In November here in Olympia we said goodbye to a Knitting hub and institution, local yarn and fabric store Canvas Works. This past year has seen many long established yarn stores close, sometimes due to financial stress after a long slog through the recession, and sometimes due to life changes for the owners. Canvas Works was strongly supported by loyal customers and we know that financially the business was strong. An opportunity came along to sell their building and move on to other things. We’re all grateful for the many years in the community!
Knitters are a fiercely loyal bunch. I shared a few tears and sad moments with distraught customers who shared with me their anxiety about a future without their special store. Canvas Works was also my place to buy needles and get inspiration for many years! When I started the Jorstad Creek Studio I talked with my friend Amy at Canvas Works who said unequivocally that more yarn in the community was good, it would help us all to bring more visitors to Olympia and continue growing the knitting movement. I will always be grateful for that word of encouragement!
You see it was not my intention to open the Studio for retail business. My plans were to grow my wholesale client list and have a place other than my backyard and basement to make beautiful yarn and fiber. However a condition of getting a business license in Olympia for the Studio’s location included the requirement to have a retail component. So when we opened to the public in July of 2015 we set up a retail display and knitter’s lounge. We established limited hours for welcoming in retail customers and embarked on building up a presence in the knitting community.
Over the past two and a half years many local and out-of-town knitters have found us tucked away as we are between two parking lots, a busy pub, and an apartment building. I am so grateful for the loyal support, the new friendships, and the volunteers that helped us through some critical moments. While the Studio is a welcoming place, it is the people who make it special. My heart is full!
Change can be hard, so how do we make it easier? How do we carry on with resilience? And how can the Studio be a positive part of positive change? I have grappled with this, talking to friends, employees, business partners and colleagues.
In the near term we are expanding retail hours for the holidays. In addition to our regularly established hours on Tuesday evenings, Fridays and Saturdays, we’re staying open on Friday evenings until 8 pm and adding Sunday hours from 1 to 5 pm. Once past the holidays we will evaluate expanding to more days or hours for 2018.
More permanently we are adding a supply of ChiaoGoo knitting needles. We’ve added needle felting wool to our fiber selection and in the coming weeks we will supply needle felting tools. Our class offerings for knitting, crafting, and dyeing will also be expanded as we identify more instructors and instruction needs.
We’re also thinking about better signage and other changes that would make us more visible!
With optimism I hope 2018 brings more crafters to our little corner of the world and that they will fall in love with our Studio. One way or another we hope our fellow knitters find a way to carry on with our beloved craft. We wish for you the best of the holiday season from all of us at Jorstad Creek! Kerry