Business looks to knit together fiber farms, community
The Recorder, December 2, 2013. By Kathleen McKiernan.
For almost 40 years, Sorenson has knitted. In the eastern part of the state, Sorenson taught knitting classes for a friend’s yarn shop until she moved to South Deerfield five years ago. Two years ago, Sorenson retired from the state Department of Conservation and Recreation and began thinking of what to do next.
In most cases, people buy fiber from local fairs. But throughout the year, the knitting community lacked a place where it could go to buy wool, yarn and fiber.
“I loved the idea of buying local fiber like local food,” Sorenson said. “I thought it’d be great if you could buy it year-round than just at a fair. I decided to open a store that would support local yarns, fibers and teaching.”
As she began searching for a home, Sorenson learned Himalayan Views was re-locating to Route 2 from South Deerfield. In April, Sorenson secured a lease and by August opened up shop.
The shop is also about community. One of the first things Sorenson noticed of the Pioneer Valley is its strong community, especially in the knitting world. Sorenson hopes to offer the community a place to meet and knit.
Aside from the abundant amount of fibers available, Sheep & Shawl also offers classes. The shop features knitting, drop-spindle spinning and needle felting classes. And on Wednesdays, knitters can stop by for help on a project or to simply meet other knitters.
So far, the shop is doing well and growing, Sorenson said.
“You start with low expectations as a brand new business,” Sorenson said. “But we’re right on target. Every month is a little more.”
Sorenson hopes to get more involved with agriculture-promoting Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture.
Sorenson is working on her Weaver’s Certificate at the Hill Institute in Florence, is a member of the Pioneer Valley Weavers Guild, Weavers of Western Massachusetts, and Massachusetts Fibershed. For more information, visit www.sheepandshawl.com.