This month, Yarn Market News has a nice feature called The Not-So-New Kids on the Block about knit shops that have stood the test of time. Not surprisingly, Hill Country Weavers made the cut, and Suzanne is quoted talking about the days, way back in 1981, when she and then-business-partner Marta Shannon opened up shop. Back then, they had this vision that they'd spend most of their time weaving in "a very mellow space" while sometimes waiting on customers.
Not to say that folks don't find their mellow when they pop into the store. But making that mellow happen for others meant Suzanne and Marta actually wound up putting a lot more time, effort and sweat into making HCW happen than they originally envisioned they'd need to. The hard work, of course, has paid off and here we are, THIRTY-ONE YEARS later!
A point the article makes that's easy for a lot of us to forget (or not think of in the first place) is that back in the day, starting a yarn shop was a whole different endeavor than it is today. There weren't specialty yarn shops bursting with endless fiber selections the way there are these days. The same article quotes Susan Bateman of the Yarn Barn in Lawrence, Kansas talking about when she tried to get a business loan and was practically laughed out of the bank.
Well three cheers for changing times and an abundance of options. And big thanks to all of the early believers who either saw the explosion of fiber arts coming or, perhaps more likely, just did what they did thanks to their own passion. Either way, we all have benefitted tremendously.
Here are some pictures from the '80s, taken from a slim volume of "archives" that Suzanne has-- because that's another difference between then and now. Then people didn't carry around digital phone/cameras and shoot 500 pictures a day. Which makes these already precious photos that much more special.