Tuesday, January 15, 2013

SweetShop Adventures; The Denver Crochet Guild, Yarn Shoppe Studio and Bags By CAB

Happy Monday SweetShoppers!!

So hopefully I've gotten you used to checking here on a Monday morning to find out about some of the excellent Crafters I Admire (otherwise known as the Sweetshop C.I.A--I'm going to keep saying that until it catches on, ok?). Since it's a new year and my pattern-writing experiment seems to be going horribly awry, I thought I'd try another new idea and start featuring some cool crafty places and gatherings here on the blog in addition to interviews.

My first stop was the Denver Crochet Guild, held at the lovely Yarn Shoppe Studio in downtown Denver.
The first thing you see when entering the Yarn Shoppe, 17th and Larimer, Denver,CO
Okay, first of all fellow yarn addictscrafters, feast your eyes on this lovely display. When I first visited The Yarn Shoppe Studio, my first thought was that it seemed very unassuming for such a splashy location (it's one block away from the 16th Street Mall in the heart of downtown Denver--very easy to find). The window displays are gorgeous, but the shop itself is in the corner of a larger building and didn't catch my eye the first time I walked past it. However, once I walked in, everything changed.
More cozy yarn space at 1777 Larimer Street
How did I miss this? I have spent a LOT of time in and out of specialty yarn shops, beautiful people, and I can honestly say that The Yarn Shoppe Studio is one of the coziest, most welcoming shops I've ever visited. It just has a very warm, friendly feel to it which I appreciate as a perpetually browsing, curious crafter. 

If you take a closer look at the second photo, you'll notice that the Yarn Shoppe is not only a specialty yarn store. It also has a very diverse selection of local handcrafted goods by local designers and  racks of vintage clothing and bags provided by Fafa's Genuine Designer and Vintage Handbags. For those who need help finding out how to use all that gorgeous yarn, the shop also provides classes, workshops, and one-on-one tutorial sessions for beginner to expert crafters. For those trying to make their crafting passion into a business, the shop owner provides all sorts of business workshops, marketing assistance, website design and business services for a fee. 

Aaaaand the shop also repairs knitwear(the first time I've ever seen that service offered by a yarn shop), hosts events, and is the meeting place for local craft gatherings like the Denver Crochet Guild(which I'll chat about in a moment...)

As you can see, the Yarn Shoppe provides a lot of really diverse services and serves a pretty diverse population. All of that is due to this lady right here...
Cassandra Allen-Brown, owner of the Yarn Shoppe and Bags By Cab, wearing one of her own scarves
This lovely lady is Cassandra Allen-Brown, who owns the Yarn Shoppe, is the owner and designer of handmade knitwear brand Bags By Cab, and the president of the local chapter of the Denver Crochet Guild as well. I strongly suggest you check out the website link to get an idea of the full scope of Cassandra's hard work and talent, but she's truly a force to be reckoned with in the Denver crafting scene. I met her a few months ago when I first began my brief Denver sojourn, and I really admire her work ethic and capability to multi-task. The fact that she offers so much and still manages to support other crafters and give something back to the community is truly impressive.  

Now to talk a bit about the Denver Crochet Guild. Essentially, the group is the local chapter of the Crochet Guild of America, a national organization that spearheads crochet groups, provides professional crochet certification, and publishes some pretty cool patterns and publications. I became aware of the national organization awhile ago when thinking of pursuing a professional crochet certificate. (I may write more about that experience on a later date) but due to my generally transient, intercontinental lifestyle, I never thought to look up a local chapter. I feel a bit sorry that it's taken me so long to do so.

The Denver guild is an assortment of lovely, friendly ladies who meet once a month and crochet. Some of them are professional crafters, some are hobby crafters and some are brand new beginners looking to brush up their skills. All of them are creative and encouraging, and if you're in the Denver area and are looking for a group of people to crochet with, I strongly suggest you give them a visit. (You can find out the next few dates and times by visiting their meetup page HERE.) There's a few large scale yearly events that the Guild (and by extension, the Yarn Shoppe) host, like Yarn Along The Rockies, but they also crochet baby blankets for  Denver Health's neonatal unit and have a good time chatting about whatever's on everyone's hooks that day.

Kim, working on an afghan from a vintage pattern
As you can see, I could write endlessly about the myriad projects and talents of the guild, but because you and I both know this blog is getting a bit long, I'm going to finish by telling you a bit about some of the people involved.

First of all, I had a big surprise waiting for me when I walked into the area of the shop where the guild was busy crafting...

This lovely lady is Kim. We went to the same small rural college a decade or so ago, and haven't seen each other since. It was a lovely surprise to see her there and catch up, and also to find out she was a fellow yarn crafter!( I guess that isn't the kind of information you really share in a college dorm...) In the picture, she's working on a lovely stripy afghan--the pattern for which she reverse-engineered by studying an old vintage afghan. How cool is that?  Kim also showed some pics of some really cool hats and flags she's made with the Colorado state symbol on them.

I didn't get to take a very good picture of Rita, but I want to shout her out briefly here. She was absolutely lovely and should get the title of Guild greeter! I noticed she went around speaking to everyone and encouraging them, and she was one of the main reasons I personally felt so welcome at the event. Thanks Rita!!

I did manage to get a picture of these two ladies,the lovely Pam and Dorothy. Dorothy(who made that flowery scarf she's wearing herself) is the designer of Crochet Chameleon, a very pretty line including a lot of babywear and some intricate adult pieces such as the one she's wearing. Her daughter, Erika(who I also didn't get a good picture of -sad face-) is in charge of The Colorful Crafter, which features all kinds of funky colors and textures. Erika is a riot and a proud "lupus warrior"--please check out her and her mother's craft sites.

Please, SweetShoppers, check out these ladies work either in person at the shop or via their websites. Hopefully, I'll be featuring a few of them in future Monday interviews as well. That said, if there is one person I met that day who I will gladly chase to the ends of the earth to get an interview if I have to, it's this lady here; 
Marie of Wild Woman Designs
This is the lovely Marie Nevels of Wild Woman Designs, holding one of her original metal-free crochet jewelry designs. Yes, you read that right, crochet jewelry. I love it. She also makes a variety of blankets, scarves, baby clothes and so on. Marie is one of those people who is so instantly welcoming and inspiring that you immediately want to know more about her and what she does--definitely expect to see a feature on her and her work in the future. (Marie, if you're reading this...pretty please?) 

There were quite a few other people at the guild meeting but I only got a chance to really talk to these few. I will be going back next month before I head back across the waters, so hopefully I'll get to meet some new people and perhaps shout them out as well. In any case, I hope that those of you in the Denver area will head to the Yarn Shoppe and get involved, either by buying products from the very talented group of crafters who display their work there, soliciting Cassandra's services as a business consultant, or grabbing a hook and some yarn and joining in with some of the Guild's efforts.

To visit the Yarn Shoppe Studio, Bags By CAB, and see other local handmade knitwear displayed, visit in person at;

1777 Larimer Street, St 102
Denver, CO 
(one block away from the 16th Street Mall) 

You can also visit the website for the shop and Cassandra's personal brand at http://www.bagsbycab.com, or add them on Facebook HERE.

To find out more about the Denver Crochet Guild, visit their blog at http://yarnshoppestudio.blogspot.com/ or search for them on http://www.meetup.com.

To visit any of the other crafters mentioned here, check out the following links;  

All of these ladies also have their wares on display at the Yarn Shoppe 

If any other members of the guild or exhibitors at the Yarn Shoppe come across this, I apologize for omitting you - feel free to add your links in the comment section and I'll put them in a future post. 

Whew! A lot of information today, beautiful people, but I hope you found it interesting! Hope some Denver Metro crafters find their way into the shop or to a guild meeting soon! 

Peace beautiful people!

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