This weekend is so many things! On Saturday, April 21st we’ve got inaugural LYS Day (Local Yarn Shop Day) as well as Local Record Store Day, which began in 2007. (Can I just take a moment to appreciate that my hobby and Dylan’s hobby both have a day dedicated to shopping local and it happens to be the same day?!?!) And then on Sunday, April 22nd it’s Earth Day as well as my niece’s First Communion. Considering the honor of attending the latter, we will not be visiting the former because we’re headed to Florida for the weekend, but we will certainly be celebrating our favorite local spots in spirit. But the very first Local Yarn Shop Day is as good a reason as any to Roam on over to my LYS.
Local Yarn Shop
What is it that makes a Local Yarn Shop more than just a store that sells yarn that is close to where you live? Is it the friends you meet there and engage with? Is it the atmosphere of welcome and creativity? Is it the events they host that broaden your horizons? Is it their ethos of conscious and commendable practices? Is it the abundance of drool-worthy (local, indie, small batch, handmade, one-of-a-kind, USA made, incredibly cool) merchandise lining the shelves that speaks to your heart? Is it that the “shop” embodies all of these things, inspiring you daily on your maker journey? Why yes, yes it is.
Echoview Fiber Mill
One LYS that encompasses all these things, and so much more is Echoview Fiber Mill in Weaverville, NC. And in honor of the first ever LYS Day, I’d like to count the ways that this place is truly a gem.
I’ve never met so many great people in one place at one time! Every time I go to Echoview, whether it’s to participate in craft night, take a workshop, partake in a community art project, tour the mill, or browse the shop, I meet and engage with wonderful people. Echoview is a place that values community, and consistently provides the space for friendships to be made.
The “spaceship,” as the locals affectionately refer to the building because of it's unique architecture is remarkable in the, “I must see what goes on in there” kind of way. It is a modern, Scandinavian-esque Gold LEED certified, sustainable mill that uses solar energy and rainwater for many day-to-day operations. There are windows everywhere and light floods the space with joy and energy.
The first thing you’ll see when you walk in the door is a community gathering space of seats and a couch, and a little electric fireplace. It doesn’t get more, “come on in, sit down, and get crafty.” But if you need any more encouragement to spike your creative vibe, then all you need to do is take a peek in their boutique. The shelves display Echoview’s beautifully spun yarn (brought to you by the animals living on their 78-acre sustainable farm), as well as dye tools (there’s a garden outside where they grow and harvest botanicals for natural dyeing), macrame supplies, knitting and crochet notions, locally designed and made gifts, and books. They also sell local honey and crafts, as well as eco-friendly household goods such as community-made dryer balls.
From upstairs you can get a birds eye view of the mill floor with it’s many machines and busy bees working. Floor to ceiling windows into the mill provide the opportunity to see how fiber is processed through every stage from fleece to hank. It is a labor of love, folks, and it is a real treat to watch the care and creation happening below. (Every Friday at 1pm you can take the mill tour where you actually learn what each machine does, as well as get to see/feel/smell the fiber at various stages of processing!)
Also upstairs, there is another light-filled, welcoming space where workshops are held. If you want to see looms, or peruse their library (where you can, just as in a library, check out books on any number of crafts), you are welcome to take a peek inside any time. And at the end of the hall upstairs is the impressive knitting machine, and several sewing machines because after all, Echoview designs and makes goods from their local fiber in addition to making the fiber for you to create goods out of!
Bi-monthly craft nights, workshops, community events and projects. You name it, Echoview is hosting it. I have been to multiple craft nights where crafters of all kinds are welcome, and yummy food is shared. I look forward to it every other week. As you may know from previous posts, I’ve also participated in a community art project that Echoview co-hosted (yarn bombing a building downtown) and took a natural dye class at Echoview.
They offer knitting/crochet/weaving/macrame workshops as well as unique craft workshops such as spoon carving and seed beading. This very weekend, in honor of Earth Day, Echoview is hosting a ‘clothing-swap’ where everyone is invited to donate their gently worn clothing/shoes/accessories in exchange for being able to ‘shop’ through what has been brought by others that may find a new life in your closet. In addition to the festivities of the clothing swap, there will also be an indigo dye bath, demonstrations on how to mend clothing, and snacks and refreshments. (I’ll be there next year, Echoview, pinkie promise.)
Echoview is about sustainability - from farming to processing to designing. That much we’ve covered. But I want to share an excerpt from a little booklet I have about Echoview that will give you some broader insight to their “think globally, act locally” ethos that translates into everything they do.
"At Echoview, we want to inspire our community, our state, and our country to believe in the power of American manufacturing. This country is a tapestry of hard work, ingenuity and independence. Every thriving community and successful industry was built through the individual contributions of industrious men and women who believed that dedication, discipline, and resourcefulness made anything possible.
Our America is still a place of innovation in manufacturing. Our America is a land of opportunity. We are doing our part to ensure that the craftsmanship and heritage of American made products continue to thrive. 'Made in America' still means something. 'Made Together in America' means even more."
So yes, Echoview is a beloved Local Yarn Shop, but as you can see, it is so much more too. It is a place to find community, feed creativity, support local/handmade/American, and feel good all the while. I’d say that’s a lot to celebrate on this LYS Day and everyday. If you are ever in the Asheville area, Echoview is a short 15 minutes away. It is a definite must stop for every fiber-loving roamer among you. Take a tour of the mill, browse the shop, busy your hands in a workshop or swing by for a casual craft night of good company and delicious food. And while you’re there, pull up a seat beside me, will you?