Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Gettin' Crafty in DC

Metro Weekly, the local gay rag, recently published a lengthy feature on local DC bloggers. Sadly, there was one woman-identified blogger featured and she was not me. I realize I reside in DC, and sometimes I mention something casually about a fun location or night out, but in general I don't commit myself to DC-centric blogging. However, I DO commit myself to DC-centric shopping...especially for crafty things. It occurred to me this morning on my ride into work that I should do Dc a great service and list my favorite crafty haunts outside of the mainstream places like Michael's and AC Moore. These are places I either frequent, or wish I could. Places that have somehow cornered a fantastic niche market and made living in DC fantastically crafty. There are two locations listed that are outside the confines of DC proper, but they are both within easy drives and totally worth the hike. Enjoy!

Ipso Crafto is located in the historic Barrack's Row neighborhood. Owned and operated by one fantastic lady, Karen Kormondy, Ipso crafto provides crafters ranging in skill level from novice to expert an absolutely inspirational assortment of supplies. Karen's organized her comparatively small shop into "rooms", brightly colored and expertly organized, and sells just about everything: hip fabrics, embroidery kits, wooden paintables, lanyard/gimp supplies (hello summer camp!), scrapbooking doodads and even a small handful of beading accessories. She also hosts a great assortment of workshops for kids and adults! Ipso Crafto is a short walk from the Eastern Market metro stop on the orange and blue lines. If you're looking for a locally owned, kitchen sink sort of craft store...go here! You'll love it!

Spinster Yarns and Fibers is located on Harford Road in the Lauraville neighborhood of NE Baltimore. It's situated directly below a lovely coffee shop and children's bookstore and along a strip of locally owned businesses that has urban access with small town appeal. Spinster is owned by Andrea Donato, a local lady with a penchant for all things fiber. She's stocked her basement shop with an overwhelmingly abundance of yarns, specializing in eco-friendly and hand spun yarns and accessories. The skeins are organized expertly into type and color, and they're impossible not to touch. She also stocks a rare and vast assortment of craft books for the fiber-lover and welcomes visitors to come and hang out on her comfy futon or other nestly nooks throughout the store. This is definitely a crafty social hub for Lauraville locals, and one of my favorite places to visit when I'm up there. Andrea also offers an assortment of classes, organized by skill level and/or subject, for anyone interested in yarn.

Beadazzled is a locally owned chain of three stores located in downtown DC (Dupont Circle), Tyson's Corner, and Baltimore. I stumbled upon Beadazzled six or seven years ago with a friend who was ridiculously hyperfocused, all of a sudden, on making fantastic jewelry creations. So he stole me away one day and took me to the Tyson's location. I was in BEAD HEAVEN! Beadazzled stores carry an enormous assortment of bulk beads, bead strands (simple glass beads all the way to precious gemstones; imported wood and metal, too), beading supplies (including tons of awesome findings), an amazing wall or two worth of seed beads in every size and color, and also completed projects that are both breathtakingly gorgeous and highly inspirational. I prefer the Dupont location more than the other two, but each store has a staff of competent and helpful folks who are great at what they do. While Beadazzled can be a little pricey, it's great to have a resource like this locally where you can touch, feel and create on a whim. FYI - Beadazzled is in the throes of their annual pre-inventory sale right now! The sale is at all locations and runs from September 6-14th. Save 25-50% on selected items including: pearls, gemstones, packaged beads, findings, loose beads, seed beads, jewelry, crafts, tools and more!

Stitch DC has two locations in DC in Barracks Row (right next to Ipso Crafto!) and one in Georgetown. The proprietress of this shop has managed to create a warm and inviting shop while simultaneously making the art of fiber crafting accessible to pretty much anyone. She offers an excellent assortment of domestic and imported yarns in every size, weight and color. Knitting, crocheting and weaving accessories are available en masse, and I believe she also carries some helpful spinning supplies as well. She runs a continuous series of workshops for knitters and crocheters of varying skill levels. I haven't had the opportunity to partake in a class yet, but the enormous selection of classes this fall will certainly be on my agenda.

PaperSource, which has eight locations nationwide, is located in Georgetown and Old Town Alexandria. Each shop is laid out differently, but Georgetown is my preferred location as it has three levels of absolutely divine papergoods, supplies, gifts and other knick knacks and treats. PaperSource could probably inspire anyone. Scrapbookers will love the simplicity of their selection, which lends itself to creative inspiration. Papercraftes and screenprinters will love the quality and integrity of every item they sell. Stampers, artists and even kids will love just about everything else. PaperSource also provides workshops for anyone interested in anything paper-oriented, and there's also a mailing list for which you can sign up and receive periodic e-mails and seasonal catalogs. The catalogs are breathtaking. I just got my Fall 2008 copy in the mail and I cannot wait to head to Georgetown and start on my homemade Christmas card plans as well as stock up on a bunch of pretty things like vintage-inspired suitcases and maybe even Gocco supplies.

Finally, we have Hunt Country Yarns in Middleburg, Virginia. If you're familiar with Project Runway, this town is home to villainess Wendy Pepper from Season One. Once you get there, you'll understand her inspiration for her Fashion Week line. Rolling hills, arboreal bliss, quaint shops and this wacky aristocratic equestrian vibe sort of define Middleburg. Nestled two blocks off the main drag is Hunt Country Yarns. When you walk in, be prepared. Yarn is literally EXPLODING everywhere. Every inch of the store is consumed by sample projects, supplies and most of all...YARN. It's packed to the brim with a huge assortment of yarn too, ranging from soft pastel baby fibers to incredibly expensive cashmere super deluxe fancy pants rich people yarn. People walk around the store chatting and knitting; on one occasion, a woman was carrying a baby in a Baby Bjorn and knitting a sweater while hanging out by the register. Uh, I can barely manage a scarf in complete quiet on my couch. There's an oddly flamboyant straight man whom I believe to be the proprietor of the shop, and he is generally near the front, spinning, teaching or chatting with the locals. I imagine this is what yarns shops look like in the little nooks and crannies of old world Scotland or something. I love it, and there's a kick ass pizza shop down a few doors with the most hilarious guy spinning dough. Make a day out of Middleburg, but definitely stop at Hunt Country Yarns.

I feel like this is a pretty comprehensive list of great places to visit. Do you have recommendations for your favorite places? Let me know! There can never be too many craft shops.

1 comment:

  1. We have a Paper Source here and I love love love it! :)


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