By Ardeana Hamlin
Of The Weekly Staff
BANGOR — A poster on the buttery yellow wall encapsulates the atmosphere Robin Case, owner of The Yarn Barn at 849 Stillwater Ave., has built into her store: Welcome to the fiber friendly place.
Case, who opened the yarn shop Oct. 16, said she learned to knit when she was 8 and hasn’t stopped since.
“My passion always has been yarn,” she said. “I wanted to create a friendly place where people could congregate and get help with projects.” Several groups meet at 10:30 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays at the store to ask for advice or to learn a new stitch or two. Others simply stop in to knit and socialize.
In addition to knitting, Case also crochets. “I love working with cotton yarns,” she said. “I like making doilies, bedspreads, and curtains.” Needlepoint is another of her passions and recently she assisted a 90-year-old woman who needed help with a project. “I reach out and offer help and people appreciate that,” she said.
Case’s favorite things to knit are children’s clothing, cable sweaters, mittens, and socks. The most ambitious project she ever undertook, to date, she said, was a capelet for her mother. “It looks like tapestry when it’s finished. The chart is very complex,” she said.
But at heart, Case said, she is an old-fashioned knitter. She has collected many vintage knitting and crochet patterns. “My dream is to have an exhibit of vintage pattern books and to make other vintage pattern books available to customers.”
The sample sweaters and other items displayed at the shop were knit by Case’s sister, Renee Koch, who lives in Vermont.
Case said she is a licensed ravelry.com retailer. Ravelry is a website for knitters and crocheters. Her store is equipped with a computer so that customers can access free patterns at the website or purchase patterns through it. Customers also may browse other knitting websites on the computer.
At the store, knitters and crocheters will find yarns from Cascade, Berroco, and Brown Sheep, Lang sock yarn, and sock weight yarns and rovings from Purple Fleece located in Stockton Springs. Most of the yarn offerings are of natural fibers — wool, cotton, mohair, alpaca, silk, cashmere blends and silk blends — but The Yarn Barn also offers baby yarns in acrylic. Wool yarns suitable for felting also are available.
The store carries knitting needles, crochet hooks, whimsical and elegant buttons, bags, novelty and notion items, chart keepers, yarn winders, and patterns, both free and for purchase.
Case offers customers a Frequent Knitter Program and 3 percent off on all cash purchases. Most special orders for yarn or other items can be obtained in two to seven days, she said. If customers wish to have orders mailed directly to their homes, Case can arrange that, too.
The Yarn Barn offers a Yarn of the Month at 15 percent off. February’s special is Cascade’s Kid Seta yarn and a free mitten pattern.
“There is no right or wrong way to knit or crochet,” Case said.
Case said the yarn store grew out of the premises of her other business, Liberty Tax Service, located in the adjacent space.