A recent Knit Night at The Craft Studio and Yarn Shop was abuzz with laughter and conversation, where a dozen or so women gathered to knit or crochet various projects ranging from dishcloths to sweaters.
Knitter Ariel Oaks patiently helped a newcomer pick up stitches that she had ripped out to repair a mistake on a scarf she was making. Becky Stoddart knits a dishcloth next to Amy Gibbs, who was working on a shawl. Heather Taylor tried out a new technique using a French knitter tool to create an I-cord to decorate a hat she had knitted.
The shop at 634 Main St., on the garden level of Sentinel Square in downtown Grand Junction, has helped fill a void that was left when the yarn shop Tangle closed nearly a year ago. Like Tangle, The Craft Studio, which opened in January, carries high-quality fibers made in the United States and around the world.
At any time of day — not just Knit Night on Monday evenings — you’ll often find people gathered at the shop where there’s a couch, two upholstered rocking chairs, and fold-up chairs for additional people who stop by. On warm days you’ll often find people sitting outdoors on patio furniture.
In addition to yarns, sewing notions, looms and spinning wheels, owner Lesly Adams offers an array of classes as well as a gathering place for people to come work on their handiwork. It’s a welcoming atmosphere; Adams offers visitors a cup of coffee or tea when they enter the shop.
Lynne Wolford plans to teach a class on how to knit socks — “two at a time – top down.” Another woman, Pam Schultz, 30, will teach spinning as well as steeking, a knitting technique that allows for knitting a sweater faster. Future classes will also include weaving, beading, rug hooking and other fiber arts-related crafts.
“I want this to be a place to gather, create and learn,” Adams said.
Adams’ business plan has been fluid – it “changes daily,” she said. Adams started out small, as The Craft Studio – a place to come and do craft projects – but soon expanded, adding yarns and other supplies. She also carries homemade cards and colorful artisan baskets from Ghana. Spinning wheels and looms are available to purchase or rent.
Adams hosts monthly knit-alongs from 1-3 p.m. where customers buy patterns and materials for a particular project and work together at the shop on their individual items. The following month, from 10 a.m. to noon, there’s a “reveal” party where everyone shares their completed or in-progress projects. Then Adams serves lunch.
Free hot beverages, free use of the shop for people who want to teach classes, free lunches for Knit-Along participants — you might wonder how Adams makes money.
“I met my three-month goal in three weeks,” quips Adams, a single mother with two teenage sons.
“It goes back to the way I was raised. What you give away comes back to you 10-fold.”
In addition to yarns from Italy, Argentina, Peru, Canada, Ireland, Uruguay, Germany, New Zealand, and the United States, Adams stocks fibers raised from alpacas in the Grand Valley — Dreamcatcher Alpacas in Clifton and Suncrest Orchard Alpacas and Fiber Works in Palisade. She also carries lotions made from locally grown lavender.
Family physician Kathy Tarman stopped in recently to buy yarn for a baby sweater she intends to knit for a friend who just gave birth.
“A lot of people in the medical profession knit,” Tarman said. “It’s a stress reliever.
“What’s great about a brick and mortar store is when you get stuck you have a place to run something by. Being able to come in and ask a question — even if you’re a seasoned knitter — that to me is what’s nice about having a shop.”
The shop caters not just to women of all ages. Adams said a couple of men also come to knit.
“A woman came in the other day and saw people knitting,” Adams said. “She said, ‘I’ve found my tribe.’”