Portland has a reputation as a crafty city, and with good reason. If youre planning a visit, check out the frequent craft fairs, classes and workshops, and the world-class Museum of Contemporary Craft. But for great shopping, these four destinations are dear to my heart.
4183 S.E. Division St.
Come, lets make yarn, says the Yarnia website. Indeed, this is a store where the shelves are lined with big cones of single-filament fibers: wool, cotton, silk, mohair, acrylic you name it. You select just the fibers and colors you want, and Yarnias staff will wind you a cone of your own custom yarn, right on the spot.
Owner Lindsey Ross (pictured above), herself an avid knitter, will help you figure out how much yarn youll need, and what fibers will combine best for your project. Its enough to make you weep, really.
Food match: Get a healthy vegetarian lunch at Kalga Cafe, just up the street at 4147 S.E. Division. They serve Mexican, Middle Eastern, and Thai food, and they make a yummy vegan pizza.
2417 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd.
As the name implies, Cool Cottons has bolts and bolts of high-quality cotton prints and canvas, suitable for quilts, skirts, bags, and home decor. The store is spread out in an old house, so you wander from room to room, discovering pretty colors and patterns.
Co-owners Pam Oakes and Marie Ritten are passionate about fabric, and its contagious. Youll often find them piling bolts on the shops worktable, helping a customer find just the right print for a project.
Food match: Hike across the street to Grand Central Baking Company for one of their famous Triple Chocolate Cookies. grandcentralbakery.com
7530 N.E. Glisan St.
The Kitten, as its affectionately known by locals, is a craft supply thrift store. Rome Church combs estate sales and flea markets for craft materials, and then stocks this little shop she co-owns with her mother, Ethel Stark, with her best finds. On any visit to Knittn Kitten, youre likely to find treasure in the form of vintage fabrics, miles of rickrack, notions, beads, buttons, stitchery supplies, vintage patterns, and more.
The prices are incredibly reasonable real, thrift-store reasonable. Every person Ive taken to the Knittn Kitten has left with a big bag of goodies and a huge smile on her face.
Food match: Recharge from your craft-thrifting spree with a cup of coffee and a scone across the street at Spill the Bean Coffee Shop, 7631 N.E. Glisan.
2310 N.E. Broadway
Twisted has the feel of a crafty persons living room. Shannon Squire and Emily Kizer, who co-own Twisted, make everyone who steps through the door feel welcomed. There are cozy couches and chairs for knitting with your friends, and a lovely selection of loose-leaf teas to sip. And to distract you from relaxing, there are craft supplies.
Twisted specializes in sock yarn theres an entire wall of it here. You can also find yarns for your garment projects, supplies for needle felting, and embroidery flosses and tools. It can be overwhelming, so perhaps youd better curl up on one of those comfy chairs with some tea.
Food match: Snack on the Gourmet Cheese Plate and some homemade soup at Costellos, just down the street at 2222 N.E. Broadway. costellostravelcaffe.com
Extra: Mapped Out
Build a Google map of your towns hot spots. If your city is craft-friendly, create a useful Crafty Google Map. Crafters from all over will thank you!
1. Get a Google account.
If you use other Google products, like Gmail or Google Reader, then you already have one. If not, set one up for free at google.com/accounts.
2. Make a big list.
Decide what locations (galleries, shops, cafés, etc.) you want to include on your map. You can cover the whole city, or just a handful of your favorite haunts. Youll need the street address of each place.
TIP: If youre going for all-inclusive, try doing a search in Google Maps for terms like craft supplies and art supplies in your city.
3. Start your map.
Go to maps.google.com. Click on the My Maps tab, then click Create a New Map. From there, add a name and a description to your map.
4. Add a placemark.
In the search bar at the top of the Google Maps page, enter the address of a location you want to include on your map. Click the Search Maps button. This location will appear on your map as a placemark. Look in the placemark information box for the Save to My Maps link. Click it, and select your map from the menu. If you live in a city that has Google Street View, youll see a photo of the place.
5. Customize your placemark.
Click on your new placemark and bring up its information window to add your own info. You could add things like store hours, phone numbers, or what kinds of supplies they carry. Look at the information window to find a Rich Text Editor. Use this to add bold, italic, or colored text, or to build a hyperlink. When youve added all the material you want to the placemark, click the OK button.
6. Double-check the location!
Google warns us: Landmark placements are approximate. So when Google Maps finds a location, double-check it. Find the menu at the top of your map and click Satellite. Use the slider at the top to zoom in. At maximum zoom theres an aerial image that will usually confirm whether your placemark is in the right place. I found that Google located Collage (my favorite shop) a few doors down from where it actually is. This is easily fixed simply drag the placemark to the correct location.
7. Consider color-coding.
If you have many locations, you can color-code your placemarks. Click on the large blue pin symbol in the placemark information window and find a menu of colors and symbols. In my Portland map, I use blue for craft supply stores, green for craft schools, yellow for thrift stores, and purple for boutiques.
8. Add zones.
If your town has specific neighborhoods that are noteworthy, you can use Google Maps shape tool to draw a zone marker on your map. Click on the Shape button at the top left corner of your map. Then draw a rectangle (or whatever shape you like) around an area by clicking on each point of the shape. You can then add notes about this zone.
9. Consider collaborating.
If its too much to build a Crafty Google Map by yourself, you can collaborate with a few friends. (Each will need to have a Google account.) Click on the Collaborate link and follow the directions.
10. Place your map on a website.
To show off your Google map, click on Link to This. Then copy and paste the HTML code into your own website or blog.
For Dianes Google map of Portland, go to diyalert.com/crafty_portland_map.