The Hill Country Yarn Crawl took place from October 7th through 16th and I don't know about you, but I'm exhausted! For those of you new to the yarn crawl experience, a bunch of yarn shops (19 this year) in Central Texas (Austin, San Antonio, New Braunfels, etc.) offer free patterns to visitors, daily prizes and feature special fiber artists or specialty yarn trunk shows. You get a stamp in your "passport" and a button from all the shops you visit, and, at the end of the crawl, drawings are held for bigger prizes like knit kits, books or needle sets. The idea is, the more shops you go to, the better the prize!
This was my first year attending, so I was just happy to be on the road, seeing all the cute little towns and meeting more of my fellow fiber-philes. I only ended up making it to 11 of the 19 shops (Texas is a BIG place!), but wanted to share my favorites with you. I found some amazing shops, beautiful yarn and discovered lots of cute little towns along the way. So, if you're a Texas local, or visiting from out of town, make note of these shops and stop in next time you're in town!
1. Hill Country Weavers - Austin, TX
HCW is a must stop for the fiber obsessed in Austin, TX. Of all the shops I visited, they have the best selection of yarn. I've noticed with many shops they either mostly stock big name brands or mostly stock specialty yarn from independent dyers. Which is fine, but sometimes I want a fancy specialty yarn for a hat I'm making for myself (yes, I'm selfish) AND I want a bunch of Cascade 220 for a machine-washable baby blanket. It's great to know I'll be able to find both at HCW. They also offer lots of wonderful classes, from beginner knitting or crochet to advanced color work. My favorite class that I've taken at HCW is their Bohemian Tapestry Weaving class taught by the lovely Drea Peters.
My favorite yarn here: Cascade Magnum and The Fiber Company Road to China
2. Gauge - Austin, TX
Gauge is my personal favorite yarn shop in Austin, and not just because its closest to my house! Gauge always has the best classes and I am IN LOVE with their yarn selection! It's not as expansive as HCW's, but their inventory is so well curated. I especially appreciate their selection of linen and cotton blend yarn. Which, considering it's currently mid-October and still over 80 degrees, is essential for us knitters in warm climates who insist on knitting year round. My favorites yarns to knit with in the summer are all made by Quince & co. and Gauge always has a wide variety of their yarn in stock. Gauge also hosts a knit/crochet night every Thursday from 6:30-8:30 pm. Of note: Bristol Ivy is teaching a series of classes at Gauge November 11-12, 2016. I'm not going to lie, I'm a bit of a Bristol Ivy fan girl!
My favorite yarn here: Quince & co. Kestrel and Quince & co. Sparrow.
3. Ply - Wimberley, TX
This is the cutest shop and it's located in the CUTEST town! Seriously, put down your phone and go to Wimberley, TX....now! And their selection of Madeline Tosh is still giving me my entire life. Ply definitely gets the best location award. I mean, it's a little off the beaten trail, but it is so worth it. Ply is located in the middle of Wimberley's "downtown" area and is surrounded by lots of other shops and restaurants. Not to mention, the country side in that part of Texas is absolutely beautiful, so you won't even mind the drive. So, if you are ever around the San Antonio area, you must take an afternoon to explore this town. Come for the yarn and stay for the small town charm!
My favorite yarn here: Madeline Tosh Merino Light and Anzula Cricket
4. The Quilted Skein - LaGrange, TX
If there were an award for most beautiful shop, it would go to The Quilted Skein. The shop is in a beautiful 150 year old building located on a picturesque street lined with adorable little shops. Going there is like stepping into a Norman Rockwell painting. As the name suggests, they also have a beautiful selection of fabrics and sewing supplies. While you're there, you can also visit the Texas Quilt Museum which is located right next door. Be sure to hit up the local Dairy Queen for an ice cream to complete your perfect Hill Country afternoon. I've passed through LaGrange so many times on my way to Houston, I can't believe this beautiful gem of a store was right under my nose the whole time!
My favorite yarn here: Three Irish Girls Adorn Luxe and Manos del Uruguay Maxima
5. Unraveled - San Antonio, TX
I was only able to make it to three shops in San Antonio but Unraveled was my favorite. They have a lovely selection of specialty yarn from local independent dyers as well as a few big brand staples. Located in the front of the store, right by the window, are a couple of comfy couches that they aptly refer to as their "Stitch N' Bitch" area. And I just love how they have a space purely dedicated to my two favorite activities... stitching and bitching! Unraveled offers weekly knitting and crochet classes and features yarn trunk shows. The day I was there, Savvy Skeins was having a trunk show and I literally got chills when I saw all the piles of beautiful yarn on display! Each skein is truly a work of art. We can't wait to see what brilliant colorways they dream up next.
My favorite yarn here: Savvy Skeins 'I Wanna Be a Mermaid' and 'Always Austin'
These shops are really just the tip of the iceberg. I took lots of pictures and am sharing more of my favorites on Instagram, so be sure to follow us for more Texas Hill Country yarn recommendations.
Did you make it to any of the yarn shops on the crawl this year? Tell us your favorites in the comments!