When winter rolls around, Colleen Graham has all the comforts she needs.
At The Good Yarn Store, inside The Depot in Grahamstown, Thames, she’s surrounded by yarns of merino, possum, mohair, alpaca, cottons and more, which can be used to create something cosy as the colder weather looms.
Having retired but still looking for that “something” to do, she opened the store in August following the Covid-19 lockdown, and its launch has allowed her to let her creative flag fly unobstructed.
“I’d actually seen the shop empty before lockdown, but then Covid came. It was still available after, but with the resurgence in hand crafted garments and with encouragement from friends, I thought: ‘Just do it’. “I needed to fulfill something,” she told The Profile.
“I have a family history in retail, but I’ve always done accounting and office work, now I can indulge in my passion for knitting and be in the creative environment that I love.”
Colleen, originally from the Wairarapa, had a career in real estate upon moving to Thames. In the background, though, she’d be sewing, upholstering, chalk painting, and, of course, knitting. She even knits when she’s the passenger in a car.
The Good Yarn Store stems from a long-spanning love for knitting and hands-on projects. Colleen was taught to knit by her aunty, and the women of her family all knew how to take part in the craft.
“I sew as well, and started out by making a dress for my doll. I still have my Walkie Talkie doll, and that dress,” Colleen said with a laugh. “I feel that my aunty would be quite proud to know that I’ve now started up this venture.”
All of Colleen’s yarns are natural, and come from around New Zealand, Peru, and Europe, and she tries not to have any plastic in the shop. The wools are curated with high-quality, consisting of merino, possum, mohair, alpaca plus hand dyed merino and silk from an Auckland dyer called “Yarn Floozy”.
She also sells ‘knit kits’ – that come with a knitting pattern, needles, and the wool.
Colleen is planning on starting up a knitting group, which she hopes will take place monthly.
“It wouldn’t be a lesson as such, but just like-minded people sitting and knitting for an hour or two, swapping ideas and helping one another,” she said.
“Here, there are so many lovely people that come in, as well as repeat customers who show me what they’ve been creating and get advice on future projects.
“The past 10 months has seen the business grow with happy customers who come back plus more passing through looking for a new project.
“I’d never done anything like this before in my life, but it just felt right, and it is.”
To contact Colleen, or for more information, visit the shop in The Depot, Grahamstown, phone 021 332 649, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Store hours are Tuesday-Friday, 9am-3pm, and Saturday, 9am-2pm.
- KELLEY TANTAU