Merion resident Jo Ann Zimmerman has been knitting all her life, but it was only last year that she decided to turn that passion into a livelihood. Her yarn shop, Stash, currently located at a quiet end of Rittenhouse Place in Ardmore, will celebrate its first birthday by moving to a more prominent Ardmore storefront at the end of the month.
On Sept. 26, Stash will open at 14 W Lancaster Ave., the previous home of Ardmore Paperback Books, and more recently, Case Gallery.
“It’s an ideal location for us,” Zimmerman said. “The store’s about the same size, but we’ll be able to get a lot more foot traffic, especially on Clover Market Sundays. … It’s just a whole lot more visible.”
Stash is the self-proclaimed home of "all things knitterly," selling a variety of yarns and needles, patterns and gifts for knitters. It also offers several knitting and crocheting classes.
Zimmerman, who is what she calls, “a recovering teacher,” began to see an opportunity after one, and then two, Main Line yarn shops closed a few years ago.
“I thought, ‘How can we not have a yarn shop!?’” she recalled. “Knitting has been my pastime for a long time. I thought, if I opened a yarn shop, I’d be doing what I loved, and I'd get to knit all day.”
Knitting all day was a dream, but it hasn’t quite worked out that way, Zimmerman said—she’s too busy running her shop to spend all day on a project—but opening Stash is still the best decision she’s ever made, she said.
“Response has been just fantastic,” she said.
Despite being tucked away on the less-traveled end of Rittenhouse Place, close to E Athens Avenue, the yarn shop has developed a substantial customer base, Zimmerman said. While serving many clients from the Main Line, Stash also sees customers from Delaware County, Philadelphia, and even folks vacationing in the area.
“Knitters who travel always find a yarn shop,” Zimmerman said, sharing that she does the same when she travels. And when folks on vacation find something they like, some will have it shipped from Stash to their homes when they return—so Zimmerman has filled orders from Florida, Santa Barbara and Seattle.
Knitting: The 'New Yoga?'
Knitting has experienced a resurgence in the past 10 years, according to Zimmerman. While she’s always knit—her grandmother taught her at age 9—for many years, she was the only woman in her circle of friends who enjoyed it. Now, that’s changed for Zimmerman, as it has for many—perhaps tied to the growth of sites like Etsy where crafters can sell their designs.
“It has so much to recommend it,” Zimmerman said simply. “The yarns today are much nicer than they used to be ... and it’s very relaxing."
“Knitting is the new yoga,” added Susan Africa, a frequent customer, looking up for a moment from her own knitting project at Stash on Tuesday. “It helps turn off all the anxieties of the day, and it’s a good feeling, making things you can use—a hat, a sweater—actually creating something with your hands.”
Stash offers unlimited support for knitting and crocheting projects at no additional cost, Zimmerman said. Come in with a problem or a question, and staff will help you sort it out.
“But,” Africa noted, “they refuse to finish a project for you.”
“Where would the fun be in that?” Zimmerman asked. “We’re trying to teach you how to do it yourself!"
In addition to individual help, Stash offers a variety of group classes for all skill levels. Right now, the shop is teaching nine: everything from introduction to knitting and beginner crochet to project-based classes, like fashioning knits for babies, or creating a cowl. More information about classes can be found on the Stash website.
Movin' On Up
Classes will continue when Stash moves to its new Lancaster Avenue location, which backs up to the Cricket Avenue municipal lot.
The store is currently located at 74 Rittenhouse Place, Ardmore, and can be reached at 484-416-3649.
Store hours are:
- Tuesday: 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
- Wednesday: 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
- Thursday-Saturday: 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Stash will close at end of day on Saturday, Sept. 23 and reopen on Wednesday, Sept. 26 at 10 a.m. in the new location at 14 W Lancaster Ave., Ardmore. Customers can expect to see a new set of fall yarns shortly after reopening, Zimmerman said.