CRAWL THE 143 MILE SPRAWL AND MAKE A SHAWL – L.A. COUNTY YARN CRAWL CELEBRATES 10 YEARS PROVIDING INSIDER TIPS FOR A ONE-OF-A-KIND ADVENTURE MARCH 24-27, 2022 February 20, 2022 09:40
Missing from Los Angeles event calendars for two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the L.A. County Yarn Crawl is happy to be crawling back CELEBRATING TEN YEARS with its live event return slated for March 24-27, 2022 10 AM – 6 PM. Unlike any other categorized event, the four-day fiber arts community staple since 2013 hopes to coax veteran and new crawlers out of isolation to safely take on a crawling adventure with fellow creatives across 143 miles of Greater Los Angeles to visit 15 independent participating women-owned yarn shops across six unique communities. With the last actualized live crawl in 2019, the organizers realize revisiting the crawl experience to answer “What is a crawl?” and “How well do you know L.A.?” in the same breath of safety protocol will be helpful to newcomers who might have only discovered yarn for the first time as an at-home safe quarantine hobby during the pandemic. In that time, several yarn communities have grown online with many fiber arts enthusiasts, old and new, never experiencing the Los Angeles County live in-person event, which is now celebrating its decade milestone.
“The decision to hold the 2022 LA Yarn Crawl was not made lightly. We care about the health and safety of all of you, our vendors, and our staff. We’d like to assure everyone that each and every shop is adhering to strict Covid protocols mandated by the State of California and Los Angeles County. You can see each stores safety protocols on our website: https://layarncrawl.org/pages/covid-protocol,” states Maridee Dangcil, President of the L.A. County Yarn Crawl.
WHAT IS THE L.A. COUNTY YARN CRAWL EXPERIENCE?
Definition: The L.A. County Yarn Crawl is a unique road map shopping experience of Los Angeles County independently owned and operated small business yarn shop retailers serving the fiber arts community. Joining forces through one collective event across four days, the purpose of the united retailers is to invite yarn enthusiasts to experience yarn across six regional communities covering Long Beach, Bellflower, Downtown Los Angeles, Los Feliz, Redondo Beach, Inglewood, Santa Monica, Brentwood, Encino, Valley Village, Pasadena, Claremont and La Verne.
The shops are looped together by one passport which gets stamped as yarn crawl attendees makes their way to each of the shops within the crawl. When a passport is filled, it can be entered to win a prize basket. A variety of activities including featured yarn sales, trunk shows, free patterns and fun ideas are offered at each shop. Crawlers get an introduction to inspiring education, creativity, and introduction to each shops on-going events, classes and offerings, while gaining interaction with the yarn communities across the L.A. County area.
For a 2019 first-time crawler who was ‘hooked’ and ready for 2020, the pandemic’s cancellation of the event was something that left many unraveled.
“We were super disappointed that the 2020 yarn crawl was cancelled. There are no local yarn stores in our city so I had to rely on craft stores for my yarn during the pandemic. I did order some online,” shares yarn crawlers Kim and Jay Berckes.
Committing to doing the L.A. County Yarn Crawl back in 2019 was quite the 90-minute eighty mile trek before even taking on the 143 mile crawl for the Berckes couple who reside in the Antelope Valley. Their spring staycation experience was reminiscent of a ‘see
where the road takes us’ road trip having the fun challenge to seek and discover. The Berckes however, did do a bit of planning.
“This was our first year doing the yarn crawl. We planned it by finding what store was farthest and then went back from there. My husband and I did it together! I wanted to go and my husband wanted to come along and drive. He loves books so we found a few book stores for him too on the way. I am a crocheter mostly but like to do all sorts of crafts. We really enjoyed seeing all the locally owned stores and just the adventure of it all,” shares Kim Berckes.
First-time crawlers can follow their lead by just participating freely and enjoying the crawl and what it offers along the way. One of the benefits of not over-planning is to discover no matter where you reside or are traveling from, you get to explore new territory. The Berckes plan to return to the crawl with the same approach, “We are really excited for the 2022 yarn crawl! Everyone we met in the stores were really nice and made us feel welcome!”
If you’re not a go-with-the-flow crawler, perhaps you can a few notes from Pasadena resident veteran crawler Natalie Welts.
“When the 2020 crawl was canceled (due to the pandemic), my heart sank. I was so disappointed. I had wondered if the crawl would come back. But I am excited to do the 2022 crawl this year,” affirms Welts who has been a ‘long-term hauler L.A. County Yarn Crawler’ since 2014.
Welts who is a self-declared “bistitchual,” crocheting since 1990 and teaching herself to knit in 2013 has come a long way from first stitching granny squares. Having worn shawls and cowls she handmade herself to the past crawls, this year will be no different though weather dependent, as she stitches something to wear for 2022’s 10th Celebration.
“It’s one of the fun things about the crawl, you see other crawlers wearing their creations and you exchange ideas or get inspired as you get to know people who are also wearing something they made. Sometimes along the crawl you see the same people from your previous stop, recognizing them from what they’re wearing,” explains Welts who plans out each day of the crawl, which is part of her fun process.
Welts and her friend have created a ritual of showing up and suiting up. One year, they wore bunny ears, the next, Disney ears. One year, she brought her dog with her. Another year, she brought her sister along ‘virtually’ holding the phone as they walked through the store together so her sister could see the yarn colors, while Welts could feel and smell the yarn herself. For 2022, she is hoping her sister joins her live.
Smelling her way through every store, she appreciates the crawler adventure often noticing groups of other friends wearing matching outfits to show they’re traveling the crawl together and exchanging knowing smiles. Having fun and laughter as a part of the crawl’s amusing travels with other yarn enthusiasts is what draws Welts in every year. Being a regular crawler Welts has created a whole ritual to maximize her crawl experience that goes beyond just dressing for the part. Having done the 143 mile crawl in its entirety, she has lots of helpful tips for first-time crawlers:
Tip #1 – Plan strategically. Whether you are on the hunt for a special yarn, store trunk show, pattern or sale, map out your participation for the event to take advantage of all the crawl has to offer. Her personal suggestion is “If you see something you like, get it – don’t hesitate, because if you go back again throughout the event, the item you want may not be there,” Welts says with regret of passing up a Flying Kettle Yarn, black with rainbow stripes, that literally flew off the shelves, true to its name.
Tip #2 – Keep enough coins with you for certain areas where you need to feed parking meters.
Tip #3 – Use Google Maps to see the Yarn Crawl route and strategically plan your trip throughout all the days of the event, noting which stores to hit and when, keeping traffic in mind for the time of day.
Tip #4 – Be aware that the buttons you collect to put on your bag can actually fall off. They’re fun to collect, but keep watch.
Tip #5 – Have fun. While everyone may take on the crawl differently, (Welts smells her way through every store) the whole point is to enjoy the experience. For Welts and her friend, they make their own fun – taking selfies in front of every store they visit posting on social media. Together they have enjoyed seeing different neighborhoods, people, and enjoying different food. One crawl year, she and her friend ended up taking in a sunset and learned about a boat ride near one of the shops, as her friend had won a prize. “It’s all about the crawl itself, plus you get to know people that you normally wouldn’t.
“I have experienced the yarn crawl 3 times now – the first time I was so new that I just went to my local yarn shop. The second year I went to some but not all, and the third year (2019) I went to all the shops. My inspiration quite honestly to visit all the shops was the silly little pins to put on my yarn crawl bag and get my passport stamped. I am very “task” driven (probably why I’m a teacher – lol!) so getting to all the shops was a priority – at least for 2019,” explains the La Verne resident.
Being an essential educator in contact with several hundred students per week, Bartelt was initially grateful for the 2020 crawl’s postponement as limiting exposure was her priority and still is as she continues to be masked and extra careful. She understands yarn’s stress-relieving and healing benefits and even sees it and currently is staying connected to her yarn community.
“Some of my students knit and some of them even knit in class (in person and on Zoom). I go to “drop-ins” at BUKU Yarns every Thursday night and some of my students will show up. In fact, two of them showed up last night! My son went to the Webb Schools in Claremont for high school and they actually taught the students how to knit as a stress reliever. It was fun to see students walk around with their knitting – some would even walk and knit!” says Bartelt who plans on returning to the L.A. County Yarn Crawl’s 10th celebration.
Tip #1 –“The most fun part of the crawl was planning it out with some of my fellow knitters. Since the crawl is so spread out that there needed to be some strategic planning involved. One of the things I really enjoyed while participating in the 2019 crawl was planning out our meals. A guide to some local restaurants near the shops may be a good resource for people to plan their day https://layarncrawl.org/pages/shops (click each participating shop to find the list of eateries nearby).
Tip #2- The regions were all very different! I tried to take advantage of some of the local “stuff” that was obvious to me. Every shop seemed to be located near either a quaint downtown area, pier, or something that caught my attention. So, experiencing what the towns around the yarn store had to offer was something that I loved!
Tip #3 – Customize the crawl so that it suits you. While Bartelt experienced the crawl differently across the three years she participated, the key is working the event to your tastes and interests. This can be condensed, quick, efficient and local for the minimum time you have available or committing to the crawl in its entirety seeing all the shops plus experiencing the competitive challenge of collecting buttons and passport stamps.
“I do plan on attending the 2022 crawl. My fellow knitters and I are beginning to talk about our strategies. We are asking questions like: “do we want to try and visit all the stores”, “what are we going to eat”, “how many days are we going to crawl” and “what projects do we have in mind for our purchases”? During my “drop-in” class last night, I even talked a few knitters who have never been on the crawl to join us! I love the crawl! I love seeing new to me knitting tools. I love the patterns and featured yarns. I am forever grateful for the knitting community that I have created!” exclaims Bartelt.
Returning crawlers of all experience levels like the Berckes, Welts and Bartelt, are excited to return for 2022. Sharing their strategy might be helpful to many of the newcomers expected to attend the crawl or hesitant due to lack of understanding what it entails. For those who have not had the crawl experience, they can learn from these crawlers that it can be a fun adventure at any comfort-zone level, based on how each crawler wishes to enjoy it. From here new crawlers can look forward to having their own story to share and a new community to meet, with veteran crawlers reuniting with the friends they’ve made along the way.
The 10th L.A. Yarn Crawl will be bringing a mix of old and new to the event. Returning will be the crawl passport prize promotion, where each of the fifteen shops will feature a $300 gift basket prize. To enter crawl participants will drop their completed passports with stamps from the Yarn Crawl sprawl of shops visited: https://layarncrawl.org/pages/about-the-la-yarn-crawl
Newly added for this year is a brand new component TREASURE HUNT where attendees follow the crawl’s official patterns presented for the first time in the crawl’s event history. Details about both the knit and crochet versions of the Treasure Hunt patterns can be found on the crawl’s website https://layarncrawl.org/pages/treasure-hunt-patterns. Crawlers can use the designated crawl pattern with the event’s roadmap of shops to seek out the perfect variety of colorful yarns for their project. Each crawler’s yarn hunting experience will differ based on their approach to the crawl and reflected in the final outcome when they make their one-of-a-kind 10th celebration commemorative wearable shawl. We do understand that not everyone will feel comfortable coming out and taking part. Those can still partake in the free patterns we’ve created and posted to our website and even purchase a tote bag from one of the shops. We want all crawlers to feel safe and know we’re looking out for them as they crawl from shop to shop,” states Dangcil.
The L.A. County Yarn Crawl’s group of unique shops are committed toward educating and teaching yarn crafts. The purpose of the event is to create awareness by bringing together the Los Angeles community in the fiber arts all while creating friendships, inspiring creativity, projects, and memories to last a lifetime. For event details, COVID safety protocol and more information on the L.A. County Yarn Crawl 2022 please go to https://layarncrawl.org/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org For all media interview and photo requests contact event publicist Stacey Kumagai of Media Monster Communications, Inc. at 818.506.8675 email@example.com