Twentieth Year

We’ve been celebrating our 20 year anniversary all year. This has been quite a momentous occasion after all! Few small businesses, especially yarn shops survive as long as we have. It hasn’t been easy, that’s for sure.

When I started posting different stories from our past I looked everywhere for old articles, advertisements, etc. Surely I didn’t toss all of that stuff! Hopefully it will surface before we turn 25.

My other grandmother (Opal Granny) recently moved to a retirement center, so I’ve been getting boxes full of stuff from her too. I may never finish sifting through all of the granny stuff that’s been coming my way.

Oddly enough, the most exciting thing I found among the boxes from O.G. is an article about me from 1999. I’ve been looking everywhere for it! This article ran locally, was picked up on the AP wire and ran in dozens of small town papers nationwide.

Mail started flooding in from across the United States, often addressed simply to “SWAK, Guthrie, OK”. No address, no zip code. All of the letters found their way to us. That’s one benefit of small town living.

In addition to a two-page spread, it included numerous color pictures which were a big deal back then.

Those were exciting times! I would come back from market with so many pattern and kit orders for our intarsia designs, that we’d spend weeks printing patterns and winding yarn for kits. It was a family affair. I’d organize and label, mom would operate the yarn counter, and dad worked the electronic ball winder. Part of my job was waking him up when the skein was done winding. It was a perfect job for him.

Dad also built the contraption that counted our yarn. I still have it rolling around here somewhere, and occasionally put it to use. Mom quickly figured out that counting off yards of yarn with a yardstick wasn’t going to work. Dad’s first contraption used a motor off of my great-grandmother’s antique sewing machine. Mom was not happy when she realized what he had done.

I can still remember the smell it would put off when the motor got hot. We’d somehow have to ice it down in a bowl. It finally gave out, and dad used a rechargeable Makita drill for the second edition.

We sold so many kits back then that we were Tahki’s top buyer of Cotton Classic. We not only sold them to individuals, but to shops and mail order outlets throughout the United States and Canada. We’ve shipped patterns to every continent, with the obvious exception of Antartica. I don’t think UPS delivers there.

I am so glad to have been a part of the reemergence of knitting. Like I always say, we were knitting when knitting wasn’t cool!

You can read the entire article here


1 Comment

  • pharris824

    18.12.2013 at 16:58

    Cheers to your dad for coming up with a yarn counting contraption! Your dad is one of my favorite SWAK characters!!!