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"Travel Blog: Tampa/St. Petersburg"
Author:  planetpurl
Beautiful Gulf Beaches, awesome Cuban food, cruise ships, major league sports, and, of course, yarn glorious yarn. Join us as we cruise Florida's west coast for a little yarn shopping.
06/12/2009 - Knit 'n Knibble - Tampa

Knit 'n Knibble recently moved into this larger space in Tampa on South Dale Mabry, near the Euclid Avenue exit of the Cross-Town Expressway.  The unassuming exterior doesn't clue you in to the fact that is probably the largest yarn shop in the entire central section of Florida!

The shop has classrooms, an open cafe area that was full of happy knitters drinking capuccino on the Friday afternoon I was there, and yarn, yarn, and more yarn.  The fibers were divided into a section of the store with summer weight yarns and another with wooly winter-weights.  There's a wall that has every single color of Cascade 220 -- like a candy store for felters. 

It would be easir to list the brands they don't carry than the full list of the ones in stock.  With over 80 brands represented, including the full line of Rowan, I dare you to walk out of the shop empty-handed.  I didn't! 

The shop offers a free Knit Klinic to help customers with their projects when the supplies are purchased at the shop.  In the customer lounge, there's also a Design Center that allows customers to test drive knitting software, calculate yarn requirements, and design projects.  The tool table allows customers to wind their own yarn, and there's a lending library of books and magazines.  It's no wonder the shop was bustling even though it was Friday afternoon in the summer!

Knit 'n Knibble
4027 South Dale Mabry Highway
Tampa, Florida

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06/12/2009 - Uncommon Threads - Palm Harbor


We had so much fun shopping here, it was hard to get back on the road.  The owner is so energetic and funny, it's like a comedy club with yarn! 
Loads and loads of yarn.

The store is laid out with aisles virtually stuffed with yarn.  It's like going to a Sam's Club but with yarn.  We've never seen so much yarn packed into a space. We walked up and down every aisle at least twice, there was so much to see.  The yarns were more or less sorted by fiber, which those living in warm climates appreciate.  A sample of the brands carried include: Colinette, SWTC, Berocco, Plymouth, Prism, Classic Elite, Alpaca With A Twist, Marks & Katten, Universal, Plassard, Anny Blatt, Needful Yarns, Jojoland, Misti, Claudia Handpaints, J Knits Handyed, Malabrigo, Crystal Palace, Jaeger, Aslan Trends, GGH, and on and on and on.

For beaders, or knitters and crocheters who love to add beads to their creations (like us), There's a section of the wall that all beads.  Uncommon Threads is an outlet for Jane's Beads and the selection is HUGE. 

This was the only shop in the area that also sold spinning fibers and supplies.  There was a wall of beautifull hand-dyed roving for those who like to make their own yarn, as well as basic spinning tools.

Uncommon Threads
31962 US 19 N.
Palm Harbor, Florida 34684

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06/12/2009 - Flying Needles - Belleair Bluffs


If you're staying on one of Clearwater's beautiful beaches, Flying Needles in Belleair Bluffs will be your "neighborhood" shop. Lucky you!  And since its next door neighbor is a Cold Stone Creamery, very lucky you!

Bright and very friendly, the shop is chock-full of tempting displays of yarn, glorious yarn.
  The shop carries Rowan, Claudia Handpaints, Plymouth, Gedifra, Jarbo, Ironstone, Fiesta, Elsebeth Lavold, Mission Falls and more.  If you're a needle arts multi-tasker, they also carry an amazing selection of handpainted needlepoint canvases.

Flying Needles has been in business since 1960, almost a record in this industry.  The shop is only on its third owner in the almost 50 years it's been in business.  In our opinion, with its helpful friendly vibe and beautiful selection, they'll be around for at least another 50 years.

2933 West Bay Drive
Belleair Bluffs, FL 33770
(727) 581-8691

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06/12/2009 - Stitchworm - St. Pete

Stitchworm is a needlepoint and knitting store at the north end of St. Pete, near the towns of Pinellas Park and Seminole.  If you're staying out at Madeira Beach or Redington Shores, this is the closest yarn shop. 

When you walk into the shop, the left side is all needlepoint and crewel.  The right side is a loooong wall of yarn.  For a smaller shop, Stitchworm has a surprisingly wide selection.  They carry Berocco, Gedifra, Reynolds, Classic Elite, Louisa Harding, Debbie Bliss, Lamb's Pride, Plymouth and Elsebeth Lavold, among others.  They also carry a Turkish brand, "Feza" which appears to be a cheaper, almost "knock-off," version of some of my favorite Prism yarns.  Since Prism is based in St. Pete, it seems almost
sacrilegious!  But then I am a huge Prism fan and if they had a retail outlet in St. Pete, I'd just move there and spend my free time wandering around the showroom touching yarn...

5277 Park St N
St Petersburg, FL 33709
(727) 541-6571

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06/12/2009 - Needles & Knobs -- St. Pete

Through our travels, we've been to yarn shops combined with all kinds of other crafts -- needlepoint, embroidery, beading, etc.  But a yarn and cabinet hardware store?  This was a first.

Needles & Knobs is located on Central Avenue in St. Petersburg very close to Treasure Isle.  The shop was initially a high-end cabinet hardware store.  It's owner is a life-long knitter and always wanted a yarn shop, so now she has both -- just in one store. 

The shop is wide open and bright, with lots of sitting space on couches and chairs.  It's like a big living room with shelves of yarn on all the walls, like artwork. 

The shop carries a wide selection of brands, including Rowan, SWTC, Malabrigo, Cascade, Prism, Louet, Lorna's Laces, Tilli Tomas and Alpaca With A Twist.  There's lots of sock yarn, too.  Prism Yarns is based in St. Pete but does not have their own retail shop, but if you're looking for something from Prism, Needles & Knobs can get it for you the next day.

The shop is open year round and has a late "knit night" once a week in case you need a knitting group fix.  And if you need to give your kitchen or bath cabinets a little pick-me-up with new hardware at the same time...

Needles & Knobs
7213 Central Avenue
St. Petersburg, FL 33710
(727) 345-5662

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06/12/2009 - The Tampa Bay Area

The Tampa Bay area has a lot to offer vacationers -- the Port of Tampa cruise terminal, The Tampa Bay Bucanneers football team, Yankee spring training, Tampa Rays baseball, a spectacular marine aquarium, tasty Cuban/Spanish cuisine in the myriad restaurants in the historic Ybor City area, and Busch Gardens theme park, just for starters.  And if it's broad sandy beaches and the smooth warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico you're after, they're everywhere you turn.  3 of the country's top 10 beaches are in the Tampa area.  The smooth waters are great for family beach vacations.

My favorite stop in Tampa is Ybor City, the historic area where Cuban cigar rolling was the main trade.  No visit to Tampa/St. Pete is complete wihout a stroll through this area and a stop for a cup of Cuban coffee at a sidewalk cafe.  If you've never had Cuban coffee, it makes Italian espresso look like water.  You can almost stand a spoon it, it's so strong. 

One of our favorite restaurants anywhere is The Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City.  Although there are a few branches of this landmark restaurant around Florida, the original one, built in 1905, is in Ybor City.  It takes up a full city block and seats over 1500 people.  The restaurant is still run by the original family, though now on its 4th and 5th generation.  The paella and the fish dishes are not to be missed.

Another great spot is the Florida Aquarium.  The 200,000 square foot aquarium facility is home to an incredible array of exhibits and features.  There's a fun outdoor water park for toddlers and young children, dolphin eco-tours, swim with the sharks for scuba-certified divers over 15, swimming in coral reef tanks for visitors over the age of 6, behind-the-scenes tours and more.  The Florida Aquarium is located in the Channel district in downtown Tampa.  There's lots to do outside the Aquarium as well.  The Channelside complex includes an IMAX theater, lots of shops and great restaurants. 

And of of couse, there's Busch Gardens.  Whether your thing is roller coasters or rare animals, there's something for you here.  This "outpost" of the Busch Garden franchise is called "The Dark Continent."  You've probably guessed that there's an African safari theme going on. 

Busch Gardens is home to America's first "dive coaster," climbing 200 feet and diving at 90 degrees and with no floor.  And that's just one of almost a dozen thrill rides.  But Busch Gardens is also home to the "Serengeti Plain" and other animal habitats where you can have close encounters of another kind with hippos, giraffes, lions, hyenas, baboons, and -- well, you get the idea.

And when you're tired of tanning, eating, swimming with sharks and screaming your head off on roller coasters, there's always YARN SHOPPING!
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