Yearning for yarn

Rising popularity of knitting brings new shops to area
Wednesday, November 12, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 1:17 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

Retailers in Columbia have tapped into the increasing demand for knitting supplies by opening two new shops. Stitches at 2529 Bernadette Drive opened Oct. 1, and Hillcreek Yarn Shoppe, 1414 Rangeline, Suite H lower level, will open Nov. 17. Both shops sell specialty yarns, needles, patterns and instruction booklets.

Sherry Jacquin, owner of Stitches, said community response to the new store has been positive.

“People come in and say, ‘We’ve needed this for so long. We’ve wanted a store like this for so long,’” Jacquin said. “The comments coming in have been great.”

Stitches sells a variety of materials for cross-stitch, crochet and couching and has several trendy yarns that can be used for scrapbooking.

Jacquin plans to teach knitting classes after the first of the year and will offer classes on particular techniques based on customer demand.

Owners of Carol Leigh’s Hillcreek Fiber Studio, which is run in the back of Carol Leigh Brack-Kaiser’s home at 7001 Hillcreek Road, have expanded the knitting aspect of the business to the Hillcreek Yarn Shoppe.

The studio, which has been in business for more than 20 years, initially specialized in weaving supplies and instruction. But as interest in knitting increased, the store began to accommodate a new group of customers.

“We had customers ask for knitting yarns, so we developed the yarn aspect of the business,” Brack-Kaiser said. “But it has grown so big, it’s overtaken the weaving part of it. It’s gotten to the point we need to break it into two parts.”

Business at the studio will return to its initial focus on weaving, while the new shop will focus on knitting instruction and supplies. The shop will have an open house Dec. 12.

The store will sell domestic and imported hand-dyed yarns.

Basic knitting classes will be offered at the shop and customer demand will determine the topics of any specialty classes. Manager Rebecca Oliger plans to invite well-known crafters to guest teach.

“If you ever wanted to learn to knit, now is the time to do it,” Oliger said.

Oliger said knitting has become increasingly popular with younger generations.

“There has been a big resurgence due to college girls getting into it — and boys, too,” Oliger said. “The majority of knitting customers that come through the store are college kids.”

Oliger attributes this trend to how easy it is to learn to knit.

“Knitting is something you can just pass time doing, wherever you are, and it makes a lot of people feel good to make stuff for other people,” she said.

Both Oliger and Jacquin welcome customers to bring their work into the shops for assistance. Jacquin has even set up a table at Stitches specifically for customers to knit in the store and get ideas or help.

“This table is meant for people to come sit and sew anytime I’m open, just relax and visit like an old-fashioned sewing circle,” Jacquin said. “You don’t have to bring something you’ve bought here, just come relax and sew.”

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