Today’s interview is with Cindy, owner of Alamitos Bay Yarn Shop in Long Beach, CA, a LYS with a great selection of yarns, a wonderful sense of community and weekly knitting cruises to boot (how fun is that?).
Can you tell us a little bit about your shop? What is the atmosphere like? Is there anything that makes your shop different from other yarn shops?
Alamitos Bay Yarn Company is located on Alamitos Bay in Long Beach, CA. where knitters and crocheters from all over So. California enjoy our weekly “Knit & Cruises” from spring through early fall. Imagine, two hours of cruising in an electric boat, enjoying lunch and wine while knitting and/or crocheting with your friends. Pure heaven!
Our bright, airy shop is filled with classic favorites, spectacular hand-dyed yarns, and the latest in novelities, plus a wide selection of bags, needles and acessories for knitting, crocheting, spinning and weaving. And just a few steps away from our shop is our Annex, or”knitting living room,” where our customers gather for classes, workshops and knitting groups (see more below.)
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the history of your shop? How did you get interested in knitting/crocheting? How did you come to open or own a yarn shop? Readers will love to hear your story – so tell it!
I learned to knit when I was about 9 or 10 and always had fond memories of little shops I had called “home” as I moved from city to city when first married and raising my children. After nearly 25 years in marketing and p.r. I decided to put my energy into what I had always daydreamed about – a small, cozy one-person knit shop. Actually, what I ended up with were several partners, 12 employees and lots and lots of wonderful customers who fill the shop with laughter and share my love for yarn!
Our extensive inventory of yarn includes classic favorites (Rowan, Classic Elite, Brown Sheep, Frog Tree, Louet, Berroco, Noro) to fashion forward (Trendsetter, Stacy Charles, Pagewood Farms, Habu) to magnificent hand-dyed yarns from Alchemy, Claudia Hand-paints, Prism, The Unique Sheep, Madelinetosh, Malabrigio, Mountain Colors, just to name a few. We also have organic yarns and local hand-dyed yarn from Baah Yarn and Ring of Fibers. We have cottons, wools, alpaca, bamboo, linen, sugarcane, mink, cashmeres, and blends of every kind and in every gauge. We also have a wide range of lace yarns for our many lace knitters.
We offer a full range of classes — from beginner to advanced. We have both project and technique classes covering everything from socks, hats, sweaters, to advanced lace, plus our popular “knit-a-longs.” We also many special workshops with the most respected names in the industry, including Brandon Mabley, Sally Melville, Chris Bylsma, Jane Slicer-Smith, Barry Klein, to name a few. Ann Budd and Cat Bordi are scheduled in the near future. We also have a whole range of spinning and weaving classes. Our Annex knitting living room is a popular gathering spot for our many knitting groups: charity knitting, book club, men’s knitting, lace guild, social knitting, plus our “drop-in help” classes.
What trends do you see in knitting in general, and yarn choices in particular?
I believe many knitters and crocheters are still attracted to the special “community” a yarn shop creates for them. Although Ravelry provides valuable opportunities for education, sharing, etc, I hope younger knitters will “tear themselves away” from the hours they spend online chatting and thinking about yarn to actually enjoy the comfort and fulfillment of knitting more than a sock or a hat. As for yarn choices, I believe knitters are enjoying all the wonderful blends available today and all the wonderful hand-dyed yarns.
Do you have favorite yarns? What do you use them for?
I personally prefer to knit with cotton blends, fine merinos or cashmere on size 5 to 7 needles. With several granddaughters I love to knit sweaters for them! Also, as a new weaver, I’m hooked! I would love to knit lace but don’t have the time.
Do you have a mail order business?
Not officially, but we are happy to ship yarn anywhere.