Considering that there is a non-zero probability that I will combust at temperatures greater than 23℃, I do seem to spend my summers in some dreadful locations. This summer’s treat was heading off to Boston, Massachusetts because I was feeling terribly homesick for Kyoto’s hellish, humid summers.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been to the States and longer still since I’ve been to Boston. I was looking forward to seeing what parts I could remember and of course, visiting somewhere new means getting on the yarn shop trail.
The weather was feeling merciful for the first day of my adventuring. Miserable drizzle and incredible amounts of fog. Thanks to the generosity of one of the Ravelry groups and the joys of Internet searching, I had a hit list of craft places I wanted to see.
However, when I passed by the Boston Aquarium my love of underwater denizens compelled me to go in. I appreciate this is a craft blog but I think the underwater world is a fantastic source of inspiration. It’s a word of unusual shapes, colour and texture. Corals in particular come in some great lurid colours, good excuse to claim as inspiration if you enjoy dyeing and working with those colours!
The first yarn shop on my trail was Newbury Yarns, a yarn store located close to central Boston and the harbour. It’s hidden down a flight of stairs from one entrance or, if you don’t fancy the stairs, you can walk through the Old South Meeting House museum shop on the other side of the building instead.
They stock a good range of yarns, some fabrics and various knitting accessories, from needles to foam blocking mats, yarn washing detergents and lots of patterns and books. It’s a lovely, spacious store and all the staff were incredibly friendly and helpful in terms of pointing out yarns and helping me find some needles. They run regular classes here, so if you’re in the area that would definitely be worth checking out.
In terms of yarns, it’s got a good international selection and some really interesting Italian art yarns. I never used to be able to understand why people bothered making art yarns but now I’ve started weaving they suddenly look a whole lot more interesting, so I ended up buying some lurex with the thought of making my own. There are some gorgeous cashmere blends, hand-dyed especially for the store for those of you with bigger budgets.
The second stop on today’s tour was to Bead + Fibre. Like the name implies, this place is a treasure trove of beads. There’s a good selection of beads from all over the world, from glass to precious stones and assorted vintage bits of brass that may be of interest. There’s an excellent selection of cording materials, from ribbon to leather, as well as a good selection of Miyuki Japanese beads and lots of beading kits if you’re looking to pick up a project to go.
They stock a tiny bit of merino for felting and lots of interesting gadgets, like kits for kumihimo and beading looms, which you rarely see for sale. There are knitting yarns and accessories too, just in case you were worried you had one hobby they didn’t cater to.
There a huge range of classes on offer that look really interesting and although Bead + Fibre isn’t located too close to central Boston (it’s about a 30 minute walk) Harrison Avenue is a really interesting place to visit while you’re there, with a huge number of independent, boutique shops. There’s all sorts from gorgeous hats to stationary as well as a large number of art galleries.
Trying to visit different yarn shops is an excellent way to start exploring and seeing different bits of the city and, if you try to walk everywhere, makes for a good bit of exercise as well. Newbury Yarns is very easy to get to and close to the Red and Orange lines on the subway too but I was glad I ventured out to see Harrison Avenue and a little more of the city. Walking back in the heat wasn’t quite so pleasant but there was plenty more on the list to see.