I think many knitters have a secret (or not so secret) fantasy of having their own yarn shop. I'm certainly no exception.
I've been knitting for - wow - 45 years, and have always loved perusing yarn in shops. When I was little it was mainly acrylic, in garish primary colors, in drug stores or five and dimes. In my teens in England I would seek out actual yarn shops, still selling primarily acrylic, though some might at this point be stocking beauties by Rowan with more natural fibers and large color palettes and the accompanying pattern books full of inspiration and gorgeous photography. I was hooked.
I come from a family with a rich history in the 'gentle arts'. My great-grandmother was an accomplished weaver, my grandmothers made lace, needlepointed endless chair seats, knitted, crocheted, embroidered.
My mother made much of her own and my clothing as a child, stylish no less - oh those wide collars of the 70's made for wonderfully embarrassing school photos.. My aunt took me to Liberty's, endless floors of fabrics, fashions, yarns all perfectly presented to make them impossibly appealing. My mother took me to Hédiard in Paris (these days focused on food but back then - novelty wool bouclé in bright, saturated colors made me swoon!).
My aunt, mum and I went deep into a phase of stitching up every Kaffe Fassett needlepoint design as fast as he could publish them. I even had the hutzpah to call him up and ask for a job as a stitcher - he was very impressed that I'd finished his Rose Trellis Rug (which now resides in my craft room) and I ended up doing a freelance stint for Nepenthe, his parents restaurant and gift shop, stitching up a few sample pillows for them.
Moving forward a few decades and I suppose it's no surprise that I'm in the field of slingin' yarn. I chose to be more on the back end of the yarn business as I've learned I'm a process oriented type of person. The Making is the reward for me.
I started designing, making kits, then a few years later shifted into dyeing the yarn and shortly thereafter added having the yarn custom spun to my specs. (Someone please stop me before I get my own sheep!). But all this time there was that nagging of wanting a little yarn shop.
Finally, 20 years "in the biz" and a cross-country move later, I have it. My own little atelier, a place of pretty yarn, on pretty shelves. Display elements from my various trade shows scattered about, including cones of yarn "ice cream" and our internet-famous lady of the ombré dress (she still needs a good name). I have a shop dog, of course - not always so well behaved but we're working on it. I have a large table for knitters to sit a bit, enjoy the view from our large mill windows - and the view of the working studio. Here you will find every yarn that we make, plus a few extra things, and some great secret deals. We have all our samples on display so you can get inspired and gain a deeper understanding of all the possibilities of a gradient yarn - far beyond the shawl! Plus when you visit you get to pick our brains - we know the yarn backwards, inside and out. We can help you pick the perfect yarn and project for that yarn, and we have years and years of experience to share.
On the days we are open we run brief workshops - Freia Fifteens - quick skill building lessons in a set theme for those who want to improve or even learn something entirely new. In addition to sharing the feel good factor of just visiting a pretty yarn shop, or learning something new, every studio open-day we donate 15% of gross sales to a local charitable organization. I want to give something back.
With a lot of hard work, and a good dose of good luck I've landed in a place I love doing what I love. I hope if you find yourself in our little neck of the woods you will come by and enjoy our little atelier as well.
The studio is located at 60 Roberts Drive, Suite 204, North Adams, MA. For monthly opening times please sign up on our mailing list, or keep an eye on our Instagram feed, or check back on this page for hours and days we're open.
ABout Tina Whitmore
Yarn Dyer, Designer, Dog Lover, in no particular order.. Founded Knitwhits in 2003, and Freia Fine Handpaints in 2010, introducing gradient yarn to knitting stores worldwide. Getting Hygge with it - warmth, comfort, color, texture, design, nature.