Monday, November 14, 2016

LYS Spotlight: The Nifty Knitter

Hey friends! The Nifty Knitter's Grand Opening is this week - if you'd like help them celebrate, be sure to head over and like their Facebook page for details on cool giveaways and events!

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A few months ago, I was standing in a field at Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival, breathing in that stardust that's in the air when wool-bearing animals and enthusiastic yarn people get together, when I got a curious email in my inbox. It was from Ben Bentler, a musician and knitting enthusiast (!) who just happened to be the the owner of a new local yarn shop (!!) in Issaquah (!!!!) opening this November (!!!!!)

As you can probably tell from the exclamation points, I was a little excited about the news.

I was born and raised in and around Issaquah. It's a town on the threshold of the Cascades, where the valley is cut in two by the snake of the interstate: on one side, mountains with tree canopy so thick in places that the sun can't touch the ground; on the other, Lake Sammamish, the surface dampened by fog in the winter, and shimmering black & gold in the summer. No matter how many places I call home, Issaquah is the place that catches my heart every time I come back to it.

So it makes me incredibly happy that The Nifty Knitter is creating a new space, and a new opportunity for yarn folks to come together, in my home city! I went and visited a few weeks back, and I just wanted to share some of my thoughts and impressions with you. <3

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When I heard that the shop was opening its doors a few weeks early of its Grand Opening, I immediately grabbed my calendar and made a plan to go check it out. And I'm so glad that I did!

As soon as I walked in the door of the shop, I felt immediately welcome. Like... if I didn't live in Seattle, I'd probably be there every morning with a backpack full of shawl projects and a gallon of coffee, being all like, let's do this!!! Ben and his team have done an amazing job, creating a bright, functional, and welcoming atmosphere in a small and thoughtfully laid-out space.

The yarn selection is awesome, and word on the street is that Ben will be adding even more great stuff to the shop's offerings in the coming weeks and months.

There's something here for everyone: from hardworking cottons and blends for baby garments, to luxurious yarns from Shibui and The Fibre Company, to eco-conscious brands like Swans Island. There's a fantastic selection of favorites and staples like Cascade, Manos del Uruguay, Dream in Color, Malabrigo, and HiKoo, for gift-knitting and selfish knitting alike; also featured is a selection of harder-to-find yarns like Baa Ram Ewe and Elemental Affects, for those of us who love colorwork and deliciously sheepy wools!

Even since my visit a few weeks ago, there's more good things coming in - most recently a shipment of Madelinetosh, a perennial favorite for its wide selection of beautiful colors.

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The shop is a particularly lovely addition to Gilman Village, which is a prime location for knitters: close to good coffee, great restaurants, and cool little boutiques. Not only that, it's a neat historic spot, comprised of buildings from in and around old Issaquah. Because of that, many of the buildings are former homes, with all the quirks, charm, and challenges of late 19th- and early 20th- century architecture.

The Nifty Knitter embraces this character with open arms, to great effect: with a fresh coat of robins-egg blue paint, built-in fixtures that give a little nod to the historical roots of the space, and of course, tons of beautiful yarn, the shop feels like a jewelbox of color. There are wonderful personal touches as well, like a piano and a sweet little shop dog named Toby!

Overall, The Nifty Knitter excels at striking a balance of open and cozy: with large-scale displays, lots of natural light, and plenty of nooks for knitting and chatting, it's a place that will appeal to knitters of all stripes. I'm so excited to extend Ben and his team congratulations and welcome on building a beautiful new shop, and I look forward to visiting in the future!

Thanks for reading, friends - and if you're interested, I'd love for you to pop over to The Nifty Knitter Facebook page to show your support and participate in this week's Grand Opening festivities!


PS. As a final (and exciting!) note, I'll be bringing my Lupine shawl workshop to The Nifty Knitter in January 2017 - stay tuned for details!

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