Yarnia Draws Fiber Fans from the Tri-State Area
By Michele Silver
In its yarn-store heyday, Montclair boasted five retail locations for knitters. Over
time, most of them closed, leaving fans of this cozy hobby to create the Montclair
Knitting Circle. Long-time knitters and friends Kathleen Vandervoort, Amanda
Turcotte and Jen Bonnell opened Yarnia a little more than six months ago to serve
the fiber community, which includes not only the surrounding towns of Bloomfield,
Verona, Cedar Grove, Nutley and Livingston but also as far away as Pennsylvania.
“People who love yarn stores will always make time to check out a good local one
when they get the chance!” enthused Kathleen.
Each owner bring a unique skill set to the knitting table. Kathleen is the on-site
manager and has a background in marketing and branding. Amanda hails from the
worlds of corporate finance and product development. Jen was a children’s book
editor and craft book author, and she’s one of the main instructors for knitting and
spinning classes. Kathleen said that Sheila Handlesman from Stix n Stitches and
Paige Sato from Modern Yarn were incredibly helpful in Yarnia’s development.
“We’ve all been in stores where the vibe wasn’t great, and we always want to make
sure that everyone feels welcome and at home — from the beginner who has never
picked up a skein before to the knitting designer who is looking for some
inspiration,” she said.
Yarnia carries brands such as Ancient Arts, Baah and Knitted Wit as well as local
indie dyers like Apple Tree Knits and MollyGirl Yarn and classics like Swans Island,
Jade Sapphire, Cascade, Mrs. Crosby, Manos, Madelinetosh; North Light Fibers from
Block Island, RI., is a new fave micro mill.
In addition to group and private classes, the store offers knitalongs, which is a group
of crafters make the same item showing their individuality through yarn choice and
other details. There are knit nights at least twice a month and a regular sit and knit
session on Sundays. “We love the fact that we have customers of every age range,
men and women, knitters, crocheters, spinners, and weavers,” Kathleen said. “The
one thing all our customers do have in common is that they want to work with yarn
that feels good and that will make a finished object that they are happy with.”
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