The Yarn Patch

Posted: February 22, 2023

Where creativity grows

Owner of The Yarn Patch, Heather McLellan.

Heather McLellan learned to crochet from her mother and grandmother, which is one reason she loves sharing her expertise with her customers at The Yarn Patch in Crossville. “A lot of the people who come to our shop learned from their moms or grandmothers, too,” she says.

Heather bought the business in 2019 after former owner, Sheri Pitroski, retired. Now, the shop, which is in a new location, attracts customers from across the region and offers an array of merchandise online.

Growing up, Heather spent summers in Crossville with her grandparents, who owned The Log Cabin gift store next to the former location of The Yarn Patch. Between her grandparents’ shop and helping out at her aunt Lee Ann’s store, Heather had plenty of exposure to the retail business.

A certified public accountant by profession, Heather and her husband, Robert, moved from Los Angeles to Knoxville in 2010 to be closer to her family. In Knoxville, she joined a crocheting and knitting group to meet new friends. Within a few weeks, Heather had a best friend, and they were leading the group together.

While in Knoxville, Heather became more accomplished at knitting and crocheting, and she learned to spin and weave. As she visited yarn stores in Canada, Spain and across the United States, she knew she wanted to own a yarn store.

When she learned that Sherri planned to retire, Heather saw an opportunity to open a business doing something she loves. She and her husband moved to Crossville and bought The Yarn Patch. They moved the business to its current location — a 100-year-old building on North Main Street — when the property came up for sale in 2020. They removed the plaster and drop ceilings to expose the brick walls and original tin ceiling tiles. With 2,800 square feet, there is space to carry a more extensive line of yarns, from luxury fibers to value brands. “It is very open and welcoming,” Heather says. “We’re right across from the Grinder House, and this whole area has a neighborhood feel. We have a deep connection to this town, and we love it here.”

Online & In Store

Business continues to thrive, and group classes for knitting, crocheting, weaving and spinning have expanded. Individual lessons are also available. Small groups can meet in the store, which is a wonderful way to build a community.

The unique spinning classes on Friday are popular, and there are also group and individual lessons for double knitting, sliding loops, finishing, socks, ornaments and seasonal items.

“We have one lady who brings in her daughter-in-law and grand babies for lessons,” Heather says.

Although Sheri sold the business to Heather and retired, Sheri continues to teach classes.

The store also carries books, patterns, needles, notions, accessories and equipment. “We also have a great selection of hand-dyed yarns sourced locally,” Heather says, “and we have bags and bags of alpaca wool from area farmers just waiting to be spun into yarn.”

Heather hopes to build the legacy of the shop, adding her own touches. She plans to host more fiber classes for spinners and weavers.

Having a fast fiber internet connection through Ben Lomand Connect allows The Yarn Patch to expand its online sales and utilize a point-of-sale software that requires fast connectivity. “Having the internet is required for a customer to use a credit card,” she says.

With an online presence through the shop’s website and social media pages, The Yarn Patch also uses advertising billboards on Interstate 40. “We’re a unique store so people will see our billboards on the interstate and make a stop here,” Heather says. “We’re just a few miles off the interstate.

“Specialty yarn stores are unique and there’s not a lot of them around,” Heather adds. “We have a large following of local customers, and we also have customers who make their travel plans so they can come in. We’re a stopping off point for them.”

Content provided with permission from Ben Lomand Connect.