THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)
THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)
27th November, 2018 0
For Kristin Schanck, owner & proprietor of The Little Yarn Shoppe, which is located on the first level of the new SVRC Marketplace in Downtown Saginaw, the excitement of her business resides in the colorful selection of over 250 high-quality yarns that she offers and the passionate imagination that goes into creating the patterns people select to express their creativity.
From a historical perspective, the earliest known recorded crochet patterns where printed in 1824, and yet there is a great deal of evidence pointing to the fact that woman particularly have been recording and sharing crochet patterns since well before then. While the exact origins of Crochet are unclear as the skill was originally word of mouth, Lis Paludan theorizes that crochet evolved from traditional practices in Iran, South America or China, but there is no decisive evidence of the craft being performed before its popularity in Europe during the 19th century.
Crochet is a process by which yarn or thread and a single hook of any size can be used to make fabric, lace, garments and toys. Crochet may also be used to make hats, bags and jewelry. Crochet as we say in the English Language is derived from the French word croche, which literally means hook. Like knitting, crochet stitches are made by pulling the yarn through an active loop. While knitting involves a row of open active loops (or stitches) the process of crochet only uses one loop or stitch at a time. A variety of textures, patterns and shapes can be created through varying tension, dropping and adding stitches, and wrapping the yarn around the hook during a stitch.
Kristin first became interested in crochet and knitting back in 2007 when her daughter was a little girl. “Somebody gifted a sun hat for her that I absolutely adored, so I wanted to learn how to make them, which is where it all began for me,” she explains. I started crocheting and knitting for a couple years and fell in love with the process because it was something I was naturally really good at.”
Given the time intensive nature of this hand-rendered process of knitting and crochet, what was Kristin’s thoughts behind opening her own yarn shop? “Basically, I fell in love with yarns and the ones I really liked I could only get online, which is something I didn’t like. The yarn inventory that I stock is definitely more specialty and higher-end than what you’ll find in most of the craft stores, because they are independently dyed yarns, which aren’t practical for the Big Box stores to carry. There’s only one or two small shops around the region and they didn’t carry the yarns I was interested in.”
In addition to offering well over 250 yarns with price points ranging from $4.50 to $45, Kristin also offers many finished products priced for people to purchase, but also partners with a few of her customers to offer their custom crafted hats and sweaters on consignment.
“Additionally, I mix classes into my business plan and classes are a big part of what we do here. We feature three or five session Beginner classes for people to learn the basics of crochet that happen once a week for a couple hours and lay a good foundation for people to start from. After that we’ll gauge what customers are most interested in and tailor classes around what people desire to learn about. A 3-hour class on technique only costs $20.00 and the daily workshops that we feature go up to $80.00, but my thought is to make the cost of the classes fairly low so people are encouraged to invest in good materials.”
When asked the most challenging component involved working with knitting and crochet, Kristin explains,
“For many people it’s figuring out how to match the project they want to do with an appropriate yarn, so in many ways I also act as a matchmaker. People will come to me with a project in mind, but no pattern; or they’ll have a pattern configured with no yarn in mind, so I will match them up with that. It took me a long time to realize that what comes easy for me doesn’t for everybody in terms of matching the right material with the project.”
The most popular items she moves depend upon the time of year. “In the winter the biggest items are scarves, hats, and sweaters - more personalized items for Christmas,” she notes. “Another thing many customers will do, which if you’re not part of the yarn community you wouldn’t know about, it something called ‘Knitted Numbers’. These are knitted cotton prosthetics for women with mastectomies, as many of these inner prosthetics tend to be hot and heavy, whereas these are hand-knitted by women with love who donates both their time and materials.”
“Additionally, I partner with the Gift of Hope for Haiti, which is an organization based out of Midland, concludes Kristin. “They work directly with women in Haiti so they can earn a living wage to provide for their families, rent a home, or send their children to school. I carry a variety of market bags, small brush bags, stuffed animals, and more items that directly support this project.”
The Little Yarn Shoppe is located at the first level inside the SVRC Marketplace located at 203 N. Washington in Downtown Saginaw. You can reach Kristin at 989.274.8571.
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THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)