Getting Yarn Right

By Captain D

THIS IS A YARN about yarn. And an afghan that wouldn’t lie flat. And a woman who likes to do things right.

Thirty years ago, Shirley Jones discovered that Ellsworth had no shops selling quality yarn. Against her better judgment she bought cut-rate yarn to use in afghans she was making for her two daughters as Christmas presents.
But things didn’t go well.

When it came time to attach the pieces, she couldn’t get them to lie flat. The bargain-basement yarn had stretched.
This confirmed a sense that Shirley shared with her husband, Dick, that in every phase of life, good quality was getting harder and harder to come by.
Not one to just sit around and complain, Shirley decided to take action.

After almost buying the Knit Nook in Bangor, she opened a yarn shop on Route One east of Ellsworth where Dick was selling mobile homes.
She has stood fast in her resolve to sell just quality—not necessarily expensive—yarns.

Today, Shirley stocks more yarn than anybody else in Eastern Maine. And she has gone way beyond yarn, carrying on her shelves gifts, crafts, household furnishings, art supplies, and stitchery.

This year Shirley's Yarns, Gifts, and Crafts is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

Shirley and Dick were both brought up in Rockland, Maine. They got married a long ways from home, in Alaska. Dick was stationed there with the military. Their first daughter, Kiana, was born there. At that time, Dick was teaching photography.
Once Dick’s tour of duty was over, they returned to Maine, and Dick became involved with mobile homes. He gained experience working for both Grant’s and Twin City Mobile Homes, and, later, Linnehans. In 1972, he bought Linnehan’s mobile home business and they moved to Ellsworth.
Dick and Shirley shared quarters on Route One east of Ellsworth for a few years, until Dick decided to leave the mobile home business. This left Shirley as the sole tenant at that location.

For the first few years Shirley’s was strictly yarns, crafts, and stitchery. After a few years, however, there was a slump in knitting, and the Jones decided to diversify with a line of gifts. Once they did that, the original building was no longer large enough, and in the early eighties they built a sizable addition. This included construction of a large stock room.

Since the mid-seventies, the Jones’s two daughters, Kiana and Kim, have been part of the business. Today, they are part owners.
Besides having more yarn than anybody else in Eastern Maine, Shirley has art, cake, and candy supplies. She carries all the flavors of Jelly Bellys, more than sixty, and wonderful homemade fudge. She stocks Downeast coffee and coffee beans and a great selection of greeting cards.
Diversification hasn’t changed Shirley’s attitude about the importance of high-quality yarn.

Although Shirley carries some of the finest yarns in existence, one shouldn’t get the idea that you necessarily have to spend big bucks to get yarn from her.

“We do have affordable quality yarn,” she points out. “Whether you buy expensive yarn or stick to more inexpensive brands, you enjoy several advantages by getting high quality. If you get the better quality yarn, you'll find it holds up better ."