It's pretty unassuming looking, but behind those windows is a land of magic, The Yarn Barn of Lawrence, Kansas. Some of you may know it as a catalogue yarn store, some of you may know it as an online yarn store but I know it as a LYS. It is a magical wonderland of fiber. The Yarn Barn grants the wishes of knitters, weavers and spinners (well, yes crocheters, too). I first stepped into The Yarn Barn the day after Christmas 30 years ago on my first visit to Lawrence as a member of the Parson family. This significance of the day after Christmas is the most fabulous annual sale on the planet. It doesn't matter what time you get there, the store is packed. Young and old, male and female, new and experienced, daring and careful, we all make our way to our Crystal Cave of yarns to soak up the magic of possibilities. It doesn't matter if you buy one skein of yarn, yarn for a project or yarn for the year, everyone is treated with the same enthusiasm. The Yarn Barn has definitely been a co-conspirator to the growth of my yarn stash. It maybe at the Yarn Barn I coined the term UDY (undesignated yarn).
I have had many firsts at the Yarn Barn. It was at the Yarn Barn that I first saw Interweave Knits. I bought my first copy and the next week I subscribed. It was in an Interweave Knits at the Yarn Barn I first discovered the design of Valentina Devine. I couldn't believe what I saw. How could she do that? How could she knit in different directions and come up with a beautiful garment? Needless to say I was smitten, curious and intrigued. Until that moment in time, all of my thinking, pondering and dreaming about knitting had been linear and horizontal. Now it was spinning and changing and limitless. WOW! What a paradigm shift! Yarn in all colors in every directions! It was me and I never knew it.
It was at the Yarn Barn I first discover the design of Hanne Falkenberg. I bought my first beautiful kit and I was on my way. I will bring it out sometime and surprise you. It was my first introduction to and my descent into using yarns that required less than a 9 needle. Now it is my favorite knitting 2's, 3's and 4's needles, beautifully small stitches. I love it! I have to remind myself of all of my TBFL (To Be Finished Later) every time I go into the Yarn Barn so I don't load up on Hanne.
I knit this great sweater for "my friend Barb" after I saw the pattern and the made up sample (I am a sucker for that every time) on display at the Yarn Barn. It was so different (have you noticed I am also a sucker for different and unusual?) that I had to make it.
Not only is the Yarn Barn a wonderland for knitters, it is also a candy store for weavers. Every year the day after Christmas, I would would drool over the woven fabric and say, "some day I'm going to take a weaving class." I had this great idea that I would make garments which incorporated knitting and weaving. I was geeked! I was ready to shell out upwards of $2,000 to purchase a loom. I was ready to not only start designing but start a business. Christmas of 2011, Donn and Andi (brother-in-law and sister-in-law) gave me weaving lessons at the Yarn Barn for May of 2012. I was so excited! Finally, I was going to live my dream! Dick and I flew to Kansas and the adventure began. It was a two day class and to make it more fun, Andi was taking it, too. We each had our very own loom to string and weave on. Big. Wooden. Beautiful. WOW!!! I couldn't wait to start. In no time at all I'd have my own loom and be making knitted-woven garments. I could picture them and they were stunning. Then my dreams were dashed! Weaving is grueling. It killed my back. It is also a very solitary activity. Not much chance of weaving and talking or weaving and watching TV. I couldn't take the loom with me like I could knitting needles. I was devastated. It was really a boo-yea. I would never be a weaver and make knitted-woven garments, but I learned BEFORE I bought a loom. I still love the looks of weaving but it will never be a skill I acquire. 😥
I hope you enjoyed your trip through the the Yarn Barn and will visit if you are ever in Lawrence.