More than a 'Single Strand' at new Outlook shop

A new store that has set up shop on Outlook’s Saskatchewan Avenue offers gifts and a place for learning utilizing one of the world’s rare luxury fibres.

A Single Strand Fibre Arts Studio held its official opening on Saturday, December 12, giving the public a glimpse into what the business specializes in – products woven out of alpaca fibre.

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“We’re a yarn shop and we’re also hoping to be a center for creativity; we’re going to offer classes in fibre arts here,” said Cathy Merkley of A Single Strand.  “We use mostly alpaca fibre, and the three of us that are involved in the store are all alpaca owners and raisers.  Cathy Newby and I have Alpaca Naturally, which is a wholesale company, and we buy fibre from Canadian alpaca producers.”

Inside the store, you’ll find items such as yarn, socks, shoe insoles, knitting kits, as well as things such as foot lotions, reusable food wraps, handmade bracelets and jewelry.

As well, there is hope that when the world goes back to “a little more normal”, Cathy would like to run fibre arts classes for knitting, spinning, felting and dyeing.

“We’re hoping when we kind of go back to normal that people will be able to just come in with their knitting or their handwork and we can spend time working on it together and learning from one another,” said Merkley.

Cathy touched on some of the finer points related to alpaca material, known to be incredibly soft to the touch.

“Alpaca is considered a rare luxury fibre on the world textile market,” she said.  “Approximately 3% of the world’s natural fibres are alpaca, and it’s a very soft and very warm fleece.  It’s comparable to cashmere and a lot of people who are allergic to wool can wear alpaca next to their skin.  If you’re wearing alpaca socks for example and your feet sweat, they actually feel dry because it takes the moisture away.”

A Single Strand opened its doors in early November, but Merkley was pleased to see how busy the shop’s official public opening was on Saturday.

“People have been coming in and they seem excited by the store,” she said.  “It’s been just a wonderful experience so far.”

The store is open from 10:00 to 5:00 pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and also by appointment.  An official website is coming soon, but you can check them out on Facebook and Instagram.

© The Outlook

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