This week we continue to look at some of the independent businesses and people who make our industry thrive. Science posits that the universe is constantly expanding. Such is certainly the case when it comes to the universe of fiber and yarn. 'Locals" such as Xenobia Bailey, Kristen Kapur, Mason Dixon Knitting, Josh Bennett and Jessie Ksanznak, to name just a few, keep us involved with their blogs and enthused with their Ravelry pages. In addition, the businesses that cater to the kindred crafts, such as weaving and spinning, continue to grow the field. Knitty City's weekly (Sunday, 4-5P) spinning group, headed by Mary Hayne, is a testimony to the growth of that artistry. For a look at a store that's devoted itself to the art of spinning and life on the land, come take a look at Hope's Favorite Things.
We discovered this store by good luck - traveling the back roads of Pennsylvania - on our way from a yarn and fiber show and headed back into NY. When we entered Hope's Favorite Things, we were greeted by the store owner and transported into her world. Hope grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania where she learned to appreciate a life that is attuned to nature. Surrounded by family treasures and the antiques her parents found in their explorations, Hope's love for all things handmade led to an interest in spinning yarns. She raises a small herd of Teeswater and Wenslydale Sheep, breeds known for silky, long fleece, plus Angora Goats, so materials were close at hand.
After a number of years working in a business that was not personally fulfilling, Hope decided to follow her interests. and create a shop that sells the things she loves: hand spun yarns, spinning equipment (drop spindles, Ashford Wheels) and merchandise and goods that complement her country lifestyle. She Included a variety of charming antiques, artisanal items and fresh eggs (from her own chickens) and she had the makings of a special retail and craft shop.
When speaking with Hope, it was hard to stop my eyes from wandering all over her store. At first, it was the amazing hand spun yarns that captivated me. In addition to the output from her own flock, she also stocks colorful roving and yarns that are suitable for beginners. She conducts classes on the art of spinning, knitting and crochet, and, every week, a group of kindred spirits gathers at the store for a few hours of communal making. For those interested in dyeing, Hope will be hosting a class on indigo natural dyeing on June 29 and 30th. It will be, taught by Vermont fiber artist, Jane Woodhouse. For information, contact Hope at 610 599 1615
Hope grew up in a family that appreciates the heritage of their land, and it shows in her establishment. Originally a general store that sold a wide variety of items, it's a natural environment for functional antiques that work in conjunction with yarns and hand created goods. Farm values are reflected in the type of merchandise the store offers. Hand milled soaps are nestled in wonderful old bowls and antique bakery displays are used to showcase yarns and crafted items. Special contemporary items leave no doubt about the passion Hope has for whimsical collections and practical products.
Hope's Favorite Things is located in Bangor, Pa., which is approximately 90 mins. (by car) from NYC, and only 21 miles from the Delaware Water Gap, a National Park located on the NJ/Pa. Border. The area is beautiful and the trip is well worth making if your love is for things natural. Hope is on hand, Wednesday through Sundays. Click on the titles of the pictures below for more information.
Please let us know if you visit this special place. We love hearing about your travels and the discoveries you make. In the world of making beautiful things, it's always fun to spread the joy. If you pick up any Teeswater locks or roving, be sure to show Mary Hayne at the store. It's one of her favorite wools.