A Dream Road Trip

A couple of weeks ago, a fellow "hooker" who meets with us on Wednesday nights at the store sent me a link to a beautiful website by a woman who was hooking exclusively with 3ply yarns, approximately the same type of hooking that I've been doing.
It was lovely to see the beautiful traditional designs that Margaret Arraj of Mill River Rugs was producing. I happened to notice in a corner of my brain that she lived somewhere in Massachusetts. I stored that info away in case I might have the chance someday to do a road trip and visit her studio, as well as several other tempting locations that I pass regularly on the Mass Pike on my semi regular trips to Boston to visit family.
To my wonder and amazement, a whole pile of details fell into place just days later and the opportunity arose for me to make the dream trip! I couldn't believe my good fortune -- I immediately emailed Margaret and was welcomed last Monday, Aug. 17th so warmly to her beautiful home studio on the gentle banks of a lovely... (you guessed it) river by a mill.
Please link www.millriverrugs.com/gallery.html to see for yourself Margaret's exquisite work.

The wonderful thing for both of us was that we were like long lost hooking sisters reunited, as rug hookers who use yarn are a rare breed indeed with the major exception of Cheticamp rug hooking from Cape Breton - but that yarn is extremely fine, not like our style at all.

For me, hooking with yarn only makes sense as I have enough yarn at my disposal to hook a rug roughly the size of a small European country in every imaginable colour. Better yet, hooking with yarn is ridiculously easy and still maintains a sturdy durability and gorgeous surface texture. Margaret and I spent a lovely hour or two exchanging ideas, resources and I came away inspired to run away to a cabin on a mountain with my burlap, hooks and ...oops. I guess if I run away to said cabin I wouldn't have the yarn to hook with. Besides I would desperately miss my family, and my knitting, and the store, and the folks there, and the newsletter, and... Oh well, I'll just have to be like the rest of the world and settle for revelling in my passion when I get the time to squeeze it in between the other lovely distractions of life.

Speaking of my yarn life: Margaret also put me on the road to 2 great yarn stores in the vicinity of Northampton MA. (just 15 min. north on I-91, off the Mass Pike if you're in the area.)

The first was Northampton Wools, a terrific shop right in the very centre of a most lovely town. It's actually 2 shops, one with fashion and adult natural fibres, the other one focusing more on baby and kids styles. Great idea. Linda Daniels, the owner, has been in business at that location for over 20 years. She was very sweet and I was glad to be able to share ideas with another fellow traveler on the yarn store journey.

In a completely different vein, just down the street from Linda's shops is Webs Yarn Store. This is some big operation: to put it into context: on a Monday in August (not exactly prime knitting season), they had at least a dozen staff people working diligently and there was still a bit of a line up at the cash.
But for those of you whose only experience with yarn SUPERstores is Romni Wool in Toronto, you wouldn't believe this place: immaculate, everything beautifully displayed, more samples on display than we've had in our store in the past 5 years, and very friendly and helpful service to boot. I was surprised to see on their blog that the store is owned by a couple: Kathy and Steve. Let me tell you, these folks know their business, and that business is making people feel good about their knitting, spinning and weaving.
It's always a good idea to get out from behind the cash and from in front of the computer and see a bit of what the rest of the world is doing. It's like giving your brain an invigorating spa experience.