involved in the crawl, this one wasn’t catered specifically to yarn. In fact, the yarn selection was quite small. They also carry a few articles of clothing, small knitting kits, and a lot of fabric (they are actually in the process of expanding their fabric section into the next building). They had one local yarn dyer (The Grinning Cat) showcasing some of their products and also someone with their collection of stitch markers. I absolutely fell in love with the skein of yarn that I purchased. It is sooooooooo pretty! I can’t wait to use it on something AMAZING! (You’ll know which one I’m talking about when you see the pictures below!)
With my beautiful yarn (and pin) in tow, I headed to my next, and final, shop in North Park: Aranitas Yarn by Sofia. If the previous shop was small to me, then this shop was, basically, a closet. It was so small! But I think that is what added to its charm. The two ladies who greeted me were very nice and even offered me cookies. I got my last pin and stamp and handed in my passport (because that’s what you were supposed to do). I guess you could have turned it in wherever you wanted, but since I had been driving soooo much the last few days, the last thing I wanted to do was drive to another shop just to drop off a piece of paper! So, I left my passport with them and headed home.
It was now time to go through my new yarn! XD
I’ve made a little collage with the different yarns that I accumulated during this terrific weekend. If you’re interested in the name/brand of a particular skein, let me know and I can check for you. Right now, I am too tired (lazy) to specify which skein is what and where it came from… ;)
Oh, and I guess you’d like to see the tote that started this whole thing. Here is my finished tote bag with all the pins and my new lovelies:
Sorry I don’t have a ton of pictures. I suppose I could have taken more while I was out on the crawl, but I didn’t really think about it. At least I have some from the alpaca farms and some shots of my yarn – that’s all that matters, right?
I can’t wait to start using some of this sweet loot! :D
Oh, and remember how I said there were only two shops with tote bags? Yeah. LIES. ALL LIES! There were totes EVERYWHERE.
Have you participated in a yarn crawl before? How did you like it?