By: Tim Wood

Susan Bartels, Ron Weishaar, Mary Weishaar and Jean Williams of A Great Yarn. DEBRA LAWLESS PHOTOS

Knitters Challenged To Make 'Yarn Haul'

If you were to drive from Main Street, Chatham, to Gannett Road, Scituate, you could do the approximately 70-mile trip in about an hour and 25 minutes.

However, when you take that drive during the Cape and South Shore “Yarn Haul” event between Sept. 12 and Sept. 15, we can guarantee that short ride will take a lot longer than 90 minutes. In fact, according to Ron Weishaar, co-owner with his wife Mary of A Great Yarn in Chatham, you might not even want to do the drive in one day.

Here’s how the Yarn Haul works. Nine yarn shops, stretching from A Great Yarn to Yarn’s End in Norwell, have signed onto the Yarn Haul. Five of the shops, including Adventures in Knitting in Harwich, lie between Chatham and Sandwich. The other four shops are in Plymouth, Norwell and Scituate on the South Shore.

So why in the world would you want to visit nine knitting stores over a four-day period? Weishaar answers this question that no knitter would ask, ever.

“You can see what sets them apart,” he says. “Each has special sales or special patterns for people coming in. There are a lot of reasons to go to all different shops.” Each store will have special deals and items unique to the store.

You begin by picking up a “Yarn Haul Passport” which lists all nine stores and includes their addresses, contact information and hours. Each shop is stocked with 100 “Yarn Haul Project Bags” made of a buff-colored fabric. These bags are great, of course, for filling with yarn as you shop, and later for holding an individual project at home. Your passport will be stamped in each store. Once you have visited at least seven stores you will be eligible to win baskets “overflowing” with yarn and those little things that knitters love such as needles, stitch counters, and more. Those who make it to all nine stores will be entered into a drawing for the “Grand Prize” basket.

“The grand prize is huge,” Weishaar says or, as he words it in his press release, the prize “is so big we don’t even have room to describe it.”

In all, over 25 different yarn and fiber companies sponsored the Yarn Haul. “All of us went to our vendors and asked for donated yarn,” Weishaar adds.

Yarn Hauls have been done many times in the knitting communities of the country, but not so often locally. A Yarn Haul was done in this area “years and years and years ago,” according to Cathie Hammatt, owner of Adventures in Knitting. “It was super successful.” Some of the stores participating in the current Yarn Haul did not exist at that time or have changed hands—or even names.

Each store will offer various different sale items. Adventures in Knitting will have what Hammatt calls “new model yarn” at 15 percent off. Also, on each of the four days of the Yarn Haul she will change the sale yarns—so you have a reason to return to her store during the event. The store will offer refreshments and those who stop in will be eligible for several in-store raffles. Prizes include an interchangeable needle set, a knit kit and patterns. While you must visit the store to enter the raffle, winners will be notified after the drawings on Sunday.

“It’s really collaborative,” Weishaar says. “Everyone has been totally open to it.” While he and Mary Weishaar did not know all of the other yarn shop owners prior to planning the event, they have become acquainted through the meetings that were initially held every two weeks and then monthly. The steering committee, which began meeting in June, met for the final time two weeks ago.

“Fall is a great time for those who want to get yarn,” Weishaar says. While the weather has not yet turned autumnal, when that first nip comes into the air most knitters get an itch in their fingers as they contemplate their fall projects. Many knitters have a holiday deadline for gift projects. After the Yarn Haul they’ll be ready.

One of A Great Yarn’s specialties is a yarn-of-the-month whose colors are chosen to commemorate something in Chatham. The worsted-weight yarn of August was called “The Louis Brandeis House.” The Brandeis House was where the late Supreme Court justice began to summer with his family in 1922. The yarn nods to the house with its shades of gray for the shingles and white for the house trim. And then there are the gorgeous flecks of deep red. Deep red? That was Brandeis’s favorite necktie color, Weishaar says. Over at Adventures in Knitting, Hammatt also offers beautiful yarns that she hand-dyed.

The nine stores on the Yarn Haul are: A Great Yarn in Chatham; Adventures in Knitting in Harwich; Salt Yarn Studio in Dennis; Who Gives a Stitch in West Yarmouth; The Black Purls Yarn Shop in Sandwich; Plymouth Harbor Knits in Plymouth; Staci’s Stitches and Skeins in Scituate; Yarns in the Square in Scituate; and Yarn’s End in Norwell. As it says on the yarn passport: “Four Days—Nine Shops—Yarn Heaven.”