Want to go to a really nice yarn shop nestled into a mountain town that is Flagstaff, Arizona? Well, if you are contemplating a trip to the Grand Canyon, one of the 7 wonders of the world, you could stop in for a visit – Michele Roberts would love it!
Michele opened her store in November of 2008 with a plan of creating a community of fiber enthusiasts, that would offer a place for education, friendship and LOTS and LOTS of fiber. The store opened the weekend before Thanksgiving, and the town of Flagstaff welcomed the much needed addition. It had been a long time since Flagstaff had a yarn shop, and the community was really missing one and really embracied the new store.
Purl in the Pines takes local to a whole new level. All the fixtures are all locally made from downed pine trees that were damaged from Bark Beetle, a devastating disease that kills pine trees. These trees would have just been burned, but a local guy was milling the wood and the store was so excited to use a renewable resource. Creating unique fixtures takes time, and this got in the way of the grand opening. Improvisation was at hand using moving boxes for display to hold yarn and gadgets. They had their grand opening with a line out the door their first day – very memorable to be sure.
I asked Roberts how she came up with the name of the store, “Purl in the Pines”. Several names were kicked around honestly, but she loves alliterations, and… “in the Pines” is used in those parts for events, like “Paws in the Pines” and “Pride in the Pines” and Pickin’ in the Pines”, so why not “Purl in the Pines”. Very fun indeed, it has a nice ring to it!
Michele Roberts began knitting at the age of 40. She was part of a book club that had an annual weekend getaway. She wasn’t aware of it, but there was a plan in place to learn to knit that weekend. The group stopped at a little local yarn shop in Cortez, Colorado. It was the first time in a yarn shop for Michele, and she was in her words “absolutely blown away by all the colors and luscious fibers”. She never saw herself as a knitter before, but she loved it and was HOOKED!!
Roberts has lived in Flagstaff for 20 years, after a lifetime of living in big cities. She was a licensed Family/Child Therapist and worked in this field for 20 years. Michele also has a very smart and talented teenage daughter that also just happens to knit, YAY, a fabulous partner and adorable animals, one of whom accompanies her to the store every day…what could be better!
Flagstaff is a mountain town, just 45 minutes from the Grand Canyon. They have a ski resort called Snow Bowl, which brings in quite a few tourists in the winter months. Travelers, the rest of the year are going to the Grand Canyon or just on a Route 66 trip. They keep very busy with tourists. There are lots of outdoor activities in and around Flagstaff, Arizona; hiking, camping, biking, horseback riding are all great there. Northern Arizona University offers some cultural, fun community theater, and a strong community in general.
Purl in the Pines, is a full service yarn shop. They have an amazing selection of yarns from around the world, including some local fiber too. They offer classes in knitting, crochet and most recently, they have added weaving to their repertoire. Cat Bordhi has visited the shop to teach, as well as Daniel Yuhas, and Michelle Miller. The store had a knitting yoga retreat that was a success and are in hopes of having another retreat in the fall. The store likes to do trunk shows, fashion shows, and yarning tastings. Michele tells me that her sit ‘n stitches are so much fun with high school and college students sharing the table with 70+ year olds is a hoot. The conversations are quite interesting and there is always lots of laughter!
Parting words from Michele Roberts, owner of Purl in the Pines: “When I started my business, my plan was to create a community of fiber enthusiasts, and to offer a place for education, friendship, and lots of fiber. My customers tell me that I have done just that. I plan to continue to bring interesting workshops, beautiful fiber and offer a place for fiber lovers to share their love for the art of stitching. Whether you are looking for Zen Yarn Gardens, Berroco, Aurora Yarns, Classic Elite, Cascade Yarns, Blue Heron or Hand Mainden, please stop in and see us, we are a friendly bunch and are always welcoming of newcomers and travelers! See you soon.”