Sandwiched between a tea room and a fabric store, Oak Harbor Knits is the newest, quaint mecca for social knitters.
Owner Kathy Fleck, who taught piano lessons for 40 years, recently traded a career for a passion and music for fibers.
The store is located on Fidalgo Avenue and inside are an assortment of yarn, knitting needles and huge yarn swifts. With a look that’s part Joanne fabrics, part mom’s living room, the soft colors and antique chairs invite people to relax, sit and turn string into something useful.
The store is open to knitting, crochet and felting groups and Fleck will keep the doors open late for evening patrons. Her table seats about 12 people.
For people wanting to refresh their skills or teens looking to make their own scarves and bags, she offers classes and sessions. Fleck has studied with fiber artists in Ireland, Mexico and the United States as part of the Master Knitters Program. In her shop, she displays a picture of herself with one instructor, Lily Chin, author of “The Urban Knitter” and “Couture Crochet.”
In Ireland she learned the Irish crochet style of the 1800s, a detailed style used in wedding dresses.
“Women would break the eye of a sewing needle, very tiny, to make a crochet hook, then use thread to crochet,” she said.
Many of her creations are modeled on dolls placed around the store.
Refresher courses start at $45 and one-day knit and crochet classes for teens and kids run $20. Each month will be a new type of class, such as a Christmas theme in December.
Fleck first learned to knit from her grandmother at age 5 and is excited to pass her knowledge of needlework to others.
“My biggest fear is to be in a place without my needles or crochet hooks,” Fleck said.
She added, “I would have to make one or something.”
The store is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and is located at 715 Fidalgo Ave., in the old Seed and Feed building.