When Patti Odinak and her husband, Mitch, opened Yarn Culture, a yarn store in Rochester, New York, about five years ago, it represented the physical manifestation of Odinak’s love for yarn and knitting.
Like many yarn store owners, Odinak was first an avid knitter. And like every knitter, she was a yarn collector, transfixed by three qualities she says draw knitters to fine yarns.
“First, there is the way it looks, from color saturation to sheen and shimmer,” she said. “Second, the way yarn feels on your skin or in your hands — soft or velvety or almost crunchy. Finally, the character of that fabric the yarn creates; sometimes cozy and warm, other times drapey or elegant.”
One yarn that best expresses those qualities for her is Rosy Green Wool, made from the finest Patagonian merino wool and certified under the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) as 100 percent organic.
“The minute I laid eyes on it, I fell in love,” said Odinak. “It’s one of my favorite yarns.”
Patti and Mitch stocked plenty of it in their store, which they designed as a destination for knitters. Before long, Yarn Culture was the leading U.S. importer of Rosy Green Wool. That led to a strong relationship with Rosy Stegmann and Patrick Gruban, the founders of Rosy Green Wool, who eventually asked if Yarn Culture would be interested in distributing the yarn. Odinak jumped at the chance.
“A prerequisite to being a distributor of a GOTS-certified product meant we had to become certified as well,” she said. With most of the critical requirements for certification already in place, GOTS certification enabled Yarn Culture to continue its evolution as the go-to place for consumers and retailers in search of sustainable and unique yarns. And Yarn Culture’s focus on telling the stories of yarns and designers deepens the sense of community among knitters.
“Along with connecting knitters with amazing yarns and designers, we make sure our customers understand the people and stories behind the yarns that we sell. The fact that Rosy and Patrick cared enough about animals and the environment to create a family of GOTS-certified yarns is important for our customers to know. It means they can choose a yarn that feels good as well as one they can feel good about,” Odinak said. And for her and many others, that is what can make a yarn so interesting.