Friday, May 1, 2009

My Yarn Mission

For years I heard rumors.

I talked to knitters who'd heard of other knitters who said there might be a yarn outlet in Lowell, MA.

Finally, one of my knitting buddies found confirmation of what we'd suspected.

There is a Classic Elite yarn factory store in Lowell, MA.

Hub Mills Factory Store is in an old mill in the heart of Lowell.

Lowell was a planned textile manufacturing center in the mid-19th century. The location was chosen due to geography - a strong river, with a large drop - so the mills could be run by water power. Lowell National Historic Park does a good job of explaining that era - you can see working looms and take a boat tour of the canals used to power the mills.

Love the stepped roof line

This week, our knitting group headed to the store to check it out firsthand.

Or perhaps, to stimulate the economy and bring home plenty of yarn!!

Tempting array of yarn on cones!

I was surprised that it was so similar to a retail yarn store, with the normal Classic Elite line of yarn at about 80% of retail price. There were patterns, buttons, knitting needles, knitted samples of sweaters, scarves, socks and hats.

For current yarns, if the shop did not have enough for a sweater, they could get more from "out back".

The person working today was very helpful, as we took over the store for almost 2 hours.

There were some discontinued yarns and discontinued colors at reduced prices.

Wooden spools from the mill

It was really cool to finally visit a store that was just a rumor to me for many years!!

Other Fiber Places to Visit in Lowell:
American Textile History Museum
Lowell National Historic Park
New England Quilt Museum
Western Avenue Studios - same building as Hub Mills Factory Store

Related Posts:
What I Purchased that day


Sharon said...

What a fantastic opportunity and thanks for sharing it with us. I was trying to explain to someone at work about the blogs I read being mostly from the East coast. I believe it's because that's where the weaving tradition is rooted. I can only drool at those showrooms.

Janice Zindel said...

Fabulous place to spend time with your group, and expect now you know it's there you'll regularly re-visit? So, what did you add to your stash and what are your plans for it/them?

charlotte said...

I get almost sick looking at all this yarn, a real eldorado for any yarn lover! And at such nice prices! I have to order almost everything, so I would love to have such an outlet at driving distance.

Frida said...

Places like that just makes me happy! All of the colors, all of the yarns... just fabulous!

Life Looms Large said...

First off, thanks for visiting and commenting!! Comments help keep me blogging!

Plus, I'm so glad some one asked what I added to my yarn collection!! Now I have an excuse to post about my shopping results!!

On the way home, my knitting buddies were already discussing other field trips we might take to other large yarn stores: Halcyon, WEBS and Harrisville were the top contenders.

Interesting that there are such differences in yarn availability based on where you live. There is still yarn made in NH (Harrisville Designs), and a tradition of textile manufacturing. So we have 5 local yarn shops in towns right near me - 2 have been in business for many years, and 3 have opened as knitting has boomed.

We're also lucky enough to have a new weaving store nearby (Loom with a View). I guess because I've lived here during the yarn-buying part of my life, I hadn't realized that there weren't this many yarn stores near everyone. So thanks for teaching me!!

Stay tuned for more about what I brought home!


Jennifer said...

I look forward to seeing what you brought home. I would be in trouble having an "outlet" like that so close!!!

Theresa said...

Isn't there a textile museum in either Lowell or Lawrence too? Webs is overwhelming but I'll be heading out there hopefully during my visit along with Harrisville. My Dad has been to Halcyon a couple of times when he goes to the Boat Builders show.
So, it sounds like there was a fair amount of booty brought home. Can't wait to see the haul. ;-)

bspinner said...

I am so JEALOUS!!!!!!!!

You mentioned Harrisville and I was there for a five day workshop with a friend and their store is not as large as Classic Elite but well worth the trip if you lucky enough to live close by.

A travel agent should think about doing a East Coast Yarn Outlet Tour. I might be the first to sign up.

When we first moved to Pa there were a couple of yarn outlet store near Reading but like so many things have since closed down.

Can't wait to see pictures of what you bought.

deborahbee said...

First, thanks so much for your lovely comments. Secondly, simultaneously to you visiting my site I was favouriting and subcribing to your feed!! And thirdly you are so lucky to have yarn stores in the US..we have very few catering for weavers, and most of the wool on cone suppliers for kniters have gone out of business.