Knitting Angel

Saturday, August 21, 2004

My Review of Shops in Virginia

Did you know that according to Knitting Universe, there are 37 knitting shops in Virginia? Now, I happen to know that that has to be incorrect, because we have a new shop that opened in Richmond not too long ago, and I am sure that there are some that may not be listed. What I do know is that I have visited 10 shops in Virginia and 1 shop in Nashville and here is what I have learned - shops are different as are the owners and the clientele. I love a shop that is friendly! By this I mean that you are greeted when you come in to the store and the sales staff asks if they can help you. If I say that I am just browsing, please come back and check with me after about 10 minutes. I may have found something I want and need your help. Have lots of samples around the shop, many times, its the samples that are in the shop that catch my eye and "force" me to make a purchase. Don't get twisted if I touch the samples - I need to feel yarns to see if I like the feel of them. If I want the design, but not that yarn because it is too expensive, help me to find something comparable without making a face - or being grumpy. Have enough staff in the store on your busier days so that if you are helping me with something that you don't have to stop to answer the phone, or someone else who says - "I just have one question" and it turns in to a 5 minute discussion. Treat me as if I have spent $500 even though I may have just spent $15 .

Now, as I said, I have visited 11 shops in Virginia and Tennessee. I think that I shall talk about my favorites in the next several blogs and ignore the rest.

My most local shop is Orchardside in Raphine. It is a wonderful shop along a river that has many kinds of geese that visit there on a daily basis. Guy raises blackberries and red raspberries in the summer for picking. Carol runs the shop but believe me, when he is not busy elsewhere, Guy is also very knowledgeable about yarns and knitting. It is a wonderful shop full of many different types and prices of yarn. There are lots of samples of sweaters and scarves and shawls around the shop showcasing many different yarns. If you are a regular - or even semi regular, you are greeted by name when you enter the door. Each new person is also generally introduced to the knitters around the table who seem to gather there on a regular basis if you hang around long enough. If you are a newbie to knitting, Carol, Marsha (or even one of the table knitters) will help you to choose a simple (or sometimes not so simple) pattern and some yarn and will give you an impromptu lesson on how to get started. There are many different types of yarns (handpainted, mohairs, wools, cottons, silks, blends) hanging on hooks on the walls, in specially built cubbys on the walls, and in baskets. There is a large coat rack with quilted bags from Elisabeth Austen. There are several turning racks with pattern books and some books hang on walls as well. Don't see what you want, ask Carol or Marsha and they will order it for you. Sit at the table and knit awhile - or just visit with old friends. Carol will offer you a cup of hot herbal tea. Rusty the poodle will come and greet you and if you are really lucky, the peacock will sit on the banister and screech and spread his tail feathers for you. If you are in the Lexington Virginia area - stop in to visit at Orchardside - you'll be glad that you did.


  • At 9:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    carol, guy, and marsha should be proud - this sounds like the perfect yarn shop! you are one lucky knitter, it would be a long drive for me from california. i love your blog, your entries have given me quite a vivid picture. katie is so cute! your shawl is gorgeous, like something you would see in a boutique.
    happy knitting... i'll be checking back!
    your kr secret pal


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