December 19, 2011

One of our recent adventures took us fairly close to Mount Holly, New Jersey, and you know what that means …

A visit to the LYS, Woolbearers!

I’m not entirely sure of the shop’s square footage, probably over 1,200 sq. ft.? But I do know it is completely packed with all kinds of fibery goodness. There are cubbies of yarn ….

And walls of yarn …

And racks of yarn …

John is no doubt wondering how much of this will come with us this time! The yarn selection really is fabulous, ranging from old standbys like Cascade 220 to the higher end Rowan and Madeline Tosh, to name but a few. In between, you can find a huge range of sock yarns, lovely mohairs, yarns for baby items, and just about whatever you can think of. They have recently added the Jameson’s Shetland wools, Spindrift and DK, which is a welcome addition because I can never find these and usually have to mail order.

Woolbearer’s also has a selection of handspinning supplies:

They are dealers for several modern brands of wheel, but I was interested to see this little wheel on the floor:

This is a Daneker, oft maligned by handspinners as being a bad attempt at reproducing a Colonial saxony wheel. Made by the Daneker Furniture Company in Maryland during the 1960s, this wheel was an effort to accurately reproduce a working model of a flax wheel. Unfortunately, the makers do not seem to have consulted any handspinners and so did make some errors. Like use brass for the flyer shaft, bobbin screw inset, and even the wheel axle. The brass does not wear well and so these parts tend to show the stress they are subjected to. The screw tensioning knob is also problematic, in that it is not long enough. However, construction flaws taken into consideration, the Danekers DO spin, and spin well, as evidenced by the bobbin of yarn on this one:

This flyer appears to be a replacement, as the orifice is larger than the typical Daneker. These wheels make nice beginner double-drive wheels. They are strong and the drive wheel well balanced. They often show up on Craigslist or Ebay and, while I wouldn’t pay more than $100 for one, they could be an excellent alternative for the new spinner on a budget.

It was difficult, but I managed to make my selections. Of course, every time I felt I had it pinned down, I’d take another look and see something else I hadn’t looked at more closely.

Finally I headed for the checkout, where Woolbearer’s owner, Myra, was hard at work. Myra does not like to have her picture taken, she said, but graciously pretended I was not there so I could get a shot of her in action. Of course, it was the best way to show the stock of needles and notions on the wall behind her.

As we were leaving, I got an arty little shot of this lace shawl in the window, looking out at a wall mural across the street.


Mount Holly, the county seat of Burlington County, is really a lovely little Colonial town with many restored buildings. They have worked hard over the past few years to build up the community and the shopping district. In addition to Woolbearers, there are several very nice restaurants in the area, along with the shops at the Mill Race Village section of town. It is always worth a visit, so if you are in the area, I would recommend you drop on by!