When Genevieve Day opened her yarn and fabric shop JP Knit & Stitch six years ago, she was unsuccessful in her attempts to sell locally made wool to her knitters. “It didn’t really take off,” she says. But now that consumers have come to embrace and celebrate locally made products, “It’s a whole different landscape,” Day explains. “Knit local is a movement within the whole yarn industry.” That shift has led to New England Farm to Fiber, Day’s snug new 37-square-foot shop that opened in November at the Boston Public Market, selling single-heritage and blended wools from farms in Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire, some of which even specify the name of the individual sheep right on the tag.
The shop also stocks knit kits from New England designers, notions and tote bags, plus a book of free patterns for single-skein projects. Swatches are available to show how various types of yarn will look when knit into different patterns, and Day can help shoppers select materials ideal for bulky sweaters or lace-knit hats, whether it’s a soft wool from Cormo or Merino sheep or a heavy Shetland blend that’s lightened up with the addition of goat mohair. “We’re really focused on the unique qualities of specific sheep breeds,” she says. “We love that they’re local. These are sheep that are on farms an hour from Boston, and you can make beautiful, warm hand-knits for you or your loved ones.”