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"Travel Blog: Cruising Alaska's Inside Passage"
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Author:  planetpurl
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Glaciers, the Tongass National Rainforest, gold rush towns and yarn, my friend, yarn!
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Skagway, Alaska [Back to Blog]
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Skagway from the helicopter


"Downtown" Skagway


Changing Threads


Raven Frog Yarns


Jacques Cartier Shop


Qiviut -- Yum!


My Wooly Bear Stash


My Qiviut and Vicuna

Skagway has worked hard to maintain it's history and it retains the look of a real 19th century gold-rush town.  On the day we were there, the city's 800 residents were joined by about 12,000 cruise ship passengers.  800 residents and 2 yarn shops, including a branch of the exclusive, check-your-platinum-card-at-the-door Jacques Cartier all-qiviuk shop.  Oh my, I am hyperventilating just thinking about it! This is definitely my kind of town. 

For most ship itineraries, this is the longest stop in port as there is so much to do in and around Skagway.  Mr. PurlQueen and I took a helicopter up s  over the glaciers, landed half-way up a mountain, hiked for about 3 hours and then caught the historic Yukon & White Pass Railroad back to Skagway. 

Where I made  bee-line for the fabulous shop, Changing Threads.  I did some serious damage here, drawn immediately to the whole case of lovely Windy Valley qiviuk.  I was hypnotized by the beautiful halo of the marine blue and had the helpful shop lady set it aside for me as I was quickly distracted by the Raven Frog Wooly Bear yarn -- one strand merino and one in mohair, hand-dyed in spectacular color-ways.  I couldn't resist the "Cabin in the Woods" colorway and scooped up the 5 hanks they had on hand.  Reds, greens, browns, and creamy vanilla.  Yum, yum, yummy! 

Not wanting to see just how much yarn I could buy before Mr. PurlQueen gave me "the look,"  we headed out of the shop with the intention of heading back to the ship to dry out and warm up after our long hike in the drizzling rain.  It was absolutely not my fault that we accidentally found the mother-lode that is Jacques Cartier.  I didn't even know they had opened a shop in Skagway.  I'm telling the God's honest truth, here.  I knew about the shop in Banff, the one in Lake Louise, and that they had opened a shop in the Plaza Hotel in New York City recently. But Skagway?  Oh thank my lucky stars. 

The shop is a recent addition and stays open only for the cruise ship season from May to September.  I spoke with Cartier's home office and they told me they did plan to re-open for the cruise season in 2010, but the location may change.  So check out theri web site and/or call the main location in Banff before you head out to get the exact location of the Skagway shop. http://www.qiviuk.com. 

OK, so back to shopping....One step inside and I knew I was in fiber heaven.  You're greeted by a life size stuffed Musk Ox and shelf after shelf and rack after rack of gorgeous knitted qiviuk sweater, scarves, hats, gloves, wraps, throws and on and on and on.  All out there in the open for you to touch.  I'm feeling faint just typing this.  Then the piece de resistance -- a display of little balls of qiviuk yarn in every color available.  Lots of them. 

I was talking to the manager of the shop about our serendipitous discovery of the store and the fact we did not have the shop in our online directory when Mr. PurlQueen asked a question about why qiviut was so expensive.  After the manager told him about qiviuk, I chimed in to to tell him that it wasn't the most expensive fiber, vicuna was and that it was exceptionally rare and expensive.  The manager told me she had vicuna yarn in stock, just not on display and would I like to see it?  What do you think?  She brought a bag with 2 precious balls of Vicuna.  She placed one gingerly on the palm of my hand and something just took over my brain and I was possessed.  I mean it really wasn't my fault.  I told Mr. PurlQueen that this would be the Christmas present ever and as he hates, and I mean hates, to shop for me, buying that ball of vicuna was a complete win-win situation.  And I threw in some promises of a rather personal nature to tip the odds in my favor.  I left the shop smiling and with 214 yards of the world's softest fiber in a tiny bag and with the firm belief that this was the best cruise ever.  

Even the 100 mph winds and 40+ waves the last day on the open sea didn't dim my enthusiasm for yarn shopping in Alaska.  Total take: 9 skeins of Raven Frog, 1 ball of qiviuk and one ball of vicuna.  I love, love, love Alaska!

Changing Threads
326 Third Avenue
Skagway, Alaska  99840
Toll Free: (800) 981-5432
Local: (907) 983-3700

Jacques Cartier  Qiviut Boutique at Alaska
(2009) address)  299 Broadway & Third Ave
Skagway, Alaska 99840
(907) 983 3484

10/11/2009 2 comments | add comment
mrswave | 07/01/2010
I found Changing Threads although it is now combined with a quilting shore. They have also consolidated with Jacques Cartier Quiviut Boutique at Alaska. The store was busy, but, easy to locate yarns. I bought 1 skein of qiviut and 2 skeins of Raven Frog. Total take was almost $600 worth of yarn. Really made my trip. Thanks again!
mrswave | 04/24/2010
I'm going on this cruise in Jun 10 and can't wait to go to all the shops. Thanks for posting them.
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