CHURCHMOUSE YARNS & TEAS
118 Madrone Lane N.
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
206-780-2686 • churchmouseyarns.com
Just a 35-minute ferry ride across Puget Sound from Seattle lies Bainbridge Island, the home of Churchmouse Yarns & Teas. For owner Kit Hutchin, who has been knitting since she was 7 years old, yarn and tea have always seemed to go together. “Whenever I would sit down with my friends to knit, we’d always have a pot of tea,” she recalls. This Quebec native who grew up in British Columbia might have seemed destined to open a yarn shop one day, but her journey took a more circuitous route. “It was one of those things that I had always wanted to do, but it just seemed like a fantasy,” she says. When a friend, whom she had taught to knit, suggested she open a yarn shop, Kit’s husband insisted that she give the idea some serious consideration.
“Why don’t you just think about it for a week?” John Koval asked his wife. “Let yourself think about how you could instead of why you couldn’t.” A week later, Kit came back with what, at the time, seemed like a radical idea. She wanted to open a shop that would be about more than just yarn and knitting. She wanted to share the lifestyle of making something beautiful with your hands. For Kit, that included making a pot of tea.
“I wanted to create a place at Churchmouse for everyday tea,” she explains. “Our tea isn’t fancy. It’s more ‘Let’s have a cuppa.’ That fits really nicely with ‘Let’s sit down and knit for an hour.’” In September 2000, Churchmouse Yarns & Teas opened its doors.
Kit also wanted everyone, even people who didn’t knit, to feel welcome in her shop. In addition to beautiful yarns, she stocked it with lovely things that had broad appeal—Emma Bridgewater pottery from Great Britain, tools for brewing tea, and her favorite teas from Ireland and the British Isles.
When Kit and John met Steven Smith (the founder of both Stash Tea Company and Tazo), who had moved on to start his own artisan tea company, they asked him to create an exclusive tea blend for Churchmouse Yarns & Teas. One blend quickly turned into four—one for each season of the year—which are kept in stock year-round. “They’re exquisite blends,” John says. “Steve really understood the concept behind our tea department, which is everyday teas.”
Kit recognizes that there is a sense of community among knitters, and she thinks it can be found online. More than 4,500 fans of her shop have joined the Churchmouse Yarns & Teas group on the website ravelry.com. “It’s a lot of fun,” Kit explains. “People often share the projects they’re working on, as well as what tea they’re drinking.”
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