Thursday, May 11, 2006

St. Paul MN yarn shops

I was in St. Paul, Minnesota last month and visited three yarn shops: Three Kittens, The Yarnery, and Borealis Yarns.

1) Three Kittens Yarn Shoppe has a lot to offer the serious knitter (oodles of yarn crammed into every available space, large selection of buttons) but they had a temporary? odor problem. I'm not a delicate flower about odors so it had to be pretty bad if it chased me out of the store early. Otherwise I could've easily spent an entire day looking at all the yarn -- and boy do they have plenty of yarn -- and daydreaming. Don't pass up an opportunity to visit this shop if you're in the Twin Cities. (I'm assuming the problem is temporary because nobody else has mentioned it in their online reviews.)

2) The Yarnery is smaller but easy to love, they were having a 20% off everything sale! I left with a few skeins of super-cheap Plymouth Encore DK to make a zip-up-the-back hoodie for my brother's baby. (Photo coming soon, I just need to block it and sew in the zipper.) The shop interior is clean and organized, which isn't what I expected from a yarn shop that's been in business for 30+ years -- you know how cluttered those can be (see Three Kittens). I'm assuming they moved or remodelled in the recent past because really, the shop looks like a new yarn shop located in an old house. My only complaint, and it's not a deal-breaker, is the pattern closet. They have about two-three dozen pattern binders, which is a lot more than the average shop, but they're stored in a tiny closet. This makes it hard for more than one person to browse the patterns at a time. Ideally people would grab the binder they want and look through it at the nearby table to free up closet space but some people are oblivious to other shoppers breathing down their necks.

3) Borealis Yarns was the third and final shop we visited. By then my desire to look at yarn I can't afford had been sated (and I was eager to see my brother) so we breezed in and out and didn't give it a fair shake. They had the cutest Fiber Trends hedgehogs on display, which is the best use of novelty yarn I've seen. I dare you to click on that link to see just how cute. I wouldn't mind going back to Borealis but it'll be the first stop so I'm not yarned out by the time I get there.

8 comments:

Susan said...

Borealis is now my most favorite yarn shop. It is clean like the Yarnery, more spread out and the sock yarns are to die for!

Are you going to the SSP?

Kristi said...

I live near Seattle so I won't make it to the Twins SSP -- but I could attend the Mariners Stitch n Pitch.

Was I wrong about the Three Kittens problem being temporary, is it always smelly in there? It reminded me of a litterbox that badly needs cleaning (didn't see any cats) and my mom thought it was a break in the sewer line.

cori said...

how funny, i just found your post looking for info on plymouth encore yarn that i got at the St. Paul Saints SSP tonight! weird how things work. why were you in St. Paul?

I totally agree with you on the odor issue at the Three Kittens! I couldn't stand the shop when I visited it, gosh it had to be over a year ago! I think it might be from the cigar/smoke shop 2 shops down??? All I know is that I couldn't find what I was looking for/couldn't figure out the layout of the store and it smelled so badly that I just wanted out. I also wasn't helped out much when I was asking where specific yarn was. I haven't been back since and don't even include it in my mental inventory of local yarn stores...

kmkat said...

The Yarnery is indeed in a new location. When I first was taken there over 30 years ago it was in a [different] old house on a small residential street not too far from where it is now located. The old store seemed larger than the new one, in my memory at least. I don't know when they moved.

Three Kittens: I haven't been there since about 2000 because it is so hard to get to, but they didn't have an odor problem then. I'm sorry to hear about it -- hope it was indeed temporary.

Erika said...

I love The Yarnery, but I know what you mean about the space. Borealis is awesome. It's also adjacent to a cute little cafe. I mean, you can walk right into it from Borealis. Little tables outside to sit at as well. I was only there once, about 20 minutes before closing time. I do intend to get back there.

As for Three Kittens: I've never heard of it until I read your blog. I'll look it up, but it wouldn't surprise me if they've closed.

Erika said...

Ooops, I was wrong. There's a Three Kittens in Lilydale. It's strange that whenever I've googled yarn shops in the Twin Cities it's never shown up. Live and learn.

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