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Every stitch counts at Suzoo's Wool Works

Knitting shop expands classes to include children, giving them a tactile way to learn math, owner says.

May 17, 2012|By Sarah Peters
  • Jennifer Nimmrichter, owner of Suzoos Wool Works in Costa Mesa, in front of only a small sample of what her shop has to offer.
Jennifer Nimmrichter, owner of Suzoos Wool Works in Costa… (STEVEN GEORGES,…)

A purl of knitting wisdom: Sometimes the pattern chooses the yarn and, other times, the yarn chooses the pattern.

"It's a magical experience," said Jennifer Nimmrichter, owner of Suzoo's Wool Works, where towers of bright, rainbow-hued bundles obscure nearly every inch of wall space.

When Nimmrichter took over her mom's knitting business in 2009, she found that it was time for a new pattern.

The store was downsized from 2,400 square feet to about 900, and with the help of friend Joie Phillips, more classes and workshops were added to the line-up to transform the business into a true fiber arts studio, she said.

The classes and one-on-one help sessions available for adults and children range from $6 to $15, according to the schedule posted at suzooswoolworks.com.

"Bringing in the kids was a big leap, really," Nimmrichter said. "They really benefit from tactile learning because they're working with textures. There is also math and science because they're working with ratios, creating shapes and there are different [needle] gauges."

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However, even before the wool winds its way into the students' hands, it first must come from a farm animal. How to care for livestock and procure the wool are additional learning elements, she said.

And for others who attend the classes — or just drop in multiple times a week for a new hand-dyed spool of yarn or to debate Angora versus Alpaca wool — a knitting circle is all about community and conversation.

"It's very soothing," Jill Reffu said while setting up with her needles and a ball of indigo wool. "It's definitely attracting a younger crowd and has become more of a social thing."

Reffu comes to Suzoo's often to work on projects because the attention and encouragement she receives from fellow knitters.

"Shops like this you get a lot of one-on-one time and everyone is very patient," Reffu said. "This is a very comfortable place to be. There's no pressure because you're not being critiqued."

Reffu also comes for Nimmricthter's hand-dyed yarn — the house specialty.

"I'm addicted to her hand-dyed wool," Reffu said. "When you work with it, you don't know how the [project] is going to come out. It's a mystery."

Suzoo's recently underwent a remodel to make the studio brighter and more comfortable. Suzoo's first open house is June 3.

Nimmrichter is setting up knitting and felting stations open to adults and children. She will also have a lemonade stand.

"It's going to be a real hands-on experience," she said. "It's going to be more like going to a farm where they can get that real tactile experience."

sarah.peters@latimes.com

Twitter: @speters01

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