Fiber is a yarn shop and artistic gathering spot
Although Cindy Ruprecht didn’t learn to knit until about 16 years ago, the roots of her connection to yarn run deep.
As a child growing up in Wilmington, Delaware, Ruprecht remembers taking trips to her mother’s machine knitting club. “I’d crawl under the machine and fall asleep in the piles of yarn,” she says. Now, as the owner of Twisp’s new yarn store and creative community space, Fiber, Ruprecht has surrounded herself with colors, fibers and textures, and the people who love to work with them.
Fiber, located across from North Cascades Bank on Second Avenue, is ostensibly a yarn supply shop, with some handcrafted gifts, such as apparel, baskets, and knitting and felting kits. But as Ruprecht envisioned, it is quickly becoming a creative hub for people who love to make things with their own hands.
“I love creating things,” says Ruprecht. “When we lost the [Twisp River] pub and the other yarn store, it left a hole in the community. I wanted to create a space to foster community and creativity.”
A scant three weeks after opening her doors, Ruprecht is already well on her way to achieving this aim. Not only has Fiber already hosted felting and spinning classes, but it has also welcomed numerous fiber arts groups and clubs, many of whom travel from around the region simply to sit in Fiber’s sunny and cozy space, sip coffee or nibble on pastries, and create.
The coffee shop aspect of Fiber wasn’t necessarily part of the original vision, but when Ruprecht located a rental space that was right for her shop, it came with a commercial kitchen. Ruprecht doesn’t call Fiber a café. “It’s more of a coffee shop,” she says, complete with Blue Star coffee and home-baked goods that vary from day to day: scones, cookies, muffins. With a surprising amount of foot traffic into the shop so far, the consumables are doing a brisk business, even among non-knitters.
“We always have coffee for husbands while their wives shop,” Ruprecht says, acknowledging that most of her customers are women.
Ruprecht, who is also a painter, basket weaver and multi-media artist, has been pleasantly surprised by the interest in Fiber. “In this age of technology, it’s really heartening to see that people still like to make things that they could buy,” she says. “I’ve had so many people tell me, ‘oh my gosh, I’m so glad you’re here.’”
“It’s ancestral, working with fibers and making our own clothes,” Ruprecht continues. “People in fiber arts love to keep those skills and that artistry alive.”
Adding classes, yarns
To this end, Ruprecht plans to slowly add classes to Fiber’s roster: beadwork, buckskin, basketry. A pine needle basketry class is on the calendar, and Ruprecht intends to continue to offer knitting, spinning, and felting classes, even offering drop-in one-on-one knitting lessons. “C’mon in,” she says. “I’ll teach you to knit in my free moments.”
Free moments, however, may grow fewer and farther between, as Ruprecht works to build her inventory. Fiber already carries yarn and roving wool, needles, patterns, books and a selection of handmade gifts. Wool products from four different regional farms (Grand Coulee, Tonasket, Twisp, and Winthrop) are featured in the shop, along with hand-painted wools from South America, and “bumps” (soccer-ball sizes bundles) of roving wool.
“We’re so lucky to have all these wool producers in our area,” she says, noting the quality of the regionally grown wool, some of it colored using all-natural dyes. “I feel really happy to be able to offer so many locally-grown yarns to customers.” Ruprecht is in the process of adding more varieties of fibers, such as alpaca, angora, bamboo and hemp to the shop.
A graduate of the Wilderness Awareness School’s Kamana Naturalist program, Ruprecht is fascinated by fibers. “I love ethnobotany and learning about local plant fibers,” she says, pointing to cordage she made from corn husks and a cedar bark basket she wove for huckleberry picking. “It’s so interesting to me to learn about native botanical uses and history.”
Ruprecht wove the basket in more of those elusive free moments, as she did with all the artwork she created for her first solo exhibit, “Artworks,” which opens at Confluence Gallery this Saturday (Nov. 23) — coincidentally the same date Ruprecht has set for Fiber’s grand opening, from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Ruprecht invites the public — even those who don’t work with fiber arts — to see the shop, and enjoy coffee and treats. She’ll also be holding a drawing for a knitting bag. Fiber will also be open during Mistletoe Madness, Twisp’s holiday event on Dec 5.
On Tuesdays from noon – 3 p.m., Ruprecht hosts a knitting group, at which anyone is welcome. “We knit, we chat,” she says of the gathering. “These kinds of groups have always existed in the valley, but as a working mom, I never got connected to the groups. It’s why I started Fiber — to build community around creativity.”
For more information about Fiber, visit www.facebook.com/twispfiber or stop by the shop at 109 W. Second Ave. in Twisp.