[Nov. 2016 Features] Westport Yarns offers stress relief

By Daniel Harizman ’19


Westport Yarns, the small local yarn store located at 582 Post Road East, owned by Beth Schaefer, has been around for just over a decade. The small business aims to raise awareness of the many benefits of knitting.

Run by owner Beth Schaefer and her quartet, Julie Van Norden, Pam Grushkin, Margaret Peters, and Danni Conway, the store provides Westport with its necessary selection of yarn.

“Beth stepped in to buy [Westport Yarns] because she felt that Westport needed to maintain a yarn store.  It’s more of a labor of love than anything else,” Van Norden said.

With her offering of sewing classes and product line of locally fabricated sweaters, scarfs and hats, Schaefer has encouraged many to attempt yarn—related activities.

Marta Clanton ’17 is the founder of her business Marta’s Crochet, which produces crochet bralettes of all colors and sizes. Familiar with the local selection, Clanton really understands the differentiation in yarn quality.

“The quality is fantastic at Westport Yarns and any expert would obviously understand it is the place to shop,” Clanton said.

Schaefer says knitting serves as an important break  that fosters imagination and handmade creation.

“I think [knitting] would help [high school students] because kids spend so much time on their phones; doing something creative with your hands is nice,” Schaefer said.

Clanton attests that knitting has served as a positive and productive outlet.  “Ever since I began knitting, my stress levels have gone down significantly,” Clanton said.  “One of the biggest things it has taught me is, most simply, that there really is a light at the end of the tunnel.”

For Van Norden, active participation in this pastime has allowed her to understand, first hand, the true health benefits behind knitting.

“I think there is an intrinsic need in the human soul to create things with our hands.  We have gone so far away from that as a society,” Van Norden said. “To be able to do something with your hands, it’s really fantastic.”