Originally created 09/24/05

'Yarn junkies' share passion for hobby

It's no petting zoo, but feel free to pat Knit Together's alpaca, goat and sheep.

"We encourage people to touch," co-owner Lynn Anderson said from the new knitting shop on Furys Ferry Road, which features yarns spun from a variety of natural fibers.

She and business partner Selly Goodwin have a stable of yarn offerings, just waiting for a knitters' hands.

"We walk around patting the yarn," Ms. Anderson said. "We're yarn junkies."

The longtime knitters opened the shop last week in Furys Ferry Station.

It's a prime time for the knitting business, said Sherry Mulne, a marketing consultant for The National NeedleArts Association.

The needlepoint industry has grown 43 percent from 2000 to 2005, according to a survey by the Zaineville, Ohio-based association.

"There's a big boom all over the country in the needle arts, but knitting yarn especially has experienced significant growth," Ms. Mulne said.

Multiple factors have contributed to the growth of the billion-dollar needlepoint industry. After Sept. 11, 2001, people wanted to "cocoon" at home, and knitting passed the time, she said.

Yarn companies also have experimented with funkier products, including fuzzier yarns and more colors. Celebrities such as Julia Roberts and Cameron Diaz have publicly touted knitting, increasing awareness, Ms. Mulne said.

In Stitches on Washington Road has been open for more than 20 years and is seeing more knitting sales than ever before, owner Barbara Benton said.

"At first it was a dying art, but younger people have taken it up," she said.

Women continue to be the most frequent knitters, taking part in what Ms. Mulne described as a "third wave of feminism."

"Young women who said they never learned from their mother because it wasn't cool in the '70s now want to learn," she said. "Now they say 'I'm going to knit where I feel like it. I can be a CEO and knit and ...nobody can tell me what to do.'"

Whether Knit Together turns a big profit doesn't matter, its owners say. It's less about profits and more about promoting the hobby, said Ms. Anderson, who is an ordained Episcopal deacon.

"We wanted to share the calming influence of the craft," she said.

The two Evans women named the store with that in mind.

"We are knitting together and our lives are knitted together," Ms. Anderson said.

Knitters can bring their latest projects in and sit on a soft chair or at the massive table, receiving advice from fellow knitters.

"We're old women. We need to rest," Ms. Anderson said.

The cost for knitting needles is $7.90 and the cost of a skein of yarn, about 200 yards, can cost from $4 to $25.

Classes are available for both beginners and seasoned knitters of all ages and cost $15 an hour. A class is even in the works that will be for men and taught by a man.

Yes, plenty of men knit, Ms. Goodwin said.

Reach Tony Lombardo at (706) 823-3227 or tony.lombardo@augustachronicle.com.

Knit Together

In addition to shelves upon shelves of yarn, Knitted Together in Furys Ferry Station also has religious gifts and knitted gifts.The shop is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Reach the ladies of Knit Together at (706) 447-5002.


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