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Mountain Home Magazine

Twin Tiers Yarn Crawl

Apr 01, 2024 09:00AM ● By Karey Solomon

Yarn crawl? What’s a yarn crawl, who does it, and why? Simply put, it’s an organized event for fiber enthusiasts during which they explore the yarn shops of a given area during a certain period of time. And, as every fiber enthusiast knows, friends are great encouragers, ever ready to say, “You need that!” and “Look at that color!” and, even better, “Get it or regret it,” as the likelihood of coming across “it” again is probably nil. No skein off your nose to buy it now rather than later, right?

The Twin Tiers Yarn Crawl, April 27, is an event intended to stir the hearts of every knitter, with the additional incentive of a passport, picked up at the first shop visited, to be stamped at subsequent stops. Participants are then entered into a chance to win prizes. It’s also “Local Yarn Shop Day,” a fiberholic’s holiday designed to celebrate the unique curatorial sensitivities of each independent fiber emporium’s proprietor, this as opposed to the mass-market predictability of big box purveyors of crafts materials.

The Twin Tiers Yarn Crawl was the brainchild of Jean Gray, owner of Wooly Minded (91 East Market Street, Corning, and “I always thought it would be nice to have a yarn crawl around here,” Jean says, “But there weren’t enough yarn shops in a reasonable radius. When Barbara Vassallo opened Rabbit Row, I thought this could be the opportunity. And that’s how it all came about, in the beginning of 2022.”

Each store might highlight something special. For Jean, last year was a chance to share her excitement about a yarn from locally-raised alpaca. This year she’s planning to highlight the work of a local indie dyer. “Every store will pick out their own thing,” she says. “We want our stores to be their own individual selves.” The spirit is collegial rather than competitive, with each store encouraging their regular customers to visit the others.

“Each shop usually has some specials only available that day,” says Rabbit Row’s owner Barbara Vassallo. “For instance, I carry Megs & Co’s Local Yarn Shop Day colorway in her Organic Merino Sport base. I’m working on having a few trunk shows with new yarns and shop samples to be inspired by. I’ve already lined up Clean Cashmere for an in-shop trunk show. They are farmers providing traceable, US-sourced cashmere with strong ethical and environmental standards. Plus—it’s cashmere!”

Rabbit Row has just moved to its new location at 24 East Market Street (, where there’s added room and an important subtraction—no steps now between sidewalk and entrance. “Each year we’re amazed by how many people come and how far away they come from,” Barbara says. “It’s exciting to meet them and see their projects. And it helps boost the small business community, while the customers get a wide variety. None of the stores carry the same things, so there are so many opportunities.”

Furthest south is the Blossburg Company Store, (224 Main Street, Blossburg,, in a spacious high-ceilinged former restaurant, where proprietor Tonya McNamara can often be seen knitting, or helping someone else with a pattern. She stocks many Pennsylvania-based yarns including Kraemer Yarns, Glenfiddich Yarn from Border Leicester sheep raised in Millerton (some of it blended with silk), and Shetland yarn from Sweet Grass Farm in Wysox. Tonya particularly likes combining two strands of yarn to create new possibilities. She makes kits from these, packaging the yarn with an easy-to-make pattern. Her shop also features the work of other local craftspeople, including handmade baskets and basketmaking supplies, work bags sewn from upholstery fabric, clay buttons, and handwoven rag rugs. She says she’s got a particular soft spot for the rustic yarns of Canadian spinnery Briggs and Little.

“I hope everyone has a lot of fun,” she says. “We all have something a little different.”

Fiber Arts in the Glen (315 North Franklin Street, Watkins Glen, pulls out all the stops. Co-manager Ann Pettit says, “We are absolutely thrilled to be part of this, and we love planning for it! We try to have special things in the shop. This year we’re having a trunk show of Peace Love Yarn. Owner/dyer Liz Fiorimi from Delanson, New York, will be displaying her yarns and garments made from them.” Also on the menu are refreshments and a specially dyed colorway for the shop.

“It’s a wonderful day, a great event,” Ann continues. “Last year four friends from Wisconsin decided to make a weekend of it, also checking out the wineries and restaurants. We also get people from Rochester, Buffalo, Binghamton, and Canada.”

“Too much fun to miss,” says repeat participant Andria Stafford.

Maureen Minds, looking forward to her third Yarn Crawl, says this is a great activity to pursue with a buddy. Last year she and a friend began in Watkins Glen, drove down to Blossburg, then ended the day on her home turf in Corning. “I’m embarrassed to say I bought something at every shop,” she admits. The pair enjoyed the scenery and sense of exploration in their drive around the area, and decided it was a great way to see a range of yarns and shops. “Two thumbs up and highly recommended!” she says.

Last year, Randy Cornell tried his first yarn crawl, and, despite often being mistaken for the designated driver, came home with a lot of yarn. “Before this,” he says, “I worked almost exclusively with worsted weight [heavier] yarn, made a lot of hats and scarves, but I found a pattern with fingering weight yarn.” Together with his exploration of the boldly colored new designs by Steven West, he was encouraged to take new risks with different colors and unfamiliar yarns. But experimenting with knitting isn’t really risky, he adds. “If you don’t like something you’ve done, you haven’t wasted anything. You can just pull it out and use the yarn for something else.” His verdict on the yarn crawl?

“I thought it was magnificent.”

Find out more about the yarn crawl at any of the participating yarn shops or look for the Twin Tiers Yarn Crawl on Facebook.

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