Four San Gabriel Valley Women-owned Businesses Stitch A Reinvention Homecoming With Return Of The 10th L.A. County Yarn Crawl March 24-27, 2022

Top Quote Pasadena’s Wollhaus, La Verne’s BUKU Yarns and Claremont’s Phebie’s Needle Art and Yarnaholic Store & Boutique are the San Gabriel Valley leg of the L.A. County Yarn Crawl's 10th Celebration 143 mile crawl across L.A. County. Whether you're a local, a tourist, or a staycationer - this road trippin' 4-day event is fun for everyone who loves yarn, shopping, fashion and adventure. End Quote
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA (1888PressRelease) February 18, 2022 - Stitch, unravel and re-stitch. This yarn story is typical for every fiber arts enthusiast working on a project. But when COVID hit, four San Gabriel Valley yarn shops found themselves doing their own stitching, unraveling and re-stitching in how they do business in order to maintain a community connection and keep their respective businesses going. Ulli Schober and Kathi Snodgrass owners of the Wollhaus (696 E. Colorado Blvd., Ste 2, Pasadena) and Phebie Day Lozano owner of Phebie’s NeedleArt (532 W. First St. Ste. 21, Claremont) both found themselves like their sister yarn shops in the crawl pivoting to find alternative ways in working with their customers amid pandemic. For Amanda Rios, it was a “re-stitch and rebrand” during quarantine launching BUKU Yarns (2127 Foothill Blvd., La Verne). For Gina Carlson, it was a merger unraveling the business plan from her mother’s long-standing boutique acquiring the brick and mortar as a new home for her Yarnaholic online shop to create Yarnaholic™ Store & Boutique (242 W. Foothill Blvd., Claremont) in a next-door physical move. These San Gabriel Valley yarn shop owners are now looking forward to a real fiber arts “homecoming” in the triumphant return of the four-day 10th L.A. County Yarn Crawl event. Here they will be part of the total fifteen Los Angeles County women-owned businesses across 143 miles in six Greater Los Angeles communities during the live event comeback March 24-27, 2022 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

    The City of Claremont is home to the San Gabriel Valley’s two oldest yarn shops participating in this year’s live event comeback. Firmly stitched thirty-three years in business and participating since the L.A. County Yarn Crawl’s first-ever event, Arizona’s Phebie Day Lozano owner of Phebie’s NeedleArt ( has made her way from her ‘love at first sight’ yarn experience in Europe to creating her unique yarn shop to be where she is today, seeing the unprecedented.

    “As someone who has been involved in the fiber arts community for over 30 years, the past two years have been unlike anything I have ever experienced. Fortunately, knitting and crocheting helped many of my customers get through the quarantine. I am sure that the upcoming Yarn Crawl will be a welcome return to normalcy for those returning customers. I do think that people who began knitting and crocheting during the quarantine will be interested in participating and seeing the variety of products, projects and ideas out there,” states Lozano.

    During the height of the pandemic with its impact on sales, Phebie’s NeedleArt went through the typical woes of most retailers, first closing completely, reopening slowly with limited hours and make-shifting for customer’s needs with several project kits for pick-up that they could make since in-person workshops and classes were canceled for several months. Lozano feels the quarantine gave existing customers valuable extra time to finish projects they had started and revive interest in starting new projects too. Time is something Lozano had in her earliest beginnings from when she was first inspired to open the shop.

    “I was 28 years old, traveling in Europe and finding myself with a lot of time between stops. I randomly walked into a yarn shop fell in love and decided to take a lesson on the spot. Once I married and was involved with family life, I set aside my knitting until I was in my 40s. When my children were off to college, I decided it was time to retire from driving to L.A. working as a legal assistant. Years of commuting on the bus to L.A. I honed my expertise at knitting and crotchet. I had more than enough time to finish projects and create designs. Remembering the shop in Europe, I was inspired to open a shop of my own,” states Lozano.

    Three decades later, Lozano remains inspired in the present day, as she also looks to the future sharing, “Arthritis continues to impact the knitting and crocheting projects I can do. I did begin painting during the quarantine. The colors of yarn available in my shop and the creativity of my customers inspires my own creativity. I want the next generation to discover the rewards of fiber arts. It is a creative outlet that is satisfying and engaging at all ability levels.”

    Just barely over one mile away from the firmly stitched Phebie’s you’ll find Savella Brown’s 22 year-old Claremont Bourgee Boutique now officially acquired with a new name in a ‘passing of the yarn skein’ to her daughter Gina Carlson to take over the physical location, moving to a new space just next door. Committed to balancing her mother’s loyal brick and mortar customer patronage with her own 14 year-old ‘under-the-radar’ online shop brand the Yarnaholic Store™ & Boutique is now born as the ‘next generation best of both yarn worlds’ in a big new way.

    San Dimas-raised Carlson had collaborated with her mother in-store at Bourgee for years softly launching her own Yarnaholic brand since 2008. While in incubation, what started in her mother’s store to venturing out to pop-ups on her own selling yarn in small venues swiftly became the survival of a yarn business when Carlson found herself having to pivot the COVID pandemic to keep her mother’s business thriving via her own Yarnaholic online shop’s offerings. With that, she realized it was time to bravely take on full-time both the online and physical store under one merged name. During quarantine she participated in the Fall Launchpad Vogue Knitting Incubator Program and many other outdoor yarn opportunities, one which recently featured her own daughter yarn winding.

    “I wouldn’t be in the place I am today, if it weren’t for my mother’s shop. My way to honor her is to expand the boutique part of her shop name as our new extension for what we’re doing now for the next generation of fiber arts creatives with edgier fashion. During the pandemic we experienced a complete change to online; moving to appointments only; increasing our usage and learning more about Facebook, Instagram and other social media tactics; participating in live virtual events like Vogue Knitting and Stitches-at-Home; and creating no-stress projects. The pandemic has made us realize the amazing peace and calm knitting and crochet can provide for our mental health,” shares Carlson.

    Carlson’s yarn road has been a long one, as she was initially taught to crochet by her great aunt at age eight. She learned a variety of needle arts that included to latch hook and fondly looks back at her many projects which included making belts and blankets. Taking her fondest memories forward in learning how to work with yarn became a form of healing self-care even amid other career detours in the 24/7 of her daily life.

    “I used to work in television. I would crochet on the train as I headed in to the studio. People started asking to purchase my designs. It all started from there. I needed to purchase product wholesale and we needed a shop to do that. I started with a micro shop and it grew from there. Now that I am stepping back into this business after a long break, the most challenging is wearing all of the hats!” shares Carlson.

    Now taking the yarn skein reins forward, Carlson also looks forward to this year’s L.A. County Yarn Crawl which will be her 4th official year participating. What she enjoys most about a live event is what it represents in the comeback after seeing countless customers needing fiber arts as a way to keep anxiety down through quarantine. She wants both newcomers to the crawl and long-timers to understand the importance of the community and this ‘homecoming.’

    “When it comes to the fiber arts, there are practicalities of knowing how to knit and crochet. But I also love to educate people on the history of this art medium. There are so many disciplines tied to this industry. The creative ways that our yarn vendors/partners worked to be flexible to help yarn store owners helped me to say, ‘I can survive.’ It’s important to want to create, so it is important for yarn stores to make it through this time. We offer a special experience through our expertise, time, and our love to help someone else to find that passion and ability to create. That helps all of us to stay motivated. People will enjoy the simple act of being out and going to multiple yarn stores over the course of the days during this year’s crawl, when they have been deprived for almost two years and will probably be more appreciative of this experience being available,” shares Carlson.

    Participating in the L.A. County Yarn Crawl for their fifth time, and in business five years, Wollhaus located in the Playhouse District of Pasadena has been part of the fiber arts event for as long as they’ve been a yarn business. After the 2020 crawl was canceled, Austria’s Ulli Schober and U.S. born Kathi Snodgrass kept their own fiber arts community alive in the tourist city most known to attracting locals and travelers around the holidays. But when the 132nd Tournament of Roses Parade was canceled in 2021, the two Wollhaus shop owners had to prepare themselves and their business to adapt to serving customers differently.

    “We kept Wollhaus open during the pandemic when we could, but the safety of our customers and staff was most important! We answered email and tried to support customers with urgent yarn needs. We provided curbside pick-up for a time, and joined in when we could, to a customer lead social knitting. Our community is exceptionally loyal and there is a tremendous sense of connection in our creative family. Pre-COVID our store hours included times when we would all gather around the long table for social knitting. We really missed the interaction and celebrating the beauty of each handmade item. We’re now open Tuesday through Saturday with some exciting new yarns and many new samples. We've recently resumed in-person classes,” share Schober and Snodgrass.

    Wollhaus, the nearly-all natural fiber shop (with the exception of some sock yarn with nylon) was born when its two owners united their childhood love for knitting, crocheting, and all fiber arts from their two different continents into a rescue mission when a previous yarn and needlepoint shop in Pasadena was closing. This fiber arts “commitment” was more than just a passion for yarn, it was a calling to bring together to motivate, create and educate their diverse yarn community ranging from college-aged yarn enthusiasts to the other end of the spectrum of retirees at the same time. During the pandemic, this fact became more evident as they interacted with their customers in the pandemic accommodations. Going through the yarn journeys with the shop’s clientele is something that is meaningful to the shop and all of the unique yarn enthusiasts it serves.

    “Wollhaus is located in Pasadena near the Pasadena City College and Caltech campuses. We have faculty (including scientists), staff, and students as customers. Recently one of our regulars defended her doctoral dissertation and invited us to watch over Zoom. We were so touched when she completed her presentation and included a special slide thanking Wollhaus for providing her with emotional yarn support during her PhD pursuit!”

    This one-of-a-kind story from Wollhaus is part of what drives the shop to keep doing what it does to move forward during this challenging time, as their own customers find yarn as a comfort in their yarn projects, but the shop is looking ahead to the excitement of the 10th L.A. County Yarn Crawl.

    “We missed everyone last year! Even if yarn lovers stop by just once a year at the crawl, we eagerly listen to their stories and find inspiration in the projects they are wearing. Each shop on the crawl has its own personality and it is fun to hear what is going on at the other locations - there can never be enough yarn shops! This year we wish for everyone more joy, more light, and more ease.”

    Twenty miles from Wollhaus in Pasadena is a shop who is also joining the L.A. County Yarn Crawl for the fifth time, the newly rebranded BUKU Yarns of La Verne Whether you want to call it destiny or call it fate, La Verne is a Los Angeles County ‘small town’ self-proclaimed as a “close-knit” community…and this couldn’t be more true for BUKU Yarns’ owner, Amanda Rios. Twelve years in the yarn business, the Southern California native has found herself a ‘close-knit’ community through her many personal and professional reinventions along her yarn journey.

    “I have a very supportive community of knitters at the shop, so my customers were really happy about the change and to be honest, just happy that the shop made it through the previous year,” declares a grateful Rios who is aware that customer loyalty and support matter more than ever.

    Her customers continued their unwavering support of her as she pivoted with her new name, new brand and new venture even with the pandemic shutdown. “We kept saying ‘Knitters and Crocheters are prepared for this!’ I mean do any of us really have a problem with having to sit with our craft day after day and hours on end? During the shutdown, we continued to connect with our customers in multiple ways. We hosted meet ups via Zoom to stay connected and help as much as possible. We also created and posted multiple project kits per week to keep our customers motivated and inspired. There was definitely lots more shipping during that time and we saw a lot of people curbside during pick-ups. We couldn't be more grateful for those who continued to support the shop during that difficult time,” shares Rios.

    Coming into contact with yarn in high school, Rios was taught how to crochet by her mother. Her first project was an afghan using cotton yarn given to her by a family friend. Shortly after this project, she taught herself to knit and hasn’t stopped since. From there, Rios worked at another yarn shop for five years where she was a knitting teacher prior to becoming a shop owner of the former Make One Yarn Company. Now with Rios’ pandemic rebrand pivot, she fearlessly enters a solopreneur endeavor with BUKU Yarns.

    One of her greatest investments of energy, love, and time during quarantine was the passion project she’s had on her mind for years… her very own line of hand-dyed yarns.

    “In 2019, I hand dyed the advent kit that we offered through the shop and I loved it! So, in 2020 I made my line of yarn, BUKU Yarns official. “BUKU” is my son’s nickname. I mainly dye wool and wool blends - Lace, Fingering, DK and Bulky weight. I dye in very small batches at home in my patio.” Rios explains.

    Rios’ own creative artistic expression and business initiative goes beyond just a commitment to small quality hand-dyed yarn batches resulting in a product line that is now her ‘in-store’ business namesake, BUKU Yarns. Her desire to learn new skills and exercise her love of crafting created a community and a space for everyone. Here many friendships have been made and loyal customers were only too happy to go along for the ride into her business and community pivoting As she steps into her shop’s re-stitched connection with locals and loyalists, her mission is to keep pushing this fiber arts passion forward.

    “I really love to see the younger generations interested and wanting to learn. I feel like teaching someone to make something beautiful and useful with their hands is one of the best lifelong gifts you can give. I love hearing from customers about how comfortable and welcomed they felt from their first time walking into the shop. If that's the case, then I've done my job.”

    Joining BUKU Yarns onsite in La Verne on Day Four of the L.A. County Yarn Crawl, Sunday, March 27th 2022 will be the 107-square foot mobile Yarnover Truck Owned by Minneapolis, Minnesota-born Maridee Dangcil, the Yarnover Truck celebrates its 9th anniversary selling hand-dyed yarns in L.A. County.

    Together, Phebie’s NeedleArt, Yarnaholic Store™ & Boutique, Wollhaus and the BUKU Yarns make up the San Gabriel Valley yarn community and will join eleven other yarn shops from the Westside, South Bay, Long Beach, Downtown Los Angeles and San Fernando Valley for the L.A. County Yarn Crawl 2022. They hope to entice next generation newcomers and loyal yarn enthusiasts alike
    “making things together” to keep fiber arts culture alive.

    The 10th L.A. Yarn Crawl will be bringing a mix of old and new to the event. Returning will be the classic crawl popular passport prize promotion, where each of the fifteen shops will feature a $300 gift basket prize. To enter crawl participants will drop their completed passports with stamps from the Yarn Crawl sprawl of shops visited: Other prize level components will feature general crawl prizes with a certain number of shops visited. In addition to the free patterns given away as a regular feature of the crawl each year, to celebrate the 10th crawl will be a first-time additional Treasure Hunt pattern giveaway in both knit and crochet.

    The L.A. County Yarn Crawl’s group of unique shops are committed toward educating and teaching yarn crafts. The purpose of the event is to create awareness by bringing together the Los Angeles community in the fiber arts all while creating friendships, inspiring creativity, projects, and memories to last a lifetime. For event details, COVID safety protocol and more information on the L.A. County Yarn Crawl 2022 please go to or email layarncrawl ( @ ) gmail dot com For all media interview and photo requests contact event publicist Stacey Kumagai of Media Monster Communications, Inc. at 818.506.8675 mediamonster ( @ ) yahoo dot com