I haven’t touched my knitting since we spoke last. This is surely some sort of record for the longest I’ve gone without knitting in a decade. Rest assured though, I am thinking about it. I’m looking forward to getting back to it soon.
Mostly though, I’ve been working on craft fair preparations. Cross stitching all I can and working on my table setup.
If you’re in San Francisco over Thanksgiving weekend, come visit the Etsy Holiday Emporium! It’s Saturday and Sunday, down at Pier 35.
Okay, now that the self-promotion is out of the way, let’s get back to the part where I’m thinking about knitting. What am I thinking about knitting? I’m thinking, if you’re a knitter…Reno is a pretty fantastic place to live.
With the air quality so poor in San Francisco, I checked the map for the nearest clean air…Reno! As usual, when I travel, local yarn shops were a factor in the decision. Reno has Jimmy Beans Wool. I’ve ordered from them a lot so getting to finally see the store was a no brainer! I was out the door in no time…
They saved me a spot right in front! As a city dweller, anytime I can drive up to a location and just park…it’s big news! I’ve amassed a large collection of photos of my car in front of yarn shops. It’s one of those things that is entirely trivial to most Jimmy Beans shoppers. Reno has parking, everywhere, all the time. It’s amazing. Totally worth the 3.5 hour commute!
The general theme of having space continued. Jimmy Beans is huge and spacious by most standards and certainly in comparison to Bay Area shops. They have a big showroom with plenty of sofas and armchairs, complete with coffee tables. Really, an impressive amount of furniture. Perfect for sitting and knitting!
Adjacent to the big open floor, is a series of rooms. Offices, once upon a time, but now, yarn rooms! One for Rowan, One for Lorna’s Laces, One for MadelineTosh and so on. Each one spacious and perfectly merchandised. It’s a really lovely store for shopping in. There was a lot to see and going from room to room was like a treasure hunt…what will we find in the next room?
I am going to knock them a bit though. All that gorgeous space and beautiful merchandising but I wasn’t wowed by the actual merchandise. I didn’t find anything special, unusual or new to me. Malabrigo is great. I love it but I can get it anywhere. MadTosh…still the most amazing colorways but it’s everywhere these days. Same with Shibui. Lorna’s Laces and Rowan, old standbys. Not exciting and new. I did find something to buy though…fear not! I picked up a couple skeins of electric blue Kidsilk Haze to give my shawl edging a fun pop when I finally get back to my knitting.
Now, don’t get me wrong…I’ll continue to shop with Jimmy Beans. They ship fast, have great prices and a large selection of yarns I’m familiar with (always key when ordering online) but for new, exciting, trendy yarns…I’ll go across town to Yarn Refuge!
Again with the parking right in front! Seriously, it never gets old. And, again, with the large shop, full of furniture but still clean, uncluttered and spacious!
The first yarn you find upon entering the shop is Brooklyn Tweed. That’s always a good sign. They also had Rowan, Swans Island and Noro. Beyond that, it was lots of indie dyers, some that I know, Anzula, Urth Yarns and lots that I’d never even heard of…Brew City Yarns and Arkaik Fibers to name a few.
I ended up with a skein from Storyteller Yarns. An indie dyer from the Lake Tahoe area that I’ve followed on instagram for some time. A beautiful green speckly colorway called Witch Mountain. It’ll fit my green speckle fade collection perfectly! I’m very excited to get back to my knitting so I can use it!
I think my favorite part of Yarn Refuge was the owner though. She had a house full of Saturday afternoon regulars knitting and chatting away. I don’t need to be helped in a yarn store. This ain’t my first rodeo but when the time comes, I do want my money to be taken promptly. As a retailer, you need to take my money easily. If you make me work to give you my money, I’m probably not going to do it.
The owner at Yarn Refuge has great retail skills. Something I think most yarn store owners overlook — the actual ability to run the shop seamlessly. She was great at moving from chatting with regulars to helping customers. I wasn’t the only one shopping but when the time came, one simple look and she knew I was ready to go. It’s hard to find that perfect balance of how much help each customer wants…some people want to be talked to, some people don’t. Those interactions and knowing how to read different customers is a nuance of retail work that’s not often found. I really appreciated everything about my Yarn Refuge experience.
Great space + great yarn selection + great service = a perfect knitting experience. Without a doubt, I highly recommend visiting the Yarn Refuge when you’re in Reno. I think you’ll like it too!