LYLYS: Cornwall Yarn Shop
Located on Main Street in Cornwall, New York is a white house with lots of yarn inside. It is the site of the Cornwall Yarn Shop, where our very own Meghan Babin, editor of Interweave Knits, once worked and started her career as a knitwear designer. We spoke with the shop’s owner, Gail Parrinello, about what the shop has to offer and why it is important to its community.
I opened my yarn shop in a 250 square-foot space in 2004, after having a career in nutrition and working in my husband’s business. Needless to say, I quickly outgrew that space. Today the shop is in a 2500 square-foot building that I purchased on Main Street in the Hudson Valley town of Cornwall, about 60 miles north of New York City.
I carry yarns in many price ranges from Plymouth to Woolfolk and lots in between, only a fraction of which are listed on my website. I’m most proud of my American-made yarns, especially those sourced in New York State.
I have a few classes, but it is becoming hard to get customers to come in for classes alone. There is so much on the Internet (that is another discussion). When I first opened, classes were very popular. Now customers look to the Internet for basic knitting skills, but still love to come to the store for our special events. Wednesday afternoon and evening “Sit and Knits” remain very popular. I’ve just recently started a Friday late afternoon “Work on your PhDs”—projects half done!
The best part of owning a LYS is making connections. Customers find new friends in a place where they feel at home. Fiber is one topic through which we can all come together. I have made some fabulous friends myself. The professional connections I have made can be quite personally satisfying, specifically my recent collaborations with Mary Jeanne Packer from Battenkill Fibers Carding and Spinning Mill, who produces my yarn, Hudson Valley Fibers (product pictured in this blog’s header image).
We have a retreat planned in April, focusing on New York State fibers and businesses. Of even greater significance is the summit we recently hosted for business owners, designers, farmers, activists, and educators to discuss barriers and opportunities for growing our regional textile economy. Growing up on a small dairy farm really drives home the importance of our local economy.
My customers will tell you there is no substitute for touching the fiber and seeing the colors. They will also tell you how important a space like a LYS is to the community. My job is to make the LYS appealing and relevant to my community.
Thanks, Gail! We at Interweave are very appreciative of LYSs around the country and what they are doing to keep the fiber arts alive in their communities. Thank you for being apart of the initiative!
Find the Cornwall Yarn Shop online at www.cornwallyarnshop.com and follow them on Instagram @cornwallyarnshop.
Happy Local-Yarn Shopping!
Photo Credits: Gail Parrinello
Put Those Yarn Shop Goods to Good Use!