Tourist season is upon us here in Alaska! This is the season when cruise ships begin appearing in our ports, and visitors come and go via plane, train and automobile. Although winter is pretty too, summer is pretty darn glorious here in the last frontier. So what better time to come and see all there is to see?
Many of those visitors will be crafters, and for them I present this list of all the yarn shops I know (or at least know of) in Alaska – along with any knitting-related events or locations they may want to check out. Where there is one, I have linked to the shops’ websites or Facebook pages. Also, I have written more extensively elsewhere about a lot of these places. Where that is the case I have linked to my earlier post. Enjoy!
The Hive on the Creek – is near the downtown area, on a scenic creek-side street near Ray Troll’s art studio and a bunch of other fun shops. It is within pretty easy walking distance of the cruise ship docks. I haven’t personally been in this store, but have heard good things about it.
Seaside Yarns, of earlier post fame, is the yarn shop in downtown Juneau. It is likewise close to the docks, and within a couple blocks of most of the tourist attractions. It has a great yarn selection, as well as a good variety of needles and other tools. Depending on what’s in stock at the time, there will likely also be some nice yarn bowls, project bags, stitch markers and other items. The owner also is a dyer, so you can get a true souvenir skein here. Her yarn line used be called A Tree-Hugger’s Wife Yarn, but she has rebranded to Northern Bee Studio.
Knitting With Class is located in Sitka, AK. I have not been to this one either, but they have an active Facebook page, and look like they have a good selection.
A Flyin’ Skein, of earlier post fame, is located in Seward about a block away from the Sealife Center, one of the bigger attractions in Seward. They have a great selection of yarn and supplies, as well as a line of house-dyed yarns. Here your souvenir skein will be Sheep Shades brand.
The Rookery is a fabulous downtown shop with a great selection of yarn and other crafting supplies. I have only been there once, but spent a happy couple of hours one evening after working poking around their yarn and books. Nice folks with nice yarn!
Top of the Whorl is a lovely little shop with a surprisingly big inventory for the space. They have a great selection of yarns, tools and books. I understand they do carry some local yarns as well! They are a bit off the main road, but do have pretty good parking when you get there.
Knitty Stash, home of the Alaskan Yarn Company line of yarn, is the Homer yarn shop. I haven’t been there yet, but hear it’s pretty good. According to the website, the owner is planning to sell off the shop, while continuing to dye yarn, so be sure to check back before your visit to make sure there is a shop to be visited. The house brand is widely available both here and at shops throughout Alaska.
INUA Wool Shop, of earlier post fame, is not in the tourist area of Fairbanks, but can be reached from downtown fairly easily by taxi (or by regular car if you have one at your disposal). They have a great selection of yarns, tools and accessories. You will also be able to get a souvenir skein of locally dyed yarn by Bad Sheep.
The yarn shop in Eagle River is The Tangled Skein. I have heard good things about this shop, though I have not yet been there. Why not I don’t know, as Eagle River is pretty darn close to Anchorage. Maybe one day soon there will be post about them!
Here is the motherlode of yarn shops in Alaska! Downtown in the heart of the tourist area is Woolly Mammoth, of earlier post fame, has a great array of Alaska-dyed and sourced yarn. They also have regular yarn that you could get elsewhere, but why would you? You will have to work hard to leave this shop without a souvenir skein or two!
In the midtown area of Anchorage are Quilt Tree/Yarn Branch, which as the name implies, has both fabric and yarn. and Far North Yarn. I have been in both these shops many, many times, but for some reason have never posted about them yet. Probably one day soon! Suffice it to say that both are pretty big stores, very well stocked with broad ranges of yarn, books, and tools. They are a little off the beaten path for tourist visits, but both are very easily reached.
South Anchorage has the Southside Knitting Nook. Also a nice store with a good selection. I have only visited this shop once, shortly after they opened. They had a good selection of stock, and it was very clean and new.
As noted in the comments, I missed this one when this was first posted – thank you for the good catch, Robin! Cordova has The Net Loft. I have not been to this shop yet, but have been constantly scheming and planning to get there. They have a big knitting/crafting event each summer, and seem to be a pretty active shop the rest of the year as well. Just judging by their website, you should have lots of options for souvenir skeins here as well!
Other than yarn shops, knitters (and other yarn enthusiasts) may want to visit the Musk Ox Farm in Palmer, a non-profit farm where musk ox are raised. Musk ox are of interest to knitters because they are the source of quiviet This is a highly prized fiber used to make extremely pricey yarn. For the curious, the website linked above will tell you all you care to know! The University of Alaska Fairbanks campus also raises musk ox and sells quiviet. Spring is a great time to visit the farm, as that is baby musk ox season. And baby musk ox are extremely cute 🙂
Finally, for visitors who will be here in late July, the MatSu Valley Fiber guild will be having a Fiber Fest at the Alaska State Fairgrounds. We were there last year, which was pretty good in spite of being the first year they had one. This year promises to be even better!
I should point out that in addition to the shops listed here, there are Michael’s and Jo Anne’s craft stores at various points in the state as well. Also, for those visiting rural AK, the AC stores may sometimes have small craft sections.
Did I miss one? Do you have a favorite? Feel free to comment!