Printed on a shingle in the front lawn of an innocuous little white house in Hazelwood are the words "Yarn and Company."
Business owner Sandra "Sandy" Tolin knew exactly what she wanted to say to the world when she made that sign. "I wanted everyone to know that I have a unique collection of yarn from all across the globe and that I love company," she said. "I opened the business four years ago hoping to supply those with a love of knitting with their every knitting need, and a place to come to learn and to share with others the creativity of knitting. Things have worked out very well for me."
Tolin stocks yarn from around the world including such exotic places as Vietnam, Indonesia and Nepal. Laughing, she said, "I even have yarn from faraway Pocahontas County. Much of the yarn I have in stock comes from the usual raw material such as cotton and wool, but I also have yarn made from some rather exotic sources such as bamboo and the shells of crustaceans. I have soy silk, which comes from soybeans, and yarn made from Alpacas, and yarn made form silk sari - a product from Vietnam and Indonesia. The proceeds, by the way, from the sales of the products from Vietnam and Indonesia, are returned to those countries," she said.
(The Inter-Mountain/Wayne Sheets)
KNITTING?SESSION — From left, Darlene Metz, Lisa Smarula, Sandy Tolin and Libby Schoonover, enjoy knitting and companionship every Friday at Yarn and Company. Tolin said, “Each brings a pattern or project to share with each member of the group.” In addition to the regularly scheduled knitting session, Tolin said she also offers individual knitting lessons.
Tolin mentioned one of her favorite forms of knitting is making clothing items from wool and then felting or shrinking it to a very small size. She used a woman's glove as an example.
Felting, Tolin said, is a simple process of washing the completed item in hot water in the washing machine.
"One of our favorite charitable projects is making hats for babies born in third-world countries," Tolin said. "We send the hats to 'Save the Children,' who forwards them to where they are needed. Nearly 2 million babies die in those third-world countries in the first 24 hours of their life because of lack of warmth and protection from the cold. The hats we make, we hope, help save the lives of those little ones. We also make hats and scarves for needy children in West Virginia," she said.
"The thing I like most about the business is the group sessions that we have during the week," Tolin said. "I have about 20 women who come by on a regular basis and bring their favorite patterns to work on as they sit and 'tell yarns' about their life experiences and share knitting ideas. Some come in groups of from four to eight; others come alone for individual private instruction."
Libby Schoonover, who comes by the shop every Friday, said, "I like to come here and hang out with the girls - we are a family of knitters. We sit around knitting and telling life stories and enjoying those of the other girls. Sandy always has good coffee ready for us and oftentimes she has one of our favorite foods as well. I look forward to our get-together each week. Being with those who share a common interest is very relaxing and enjoyable; it's the highlight of my week."
Tolin's sales include every knitting need and accessory including books, buttons, hooks "and everything else imaginable." She said that the tighter the economy becomes, the better her business.
Yarn and Company will celebrate its fourth anniversary on Oct. 19 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. with an open house featuring door prizes and refreshments.
"To help celebrate the anniversary, I am asking everyone to bring things that they have made for a show and tell session," Tolin said.
Tolin graduated from nursing school in 1969 and is a recovery room nurse at Davis Memorial Hospital. She said she learned to knit while in nursing school.