“Our purchase of The Red Thread yarn store was almost a whim. We always talked about owning a business in Old Town,” says Marylou Embrey. “We considered a number of different options. Richard was there with a friend and later, he spoke with the owner Barbara Slaton and learned of her interest in selling. He called me on his way home, and said, ‘Let’s buy a yarn shop,” and I said ‘okay.’” They changed the name to Yarnia of Old Town, and the rest is history.
The Embrys’ experience and scope with fiber textiles is impressive. Marylou says, “I have been knitting and crocheting for over fifty years, as well as painting in watercolors and quilting. Those really help with designing patterns and hand dyeing tatting thread. Soon I hope be hand dyeing our own line of yarn. I also do cross stitch, embroidery, and needlepoint — we hope in the near future to carry a supply of needlepoint thread and canvas. Richard has crocheted for about 40 years or so and has become a knitting wizard. People are amazed when they see his work and find out he has only been knitting for a few years. He also does tatting and bobbin lace.”
The shop’s recent move in early April to a storefront, in the space formerly occupied by BE Boutique at 92 Main Street, has proved a good decision. The visibility gained has been great for their business. Previously, the shop had been located on 5th Street, and then in the rear of their current building, where the decreased foot traffic caused their sales to drop by 25 percent. Now, Richard says, “Many customers say how happy they are to have found us and compliment us on our wonderful shop. They love to touch and feel the yarn in person.” Marylou added, “Seeing the exact color shades in person is important.” Yarnia credits most of their sales to out-of-towners. “People often come into the store just passing through and are happy to have found a yarn store to pick up some skeins to work on their project while they are out of town,” says Marylou.
“In our new location we have a lovely sitting area at the front of the store that hosts exciting exchanges of creativity where people come to sit ‘n knit, or chat ‘n tat, or stay ‘n crochet” says Marylou. The store is filled with notions, needles, books, and crafts for all levels of knitters, as well as for people who have an interest in tatting, crocheting, weaving, felting, and spinning. Yarnia of Old Town stocks the store with yarns and threads of varying weights suitable for endless projects. “Teenagers really love bulky yarn to make sweaters and hats,” she says of a unique style of yarn they carry. Fingering and sock weight yarns are available for more delicate pieces.
Marylou adds, “We would like to let people know that there is so much more that you can do with fibers other than just make a blanket or scarf. You can make things like jewelry and handbags, or learn to felt wool fibers and make all kinds of things from cute little animals to dryer balls. String art wall hangings or dream catchers are things many young people like to make. I always say, let your creativity go wild.
Richard and Marylou appreciate the camaraderie among the Old Town merchants, “I send people to Kelly Ann’s Quilting, Latitudes, and Sherrie’s Stuff, among others, and I hope they send people my way. It works better when we all work together,” says Marylou.
Through the practice of knitting, tatting, and crocheting, the Embreys foster a creative culture and are encouraging people to gather to discuss their shared craft. Fiber art hobbies help with cognitive health. The colors and creativity keep brain activity strong and vibrant as people age, making knitting, tatting, and crocheting ideal crafts to learn. Whether you are a new knitter or a seasoned one, there is a lot to discover in Yarnia of Old Town.
Yarnia of Old Town accepts knitted donations to be distributed to those in need. Knitted Knockers (special handmade breast prosthesis for women who have undergone mastectomies or other procedures to the breast) may be dropped off at the shop, and they also collect handmade hats, mittens, and scarves for local people in need.
Classes and events are listed on yarniaofoldtown.com every month. You can also stop by the shop to pick up a schedule for the month at the store.
Kids Craft- $6 per project
Saturday from 10:00-11:00 am starting September 8.
Ages 7 to 12 with two separate groups. Child must be registered in advance to attend.
Zipper Art- $45
Saturday from 12:00-3:00 starting September 8.
Try something new! Making shawl pins or brooches. Working with felted wool, beads, floss and of course zippers! Supplies included.
Brioche Cowl- $50
September 8 & 22; 4:00-6:00 pm.
Learn two-color brioche knitting in the round. Supplies may be purchased at the shop.
Learn to Knit- $15
September 11,18 and 25; 11:30-1:00 pm.
Learn how to cast on, knit and bind off. Supplies available at the shop.
Learn to Crochet- $20
September 12, 26; 11:30-1:00 pm.
Learn basic crochet to get you on your way to making beautiful things. Supplies available at the shop.
Helix Hat- $45
September 16 & 23; 4:30-6:00 pm.
This lovely jog-less striped hat is done by working 3 colors with no stranding. The hat may be made in multiple sizes. Supplies available at the shop.
Stay n’ Crochet
Second Sunday of the month, 1:00-4:00 pm.
Crocheters gather to crochet, share tips, help each other and have fun.
Chat n’ Tat
Last Sunday of the month (except December).
Social where tatters can tat, share tips and help each other while having lots of fun.
Sit n’ Knit
Every Thursday from 6-8pm.
Fiber enthusiasts come to work on projects, get help and share ideas with each other.