I did it. I visited 15 Minnesota yarn shops in two days. Over 150 miles. And I did it. I finished the 2016 Minnesota Yarn Shop Hop. It was awesome!
I’ve known about the Hop for years. A few years ago, I visited two or three shops. But I’ve never really, well, hopped in all the way. I hadn’t planned to do more than visit a few stores again this year, but then I visited the Yarn Shop Hop’s website (I seriously need to stay off the internet). It sounded like something I should probably do. Since the last time I participated, I have more fully immersed myself into the knitting lifestyle. I have visited more local shop and decided I needed to visit more. I saw the collectible this year was cute canvas bag and pins for each shop. So I thought, “What the heck. Let’s see how many shops I can visit this year.”
And then I posted this to Twitter:
— Fidgety Knitter (@FidgetyKnitter) April 1, 2016
That was my downfall. I knew what would happen. I know the people in my life. And they are all horrible, horrible enablers. So I took Friday off from work and planned my route. I’m so glad I did.
I visited six stores on the first day and nine on the second. I had planned to split that nine into two days, but Fidgety Husband joined me on day two and as we neared the end, we decided to just finish up the tour in one day. It was tough. We are both exhausted. I spent too much money. And it was so very fun!
According to photos on Instagram, a number of people finished visiting all 15 shops on the first day. I can’t imagine doing the Hop in one day. By splitting the trip between two days, I was able to check in at each store and then look around, which was important to me. With all of the yarn I did purchase, only a few skeins were the ones specially created for the Shop Hop. I browsed the different shops I had never visited and got a sense of their inventory. No shop carried exactly the same yarn or notions and I loved checking out what was out there. And possibly picking out yarn I didn’t need but fell in love with.
On top of checking out the inventory, I had the opportunity to chat with staff and, in some cases, owners. As exhausting as I imagine this weekend was for participating store staff, they were all genuinely welcoming and clearly thrilled to be participating. Living smack-dab in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, I am fortunate enough to have easy access to a lot of really good yarn shops. The Hop gave me the opportunity to visit stores I had never been to (or in a number of cases had never even heard of).
I don’t think I will plan to try to complete the Hop in the future. Aside from being an expensive trip, it was a tiring one, with a lot of time spent in the car. Instead, I will pick some of my favorites from this year and find more opportunities to visit them going forward.
What I couldn’t say no to:
- 16 skeins of yarn (six were planned purchases for several upcoming baby projects)
- 2 project bags (I might have a project bag problem)
- 3 buttons (for the aforementioned baby projects)
- 20 patterns (but they were free)
- 1 notions bag.
This year’s Hop Shops were:
3 Kittens Needle Arts | All About Yarn | Amazing Threads | Crafty Planet | Darn Knit Anyway | Double Ewe Yarn Shop | Knitting from the Heart | Lakeside Yarn | Lila and Claudine’s | Linden Yarn & Textiles | Sheepy Yarn Shoppe | StevenBe | The Yarnery | Twisted Loop Yarn Shop | Unwind Yarn Shop
To make it easier to travel, I created a Google Map of this year’s Hop. Looking to take your own voyage out? Feel free to use my map!
Have you ever done a Yarn Shop Hop? Share your experiences in the comments!