On the Road:
The Woolly Lamb

Pennington, NJ
Note: In March 2006, the Woolly Lamb left its charming location in the old part of Pennington and moved to a brand new strip mall on Tree Farm Road off Route 31. The new location is pictured at right.

the new storefront
The yarn selection remains the same, but the atmosphere is decidedly different. The nooks, crannies, and windows in each room have been replaced by a large square space with drop-ceilings and fluorescent lights. But there's ample parking with quilt and bead shops in the same complex.

Below is the original review.
The Specifics

Tree Farm Road
Pennington, NJ 08534
(609) 730-9800

Picture this: You're visiting a new town and have a hankering for yarn. But the town's only yarn shop, you've been told, closed months ago.

You venture to the town's tiny center anyway, determined to get some sort of browsing fix. You park the car and start strolling toward a gift shop when suddenly, out of the corner of your eye, you catch the words "knitting and needlepoint."

You turn and discover that you're standing directly in front of a beautiful brand new yarn store. Best of all, it's open!

Such was my experience last week during a family visit to Pennington, New Jersey, a small boro within easy driving distance of Princeton.

The shop -- called The Wooly Lamb -- had only been open for six weeks when I visited. And it occupies the very same space where the town's previous shop -- Handwovens of Pennington -- had been located.

The Location
At first glance, Pennington is just another anonymous suburban outpost. But turn off the main road and you'll discover a lovely small town center with well-tended gardens and beautifully restored old buildings, many of which house shops.

The Wooly Lamb is located in this area of Pennington along Main Street. If you don't mind walking a few blocks, you'll have no problem finding street parking. A short set of steps outside lead to the door, after which you're home free.

The front


the needle corner


the embroidery thread selection

the resident pooch

a comfy chair
A Visual Feast
Most of us dream of a warm, welcoming yarn shop that's stocked to the ceilings with colorful merchandise and staffed with friendly people who let you browse in peace.

So did Susan Olson, the shop's owner. She added to the mix two fireplaces, plush chairs and sizeable work spaces, big windows in every room, and an adorable resident doggie.

Varied Merchandise
Susan is an avid needlepointer who only recently became a knitting convert. She has managed to blend the two crafts harmoniously in the shop, something I don't often see.

Often shops that carry needlepoint and yarns usually focus on one craft at the expense of the other, leaving part of the inventory dusty and outdated. In the case of The Woolly Lamb, everything was equally bright, abundant, and beautiful.

The merchandise isn't limited to yarn or needlepoint, either. "When I go into a yarn shop," Susan explained, "I often bring a friend with me who might not be a knitter. So I wanted to give those people something to enjoy too."

Toward this end, she has added all sorts of bags, boxes, finished gifts, and home items in an early Americana style. And if the non-knitting members of your party still grow tired, you can send them to the coffee shop up the street.

The Yarns
From a knitting perspective, the yarn inventory covers all the bases. I saw yarns from Karabella, Berroco, Filatura di Crosa, Great Adirondack Yarns, Muench, Zitron, and Skacel, to name a few.

A well-stocked needle corner had tools from the likes of Clover, Susan Bates, Brittany, and Addi, as well as Susanne's rosewood needles. Susan is receiving new shipments every day, and I had a sense that her pattern selection was still waiting for more deliveries.

A Daunting Venture
Perhaps it's because I just completed the process of opening my own store, but by the end of my visit I was tired and ready to go. I'm still sensitive to all the effort involved in retail undertakings, most of which we take for granted as consumers. I felt both awe and envy.

Everywhere I looked, I saw hours of work and significant capital invested in everything from inventory to infrastructure, from yarn and embroidery threads to track lighting, a computerized inventory system, a staff, and even colorful business cards that had been die-cut to give the impression of having been hand-cut with pinking shears.

Fortunately, Susan had the energy, enthusiasm, and resources to embark fully on this venture. We, as customers, can only benefit. If you find yourself in the area, I strongly urge you to pay this shop a visit.

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