Fort Washington business owner builds ‘stitcher’ community through yarn store

Knitting and crochet products are sold at the Fort Washington store in Prince George's County, Maryland, called "Gathering Yarns."(WTOP/Nick Iannelli)

The idea of opening a yarn store first came to Terri Haynes during the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

She, like so many others in the D.C. region, found herself with extra time on her hands, and she decided she would “open a yarn store for my 50th birthday.”

“I wanted to build a community of stitchers here in Fort Washington,” Haynes said. “I wanted it to be a community space and just make it a cozy place for everyone.”

Haynes sells knitting and crochet products and offers knit and crochet classes at her Fort Washington store in Prince George’s County, Maryland, called “Gathering Yarns.”

“All stitchers are welcome,” Haynes said.

Her store offers numerous types of yarn, ranging from commercially-dyed all the way up to locally hand-dyed yarn.

“I use the term ‘stitcher’ because I’m talking about knitters, crocheters and spinners,” Haynes said. “I wanted to use terminology that fit the whole community versus just one group.”

Knitting, beyond the simple act of creating fabric from yarn, is a beloved and fulfilling hobby for countless people.

One of the main attractions of knitting lies in its therapeutic qualities. The rhythmic and repetitive nature can lead to a meditative state, calming the mind and reducing stress.

Over the years, Haynes has used the hobby as a way to deal with difficult situations.

Her husband is a retired member of the military now, but when he was once deployed, Haynes said she knitted herself 11 sweaters in a single year in order to “cope and keep my mind occupied.”

Haynes has also used knitting to deal with sadness, as she made a blanket for her ailing mother when she had cancer.

“She wanted me to crochet her a blanket and I made this massive blanket with tulips on it,” Haynes said. “It’s how I process my grief.”

Haynes became interested in knitting at the age of 11 when her friend’s grandmother showed her how to do it.

“She had one set of knitting needles, and one ball of yarn,” Haynes recalled.

It’s one of the main reasons she offers classes at her store now.

“I’m always looking for myself,” Haynes explained. “I’m always looking for that child that may not have the resources, but wants to learn how to knit.”

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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