There was not as much colonial fiber culture in Williamsburg as I was hoping for – then again, maybe I expect more than the average person. I saw a sign for a weaving demonstration by a colonial re-enactor, but since we were there later in the day, we missed the demo. I saw plenty of hand sewn clothing (on sale, no less) but very few sewing machines or the looms used to produce the fabrics. Textiles and fiber culture are a large part of the material culture of any group of people throughout history, yet, they are so often overlooked. Presumably, the fiber arts are seen as such a regular routine task – like cooking – that they are not discussed.
Luckily the “fiber culture” is alive and well within the walls of the yarn shops of the Williamsburg, Virginia area!
Knitting Sisters is not in the colonial area of Willamsburg, but is in a nearby village center. The shop is so cute and has a great selection of yarns, books, and accessories. I particularly liked their kits that the store owners put together – I was tempted by a beautiful cabled pullover in a lovely plum colorway of Noro Cash Iroha. Then I remembered the bins of yarn at my own home, and I decided to check out the books instead. I did find some goodies there:
I didn’t plan it, but it just so happened that the yarn shop was across the street from the conference hotel! My second find was a little bit of serendipity as well… we were walking through historic Yorktown – known for its Revolutionary War battlefield and its historic downtown section. I was looking over the map and saw a shop called Colonial Fiber Arts. I mentioned that I wanted to “just walk by” to check it out. I am so glad that we did. It is a lovely fiber shop – with looms, spinning wheels, roving, dyes, and some lovely yarns too.
…and I found something too pretty to pass by…
This was one of the beautiful handspun blends produced by the spinners at the shop. These two hanks are a wool and hemp blend (60/40) and have 250 yards each. The price was quite reasonable, and the yarn is unique. Although I don’t have a pattern in mind yet, I think it would make a lovely stole. My yarn “diet” has been quite strict of late, but I felt like this yarn was a worthy “cheat”. I liked the idea of supporting the local spinners and using the beautiful natural fibers… well, that and the deep red totally mesmerized me.