Mother-daughter team opens dream yarn store in Niantic
The area’s newest yarn shop was born during a winter knitting session with Lisa Lord and her daughter Jennifer Lord Anglim.
“We were just sitting in her family room knitting, and I was like, ‘This would be a dream come true,’” Lord Anglim said, recalling the moment she decided wanted to open a yarn store. “She goes, ‘Well, that’s been a dream of mine for a long time.’ Like, that’s not your dream, that’s my dream.”
Six months later, Twist Yarn Shoppe is open in East Lyme, offering yarn for sale, classes and a community for local knitters.
Lord started crocheting in high school to entertain herself on slow days in the ticket booth at Rocky Neck State Park, and later picked up knitting from coworkers. Lord Anglim said she taught herself to knit in college as a way to be crafty without making a mess. They both recently left their respective jobs in hospital and non-profit work, and now they knit together as a way to relax.
“For me, I have to end my day with knitting,” Lord Anglim said. “I can kind of free myself from the stress of the day and just focus on the stitches. It’s my Zen place, it’s my relaxation.”
After Dagmar’s Yarn Shop in New London closed in November 2015, the towns between the Thames and Connecticut rivers were left without a specialty yarn store. With the family’s roots in Waterford and East Lyme, they wanted to find a storefront in the area, and the space on Flanders Road in Niantic fit perfectly.
Even though the thought of opening a yarn shop started as a joke in that February knitting session, the store has brought the mother-daughter team closer together. Lord said she and her daughter have different tastes when it comes to yarn and patterns, which makes it easier to stock the store with a variety of products. If one has trouble with a pattern, the other can help, and they can help customers who come in with projects.
“Both my mom and I have been in the business of helping people,” Lord Anglim said. “This arena of helping people is so much happier. It’s a very joyful job.”
The shop has also become a family affair. Patriarch Jeff Lord outfitted the store by building the shelving and display units, and family friends helped find décor to make the store feel cozy and inviting.
Lord Anglim said the new business allows her to spend more time with her two young daughters, and Lord said she wanted to show her granddaughters that women can make a successful business out of something they love.
Twist Yarn Shoppe officially opened Sept. 27 with a yarn cutting, speeches from the Chamber of Commerce and local politicians, and snacks from NV Bakery in Waterford. Outgoing state Rep. Ed Jutila, D-East Lyme, joked that he might have to start knitting in his retirement, and East Lyme First Selectman Mark Nickerson said the great turnout was an indicator of how much support the business has in community.
“This is the busiest yarn shop in America,” he said, eliciting laughter from the dozens of people in attendance. “I know you can go online and buy some of these things, but you want to support the people who can support you back and give that great customer service, too.”
The store has had constant business since its soft opening in August, according to Lord Anglim. Customers can find yarn in a variety of colors and fibers from around the world or around the corner; the store offers yarn made from alpacas in Oakdale and sheep in East Lyme.
In addition to drawing in young people to the craft, Lord Anglim said she wants to build a strong knitting and crocheting community through the store. Beginners’ knitting classes have a waiting list, and plans are in the works for intermediate classes, open knitting sessions and outreach programs to make winter hats and other accessories for local organizations.
“On Tuesday (Sept. 20), we had a field trip. A local knitting group came here, so we set up a table for them,” she said. “It was great, it was fun. It’s like their own little family, and we want to start our own little family of knitters here.”
Twist Yarn Shoppe is open Monday through Friday 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The store is located at 180 Flanders Road in Niantic.
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