On a drab, colorless fall day, Main Street strollers can now stumble into the colorful setting of Manayunk's newest shop.
Lisa Johnson welcomes hobbyists into the bright and warm world of knitting. With her new store Hidden River Yarns, Johnson offers a hideaway for knitting enthusiasts, those in search of knitting circles, or people looking to take up a new activity.
Hidden River Yarns, 4358-B Main St., opened in Manayunk Sept. 12 and held its grand opening Oct. 5.
The new store offers all your knitting and crocheting needs. Additionally, Johnson hosts a knitting circle every Thursday evening, and classes—for novices and pros alike—will begin later this month.
Although she comes into Hidden River Yarns with a professional background in chemical marketing, Johnson has always been a knitter at heart.
At age 6, Johnson began the craft as an eager young student under the eye of her grandparent's neighbor, Miss Grace.
"She was able to do anything with a needle, and she poured it all into my idle brain," she said.
Although originally from Pittsburgh—customers will notice the yellow-and-black Steelers colors prominently featured—Johnson grew up in Mt. Airy and frequented the Wilde Yarn company store in Manayunk as a kid.
She entered into a career in communication but continued to create sweaters, socks, and scarfs for herself, family and friends.
"People always were telling me to do something with knitting, but... I'm a risk-adverse person. So this was a serious decision to open up my own shop," she said.
The economic recession hit Johnson particularly hard. When the stock market tanked in 2008, she lost her job. And although she worked short-term contract gigs in the interim, she never found a permanent position.
"You take a beating after a while, so when this opportunity came up, I really started to think about opening my own shop," she said.
A few bits of serendipity then brought Johnson to Manayunk. She was already friends with Stacy Jackson, of MeadowSweet Vintage, and liked the idea of Main Street. She then heard the Manayunk Development Corporation was interested in a yarn shop like what she had in mind.
And when the cozy space at 4358-B Main St. opened up, she pounced.
"The location really was a combination of great space and a perfect location. There's lots of beautiful shops in Manayunk. And I thought if I don't act on this now, it will all go away," she said.
Just under 600 square feet, the shop sits under L'Etoile and is nestled next to Cafe Volo. Johnson said the size is perfect for her to sell yarn and host classes and social knitting circles.
She encourages those Main Street strollers now to come into her shop, check out the yarn or simply say hello.
"With all the colors, it's just nice to come in and see how bright it is in here," Johnson said. "And I'm always happy to be opening boxes of yarn."
Editor's note: An early version incorrectly listed sewing as an aspect of this Hidden River Yarns. It has since been updated.