Knit one, purl two, come and knit for a bit

Published 10:00 pm Monday, April 25, 2016

Julie Farmer and Lynne Henderson of Palmetto Yarn Shoppe

Julie Farmer and Lynne Henderson of Palmetto Yarn Shoppe

I must confess that I don’t knit. But driving through Campobello I notice a new sign for the Palmetto Yarn Shoppe hanging in front of an inviting, brick house. Being curious about new businesses and people that are brave enough to open their own shop, I decided to stop in. Glancing around at the beautiful yarns, made me wish I could knit.

Julie Farmer and Lynne Henderson are the knowledgeable owners of Palmetto Yarn Shoppe, along with absentee owner, Teri Gabric. Teri originally had a yarn shop, Northwoods Yarn. She raised alpacas and processed her own yarn on her yarn mill. Julie and Lynne were faithful customers and when Teri decided to move to Florida, Lynne knew that she and Julie needed to take over the shop.

“We were all sad to lose Teri. All us knitters wondered where we could now buy our yarn. Some customers actually shed tears,” Lynne explains. “Teri owned the Campobello house where the shop is now located and it’s the perfect setting for a business.”

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Julie and Lynne complement each other’s talents as business partners. Julie relates, “I grew up in Spartanburg and have a fine arts degree from Winthrop. I owned a ceramics studio. Then a friend with an interior design business convinced me to start making drapes. I didn’t have patterns and just used drawings and measurements. Now I design knitting patterns for Red Heart, a division of Coats and Clark.”

Julie confirms that it’s the same company that makes the thread that I used for many years sewing my own clothes.

Lynne smiles and proudly adds, “Julie created a pattern just for our shop opening. It’s called the Palmetto Yarn Shoppe Shawl.” They show me the lovely blue and white shawl sporting various stripes and bordered with an intricate lace design.

“Lynne is the idea person,” Julie interjects. “She has the ideas and I execute them.”

Lynne works at Spartanburg Regional hospital in charge of Health Information Management.

“And then I teach a course online in the same field for Greenville Tech. This keeps me very busy and knitting is my stress reliever,” she tells me. “Julie is the one in the shop and I fill in. Since I’m dealing with files and records in my regular job, I tend to come in and line up labels and straighten up the rows of yarn,” she laughs.

Lynne grew up in the low country. “One day my daughter, then in third grade and now in law school, and I walked in a yarn shop in Charleston. We took a one-hour knitting class and were hooked. I’ve been knitting ever since,” she relates.

The ladies continue to talk while showing me some of the different yarns. They describe southern women as usually experts in crochet. Many of their knitting customers are transplants from cooler climates.

Some yarn is still made in the USA but much of it comes from Turkey, France, Italy, or Peru. They show me some colorful, fine, sock yarn that is from a small mill in Virginia. Prices can vary widely from inexpensive to an unusual, pricier yarn that is woven with beads inserted in the threads.

There are several completed pieces on display. Julie holds up an interesting afghan called a mitered square design.

“We like to have finished samples so people can see what they can make,” she says. “Sometimes our customers make them for us and let us have them for awhile for display.” She retrieves some shawls and scarves to show me.

I glance in another room where Lynne describes accessories. “We have buttons in here, some are for baby sweaters. And we have purse handles to finish off a knit purse.”

Both Lynne and Julie share an interesting side experience with their shop.

“We have what we call ‘Sit and Knit.’ Ladies, well occasionally we have a couple male customers, but mostly ladies, bring what they’re working on and spend time knitting and talking. We have a full kitchen, since this is originally a house, so they can bring lunch and stay as long as they like.”

I chuckle at a sign on the wall that reads, “I’m knitting and I can’t get up!”

Wistfully they add, “We form friendships. We’ve followed many lives, attended weddings, funerals, and visited friends in the hospital.” They both agree, “In this business you have to love yarn, and also, you have to love people.”

Palmetto Yarn Shop is located at 221 N. Main St. in Campobello. For more information call 864-468-1122 or visit online. Palmetto Yarn offers classes and carries gift cards. Don’t forget, Mother’s Day is approaching!