Spinning A Yarn: The Craftivist is creating a close-knit community

The Craftivist staff, from left: Kathy Johnson, Jennifer Sherrock (owner) and Hannah Peck.

This month, The Craftivist yarn shop celebrates one year of providing community to Intown fiber makers through classes, informal Knit Togethers, and Craftivism-based projects that give back.

“If you are thinking about taking up a hobby – we’re here for you. It’s kind of like a toy store for adults, where you can learn something new, exercise your brain, or just relax. You can have fun, meet other people, and put good back into the world,” said Jennifer Sherrock, owner of The Craftivist.

Her shop is located on Edgewood Avenue right next to Revolution Donuts, nestled between Inman Park and the Old Fourth Ward. Sherrock named it in homage to the term Betsy Greer coined in her 2014 anthology “Craftivism: The Art of Craft and Activism.”

It’s a revival of an old tradition with deep roots in U.S. history. During the American Revolution, colonists used their own home-spun yarn in lieu of British textiles. Elements of the practice continued through anti-slavery sewing circles, the women’s suffrage movement and the AIDS Memorial Quilt.

“Something I can really get behind is the idea of making the world a better place through crafting,” Sherrock said. “We invited people in to knit welcome blankets for new immigrants and refugees.”

Creating a welcome blanket.

The Craftivist submitted several blankets to a national project that sought to re-conceptualize the controversial border wall with welcome blankets instead of concrete. After the exhibition, all the blankets will be distributed through different immigrant and refugee serving organizations.

“Currently, we are knitting and crocheting about a dozen children’s hats for Our House in Atlanta,” Sherrock said. The family homeless shelter was in need of hats for children under age 5. For the next project, she and her staff are exploring knitting shawls for victims of domestic violence or veterans.

With the support of her family, Sherrock decided to open the only Intown yarn shop to fill the void. The space has a cozy rustic feel that harkens back to a slower paced time with walls left intentionally white to let the yarns vibrant colors spark imagination.
“Yarn shops are interesting spaces because they’re not just a retail space they are a community. I wanted the space to be very calm and inviting,” Sherrock said.

To draw you in, she offers classes for all different skill levels. The intro class teaches how to knit a hat, read a pattern and take on the next project. And you can attend a “Knit Together” for help with your homework or simply to bond with other makers.

“I always say to people ‘if you can bring it in here you can come and hang out’. At Knit Togethers, people learn from and get inspired from each other. We’ve run out of chairs some weekends,” Sherrock said.

Kate Harlan was hooked after her first brioche knitting class this summer.

“I’ve found a thriving community there. I usually attend Knit Togethers twice a week. I’ve gotten to know the owner, the folks who work at the shop, plus a wonderful group of other crafters. We get into conversations about all sorts of topics, about ourselves and our lives, our projects, our favorite – and least favorite – yarns and needles, and on and on,” Harlan shared.

A Knit Together in action.

With one year behind her, Sherrock says she is “still learning how to grow and foster this community, from the nitty-gritty of growing my inventory but also growing to expand to different fiber arts like weaving and embroidery.” Those who have given The Craftivist a chance feel she’s already providing something pretty special.

“I’ve seen knitters as young as 4 years old! When I’ve recommended the shop to friends, they’ve felt comfortable and welcomed as much as I have,” Harlan said. Some social media friends have even met face-to-face for the first time at the shop.

“We believe that anyone can be a Craftivist. We welcome all skill levels, all people, whatever your craft is – come in and hang out,” Sherrock said.

Learn more at craftivist.com or follow them on Facebook.

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