Knitting in Paradise
When I lived in Seattle, I was so fortunate to have at least ten local yarn shops in the area, each specializing in something different. When I moved to Spokane, there were five shops, and now there are only three. Luckily, though, Paradise Fibers is one of those shops.
Paradise Fibers is a retail shop as well as an online shop, and they've recently moved from somewhat dubious quarters behind an adult bookshop to a beautiful new space in an old brick building. They've got a cozy classroom with a gas fireplace and they're working on a knitting lounge. My knitting group and I can't wait to spend Saturday afternoons knitting in Paradise!
Spin-Off magazine recently featured a look at Paradise Fibers, and though I've been shopping at there for years, I learned a lot.
Behind the Scenes at Paradise Fibers
by Allison Judge
In the mid-1990s, Kate Painter of Colfax, Washington, started Paradise Fibers. From her country farm, Kate sold handpainted roving, mill ends, luxury yarns, and spinning tools and accessories. "She created the business based on taking care of people and great customer service," says Travis Romine, one of the current owners of Paradise Fibers.
The Romine family purchased the business in 2005. And "using every last credit card we had," according to Travis Romine, the company moved from the country farm to a Trent Avenue warehouse in Spokane, Washington (behind an adult bookstore).
The family worked hard to expand the small business from its humble beginnings. The leap-of-faith move paid off: the rent was affordable and clientele didn't have to make the drive to the farm. It also provided needed space for merchandise and classes. Inventory expanded to include knitting and weaving yarns, spinning fibers, spinning wheels, looms, and weaving accessories.
A new and easy-to-navigate website was also set up. Family-owned Paradise Fibers wants the community to know: "If you treat people like family, whether they are customers or employees, it makes for a higher quality experience for everyone, and it's just more fun that way!"
They are committed to providing fiber artists with the best products at reasonable prices; promoting and preserving the fiber-related crafts of handspinning, knitting, and weaving; and supporting fiber arts traditions locally and around the world through donations and contributions to fiber festivals, native artisans, and museums.
—from Spin-Off magazine, Summer 2011
If you're not lucky enough to live in Spokane you can visit Paradise Fibers online. If you do live here, stop in and say hi to Travis and his fiancé and co-store manager Sara. Tell them I sent you!
Be an Armchair Traveler
Spin-Off is so great at promoting local yarn shops and other fiber and textile locations around the world. Each issue of Spin-Off features an Armchair Traveler article.
Last year I wrote one about the fibery locations in the Spokane-Coeur d' Alene area, and in the summer 2011 issue, the Armchair Traveler takes us to Thailand and Laos. It's such a fascinating area, with lots of different types of textile artists.
Veronica C. Wilkinson, the traveler who wrote the article, says, "There can be few areas in the world where spiritual and material identity are as closely associated as in Southeast Asia. Here in textile production—the creation of motif, pattern, dyeing—and the repetition of manually spinning and weaving textiles resemble a mantra of meditation."
I love the image that Veronica evokes, and the five places she features are really special. They're just more proof that working with fiber, textiles, color, and imagination creates fabulously amazing processes and products.
Get yourself a subscription to Spin-Off and travel the world's fiber locations with me!