Esther's Now Has Yarn
September 15, 2020
Knitting and Reading…
For those of us who live on Bainbridge Island, we all read with great sadness of Churchmouse’s closing of their brick and mortar store. They have been on the island as a retail store for 20 years. I remember how excited I was to see the store on our first trip to the island, along with Eagle Harbor books, Bon Bon (there dark chocolate fudge with caramel and sea salt is awesome), and Black Bird Bakery (my favorites are GF raspberry muffin and GF chocolate chip cookies, and my daughters is the chocolate mousse cake). After reading their newsletter about the closing, I reached out to Kit and John to tell them how much we will miss them and to discuss the possibility of offering yarn at Esther’s. They were very encouraging and had lots of helpful suggestions. I appreciate their suggestions, their time spent in discussing their experience in the yarn business, and their generosity. We all wish them well with their online business. They will continue to offer curbside service for Bainbridge Islanders, and offer their yarns world wide through their website. We will be offering our own take on yarns we love, and knitting notions.
How will adding yarn change Esther’s? Esther Fox opened Esther’s Fabrics in 1959, 61 years ago, and opened with fabric AND yarn. So, in some ways Esther’s is returning to its roots. Esther was an accomplished knitter who taught many islanders to knit, and many have used her pattern to knit family members a lovely sweater. She knitted well into your 90’s sometimes as much as 6 hours a day. You can see a photo of opening day at the store below.
Opening Day for Esther's Fabrics, 1959.
We feel adding yarn to Esther’s Fabrics will complement what we already do. We all make things for ourselves, our homes, our families, and our friends. We make things because we love the process of using our creativity in a way that results in something tangible and uniquely ours. Adding yarn will only add another handcraft to our mix of quilting, garment sewing, embroidery, and cross stitch. There are many of us that already knit and sew and embroider and….
We are excited to offer Quince and Co. yarns to our shop. Quince and Co. if you are not familiar with them, is a company started in 2010 by knitwear designer Pam Allen in conjunction with designer Carrie Bostick Hoge. Their goal was to work with mills in the Northeast from wool sourced and spun in the US. We are currently carrying two of their lovely wool yarns: Chickadee and Osprey. Both these wools are made from “territory” wool, which is from Merino, Rambouillet and Columbia-based sheep that graze the ranges of Montana and Wyoming.
Quince and Co Osprey aran weight wool yarn.
We also have a Rambouillet yarn from Local Color, a company and farm in Puyallup run by Emily Tzeng and Brian Love. Emily used to live on Bainbridge, but left when an opportunity came up to buy a sheep farm across the water. We are carrying her fingering weight hand dyed yarn in a range of colors. She uses natural dyes, many from plants grown on the farm.
We will be adding two or three more lines of yarn. I am working with small companies that mainly source from the US. We will be bringing more hand-dyed yarns into the shop and more alternative fibers. So, as they come in we will keep you informed.
We stock a full line of bamboo needles from Tulip. It made sense for us to stay with the Tulip line, since we carry many of their sewing needles and a few other items from them. At this time, we are carrying bamboo needles, which are mainly what I use myself, and I feel are beginner friendly since the yarn tends to stay on the needles and not slip off so easily.
We will never be a large yarn shop, but in the vein of Purl Soho, Fancy Tiger Craft and A Verb for Keeping Warm, we will offer high quality fabrics, yarns, notions, and hand sewing supplies that will hopefully continue to spur your creativity.
To accomodate the addition of the yarns, we did take out our classroom. With the importance of social distancing and limited contact with others, we decided that our in person classes will not be offered until the pandemic is under control and we better understand how to work together in close proximity again. We are not abandoning classes; as soon as it is safe, we will work to carve out a space for in-person learning. In the meantime, we are looking into the possibilities of offering sew alongs and knit alongs. We will keep you informed as to when those will start. They will be beginner friendly, and look to help those of you who are just starting out a fun project to learn on, or for those of you who just want to participate in a group activity remotely we hope to provide a fun project for you also.
I hope you all are as excited as we are about the addition of yarn, the remodeling of the store which is airier and brighter, and our new bright blue doors! Come on in and see what’s new.