Once a teenage closet knitter, Tia Menich, owner of Kitchener’s Woolverine Knit Boutique sure isn’t bashful about her knitting passion any longer.
Woolverine, a second-floor walk-up in downtown Kitchener, is an homage to colour, texture and the 1950s aesthetic. It’s a welcoming space where Tia invites knitters to lounge and knit, and of course browse the beautiful selection of wool and knitting supplies. People can drop by with their latest project and be surrounded by beautiful wool and a colourful, creative atmosphere, or attend small-group classes to build their knitting savvy. Tia is great knitter, knitting problem-solver and conversationalist.
Knitting has been a part of Tia’s daily life for more than 20 years. She spent her career working in the arts and entertainment industry in Toronto, battling 14 hours days and chronic stress. As soon as she would get home, she’d grab her needles and knit for an hour. “For me, knitting has been an exercise in relaxation,” says Tia. “It’s a creative outlet that has helped me mentally regroup after a busy day.”
And then one day Tia got laid off. Trying to avoid a typical post-laid-off-anxiety-fuelled-sadness, Tia taught herself how to quilt – and made a beautiful quilt of Elvis (which now welcomes visitors as they enter the shop). All the while she was thinking about what to do next. “After a stressful career, I wanted to be surrounded by what I really love,” she says. Woolverine Knit Boutique was born.
While opening a small retail business certainly comes with its stresses, especially in a world of convenient online shopping, she took a chance that many knitters are just like her: wool junkies. “Knitters are people who like to touch the wool, rub it against their cheeks and smell it,” says Tia. “Knitters will go wherever they need to in order to score their stash.” Woolverine has been open for almost a year and Tia is happy with her decision.
Customers of all experience levels come into the shop, although her classes are primarily young women looking for a way to relax, be creative and produce their own accessories. “There is an immense pride that comes with creating something you can wear, knowing it might not perfect, but that you laboured over it to make something special,” says Tia.
Tia thought carefully about where to open her shop and knew downtown Kitchener was ready for a shop specializing in colour and creativity. “I like what the city is doing downtown, encouraging denser populations and committing to building a thriving downtown culture, made this an easy decision for me,” she says.
And if you needed an excuse to check out the shop, January 30-February 1 might be the perfect time as everything in the store will be 20% off to celebrate Woolverine’s first anniversary. And bring along some leftover yarn you have kicking around. She collects yarn for a local group who knit hats, scarves and baby blankets for regional charities.
P.S. Tia’s favourite topics of conversation: knitting and Elvis.
P.P.S. Tia’s advice to knitters: Don’t give up; it’s important to understand yarn weight and needle size, because when you get those parts right it’s like a marriage made in heaven.