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The Wool Wanderers Find a Home by Deb Witwicki

Just follow the thread. At its essence, that is the work that we knitters and crocheters do. Whether we set off on some whimsical design of our own or use a pattern, we follow the yarn as the fabric emerges on its way to becoming something that is much greater than the sum of the stitches.
 
So, it is not surprising that this penchant for following the threads is how the staff of The Fibre Nook knit themselves together as a joyous and dedicated company.
 
Previous Fibre Nook newsletters have given glimpses of the story of the shop's co-owners Ros and Leslie as well daytime manager Clifton Price. Now we weave in Diana Crump and Sarah Rostron, both part-timers at the shop since its early days.
Diana was taught to knit as a child but after making “a really ugly” neck warmer and trying other projects she didn’t complete, she lost interest in the craft. It wasn’t until she retired at age 60 from her work at the Alberta Apprenticeship department — where she modified exams for journeymen with special learning needs — that she was prompted to search for a hobby. Even then, knitting didn’t immediately come to mind. She joined a group of friends in making paper crafts such as cards. She soon realized that it was an expensive hobby with a lot of wasted paper.
 
“My friend was knitting for a new baby and I thought: you can pull the project apart and start again — this is a better hobby,” Diana says. She started out with scarves and hats. “I couldn’t imagine why anyone would knit socks; then I discovered how wonderful hand made socks are to wear.” Sock knitting acquainted her with fine fingering yarn, which has become a favourite for her.
 
She found an independent dyer online whose work she admired and joined her mail order knitting club. Her projects with the club included a “really complicated" sock pattern, beaded necklace and a toy monster. A few years later, she joined the Wandering Woolies where she met Clifton, Ros and Leslie. She was at the Wandering Woolies retreat where the idea for opening a shop was born.
 
Two months after The Fibre Nook opened in September 2017, Diana took on part time work there. “I come in two days a week (and am willing to do more) so that Clifton can have some time off. Even a person as devoted as Clifton needs to take a rest,” she quips.
 
“I wasn’t looking to work after I retired,” she admits “but I love the atmosphere of The Fibre Nook; the customers and people I work with are great.
 
The shop has exposed Diana to a greater range in fibres and designers than she was familiar with before. “This summer I made some summer weight tops out of cotton and linen, although I still prefer wool,” she says.
Diana now knits pretty much every day. She usually has socks on the go and is particularly fond of the monster superhero Nerwin that she made. She also looks for infants to adopt into her knitting gift roster since she loves making baby sweaters and has done a few Sproutlette dresses.
Sarah learned to knit in Girl Guides when she was 11 years old. She would often knit in school.
 
One of her most eccentric projects came out of knitting in English class. The teacher asked her to make a Santa hat for one of her two cockatiels (one was a cranky cockatiel; the hat was for the other). “It was too funny,” says Sarah. “So I made up a little pattern, knit the hat and the teacher brought the bird in to model it. She also later made a kuchikopi little green nightlight guy from the Bob’s Burgers animated television show from a pattern she made. “I was so proud of myself,” she says joyfully. “
Sarah loves creating random fun patterns. Yet, she is not interested in becoming a knitting designer. “I just write patterns for myself,” she says. “Designing would distract from all the things I want to knit, especially sweaters. I love having handmade clothes and I make a lot of gifts for family and friends.
 
“My Mom and I are partners in crime when it comes to knitting,” says Sarah. When I came home with my new skill from Girl Guides she said that I had learned the wrong way. (Mom was an English knitter and Sarah had learned continental.) “Now, I’m teaching her through all the discoveries I make on social media.”
 
When Sarah saw an announcement of The Fibre Nook’s grand opening on Instagram, she told her Mom that they would have to go. A recent graduate of high school, Sarah spent considerable time at the shop, which is very close to where she lives and asked Leslie if there were any job openings. Initially, there weren’t but a few months later, Leslie said she would like to touch base with her.
 
“I almost didn’t get together with her. By that time, I was enrolled in a two-year massage therapy program at Grant MacEwan and I did competitive gymnastics (another of my passions) four times a week. I was super busy. Leslie and I talked about why we loved knitting; I didn’t even realize it was a job interview,” she chuckles.
 
The busy young lady became busier with Saturday shifts at The Fibre Nook. (She now works alongside Clifton on Fridays.)
 
“I love knitting,” she says. “It is something productive, improves work meetings and gives you a physical product to show for your efforts. It is special to be able to create something with your hands. I often remember what I was doing or thinking when I made something, where the yarn came from or who gave it to me."
 
To those of us who love to knit and crochet, following the thread can feel a lot like following our heart. 

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