It’s hard to know where to start. I have always wanted to travel north, so when Dotty from The Net Loft said I should come see her lovely shop and meet all the lovely knitters in her town, I said ‘yes please!’. Last week Gary and I dropped the kids off with the family and got on a plane for Cordova, Alaska. We knew it would be a fun adventure, but the trip was so amazing, it surpassed all expectations.
I suppose I should start with Dotty, the owner of the Net Loft. We met a couple of years ago when I designed the Bowline hat for her big Fisher Folk retreat. I was immediately intrigued by the shop and her passion for the Cordova Gansey Project, a promotion of hard wearing knits for hard working people. As I was working on the hat I knew I wasn’t finished with that rib pattern and really wanted to design a gansey style sweater, and this year we released the Bowline sweater.
Dotty is an absolute force of nature. She never stops working, thinking up new ideas for the shop, being a wife and mum, knitting, caring about all of the people around her… the list is really endless. She is a pillar of her community and so many people commented to me over the week how important she and her shop were to them. One lovely shop regular said ‘I don’t feel at home at Church or the bar, so I have the Net Loft’, and I know that Dotty is a big part of why that is so.
Which brings me to her shop! The Net Loft is an amazing shop, full to the brim with not just supplies for all of your knitting needs, but for any artistic or crafty endeavor you might have! It was that moment on the trip when I thought, ‘Hunter would love this’! There were supplies for cross stitch and embroidery, felting and card making, painting and sketching, you name it. There were treasures everywhere and I haven’t even mentioned the yarn. Each craft had it’s own little section, which they called ‘coves’ and I could have spent the entire weekend finding endless inspirations and intriguing supplies.
The Net Loft has so many yarns with a story behind them. Colourways from local dyers, colourways based on local paintings and photographs, skeins the colours of seine and gill nets, mini skein sets of Cordovan berry inspiration. It seemed like each skein had a story. The lovely Anna of Skeins in the Stacks (who is also a librarian in Cordova) dyes yarns based on books she loves! The Net Loft also had hard working yarns for the popular Gansey sweaters (it seemed like everyone was knitting one). There was so much to choose from!
For the workshop I taught on designing your own fair isle yoked sweater there were boxes and boxes of beautiful yarn, dyed just for the occasion by Three Irish Girls. There were gradients dyed in the colours of local berries that were just so delicious!
It was such a treat to meet Dotty in person, and to visit the amazing shop, that means so much to so many knitters! More on my Alaskan adventures to come next week!
Knits fit for an Alaskan Adventure: