Friday, January 26, 2018

This is where to read a Churchmouse newsletter

One day in December as I was rushing around at home with my phone in my hand, and simultaneously checking e-mails and texts to make sure there was nothing urgent to deal with, I noticed two very important things.  I had a new email from Churchmouse Yarns and Teas, and I was standing in front of this:

Obviously the right thing to do was to fling myself down on the sofa in our bedroom and immediately read that e-mail, and then go to the Churchmouse site for more eye candy.  Which is what I did, giving myself a five minute break that felt as refreshing as a long nap on a chilly, snowy day.

Churchmouse Yarns and Teas is for me the ultimate fantasy yarn shop.  If I could go to Bainbridge Island and shop there... well, I can't even imagine how amazing a vacation that would be.  It's like an otherworld in which everything is perfectly curated and beautiful and accompanied by a steaming cup of tea, and there are no biting insects or cold viruses, ever.

It can't be easy to run a yarn shop, can it.  I mean, as compulsive as we may all be about our knitting, there is only so much yarn we can use!  And yet a shop has to stock so very much yarn, in reliable dye lots.  The only answer is to build a community loyal enough to keep buying what yarn is needed, at full price and in that particular place... then keep them engaged in using said yarn so they keep working through their stash.  An online shop that's an extension of the feeling you'd get in person is a bonus but must be just as challenging, requiring expert photography and web design.

As it happens I haven't bought a lot of yarn from Churchmouse, because I really do have too much (and in fact, got rid of quite a lot last month because I finally accepted I did not have space to store it all!)  But I have bought several of almost all the tools Churchmouse offers, and a good number of the knitting patterns as well.  When I do get a parcel from them it's so perfectly packed in gentle tissue I let out a little sigh of gratitude for that glimpse into the ideal world they've created, where we are all cared for and nurtured as by the most loving of moms.  

Yarn stores: they are so much more than their yarn!

I found Churchmouse through its patterns but I found PurlSoho when Emily of Viola yarns tipped me off about what a rabbit hole of project ideas it is.  It's got a cooler, temperature-wise, aesthetic than Churchmouse but it covers sewing as well as knitting and crochet so... equally satisfying on a day when you are looking for a sense of No Clutter Creativity.  And if you subscribe, their newsletter includes free patterns.

That particular day I described above was the first time I got to use our bedroom sofa for something other than putting on socks.  Those two big pillows are too bright a white for decorating success, but they are a dream for neck support, and from that spot you can look out at our tree and any clouds that are drifting by.  It's pretty great, but having all that as a backdrop while losing yourself in the Churchmouse site is even better.

Do you have a favourite escapist craft site to share?

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