July 4, 2014 at 8:23 PM
MAPLEWOOD, NJ – Knitknack of Maplewood will have its grand reopening with a new owner from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 5, featuring live music.
The store is reopening in the same location at 1914 Springfield Ave., Maplewood.
Marie Downes, who was a music teacher and a middle school band director for 21 years, retired on July 1 and is the new owner of Knitknack.
People have told her that this is a dramatic change in her life but she said during a phone interview that “it’s never too late to pursue what you want.”
During the opening, husband Vin Downes and his vocalist, Sandra Carlucci, will perform as Steel Honey from 2 to 4 p.m. Their third album, “Unlike the Stars,” was listed on a New Age chart and was submitted for a Grammy nomination.
The changes to the store are a repainted interior, new book shelves and new yarn selection. The store also will have crafts available, which Downes should resonate with previous customers and attract new ones.
“The fiber community is pretty close knit, no pun intended,” Downes said. “It’s not just shopping for yarn. Once we’re open, they can come and sit in and have a cup of coffee and knit and crochet for as long as they want. It’s almost like a fiber community home.”
Knitknack has been around for seven years and closed for a month and a half. When the store was open, it focused on knitting. Downes said she dabbles in everything so her store will be involved in more than just knitting; she will hold classes to promote the creativity behind the art.
“I will be offering knitting classes, crocheting classes and spinning classes,” Downes said. “I will have one or two in August, but in the fall I will really start up a (full schedule). I’ll fill the calendar with classes.”
Downes said she also will start a Fiber Circle. Three times a week, people can come in and work on projects involving knitting, spinning or crocheting. The Fiber Circle hours will be on Mondays and Fridays from 6 to 8 p.m., starting Monday, July 7. On Saturdays, the Fiber Circle will be from 10 a.m. to noon.
Downes said she also would like to involve the community in an art called yarn bombing, where anything that can be covered in yarn, will be covered in yarn. This will begin early fall, and Downes is open to suggestions as to what can be covered in yarn.
Throughout her endeavors, Downes said, she received help and support from some of her friends and team and wanted to send a special thank you to Teri, Phil, Phil’s dog Tinker, who is the store mascot, Heather, Mom and Pops, Cosmo, Meera “The Fiber Goddess,” who was also the previous owner, and her husband, Vin.
The reporter is a student participating in a hyperlocal journalism partnership between The Alternative Press and Seton Hall University's Department of Communication & The Arts.