Washington DC is the nation’s capitol, the center of government, and headquarters for dozens of international organizations, but it many ways it is really just a small town. So small, in fact, that it only has one yarn store. That haven for local urban knitters is Stitch DC, owned and operated by Marie Connolly on Capitol Hill.
I remember my first visit to Stitch DC, not long after it had opened. I was strolling along 8th Street SE, what the guide books like to call “Barracks Row” (because the Marine Barracks are at the corner of 8th and I streets), while a friend of mine was browsing the bike shop down the street.
Back then, I wasn’t any more of a knitter or crocheter than I am now, but I was nevertheless enthralled with the store. Upon walking in, I was greeted by cheerful and enthusiastic staff and customers, and was immediately surrounded by beautiful fiber in bright colors and enticing textures. When I visited the store just last week, I was happy to find that none of that had changed. If anything, there were even more pretty things to look at. In addition to the lovely variety of yarns for knitting and crocheting, Stitch DC now also carries a small collection of colorful quilting cottons!
As I consider myself a much better sewer than knitter, this was excellent news for me. However, just because I’m not good at knitting doesn’t mean I don’t love to look at beautiful yarn, and pine after all the samples of pretty knitted things. Stitch DC offers a wide range of knitting and crocheting classes for all skill levels, and there are samples from the class projects all over the store. Samples that are so pretty you want to buy them right off the shelf! Since Marie started offering fabric in December in 2009, she’s started to offer sewing classes as well.
The birth of Stitch DC is a story about serendipity. Back in 2004, Marie was inspired to pick up knitting again in order to make her three-year-old daughter a sweater. Although Marie had learned to knit as a little girl, being pregnant and taking care of a newborn didn’t leave much time or energy for crafting. The hiatus ended when Marie saw some knitted baby sweaters at the mall that were cute, but not nearly cute enough for her daughter. Marie knew she could make one that was even better.
At the time, Marie and her husband were real estate brokers, but Marie was ready to try something different. One day, while she was was contemplating the renewal of her love affair with knitting, Marie received a panicky call from the owner of a property on Capitol Hill. Did Marie, by chance, know of anyone in search of retail space? Just in case she needed another sign from the universe to start a yarn store, it also turns out that 2004 was Marie’s seventh wedding anniversary. When a friend pointed out that the traditional gift for a seventh anniversary is wool, well, the deal was sealed.
Stitch DC has been operating on Capitol Hill since June of 2004, offering a wide assortment of yarns in natural fibers, as well as tools, books, patterns, and classes. Marie has a number of free patterns posted on the Stitch DC blog, and is also the author of her own book of knitting patterns for growing families, called The Expectant Knitter. She also writes patterns for various knitting publications, including Interweave Knits, and is working on two more pattern books.
Customers are always welcome to hang out and knit or crochet with the staff. Stitch DC is open seven days a week, and extra late on Wednesdays (731 8th Street, SE Washington, DC 20003).