KnittyGrittyYarnGirl opens in East Lyme

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Paulette is gone, and Paul Meijer is at the newly opened yarn shop, KnittyGrittyYarnGirl, 170 Flanders Road, Niantic, Thursday, August 4, 2022. took a picture. (Daniel Passapera/Special to The Sun)

Yarn hangs on the shelf Thursday, August 4, 2022 KnittyGrittyYarnGirl, a new brick and mortar yarn shop at 170 Flanders Road in Niantic. (Daniel Passapera/Special to The Sun)

East Lyme ― The yarn girl known as Paulette Meijer now owns a crochet shop.

Friends, family and visitors gather for the grand opening of KnittyGrittyYarnGirl yarn shop at 170 Flanders Road in Niantic, Thursday, August 4, 2022. (Daniel Passapera/Special to The Sun)

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Customers of the colorful collection of knitting components may also come across Knitty Gritty Yarn Boy (as husband Paul Meijer calls himself) or Knitty Gritty Yarn Dog (a Yorkshire Terrier puppy named Minnie-Purl).

Meijer has retired her airport shuttle, but she hasn’t hung up her knitting needles.

She founded KnittyGrittyYarnGirl in 2016 as a mobile yarn shop, and on Monday opened a brick-and-mortar location at 170 Flanders Road that sells yarn and hosts various levels of project-oriented classes.

The store carries wool, silk, cashmere, linen and mohair yarns with brands such as Noro, Jody Long, Juniper Moon Farm, Artyarns, Mirasol and Malabrigo.

Yarns and yarns of every color are piled on shelves and hang on the white walls, and there is a seating area in the back. Several people gathered Thursday as part of a day-long celebration of the store’s grand opening.

That includes people from Groton, Hamden and Torrington who started listening to Meijer’s Monday night Facebook Live show and went to knit with her, and a sales rep for the various yarns she carries.

Jody Long flew in from her home in Istanbul, Turkey on Thursday morning to support the store. A resident of London for magazines and textile mills and has yarns.

He said he met Meijer on Facebook and that even though it was midnight for him, he would be attending Monday night’s events.

Not relaxing in retirement

Meijer, 71, previously worked as a sales coach, helping real estate agents build their brands.

“It’s not about the yarn for me, it’s more about customer service. “For the consumer, it’s about the thread,” he said.

It was his grandfather, a peddler who sold new products from an old bus, who inspired him to set up a mobile yarn shop. She was 8 years old when she learned to knit from her grandmother and from her paternal grandmother.

She stopped but started again when she had kids, then stopped and started again when her kids left home.

“I went to work and this woman had spun this wonderful yarn. It was unlike any yarn I’ve ever seen in my life,” Meijer said. Growing up, she said cotton or wool were the options, and the variety of yarns inspired her to knit again.

Meijer said the KnittyGrittyYarnGirl bus has become a traveling store and traveling billboard, traveling to fiber festivals and house parties in Hartford, Springfield and New York.

Paul Meijer said he was buying inventory for the fiber festival when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, so the festival was canceled. Paulette’s message was “a thread for the people” and she continued to bring it to the Internet.

They completed 16 live shows online during the four days of the festival. Paul Meijer has a background in marketing – the automotive industry – and he knows how to promote content, he said.

Paulette Meijer argued and joked like George Burns and Gracie Allen and said they were “a real online husband and wife.” She was serious and her husband was joking.

They ended up with a guest show every Monday night Twisted seams.

Meijer said he was working from the basement of the house, eventually “bursting at the seams” with string. So he decided to open a shop in East Lyme, where he has lived since 2005.

People with shop or knitting questions can use the chat feature at knittygrittyyarngirl.com or text Meijer at 203-856-6755.

Store hours are Tuesday 4:30-7:00 p.m., Wednesday through Friday 11:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m., and Saturday 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., Wednesday 4:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. Group Meetings , accepts all. She’s also hosting a crochet party in the Berkshires from November 11-13.

Her advice to beginners: “Remember that you are learning to knit. Adults don’t want to learn how to do something; adults want to know how to do things.” He added that people should give themselves grace and that “it’s just a thread; you can’t break it.’

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