Welcome to the First Ever Great Tennessee Yarn Tour!
My name is Jillian Walther; I run Walther Handmade, a yarn shop located in Harriman, TN. I have the great pleasure of being one of the organizers for this year's Yarn Tour event.
I wanted to take a moment and share what the Yarn Tour means to me and why I am so excited for this event.
In the realm of fiber arts, I am ever finding out that I am such a newbie. There is so much of the fiber world I have yet to discover! There are many (tbh: most) designers and famous patterns out there that I don't know about yet. Every time I talk with someone more experienced, I end up saying, "Let me write that down!" And then I'm up researching until the wee hours of the night, trying to expand my knowledge.
Although I have been crocheting for most of my life, I just started taking local yarn stores seriously in the last 5-6 years or so. For a long time, I didn't even know they existed, or thought they would be too expensive, or worried that I wouldn't be accepted, because I'm not an avid knitter.
In 2018, I found out about something called the East Tennessee Yarn Crawl. Unfortunately, it had just ended by the time I found out about it, so I made a mental bookmark for the next year. In 2019, I was ready. I researched shop hours, routes, and time zones. I prepped my husband for a weekend road trip. I discovered the luxuriousness of 100% alpaca and bought my first skein of hand-dyed yarn. The yarns I got during that event went on to become some of my favorite scarves that I have ever woven. Moreover, I was exposed to a whole new world: a world of locally-owned yarn shops with their own unique personalities, charm, and array of tools, notions, supplies, and good yarns. Specialty yarns. Natural fiber yarns.
What I discovered during that yarn crawl forever impacted my work as a fiber artist.
Fast forward a few years, and I am now so far down the fiber-hole that I own a yarn shop. How crazy is that? I fell so in love with yarn, that I have to be around it literally all day long.
After being open a few months, I heard that a local quilting shop was participating in a quilt shop hop and got me wondering about doing something for the yarn sector. There had to be a way to share all the wonderfulness that East Tennessee's yarn shops have to offer with fiber enthusiasts in our area. Fortuitously, it was also on the mind of several other shop owners and enthusiasts! I think everyone has been ready for a yarn event in our area!
That brings us to: The Great Tennessee Yarn Tour. I am so excited to be able to share this event with YOU this year. My hope is that - no matter where you are on your fiber journey - you find something on the Tour that inspires yous, enlivens your work, (re)ignites your passion for the fiber-arts, and just plain brings a smile to your face. I hope, in our variety of participating shops, you find your fiber tribe - a local yarn shop where you walk in, take a deep breath, and say "Ah, I'm home now."
Thank you for reading, for supporting your local yarn stores, and for joining us on the Great Tennessee Yarn Tour.