Grab your hooks and needles – about two thousand like-minded “fiber artists” are about to descend on Southern California Thursday for the 2017 LA County Yarn Crawl. The event comes at a time old-school crafts like knitting and crochet are experiencing a resurgence.
“You start and you cannot stop,” Teri Artinyan said, reflecting on the time she first picked up two needles and became a self-proclaimed knitting evangelist. Years later, she now co-owns Wildfiber Studio, the largest yarn store in Santa Monica.
“I had to tell as many people as possible about knitting and how good it made me feel. It’s like this euphoric thing. It’s totally weird.”
Participants take printed-passports from store to store across the southland for free patterns and discounted threads. The sixth year is expected to be bigger than ever. For four days crafters can learn new skills like weaving and spinning and enter raffles for prizes and discounts.
“Local customers are encouraged to visit other stores to see what’s going on,” Artinyan said. “It’s not meant to be a big sale. It’s an open house. Come and see what we’re about”
Compatto in Santa Monica is also participating in the Yarn Crawl along with shops as far away as Claremont, Long Beach and Van Nuys. It is no small feet to hit all 20 stores in four days.
“People literally take days off from work to make sure they get to see all the shops in the Yarn Crawl,” Artinyan’s business partner Claudia Seizer said. “That’s dedication”
There’s a little extra buzz this year since a store in Los Angeles, The Little Knittery, is said to be the birthplace of the “pussyhat,” the pink-knitted caps that hit their stride at the Women’s March in January. Once the idea took off, yarn store owners found themselves teaching – or reteaching – a new generation of knitters how to make the hats.
Those owners now hope those pussyhat knitters are ready to move on to blankets, scarves and sweaters. In a time of volatile politics and digital overload, Artinyan says knitting is as relevant as ever.
“It’s like the best sort of therapy ever, without talking to anyone,” Artinyan said.
The L.A. County Yarn Crawl begins Thursday, April 6 and runs through April 9. To participate, download the passport at layarncrawl.com and start hitting up stores.
Wildfiber Studio is located at 1453 14th St. Suite E and Compatto is located at 2112 Wilshire Boulevard.