I was going to blog about last weekend's local Yarn Crawl, which is a sponsored event where several yarn or otherwise fiber-y outlets get involved to put in a little extra effort to attract new visitors. The 'Crawl' part is definitely a derivative of PUB CRAWL and is probably only applicable in that, by overindulging, you become intoxicated with all kinds of nummy stuff. I was going to tell you all about that adventure but, silly me, I left the house that morning with something to knit with but without the camera. That and I did not visit half of the shops envolved and don't want to be biased in the little storytelling. Well, maybe next year for that one.
Of the shops I did visit I noticed a few things. Since this was a sponsored event of a specific yarn vendor, lots of the stops had repeatedly the same brands of wooly goodies, but the variety of color was just that ~ a variety. Some were quite large, some were little holes in the wall, some so tidy that I would have felt somewhat uncomfortable to sit and work at something and some had very homey little gathering areas. Visitors and shophelpers alike were smiley and giggly, high on some kind of creative-sugar-drugs-intoxicant and I saw lots of money spent at the majority of these places. . .
So, all in all, I have faith that it was a good event for the shops involved. However, one was completely different and off your beaten path. I hope to re-direct your feet.
Some very young people may not recall, but way back when, a couple of years ago, when children grew up and moved away, the rooms that used to be the place they dreamed, schemed or pouted, practiced smiling, styling and profiling until perfection for public consumption, became the new private areas for their parents where they could now do the things they wanted. Sometimes a new office, sometimes a new workout room, sometimes a new hobby but always the place a parent had for years imagined what they would get to do with that new reclaimed space in their home that they have paid the mortgage for but hadn't really ventured into since the initial move-in date.
Occasionally, that space became mother's sewing room. My mom had, while we were all still at home growing up, a corner of her room where she sewed. It had a sewing machine in a corner that folded down and tucked into a cabinet that had drawers with implements of unspeakable torture, or so your brother may have thought. My brother was often accused of taking the scissors and using them as screwdrivers, which is possible because that's what happened to a lot of the butter knives in the kitchen. Near all this wonderment may have been several baskets or boxes of yarn for her various crochet projects. A few books, lots of dress patterns, gadgets for the sewing machine, works in progress, unfinished projects, forgotten disasters. It was in this corner that I found a knitting instruction book and a pair of green plastic knitting needles and learned a lesson that has kept me company for the majority of my life ~ through anything and anywhere, to knit has been my comfort, my joy, my stress reliever and my anguish.
I'm sure my mom thought that once the space cleared up, she could gather all the boxes, baskets, jars of buttons and tubs of zippers into a new place and her bedroom become the elegant resting spot of the magazines. Mothers today don't have that luxury, I think, because extra space is not often affordable. It seems most people are learning to be content with enough living space to live and everything that can't fit into storage by IKEA is beyond affordability. It's either that or have your family members all stay in one spot for generations, all together, and forfeit privacy and creativity.
One of the stops on this last weekend's Yarn Crawl may be the new age answer to that. Wynona Studios, located in Downtown Oregon City, Oregon, is a very large shop, and completely unique to all the other shops. There is no virgin yarn to purchase. In fact, really, it's not a yarn store although it could answer that need for some. This Wonderland is where a lot of ideas could find fruition. Let's say you had a pair of pants that the hem has come undone on, but you don't have a Singer Sewing machine set up in the non-existent spare room. So, the pair of pants goes into a spot to be done with someday. Let's also add your daughters favorite dress that fit in Pre-school but not in Kindergarten. How about that sweater that grandma sent for a gift which promptly went out to play with your little Mr. Baseball, and became home-plate, acquiring a nasty hole in an inconvenient place and you're not sure now what to do with? Doesn't your husband have some old rock-n-roll t-shirts he'll never wear on the golf course? What if you took that ever-growing accumulation to a place where, for a low membership fee each month, your inventive thoughts could run amok and all of those things could be mended, fixed, re-created, or just plain recycled into something new, wonderful and completely usable once again?
Wynona Studios is, quite literally, the room you thought you would gain when your kids moved out. JJ, with her mom Linda and her high-school daughter Emma, took Great-grandma Wynona's personal stash of wonders and opened a large space with several work stations for all kinds of fun. Lots of little wonders can be found right near the door which include yarn RECYCLED from thrift store finds, local fiber that can be spun and some that has, lots of little goodies and do-dads that have to be touched, admired and taken home. There's a fireplace with comfy chairs and a large screen TV above just for fun but surrounded by a better collection of craft books than my local library has. JJ's current knitting project can probably be found near a chair there. Emma has become quite a proficient at spinning with drop spindles, but there is a couple of spinning wheels there she could use if she could be pinned to one spot. Linda supervises from the back of the shop over several sewing machines of different kinds, from the simple to the more technologically advanced. On the walls are the projects visitors have finished and become proud of, shelves of quilting supplies and odds and ends to complete any and every sewing need. There are often racks of drying wool, recently cashmere, moist completed projects are blocked and drying, a child's play area ~ after all, Mommy's playing, so is little sister and baby brother. The shop is protected by a very little patient dog, Wilson, aka Willie, a Japanese Chin mix from the Humane Society, who waits for someone to sit in his favorite chair so he can hop into their lap and examine them up close and if they pass inspection, take a nap in their lap. Lots of wonderful displays of things, little sheep figures on the mantel above the fireplace, there is also two window displays next to the front doors that change often with the seasons, JJ's personal stash of pretty sock yarn are displayed in the coffee table like a rainbow of wool from around the world.
I'm sure their Grandma Wynona would feel at home there, I know my grandmother would have been. My Grandfather, too, could have brought some of the quilts he entered into contests for cash prizes in his youth when his money was hard-won and too infrequent. I hope to take my mom there someday, I'm sure she'll tell me stories of some of her crafting adventures, where she doesn't venture much anymore due to her failing eyesight. Someday, I may take my daughter so she can see that a cherished item can be salvaged and made new, different and unique, just like she is.
You can stop by there too. Check out the class schedule. Let JJ plan a crafty party for you and your friends. Sit near me on the brocade chairs while I knit and tell me where you've been, I've missed you, but I'd love to see your smiling face, and my challenge will be to make you laugh till we get our fill.
(This was the window display at Wynona Studios last November: knitted turkey, rolls, corn on the cob, etc. Not 2007, didn't realize the date stamp had been turned on. . . )