Maker+Stitch invites knitters to gather, create, explore and celebrate its first anniversary | VailDaily.com

Maker+Stitch invites knitters to gather, create, explore and celebrate its first anniversary

Who knew that a knitting and hiking destination trip in Iceland could spawn to a knitting shop in Edwards, Colorado, some 5,800 miles away? That's the idea that spurred two local friends, Cathryn Cooper and Liza Alrick, to create Maker+Stitch.

"When I went on the Helene Magnusson hiking and knitting trip in Iceland, I met knitters from all over the world and it occurred to me that there are all sorts of people just like me who like to be active and also want to knit," Cooper said. "The Vail Valley is already a destination, but not everybody in your group wants to ski or mountain bike, so I thought this would provide something else for people to do."

Alrick had been on the same destination knitting trip a year before Cooper's trip. When Cooper returned, she reached out to Alrick to see if she would go in on the idea of opening up a knitting shop in the Vail Valley with her.

"When I came back from Iceland, I think I'd thought about opening a store but knew I couldn't do it myself," said Alrick. “When Cathryn approached me, she had a business plan put together already. The timing's never perfect, but we saw an opportunity and thought that if we could open up before the holidays it would be amazing, so I was game.”

Maker+Stitch's tagline is "Gather, Create, Explore", inviting aspiring and veteran knitters to come together. "Although we are more connected online, we are actually physically less connected with the people around us. The gathering part is really important to us," Cooper said. "We really wanted to have a hub where people can come in any time, almost like a coffee shop or a pub and have a healthy way to get together."

Maker+Stitch offers a full calendar of classes and events from weekly sessions where you can bring in your works-in-progress to workshops with guest knitters. They also have their one year anniversary party coming up on Saturday, Dec. 1.

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"Knitting has really become more modern with new yarns and new patterns and new techniques that make knitting more accessible than ever," Cooper said.

Susanna DeChant was one of the knitters who happened to be in their weekly drop-in sessions on Thursdays when I was there to interview Cooper and Alrick. DeChant's mom taught her how to knit when she was in the third grade. "I would knit the same basic scarf over the course of 10 years, and then when I was in college I realized there's so many YouTube videos on knitting and I was able to learn a lot just by watching the videos. I learned to love it because you create something either for yourself or somebody else and it's a good way to feel like you are being constructive with your time. There are a lot of things that want to capture your attention these days, so this is a healthy way to spend a couple of hours," DeChant said.

During its first year, Maker+Stitch has serviced knitters from all over the Western Slope of Colorado to as far as Africa. "We've Facetime'd help to someone in Kenya. A person needed some help with short rows, so I was trying to demonstrate via my phone how to do a certain technique to someone half way around the world," Alrick said.

"We feel like we are just at the beginning of building a really strong and close knit – no pun intended- community," Cooper said.

To show their appreciation to their customers, Maker+Stitch invites you join them for some celebratory knitting, 10% off and giveaways all day Saturday, Dec. 1. They will be offering free mini lessons for new customers at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. Class materials must be purchased at Maker+Stitch. Please register online at http://www.makerandstitch.com. Registration will close at midnight on Friday, Nov. 30. Each class will be limited to 6 people. To learn more about Maker+Stitch, visit their website at http://www.makerandstitch.com or follow them on their social media channels.