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Yarn Crawl 2014: the time has come

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From August 2 to August 10, Chicago local yarn shops will be showing off their shops and offerings to patrons all across the area while they participate in the Chicago Yarn Crawl. Now an annual tradition, the Chicago Yarn Crawl will include 28 participating Chicago-area stores, with several other stores on the route worth the visit as well.

For all yarn enthusiasts, the Yarn Crawl has a winning formula that is easy to follow. First, go to the Chicago Yarn Crawl website and choose your first store. Once there, ask the store employee (or one of many, since the stores usually bulk up their staffing that week) for a passport. Crawlers receive a very realistic-looking passport with the Yarn Crawl logo on the outside, and every participating store's information on the inside.

Each store on the Crawl will place their store-specific stamp in participants' passports, and they will also offer all customers a 10% discount on all yarn purchases throughout the week. There will be a chance to win a raffle at each store, plus all participants can pick up a free knitting pattern from each visited location. The patterns are exclusive to the patrons of the crawl for free, with many stores offering their patterns for purchase after the week. An increasing number of stores are also offering a crochet pattern as well.

Throughout the week, participants are eligible for a host of other prizes in addition to the freebies and discounts being offered at each store. When a Crawler has visited either five, ten, or fifteen stores during the event, he or she may fill out a ticket in the back of their passport and give it to the employee of the milestone store. All tickets are handed into the Chicago Yarn Crawl coordinator, and entrants are eligible for larger raffle prizes donated by various sponsors throughout the knitting and crochet industries.

With all of the freebies and discounts being given away, the Chicago Yarn Crawl has given every yarn crafter a reason to participate. However, the best reasons out there have nothing to do with what the stores can offer you that you can see on any facebook page or website. This is a wonderful chance for knitters and crocheters to see what yarns and notions other stores offer, what classes are on their regular docket so they can plan on learning a new skill in the future, and most importantly, the Yarn Crawl gives knitters and crocheters a chance to support local businesses. Over 90% of all yarn shops are owned at least in partner by women, and these local businesses supply not just yarn, but they are a fixture of community within their geographical areas.

Many stores have extended hours for the Chicago Yarn Crawl, so it is never too early to start planning for the nine-day event. Gather your friends and fellow yarn crafters for a carpool, bus trek, or bike outing to your local yarn shops for what can be seen as the greatest area-wide yarn sale of the year.

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