Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Yarn Shop Review: Farmhouse Knit Shop

Farmhouse Knit Shop must be the coziest yarn shop I've visited so far. Located in Beaverton, Oregon near the Nike headquarters and tucked in a small neighborhood, the shop oozes comfort, warmth and color.

The shop is actually a converted old house and consists of 4 rooms. Each room except the entrance has a wooden table and chairs in the center over an antique rug, with either a ball winder and swift or stacks of magazines. The sitting room - complete with fireplace and a mantle of knitted goods, comfy chairs - is stocked with handpainted yarns. There's a room devoted to sock yarn and yarn suitable for kids garments. Then there are two rooms of fabulous, luxurious fibers neatly organized in wooden cubbies.

The Farmhouse is decorated in a sumptuous, old country, Arts & Crafts kind of way with dark hardwood, period lamps and chairs and soft lighting. The colorful yarn contrasts with the decor beautifully. Gorgeous sample sweaters, felted bags and ponchos hang everywhere and goodies like delicate Lantern Moon silk needle cases and twinkling glass beads are scattered around in baskets.

According to Sandy, the proprieter, one of her bestsellers is a line of hand dyed yarn created by a local artist operating under the name Blue Moon Fibers. I bought three skeins of "Sock Candy", a cotton/elite blend in a deep blue sea, magenta, forest green and mustard colorway.

I had an interesting chat with Sandy about local yarn shops and the knitting trend in general. In the greater Portland area alone, she said something like 16 stores have opened in the past few years, mostly by relatively new and inexperienced retailers. In the meantime, the knitting craze has started to wane. A lot of store owners have seen their sales go down noticeably. Sandy wondered how long the new shops will stay in business versus those like hers which have existed before knitting became such a fad. I personally had not noticed the knitting thing tapering off (my own funk notwithstanding) but I have observed, with some dismay, the trend of the latest designs targeted at the 25-and-under crowd. There's nothing wrong with that - the yarn companies and designers want to make money - but the patterns in Knit It! and knit.1 aren't for me. When I asked if that target market could afford to buy quality yarn and keep the new shops afloat, Sandy's opinion was, "Credit cards. 18-, 20-year olds can get credit cards and charge the yarn." Whew. Thank goodness I didn't have a credit card when I was that young or I'd still be paying off those bills.

If you're ever in the Beaverton or Hillsboro, Oregon area which is about 45 minutes west of Portland, stop by Farmhouse Knit Shop and say hello to Sandy. You'll definitely be charmed.


Ruth said...

i didn't have my first credit card until i was already out of college and had my first job. good thing, too. =)
that yarn store sounded like lots of fun! i'll definately keep that in mind. we were in OR in august but didn't get a chance to stop by Beaverton. we just stopped by Corvallis (took pictures at the hospital where i was born!) and Portland, and then zoomed off to Seattle. =)

Stephanie said...

That yarn store sounds wonderful. So cozy and welcoming - exactly what a yarn store should be. When were you in OR? Last weekend? And why don't we have any of your wonderful pictures of this little shop?

Ruth said...

hey lynette -
just responding to your comment on my blog... i didn't know you took japanese in college! do you remember it? maybe you can help me translate some of these magazine paterns (it would be an excuse to get together) *wink wink*
anyways, yea, i figured since i'm taking mandarin, perhaps that would help me out with the kanji part (since there's some overlap with the characters, right?). did you think that the grammar was difficult? i've been hearing from so many of my chinese friends that japanese grammar is so hard.
p.s. my email is ROOFTH at ROCKETMAIL dot COM.
have a good weekend =)

kittensmittens said...

yarn shop near nike headquaters. get the comfy shoes to walk around the shop all day long, haha.

thanks for checking in. Ophie had a few light orange patches on her. For some reason that color doesn't really stay on her. She's a pretty sweet kitty, more concerned with getting out of the shower than attacking whoever put her there.
As for socks, I have 2 different ones going. get a little variety that way.

keohinani said...

dude, i wish i'd known. i was in that area a couple of years ago. well, actually, i didn't start knitting til about a year ago, so maybe i should wish i'd started knitting even in, when i first went to college in oregon six years ago.
and you're probably right about the designs; i happen to be in that "target demographic." but actually, clean cut and simple seem to be the classic and lasting styles for knitters everywhere.
the idea that you see something in a store, then can pick up a knitting mag and actually find the directions to make it fuels the desire to knit...trendy or not. perhaps the cropped sweater craze--i.e. half the sweater = half the time--is also attractive to new knitters? of course, if you're in college and still hung over from last night's keg party and barely enough food stamps to buy top ramen, knitting probably isn't the top priority.
i don't know. i forgot where i was going with this. but i'm definitely going to check out that yarn store the next time i visit oregon. thanks!

Birdsong said...

What a great review... I would love to go there, and certainly hope that she is savvy enough to stay in business, even if the craze IS on the wane. I truly admire Medrith Glover, who owns the Wool Room in Quincy, as she has survived something like three decades of yarn store ownership, while knitting waxes, wanes and waxes again. I do agree that a lot of relatively inexperienced retailers and designers are likely to crash and burn in the next two years; hopefully we will still benefit in the long run from this great burst of creativity on the knitting scene.. P.S. Can't stand knit1 either, and my 22-year old daughter doesn't care for the designs much. Knitty is still at the top for me.

Anonymous said...

I want to thank you for this helpful post! I would like to visit this place as I will be in the area soon. I would have never known there was a yarn store there. However I hear that it is not really close to Nike. (According to a driving websitte.)

Thanks again

Anonymous said...

I just surfed in and saw the blog on this knit shop, and I had to read it. It's certainly the most comfortable shop I've ever been in - the blog author here is correct about everything. The owner designs and knits those beautiful sweaters - they are truly works of art. I drive by the shop on my way home from work every day, and on Wednesday evenings there's always a large group of knitters there. If you're in the area, you don't want to miss this shop.

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