Love Your LYS: Makers’ Mercantile
Karin Skacel is the CEO of the Skacel Collection, Inc. and owner of the Makers’ Mercantile yarn shop and bakery in Kent, Washington. Here, Karin tells us more about the history of the yarn shop and what makes it a great community resource (all photos courtesy of Karin Skacel).
It was my dream to have a “community space” textile shop for many years. A place where crafters could gather and knit/crochet/sew/spin/weave—do their craft—with other crafters. I always knew that in order to have such a space, I would somehow have to gain some income from the space being used to socialize in, so I had envisioned a café/espresso stand inside the shop.
When five yarn shops in our local area all closed for various reasons, I decided it was time to do it. The timing was perfect, as my daughter had just graduated from patisserie school and I was able to offer her the opportunity to manage the café portion. As it turns out, opening a bakery is far more complex than opening a yarn shop, so the textile portion of the shop opened in November of 2012 and the bakery followed four months later. We opened with lots of yarn options but few fabric, ribbon, and button options. Over the past four years, we have grown all those segments and even include some weaving looms now.
We carry the entire HiKoo®, Schoppel, and Zitron lines that are offered in the United States. On top of that, we have some local indie dyers and spinners that we feature, as well as some BC Garn, Rauma Garn, Prism Yarn, and on occasion, some limited-edition yarns we run under our own Makers™ label.
We run classes most days we are open. We have everything from beginning knitting and crochet to Fair Isle, weaving, felting, sewing, slow stitching, and dyeing classes. We have weekly crochet gatherings on Tuesday evenings and knit nights on Thursday evenings; on Wednesday evenings we vary our offerings throughout the month to include felt night, book club night, and so on.
We bring in as many artisans as we possibly can. For instance, this month we have Charan Sachar of Creative Clay—I’m sure you’ve seen his “knitted” pottery mugs, yarn bowls, and trays. He is coming in for a clay class where you can make your own “knitted” mug. He will take the pieces back to his studio to fire them up, and participants can pick up their works of art a week later. We also have occasional “Tell All Tuesday” events where folks in our industry give presentations on the back end of operations, such as slide shows on how mills work or how yarns are developed.
I think what makes this yarn shop special is that we actually encourage crafters to spend time at our store and not necessarily shop. We have space for 50 knitters/crafters to sit and do their thing, all the while enjoying a great piece of cake or even eating lunch or dinner with a glass of wine or a beer. We also strongly believe in cross-crafting, so we have a great selection of eclectic fabrics, ribbons, and over 1,000 buttons.
On Saturdays, we sometimes have people who open the shop with us at 9 a.m. and we need to boot them out when we close at 5 p.m.! They spend all day with us, knitting and eating and conversing with others of the same interests.
Thank you, Karin, for telling us a little bit about your shop! Folks, if you’re ever in the area, please go check out this awesome shop and say hello to Karin and the team!