On another grey, rainy day I thought I'd plan my next theoretical yarn crawl, this one in my little neck of Midcoast Maine. Working our way up, starting in Freeport:
Grace Robinson: You can see the sign for Fine Yarns and Needlepoint from I-295 (directions on their website). It's a large, open store with an entire garment rack of samples. They carry Rowan, Colinette, Berocco, Dale of Norway, Mountain Colors and many others. I've only been there once, and the shop didn't have that warm, cosy feeling of the modern yarn shops, though that could have been because I was the only customer at that moment. They were nice, but the vibe was more the old-style yarn shop where customers follow flat-knit patterns to the letter, even using the same color yarn as in the pattern, and then pay someone who works for the shop to sew the sweater up for them. But maybe that's just me. They had a great selection of yarns, and if you are in Freeport and can't convince your traveling companions to drive a few more miles north, you will find yarn to satisfy your itch. They do also have a large selection of needlepoint supplies, so I will take my mom there when my parents visit. Open daily.
But if you can drive a few miles further North, take the Route 1 Midcoast exit and head to Brunswick where you will find "YARN" (as in a big sign proclaiming "YARN" on the front of a charming Victorian set back from the road) at Purl Diva. This is really my LYS-away-from-home. Ellen is awesome and has been the Diva for three years. Before that she was an Upper-West-Sider, so we have more than just a love of yarn in common. There is a wall of hand-dyed sock yarn to set you drooling right when you walk in. She stocks Fleece Artist, Madeline Tosh, Malabrigo, Berocco, Peace Fleece, Dream in Color, Misti Alpaca, Sheep Shop, Lorna's Laces, and many others, as well as tons of patterns, books, needles, notions, and some fiber, too. The last time the whole family visited, Nick said he now understood about the wool fumes. If you're hungry, stop at the Brunswick Diner (wonderful lobster rolls amongst other things), then, when you pull out of their parking lot continuing North on Route 1, get ready to turn right at the next street and you're there! Purl Diva is set back from the road a little, and be sure to park in back. Closed on Tuesdays
If you have any yarn money left and would like a cuppa while browsing, don't turn left at the intersection after leaving Purl Diva and head for The Knitting Experience Cafe where you will find the big red couch, coffee and tea, and yarns such as Blue Sky Alpacas, Jojoland, Noro, Spunky Eclectic, and more. When checking out the website (where you can order yarn if not on a yarn crawl), be sure to check out the About Us section and then consider making a Knitted Knocker. They are right behind the Curtis Library, which has it's annual book sale the weekend before Independence Day, which you might also want to visit. Closed on Sundays.
Now, get yourself back to Route 1-North and head to Bath, which is both charming with its antique houses and cobbled sidewalks and a real, working town with Bath Iron Works building ships to order. Once you're under the bridge you will see the big, old warehouse that houses Halcyon Yarn on your left at the light. Turn! If you knit, crochet, spin, weave, braid rugs, tat lace, or dye fiber or yarn, you will be so excited to visit. It's a big place, and there is a lot to see including Brown Sheep, Misti Alpaca, JaggerSpun, Noro, Malabrigo, Halcyon's Signature Collection, and more. There is also a room filled with books (and a little gas stove for those chilly days), plenty of notions, and bargain bags, not to mention the baskets of fiber off to the right. Open daily in the summer (closed on Sundays the rest of the year).
Now, go have something to eat at Byrne's Irish Pub or Café Creme, which has free WiFi, so you can add all your purchases to your Stash on Ravelry, or Marnee's Cookie Bistro, which also has WiFi, then get yourself back to Route 1-North and head over the bridge to Woolwich. Yes, Woolwich.
A couple of miles along you will see a "YARN" sign on the left. Follow the signs and visit the lovely farm full of sheep, goats, rabbits, chickens, ducks, and rabbits and, more importantly, the yarn shed. You have reached Romney Ridge Farm, home of hand-dyed and sometimes even hand-spun yarny goodness. Kelly is very talented and clearly loves her flock. I enjoy reading her blog, too, which allows me the adventure of having a sheep farm without having to get up so early. My sister's Sassymetrical is from their yarn. I can hardly wait to visit again this year. Open daily, Sundays by chance.
Here's hoping the weather improves!