Hello and thank you for visiting our website. I'm Mary Ann Gingles, proprietor of Yarns Unlimited. I'm proud to be part of the shop's long history in our town. Our mission since its founding in 1979 has not changed, and that is, to promote and support the fiber arts tradition in our community.
The two previous owners, Betsy Blumenthal and Suzanne Halvorson--both accomplished weavers--nurtured and sustained the shop so it continues to operate to this day. Suzanne, a master weaver who lives locally, still serves as our lead weaving instructor. Though I'm primarily a knitter and secondarily a crocheter, I have dabbled with weaving a bit on my rigid heddle loom. I'm thrilled that Yarns is not just another knitting store but also a workshop that counts among its staff and instructors experts and masters in the field of weaving, spinning, knitting, crocheting, felting and more. These instructors teach and train people to become experts themselves. It's a place where creative ideas are exchanged, talents are shared, and lasting friendships, made.
I learned to knit when I took a beginning class at Yarns, followed by a class on crochet. It got me hooked, and I have been obsessively knitting and crocheting since. I have a preference for chunky knits and contemporary styles, which add to the variety of other styles that the our staff, instructors and customers bring to the table. Indeed, we have something for everyone. I've also been known to almost never stick to patterns; I like to personalize my projects and improvise as I go--which makes me unpopular with our knitting instructor!
I hope you will share my passion and dedication to the fiber crafts tradition. I feel fortunate to be a part of a neighborhood yarn shop. It brings me joy to see people make beautiful handcrafted items and to work in a place that provides opportunities for creative collaboration and meeting of kindred spirits; best of all, it is a place where people gather to be inspired and do what they love.
Several years ago when the Dalai Lama came to Bloomington to conduct a teaching seminar, one of the Lamas (a Tibetan spiritual teacher or guru) attending the seminar came into the shop. He walked and looked around quietly for several minutes, nodding and smiling as he goes, then as he was about to leave, he turned to Suzanne, bowed, smiled and said, "right livelihood". I couldn't agree more!