Catherine and Patrick Martin’s passion for yarn is being shared with others at their new store.
In August, they opened The Knitting Nest at 131 E. Main St.
“When I was in middle school or so, I tried knitting. My mom has a pincushion to prove it. People didn’t knit,” Catherine said. “I also grew up in southern Florida where you don’t need to knit wool.”
About 10 years ago, she gave it another try.
One of her co-workers had “these gorgeous sweaters and would pull it (her knitting) out at lunch,” she said.
At the time, Catherine was a family practice physician in Waupaca. She decided to learn how to knit for a couple of reasons.
It looked fun, and she also thought it would help her relax, because she was getting chronic migraines.
She learned the knitting basics from books and from the co-worker with the “gorgeous sweaters.”
Catherine said, “The headaches kept getting worse. I took three months off of work and made sweaters for the kids.”
She then returned to her practice for several months before deciding to leave.
She and Patrick moved to Weyauwega with their two children, Lydia and Christopher.
“After we moved to Weyauwega is when my yarn passion got more intense,” Catherine said.
Patrick smiled as he asked, “Is it a passion or an addiction?” She said, “I discovered all kinds of fun, new techniques and some fun, new yarns.”
For years, they joked about opening a yarn shop.
“I don’t know if I was looking at my huge stash of yarn or wanting more,” Catherine said.
When the topic came up again – about six months ago – they became serious about it.
“It’s a place where she can work when she can,” Patrick said. “The biggest thing I think she misses from her medical practice is her relationships with her patients.”
Catherine continues to get migraines and will be at the store when she can.
Patrick has an electrical engineering degree. He was a computer programmer and then a stay-at-home father when Catherine had her medical practice.
He went back to school for secondary math and has a teaching license. He tutors students.
“I like the idea of a family business,” Patrick said.
He will run the business and says, “Yes, I knit. Yes, I can crochet. Yes, I can answer questions. When we decided we were going to do this, I started to knit a dishcloth.”
Catherine even writes about that fact on her blog: wegaknittingnest.blogspot.com.
Lydia, 16, can also help with questions. As for Christopher, 13, “he’s probably the biggest expert on the cash register at the moment,” Catherine said.
She said what sets them apart from online sites is their physical presence.
“We are in a shop in Weyauwega where you can sit down and knit and get help,” she said.
An area in the store is set up to be a spot where people can drop in to sit and knit. Every Thursday night is Open Stitch Night, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. People can bring their current projects.
They are also offering classes.
A three-week class for beginners starts on Monday, Sept. 12, and will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on three consecutive Mondays.
Patrick said that as they get to know their customers, they will know what types of classes to offer.
The Knitting Nest is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. They can be reached at 920-862-0111.
They sell wool, cotton, acrylic and blends from Cascade Yarns and Universal Yarns and also carry yarn from sheep raised locally at Lamb’s Quarters in rural Waupaca. That yarn is then spun by Blue Hills Alpaca Farm and Fiber Mill in Bruce, Wis.
Those who visit The Knitting Nest will be able to buy enough yarn to complete their projects.
“We carry fewer yarns,” Catherine said, “but enough colors and enough skeins in each color so you have enough to make a project.”
They also carry what they refer to as “yummy” yarns, including Mango Moon yarns, made out of recycled silk.
Another product they came across is Dear Husband yarn, a line of dyed wool products from Pintsch Textile Specialties, a Pennsylvania-based business.
Patrick said the colors are “boy friendly” and that Tim Pintsch has a Wisconsin connection and is dying a wool yarn that will be called “Old 92” in tribute to the late Reggie White.
Pintsch’s parents are from Wisconsin, and he is a lifelong Green Bay Packers fan, Patrick said. This new dye will be at The Knitting Nest, with the store having the Wisconsin exclusive for the football season.
“We are the second store he is in. This is a big step for them,” Patrick said. “The other shop is where they live. Otherwise, they sell directly.”
The Knitting Nest also has knitting needles and hooks for crocheting. Patrick will be making shawl pins and eventually needles. Catherine will be knitting models, giving visitors ideas as to what they, too, can make.
Catherine believes the popularity of knitting is again on the rise.
Last spring, they organized a knitting club at Weyauwega Elementary School, with a group also meeting this past summer at the library.
“People are definitely intetested in being able to make things themselves,” she said.
Catherine said knitting dates back to Medieval times. Today, there is a modern twist with new needles and techniques and different fibers available.
When the Martins were thinking about what to name their new store, there was a long list of possibilities.
In the end, they decided to call it The Knitting Nest.
“At home, I have a rocking chair. On one side, I have my yarn and laptop. On the other side, I have a table with knicknacks and books. They call it my nest,” Catherine said.