Northeast Fiber Arts Center

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I'm told that the store looks small from the outside, but we have 2200 sq ft of shop space, oodles of yarn to knit & crochet and hundreds of pounds of fiber to spin & felt!

And so many examples of projects knit, felted, spun, and woven for inspiration that if I had a dime for every time a customer either told me either that I should charge admission because the store is like a textile museum, or, that I heard new customers chuckle that it "really is a candy store for knitters", I could probably retire!

We have 2 workshops; one smaller "dry" classroom for weaving and knitting classes and another larger classroom which has 5 sinks that make felting and dyeing classes easy. Dyeing classes also enjoy the 350 sq ft of perennial garden - featuring many dye plants - out back.

Some like the anonymity of the internet and others like to put faces with names behind the scenes. So for those who are interested...

This is Chloe, she is the official store greeter! She is really very friendly...particularly if you have a biscuit in your pocket, which it seems most Vermonters have?! She is very "kid friendly", but can be put out back if anyone visiting the store is uncomfortable. She doesn't enjoy other dogs in the store, however, so I'm afraid they have to stay in the car. She is 17 this month (May, 2014)!

My sister Joany is a HUGE help here. Shown here knitting at the Knit N'Nosh charity event we held and admiring one of the Loose End Scarf kit products for the charity auction. Wielding what I believe to be the quickest needles in the east , for years she had a knitting business designing and selling handknit sweaters to a women's clothing shop in NYC and Chicago and now she generously knits for all sorts of fund raisers, offers her technical expertise to customers' knitting questions here at the store and is an invaluable help making store models....and keeping me sane... for which I am eternally grateful

My niece, Neysa, shown here modeling a Kureyon wrap she knit last year...or was it the year before (?)....is a needle felter extraordinaire (you may have seen her needle felted tapestries at galleries around VT and NH) that has recently gotten addicted to knitting. She always knew how to knit, but focused her creative energies on needlepoint and then needle felting...that is until she started working here. I think this wrap got her knitting addiction started, but she has now moved on to lace shawls in a big way! And she has started spinning recently too. I am incredibly fortunate that she is able and willing to be flexible with hours so when I'm on vacation or teaching a class or get behind in dyeing, scheduling, creating, etc, she graciously jumps in and takes charge. So you'll find her here ... some Saturdays, some Fridays, and some Wednesdays... but its sort of erratic! You might hear Chloe barking when her car drives up since she is known to spoil Chlo with the biggest biscuits ever!

Chris, shown here modeling a skirt she knit in Taiyo, is another great asset I am grateful to have. She can be found helping customers at the store on Mondays and Tuesdays.She is not only a great knitter, spinner and felter, but an amazing potter! You can tell in the artistry of her felting projects that she has a real eye for color and design that comes from a strong background in art. Mother of 3 cool kids and juggling 2 jobs, I don't know how she does it all, but she does and she is always upbeat and positive and happy to help in whatever way she can.

 

Carol, shown here modeling a sweater she just knit this fall using the Fiber Company's Acadia, is the latest to join the staff at the store. Carol graces every Thursday at the shop with her bubbly personality and kindness . A fabulous felter...although she may have only started a few years ago, she is a quick study in all that she does and has produced some gorgeous pieces (she did get her start here, so I may be a bit biased!). And since working here she has learned to spin too! Trained as an Occupational Therapist and a mother of 2 (the first just off to college this past fall) she is also an avid skier.

Lynn, shown here working on a felt rug, is a masterful felter (she also caught the bug here in a nuno felt class she took with my sister Robin), but also knits, did some weaving in the past and has hooked rugs too! But is felt that she loves. She is here just one afternoon a week helping me with "everything and anything felt"! She coordinates the teachers and workshops, makes sure we keep stocked in all the great felting fibers we offer, finds new products for felters and plans programs and events that reach out to get new people involved in felting! An amazing cook and expert gardener (in a previous life she was involved in the publishing of gardening books and magazines), she is always full of creative ideas for the store to bring more felting to our customers and more customers into felting!

 

My sisters Robin (left) and Wendy (right), shown here working out the details of a future felting class, don't work here at all but provide endless moral support and creative inspiration. We have used our annual Family Felting day in the past to "test' classes or new techniques out for the store. Roby has taught quite a few of the spinning, felting and silk related classes here at the store, as well as at guilds and workshops around the country (what used to be SOAR and at Convergence), Friends and vendors at Maryland Sheep & Wool used to refer to Wendy as our "sherpa" because at the time she was so busy "superintending" she didnt' do much in the fiber arts herself but always joined the 3 of us at shows and was often seen helping us carry all our fleeces across the fairgrounds! But since retirement, Wendy has really taken off with felting and has produced many gorgeous pieces! Since it took her 19 hours to complete my 2 hour mitten kit a few years back, you won't find her giving any knitting advice in the store!

I'm the one behind the camera. I'm Jennifer, the owner, shown here modeling a headband knit in a merino we used to stock (pattern free on the website)

I feel so fortunate to share my passion for all things fiber with my 3 sisters, a sister-in-law and 6 nieces (and tho' you won't find my brothers knitting or felting, they are great wood workers and so understand our passion)! So our family gatherings and holidays are filled with lots of sharing and exploring new ideas & techniques. And we seem to be working in a "sister's trip" every couple of years, during which we venture together to some fiber related/significant part of the world to explore. That's sort of how I got hooked anyway....first Joany started knitting and then Roby started spinning and they both taught me and then we started travelling to The Gathering and to Stitches events back in the early 80s together and taking every class we could.

I opened the store 17 years ago after enjoying a couple other careers (my Dad used to joke that he had five pages filled in his address book for all my moves)! I guess some might think it a lack of focus, but I like to think I'm just highly open to the adventure of trying new things (and I hang on to the justification that a professor in grad school provided when he said it was "normal" for people these days to have 5 different careers in a lifetime)! So I interspersed several years working as a research tech in molecular biology at Tufts and then at UVM with some overseas travel and then got an MBA and subsequently spent about 10 years climbing the proverbial ladder in the corporate world (pharmaceuticals) before deciding that life was too short not to follow one's passion and choose the life first and the job second, rather than fit the life in around the job.

So I got up the gumption to leave the lucrative exec life behind and resigned from the company I was with, turned down a couple other corporate offers on the table, sold my place, put my belongings in storage and moved to Paris to study pastry. Figuratively and literally (I enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu's pastry program), thinking that might be fun. And it was fun.

But it was a visit to a sister in Burlington and having a chance to dust off the knitting needles again that ultimately brought me here. To Vermont and to opening the store. Full circle in a way back to New England and back to the passion I enjoy with so much of my family, an now lots of friends!

I love yarn and fiber and the amazing and endless possibilities of what can be done with them, particularly wool. I am endlessly inspired by the creative customers I have, the great friends I've made, the beauty that is VT, and my family and just wish I had more time to actually knit, spin and felt and all that other "fun stuff"!