Kellee, of Kellee Creative, uses wooden looms, assorted tools, and yarn to create her wall hangings. Kellee took her guest blogging into the field and sat down with the owner of one of her yarn shops in Los Angeles. So all you L.A. makers, if you’re looking for a shop, look no further!
The Little Knittery
When I was first diving into weaving, I’ll admit I was a bit lost.
What yarn should I use? Should I just go to a big box store because it’s cheaper – would anyone even notice? Where is there a yarn store in my neighborhood? Is there a yarn store in my neighborhood?
A quick Yelp review later, I landed on The Little Knittery in Atwater Village, close to my home in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles. The Little Knittery is situated on Glendale Blvd. and is nestled between other businesses that make up arguably the cutest part of the neighborhood. With bakeries, coffee shops, independent pet shops, restuarants – it’s worth parking and taking a stroll down the strip while nibbling on a croissant. Walk into The Little Knittery and you’ll be overwhelmed (in a good way!) with textile possibility.
The owner of the shop is Kathleen – Kat – Coyle, a Los Angeles native with a passion for knitting and crochet. There are a ton of available classes at The Little Knittery including knitting, crochet, weaving, and macrame, making the store an invaluable resource to the neighborhood.
Kat has built a wonderful community around the shop and was gracious enough to sit down with me over coffee to talk about her little corner of Atwater.
Where are you from?
Los Angeles! I went to high school right up the street. In college I majored in fine art and quite a few years ago I started knitting a lot. I got really into it about 18 years ago. Eventually I started knitting and designing for the yarn industry – knitting magazines, yarn magazines, I wrote a book…
You wrote a book?!
Yes, a knitting book. So that eventually led to owning a shop. I was a customer first, and then I worked for the owner on Sundays for about a year. She needed to sell the business, so I bought it! That was a little over three years ago.
How have you seen [the shop] change from when you first started?
It just feels like my own shop now. I think the yarns and everything I have in here reflect who I am. But even when I bought it I felt very comfortable.
So your tastes aligned!
Yeah a little bit! It’s now just more developed – I opened up the back space so it’s bigger. The shop used to be very small. I’ve definitely brought in a lot more inventory. But I think aesthetically, it’s not that different. It was an easy fit.
How would you describe your aesthetic and your style?
Since I’m coming from an art background it’s definitely very artistic and super creative. I’m really into color, and I think it’s pretty relaxed.
Mm hmm. It’s very easy to breathe in here. It feels very comfortable. Feels like a community.
That’s good! That’s what I want. I’m glad it feels that way.
What inspired you to take the step into owning your own business?
I’ve been in retail, professionally, all my life so it was a very comfortable fit. We have a family business – my great grandmother started a business and my grandmother took it over, and then my aunt, so I always worked in that shop. As an adult I worked in a lot of different shops, so retail itself is very natural.
What’s your favorite part of Los Angeles in general or Atwater Village?
My favorite part is this shop! I feel super comfortable here – I feel like I’m at home. Every day when I wake up I look forward to coming to work. This has just been great for me, personally. And generally the neighborhood is just like home anyway.
Have you been a maker your whole life? Since you were a kid?
As far as curating the products in here – picking the yarn – is it pretty easy because it’s your own style?
It has to be a mix of what my style is and what my customers are interested in, so there was definitely a learning curve in that. I tried to introduce yarns that I was interested in that didn’t necessarily sell. That’s the thing with having a shop, you can’t predict what’s going to sell. You can only guess. There’s just no way you’re not going to make mistakes. They’re not aesthetic mistakes, but they’re mistakes in the way that the product didn’t move. That part’s kind of a mystery.
Do you enjoy that, or is it frustrating?
I like everything to do with the shop and with the business. I like picking out stuff and filling it up and making it look good.
In the past several years it seems like there’s a huge movement toward handmade – a maker’s movement – have you seen that reflected in the business?
When I came into the business three years ago that movement was already in full swing. I think that’s been happening over the last ten years, which is great, of course. It’s wonderful. The thing about handcraft, specifically knitting or crochet (which are my main interests), you could spend a lifetime learning because there’s so many different facets to the craft. It’s really endless. I guess because the world is so technological is why people are so interested in slowing down. I think back years and years ago – you might make a sweater because it’d save you some money, but that’s not the case anymore because they’re mass produced and sold so cheap.
Generally, what inspires you?
I’m really inspired by the yarn itself. If I’m attracted to a yarn, that’ll tell me what I want to make out of it. I get inspired by so much. I’m very visual, so I can look at nature and might get inspired to make something or see somebody walking down the street and get inspired by that. It really just depends – inspiration is everywhere.
Next time you’re on that side of Los Angeles pop into The Little Knittery – you’ll be glad I sent you!