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LYS Tour - The Knitting Tree LA

Local Yarn Shops provide community, education, friendship, and social connections. These past months have been challenging for small businesses; everyone is finding their own way to adapt. I wanted to use this blog to offer a series of postings, featuring some fabulous yarn shops and share their stores. I hope you enjoy my virtual yarn crawl.

Shannon Dunbabin

The first stop is The Knitting Tree, LA, located in Inglewood, CA. Annette Corsino-Blair and Bruce Blair have for owned the shop for the past 7 years. Annette is a veteran of the local yarn store world. Previously, she owned Amano Yarn Center based in Venice, CA from 2004 to 2009. 2002 marked Annette’s personal involvement into the craft of hand knitting. Annette began teaching friends and neighbors how to knit. Word quickly spread and soon she had 20 people in her kitchen on Monday nights. Annette, along with two friends, started Amano Yarn center in 2004. Prior to this, Annette’s resume consisted of experience as an artist, art teacher, photographer, and mother. Lack of prior business experience, however, led to Amano Yarn Center’s closing.

Photo by Corinne Cobabe
Annette, had other struggles in her life. This included an abusive relationship and divorce, which led to her spending time in a domestic violence center. Knitting was a constant, for Annette: it helped her cope through trying times.

After the dark period in her life had passed, Annette met her husband Bruce in a dance class (literally it takes two to Tango) and the two of them purchased the store that would become Knitting Tree LA in 2013. Running Knitting Tree LA has not only been a source of livelihood for the two but has been a passion.

The Knitting Tree, LA near LAX Airport in Inglewood, California has a strong, diverse community. As a result, a wide variety of people - both locally and internationally come to visit the shop. It reminds Annette of the neighborhood where she grew up in post WWII low income housing, where her neighbors were largely military families of all races and religions. Everyone would play in the street together, like a large extended family, since they all lived so close to one another.

Floral Lace Block Jacket in Ultra Pima (designed by Nicky Epstein)

Annette brings her art background to the shop with lots of color and expressive design. She is skilled at knitting, crochet, weaving, spinning dyeing, and sewing. Her mom taught her the basics when she was little (to keep her busy) but she has worked to improve her skills as an adult, always seeking to learn new techniques.

Floral Homage Top in Ultra Pima
Designed by Annette to honor her Mexican heritage

Annette loves owning The Knitting Tree, LA. She gets to help people find confidence in being creative. More important to Annette is the community that her store fosters, as friendships and bonds are formed between people that may have not met without the shop.

Prior to Covid, there were weekly potlucks, Sunday Brunches and Wednesday night knitting group. There is also Rhinebeck West (a yearly fiber festival) that features LA based dyers and makers along with quarterly fashion shows and a giant holiday party. Now, everything is done via Zoom. Many customers are also friends, so it is important to stay in touch.

The Knitting Tree, LA offers a wide range of classes including Hand and Machine Knitting, Crocheting, Spinning, Tapestry and Rigid Heddle Weaving, Dyeing and Embroidery. They try to offer as many classes as possible via Zoom.

Yarn Tasting & Intro to Color Workshop

Earlier this year, I had a Yarn Tasting and Intro to Color workshop at The Knitting Tree, LA. It was such an enthusiastic group; they were all so very welcoming. It is always a pleasure to see Annette and her gracious community.

Nicole Frost teaching a Dye Workshop

Annette and Nicole Frost are starting a new mentorship program in January. They picked 6 people of color in Los Angeles to mentor for six months in becoming Indie Dyers and how to open their own businesses. Since there is a tremendous lack of Indie Dyers of color, Annette and Nicole decided to build them from within.

Blooming Bomber Jacket in Cantata and Nifty Cotton
designed by Katie Jones

Annette's favorite Cascade Yarn is Cantata, a multi-season, Aran gauge Cotton-Merino blend. She feels it to be perfect for L.A. weather and loves the 3D effect that happens when it is knitted or crocheted. She carries a variety of Cascade Yarns that she appreciates for the quality and value.


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