I’ve been travelling across Canada this summer while visiting family and one of the things I love to do everywhere I go is to check in with our shops that carry SweetGeorgia! I had the lucky surprise in Calgary that one of our stockists, STASH Needle Art Lounge has just moved locations to a HUGE new space! STASH is fun and irreverent and their new space is too amazing not to share so I asked owner Veronica to answer some questions for our next Stockist Story.
What is the yarn and fibre / knitting and crochet scene like where you are in Calgary? Are your customers primarily knitters or do they do other fibre arts as well such as crochet or spinning or weaving? What sorts of projects do they like to do? Lace? Shawls? Sweaters? Socks? etc…
Calgary’s fibre scene has really exploded in the past few years, and we now have an inspiring selection of indie dyers, makers, and designers who are doing some amazing work in the city. In terms of our customers, peeps are mostly knitting and crocheting, but there is a clear resurgence in weaving at the moment, as well as embroidery, cross stitch, felting, macrame, and spinning. At STASH we have watched our knitters grow from beginners to experts, with fresh faces coming to us to learn crafty goodness all of the time! As a result, there is no rhyme or reason to the projects we see – it’s pretty much a full spectrum, which really gives an exciting energy to the shop.
You carry our Tough Love Sock, Superwash Sport and Superwash Worsted and spinning fibre. What other yarns do you carry and how do you decide what you will have in the shop? Is there anything your shop is particularly known for carrying?
We suffer from fibre mania at STASH and we carry anything that we’re really excited about so the underlying lack of restraint gives STASH a very eclectic mix of yarns. We are a flagship store for Brooklyn Tweed, Quince & Company, Wool & the Gang, and Loopy Mango but we also freak out over local dyers such as Ancient Arts Fibre Crafts, Flock Fibre Studio, Yarn Ink, Fawn + Fox, Sea Turtle Fiber, Tin Roof Studio, and Poppy Yarn and Fiber. Most of the indie dyes are grouped in a crate wall installation that staff refer to as the Wall of Awesome.
What is your favourite thing about being a yarn shop owner?
I get a real kick out of helping my customers and getting them excited about their craft. STASH is big on helping our peeps find the right yarn for their project or the right pattern for their yarn. We spend a lot of one-on-one time with peeps in the shop and help them navigate their decision-making process so that they are psyched, confident, and inspired after a visit. Also, I mention classes a lot because we work hard to give our peeps some mad skills in a short period of time, and I love seeing their sense of pride at the end of a class when they learn something new that is going to empower them to start a project that they have been dreaming about. It’s amazing.
What is your own favourite thing to knit or crochet? What type of projects do you love best?
I can knit a hat with my eyes closed — literally, I truly could. Hats are my go-to for testing a new yarn, for taking a break from more challenging projects, or for project portability requirements. That being said I’m currently on a sweater kick right now and am making a Boxy Worsted with Flock Fibre and it is stunning. I’m also concurrently developing a crazy mohair garter sweater out of Wool & the Gang’s super bulky Take Care Mohair. This is a lot of knitting for me though because the shop keeps me so busy that I usually just live vicariously through my customers and staff and fawn over their yarn selections and progress whenever I get a chance.
Do you have a regular knit or stitch night in the shop?
Because of our focus on classes and KALs, there often isn’t even a space available to host knitting circles per se. We offer thirty different classes from September to the end of November and each of those classes has piles of dates from which to choose. It’s pretty crazy. However I’m looking at having some fun on Friday nights in the future and am developing a new idea where knitting groups can occasionally book one of our classrooms on a Friday night for free – like a field trip! I want to keep the rooms in rotation so that there are always fresh faces enjoying the space. I hope to launch this new idea in September.
For visiting yarn lovers, what other things to see and do in Calgary do you recommend?
One thing I know about knitters is that their passions and interests extend far beyond fibre, so I recommend an afternoon in STASH’s neighbourhood – Inglewood. Our neighbour businesses are fun and creative and will win hearts and minds. My faves in walking distance from STASH are The Uncommons, Plant, Purr, Phoenix Comics, Fresh Laundry, The Spice Merchant, Recordland, and Adorn. I also own a second store in the hood – called 28 Blankets – that focuses on global handmade items, textiles, housewares, and accessories. If you are craving a road trip then you might want to be adventurous and visit Custom Woolen Mills – it’s about 50 minutes north of Calgary and it uses antique equipment to process local yarn. It’s fantastic! There is a viewing platform to see the mill in action, the staff are friendly and informative, and they have a sweet yarn shop on site.
Any other exciting news that you’d like to share?
Every day is exciting at STASH, truly! We are expecting the second wave of new yarns to arrive for the fall and there are so many boxes that when they arrive we’re like kids tearing open gifts on Christmas. We are expanding our class offerings this fall and are venturing into spinning, embroidery, needle felting, and are offering more in depth classes on rigid heddle and tapestry weaving. Our store just expanded into this huge new space and we are loving it.
Thank you so much Veronica! And if you’d like to make a visit to STASH yourself, either vicariously or in person, here are all their details:
1237 9th Avenue SE
Calgary, AB, T2G 0S9
tel: 403 457 0766