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Tuesday, July 23 News

Stars Hollow Yarns opens in Washington

Lisa Clark hopes her new business, Stars Hollow Yarns, will be a gathering place for knitting enthusiasts.

The Roxbury resident opened the New Preston store Dec. 1 to celebrate and share her love of knitting and desire to be a part of and give back to the community.

“I always dreamed of having a place people can come together and be inspired and communicate in a way that separates you from the rest of the world,” Clark said.

“You can get a week’s worth of entertainment for $9,” she said, holding up yarn.

The store is named for Clark’s favorite TV show, “Gilmore Girls,” set in the fictional town of Stars Hollow, Conn., which is said to be inspired by the town of Washington, of which New Preston is a part.

Clark pays tribute to the popular show in a variety of ways — with framed quotes from the show, a few pieces of memorabilia and “Gilmore Girls”-inspired Copper Boom pins — at the 2 Wheaton Road store, which is just north of the White Horse, at the blinking light, and across from St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church.

The focus of the store, however, is yarn, in particular quality yarn, with an emphasis on companies that provide sustainable and thoughtfully sourced products.

It also sells all things related to knitting, as well as some small gifts and accessories.

Special events, including knitting group meetings, meet the maker programs and mystery knit (or crochet) alongs, will begin later this month.

“I find an excuse to go there,” said Karen Stevens, of Kent, who met Clark several years ago at the former Village Sheep in Kent.

Stevens cited the variety of yarn “for price points and the different weights” that are suitable for myriad projects.

“I offer people experience to see yarns they wouldn’t see otherwise in person,” Clark said, describing the story behind many of the lines she carries, including Blue Sky Fibers, Woolfolk, The Fiber Company and Green Mountain Spinnery.

Yesenia Barrett, of New Milford, a knitter and maker, praised Clark for the “high quality” yarns in stock, noting it has been difficult to find such products locally.

Now that she has a place to go, she can see the colors in person and touch the yarn, making shopping for the spun thread more enjoyable.

“It’s a real highlight for me,” Barrett said. “It’s really an experience, a blessing.”

Clark works with more than 50 vendors and several local farms and businesses.

She stocks natural fibers, including American-grown merino and fair trade cashgora spun by rural women in Tajikistan and Afghanistan.

“I like helping small businesses, small businesses owned by women, and small independent dyers,” she said.

Clark strives to carry products from businesses that respect humans and animals.

“She not only has a great selection, but she cares about the source of the yarn, which is important to me,” said Stevens.

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One of the unique features of the store is the sale of a handful of Canon Hand Dyes yarn created specifically for the store.

A large, welcoming wooden table — that has been handed down from the last several businesses housed in the space — and chairs are available for customers to sit, chat, look at pattern books or knit.

Coffee and tea, lounge chairs and a children’s corner — complete with bean bags, books and a doll in a crib — round out the store.

“I want it to be accessible and fun,” she said.

The idea of opening her own store became a stronger possibility after Clark learned that the Black Sheep store in Kent planned to close about a year and a half ago.

Her mother’s death soon after was the catalyst that pushed her to take the leap, following a career on Wall Street.

“She takes her time with every person,” Barrett said of Clark’s customer service. “You can really enjoy your time there.”

Stars Hollow Yarns, located at 2 Wheaton Road in New Preston, is open daily — except Tuesdays — from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 860-619-0042.

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