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Laura's Yarntastic resurrected from Shadowline



Article Published: May. 20, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
Laura's Yarntastic resurrected from Shadowline

Laura Newton moved Yarntastic from Shadowline to Black Bear, is saving money, and still doing what she loves.

Photo by Lauren K. Ohnesorge



Knitters, cast a sigh of relief after that stitch.

Laura's Yarntastic is alive and well, and the yarn guru is still on hand to help you purl.

You'll find the working mom at a new nook: Nestled within the stacks of Black Bear Books on Blowing Rock Road.

"Books, yarn and coffee? It's a perfect match," she said.

Rent and a shallow economy forced Laura Newton to re-examine her shop in the Shadowline Shopping Center last month.

"One of my options was to sell, and in the economy like this, I would have to continue to pay the rent while speaking with [potential buyers]," she said.

She considered closing shop all together and finding a "real job."

Just as all hope seemed to be lost, Erin Thompson from Black Bear Books entered her store.
"She had mentioned that Yarntastic was for sale ... it just sort of grew from there," Thompson said.

Thompson brought the idea back, and the Black Bear team jumped at the opportunity, both to save money by leasing to Yarntastic, and introduce a new clientele to the bookstore.
"We both get the benefit of each other's customers," Thompson said.

"They have more space than they need, I had more space than I needed," Newton said.
And now, she says, she has the perfect spot.

"I have room for everything," she said.

Since moving to the bookstore two weeks ago, her hours now coincide with Black Bear's, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and all sales are handled by Black Bear staff.

Newton is working with Black Bear, not just to create a great store, but to create a community.

By offering free beginner yarn tutorials (she can teach you to knit in 20 minutes, for less than $15 worth of materials) and "Stitch and Bitch" sessions (with "whine," cheese and your stories), she's creating a social network that can only benefit the business. And she's ready to answer questions or solve problems on a difficult project.

"Just call Black Bear Books, and if I'm in, I can help you out in five minutes," she said.

Newton will also be offering guided project classes and, while if looking at shelves of yarn and an aisle of needles may seem intimidating, knitting is not just for the crafty.

"Anyone can learn to knit," she said, and it's a skill you'll keep with you through these tough economic times.

"Start with bamboo needles," she said, adding that they are less likely to slip than metallic, and select a yarn, but "not a dark yarn, and nothing furry."

Start simple, and with Newton's careful instruction, you'll be casting and stitching within 20 minutes.

The benefits go beyond the economy of making your own clothing.

"Knitting is healing, meditative and relaxing, good for arthritis," Newton said.

And, thanks to Black Bear Books, it's something she can continue to enjoy every day.

"Even though I've got a smaller space, it frees me up to do what I love the most: Knit and teach," she said.

Let her prove it. New customers get a 10 percent discount. Free beginner workshops start at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and last until 9 p.m. The "Stitch and Bitch" (open to everyone, even, ironically, men; "Men who can knit, they're keepers," she said.) sessions are Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Black Bear Books is located at 2146 Blowing Rock Road.

For more information, or to see if Newton's in to help you with your project questions, call (828) 264-4636.

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