Boston Yarn


Part of the Pilgrimage Summer 2013 series

Though I already had yarn from Massachusetts, I had yet to find yarn in Boston. Not because I hadn’t looked. In fact the yarn shop that got the best reviews was right down the street from where I’m staying. I was excited to find that fact, until I walked by and learned from a small sign on their front door that they were to be closed until mid-June for renovations.

This was not the only yarn shop in the city though, there were a few others that popped up, and I kept them in mind as the week went on. But it wasn’t until my last evening in Boston that I was out and about and had the chance to go find it.

My aunt and cousin and I met up for dinner and decided to go on a ramble before we ate. After checking out some of the sights on Beacon Hill, we headed towards the Commons and the Gardens and I asked how they’d feel about adventuring six or seven blocks past the Gardens in search for yarn. They were both agreeable with this plan and we found ourselves walking down Newbury Street. My aunt pointed out the block where the Swedenborg Book Store used to be back in the day, now blending into a row of high-end shops.

And in and amongst shoes stores and men’s suits, tucked down in a bright basement space, we found Newbury Yarns. I knew from the website that the owner had a great story and it seemed like a community-based spot. We were greeted at the door and welcomed in not only to the shop, but with the information that that evening they were having a “Yarn Tasting” and the artist responsible for the irresistible hand-dyed alpaca that was tantalizingly displayed near the front door was there.

It only took me a few short strokes to fall in love with a baby alpaca, multi-colored blend that just asked to be touched and stroked on one’s cheek. I dutifully looked through the rest of the shop, a lovely collection of yarns to be sure, but nothing quite measured up to that alpaca. It was a little over my $10 limit, but surprisingly not much more, and the artist herself was there. It had to be the one.

I went back and met the artist, who didn’t seem that interested in my yarn collecting story, and hesitated when I asked if I could get her picture, saying it was a bad hair day. I will respect her hesitation and not post her picture here. I thanked her for her artistry and purchased the locally raised, hand dyed yarn with appreciation.

And happily walked out with a soft and beautiful addition to the tapestry.


Yarn in Western Mass


Part of the Pilgrimage Summer 2013 Series

Okay, I’ve done it. I’ve gone to the pinnacle of all yarn shopping experiences and I’m only on my second yarn shop. It’s like buying the 8″ canvas before practicing on scrap paper, or eating at a five star restaurant and then expecting to enjoy your local diner. Today I went to Webs.

That’s Webs American Yarn Store. A store so well-known in the fiber world that it’s website is: A store that I see posted about on Facebook at least semi-annually when Emily, Becky, and Nancy pilgrim there and post pictures that make any knitter drool. Yes, I went to Webs.

Thanks to my dear host and pastoral mentor Sarah, who scheduled it as a meeting on her calendar today. After the Ecumenical Bible study, where I got to meet her local colleagues, and before lunch at the local feeding program and homeless shelter, we went to Webs.

Being on a time budget, I had to take in quickly the rows and rows of color in the showroom. Shelf after shelf of alpaca and wool, vibrant magentas, and subtle greens. The showroom is larger than most yarn shops and each shelf is overflowing with texture and color. I kept my eyes focused at shelf level, only occasionally letting my gaze drift upwards to the beautiful projects gracefully displayed on top of each case. If I’d started fingering each sweater and wondering about the stitch in each shawl, well, we would have been very late to lunch.

Then Sarah pointed out the sign: “Warehouse.” I could barely go in. It seemed borderline sacrilegious to even think about walking in for “only five minutes.” I paid homage to the first few rows and then bowed and promised my return when I had a day and a paycheck to spend in appropriate engagement with the wealth.


Back in the showroom I found the yarn. A wool, cotton, silk and angora mix. Mixed into a stream of vibrant colors, appropriately indicating the depth and variety of experiences I’ve had here.

Thank you Web’s…may we meet again in the future.