Traveling Yarns

Throughout my travels, I have continued to collect yarn at each place I’ve been.  At the end of June, I arrived directly back from the UK, via an extra 24 unwanted hours in Chicago due to weather. I found my car, a shower, and my pre-packed second suitcase of clothing at a friend’s in Indianapolis and then drove three hours to Urbana OH. Urbana held the Clergy Meetings and the Annual Convention of the Swedenborgian Church of North America, my denomination and the group that I am seeking ordination with.

580249_10151569647929094_1245221275_n After I had my ordination interview with the clergy I settled into the General Convention meetings and brought out my handwork.  I sat next to my good friend Sage, who was knitting a sweater.  She wanted to know the story of the project and when I told her, she offered a length of the soft, rich green yarn that she was knitting her sweater from for this leg of the journey.  Lovely!

My next migration was driving West…to my half-way point on the move, Boulder Colorado.  The next two weeks were spent with the joy of taking care of three dear children in my life.  The eight year old is an avid knitter and he wanted to learn how to crochet, as did his younger sisters. So we all played with yarn a fair amount in the time we spent together.  I added some strands from their projects into the mix…


My next stop was Almont Summer Camp, a Swedenborgian Church camp in Michigan.  The lectures on the Seven Days of Creation each morning were prime handwork times.  I was clear a day or so in that I’d need to find some red and white yarn for this section.  The camp is swathed in red and white, the colors that have been flown over the camp since it’s inception, embodying Swedenborg’s teaching that red represents love and white wisdom, the essence of everything.

And then back in Colorado for a few weeks. I think I may have to use this as an excuse to go down to my favorite Boulder yarn store and find a little something….

Threads Throughout the United Kingdom

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What fun I had finding yarn in the United Kingdom.

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I found most of it on my time on the Island of Iona. Two of the skeins I found in a little shop down in the village, one from England and one from Wales.  


The third yarn I got was raised right there on Iona. I even got to meet the sheep and the woman who raises the sheep and sells the yarn. It was spun at a manufacture across the isle, but besides that short trip, born, harvested and sold on the island of Iona.

2013-06-12 09.46.28My final UK yarn came to me on our very last evening in the country.  We were in Sheffield England with a group of incredibly kind and hospitable church groups.  One of the women saw me working on the project during our workshop with John Bell and asked me about it afterwards. I told her about how I was gathering yarn along my way. Later that evening she came back with some red and blue yarn from a project she’d been working on.


Red and blue for the UK colors of course.  I was touched and wove it right in.

2013-06-12 09.46.06Thanks to the people and sheep of the United Kingdom for adding their threads to my journey.


New York Yarn

Part of the Pilgrimage Summer 2013 Series

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Well…that basically tells the story…

After this failed attempt I didn’t have time to search out another yarn store during my short and glorious time in New York.

But the time there was deeply meaningful and needed to be marked.  So the day after I got back to Indiana I had dinner with a dear friend who wanted to know all about my travels. After telling her about my time in the city, the vibrant shows I took in, the powerful swirling of Spirit-led connections and opportunities at The Riverside Church, and the deep joy and and inspiration I found worshiping with St. Lydia’s Table, we agreed that these needed to be marked in the pilgrimage shawl. So, we went to Hobby Lobby.
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I know…neither small, nor local, nor overflowing with culture, and connection. But full of beautiful yarn none the less. And accompanied by fabulous conversation as we roamed the aisles and found a fancy brocade to represent some aspects of my trip and a glorious vibrant rainbow to represent others.

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These have yet to be woven into the shawl, as the last 24 hours have been filled with paying bills, doing laundry and re-packing. But they are sitting in a nice stack to be taken on the long long plane ride tomorrow where I will weave them in and honor the time in New York City.
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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.


Nashville Yarn

Part of the Pilgrimage Summer 2013 Series

As part of my summer adventures, I am crocheting a long scarf, a prayer shawl, for which I am gathering yarn each place I go. One of my hopes in this venture is to get to know local people and connect in with the communities I’m traveling to. And what better way to connect with people than through a shared love of color and yarn!

Athena and Jesse and I scoured the internet to find the best yarn shop in Nashville and we and google agreed that the Haus of Yarn was the place to go. Athena and I got in the car on the rainy Friday afternoon and after a few misled turns on the GPS, arrived at the Haus.

It was a lovely full-fledged local yarn shop, overflowing the colors and textures and I quickly was lost in looking and feeling. They had one shelf of local yarn, which was my first choice, but then was quickly out of the running based on the price-tag… I narrowed it down to three good choices under $10 and decided on a knobby green variegated.

When I took it up to the register, I pulled out the beginnings of the shawl and told them about the project. A minute later three women were all crowded around the counter and feeling the existing yarn and asking about where else I would be on the hunt for yarn shops. They were very friendly when I asked if I could take their picture and they insisted I take a small gift of a tape measure with their Haus of Yarn logo proudly displayed.

After going outside, Athena and I stopped and I quickly finished off a bookmark with the newly found yarn woven in and ran it back inside to reciprocate the gift. Thank you Nashville!