Thursday, June 21, 2012

Roving Crochet Reporter: Yarn Venture 2012

Those of us in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area are familiar with the Yarn Hop and with Shepherd’s Harvest.  The Hop is a coordinated event in which participants visit fourteen different independent yarn shops over a four-day period; Harvest is an event promoting local fiber producers (farms, that is) and local yarn shops.  But have you ever heard of YarnVenture?  YarnVenture is a combination Hop/Harvest, with participants visiting venues up and down Highway 52, from Northfield to Winona.  Instead of the free patterns and featured yarns of the Hop, YarnVenture shops hand out goodie bags (obviously, not as many do the Venture as do the Hop).  CTC members Lynn and Melanie (and friends) made the trip June 16th for the 2012 event.  This is Melanie’s report.

We met in New Market and drove to Northfield Yarns.  This store has been there for about a year.  We were the first customers of the day and were really impressed with the store.  They had a wide variety of yarns and reasonable prices.  I am basing my pricing opinion by looking at one particular yarn, the sort not found at national craft chain stores.  The price in Northfield and online from the manufacturer were the same.  We made note that Northfield will be the perfect place for a day trip in the future:  great yarn store, fun other shops, good place for lunch, close to home!  Win, win, win, win.  Northfield also had "art" along the river on Saturday.

From there we drove to Cannon Falls.  We headed to What in Yarnation and highly approved of their new location!  Nice store, good goodie bag, but my comparison yarn was much more expensive here.

Off to a sheep farm at Zumbrota.  We didn't miss the turn because of the great sign we saw along the road.  (YARN with a skein of red  hanging over it.)  We met Kevin and Marshmallow, the sheep, as well as a mean kitten, Tom the turkey and all the chickens.  The shop owner spins.  LOTS of spinning wheels.  She was so kind we were hoping our excitement of moving on to the next store didn't show too much.

From there we headed into Zumbrota to BeeLighted.  This store had the best goodie bag EVER!!!!!
 The picture shows the yarn bombed light pole out front.  (Note:  later I asked the girls if we saw any yarn in that store - which we did, but I couldn't remember because they also had so many fun gifts.)  The goodie bag included a free greeting card coupon from the store down the street, as well as a free glass of wine with a purchase coupon at the sandwich shop across the street.  We headed out to get our free greeting card.  Mine cost me $30!!  The shop owner said she was going to include a coupon for 20% off but thought a free greeting card would be better and I agreed.  We never would have gone into the store for 20% off clothing.  They had clothing, gifts, jewelry, bags, cards, etc.  Just a cute, fun store.  We headed across the street for lunch and a free glass of wine.  The sandwiches were wonderful, as was the glass of wine!  The streets of Zumbrota were lined with lawn chairs reserving spots for the 4:00 parade celebrating Covered Bridge Days.

On to Rochester.  We were ready for dessert at McDonalds after we visited Hank & Purl's.  Cute shop.  Small, reminded us of Knitter's Pallet, only smaller.  Once again we received a free goodie bag!!  WOO HOO!!!  What a way to make us feel special!!  This is the store that had the "Knit in Public" tent set up.  (We missed that by a couple of hours.)  How is it that McDonald's seems to be everywhere, but you can't get to one when you need one???  (Wrong lane to exit; mixed up directions, etc.)

We were on our way down Hwy. 52 and on to I90 without a McDonald's stop.  Winona, here we come!!  We passed a McDonald's on the way to Yarnology.  Yes, we drove right past.  If there was any chance we would be eligible for a goodie bag, McDonalds could wait!!  Winona was in the middle of celebrating Steamboat Days.  Main Street was blocked off for tractors, food vendors, classic cars, etc. We made it into the beautiful new Yarnology store and were warmly greeted by the owner, but too late for a goodie bag.  This store was beautiful and spacious.  The price of my comparison yarn was just a little higher than the online price  We also saw some uncommon yarn brands, which was a plus.  They had a nice knitting/crocheting area in the center of the store and a huge table in back for classes.  It was a nice store, worthy of the YarnVenture but too far from home (Winona is a drive!).

FINALLY we got to McDonalds!!  What a relief.  Restroom and McFlurry!  Whew!  Does life get any better??

On the road again, with ears popping as we climbed up from the river valley; the route was very scenic and beautiful.  We stopped in Rochester at Hobby Lobby for a little while and then off to Zumbrota for gas.  It was after 6:00 and the 4:00 parade was still going on!  Perhaps taking in Zumbrota for Covered Wagon Days should be on the calendar in the future!

We were back in New Market twelve hours after we left, still as giddy and happy as when we started out that day!  Go figure!!!  We were relieved that the weather cooperated - yes we drove through rain a couple of times, but it never got stinkin' hot like we expected it would.  It was a perfect day.  I'm definitely putting this on my calendar for next year!  It was well worth it!!!

Thanks, Melanie!  And let the rest of us know the dates next year so we can put it on our calendars as well.