Here at The Swift Stitch we believe that offering high quality merchandise at reasonable prices is a business model that will never go out of style. We also believe that top-notch customer service is the cornerstone of any successful business, and for this reason in particular, we will constantly endeavor to provide our customers with a pleasant consumer experience together with expert guidance in the fiber arts. We feel fortunate to work in such a creative environment with a clientele that shares our passion for craft, and it is our sincere hope that you enjoy shopping with us as much as we enjoy serving you.
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Allan was seduced into the world of knitting and crochet quite recently by former employees Devin and Kirby, who, quicker than you can make a swatch, turned him into a fiber snob; baby alpaca and merino-silk/cashmere blends are his favorites.
Although a city boy from the northeast at heart, Allan has fallen in love with the natural beauty that Santa Cruz has offered him as he works towards obtaining his doctoral degree in linguistics from UCSC. Perhaps because of his newfound love of sea, his favorite colors to work with are green and blue.
If you catch him working on a project, you'll most likely find a trendy shawl or pair of gloves on his needles. His fascination with intricate and interconnected patterns makes him a sucker for cabling and lace, which inspired his ravelry name: cablesque.
Debby's earliest memories of yarn and knitting date back to the days when her beloved Aunt Dot used to knit beautiful doll clothes for Debby's "Tiny Tears" doll. At some point during those early years (although she cannot recall exactly WHEN!), she must have asked her aunt to teach her how to knit, thus beginning a life-long passion for the process of tying knots with sticks. Debby knitted off and on during the 70's, when it seemed as if the only yarn colors available were browns and oranges (doesn't everyone have a brown and orange afghan stashed away in the back of the closet?). When Debby's daughter Emma was about two years old, Debby once again picked up her needles and started knitting sweaters for Emma. To date, Debby has knitted numerous hats, sweaters, tank tops, scarves, hand-warmers, doll clothes (you name it!) for Emma. She is—and always will be—Debby's favorite client.
In terms of design preference, Debby leans towards the more classic, traditional style of knitting. She loves reading knitting-related books from authors such as Elizabeth Zimmermann, Alice Starmore, and Barbara Walker, while simultaneously imagining that she lives in a cold climate where it snows all winter long, and all she can do is sit and knit, and maybe get up every so often to put another log on the fire, and there is a seemingly bottomless cup of hot tea nearby, and there is a warm, friendly cat curled up in her lap. She admires Fair Isle knits as well as exquisitely detailed Aran patterns. At the same time, Debby has great respect for knitters and crocheters that can pick up five different types of today's trendiest yarns and create a gorgeous scarf. She feels that there is always something to learn from other members of the knitting community—one just needs the requisite desire to learn, patience, and an open mind. From that point onward, "the sky's the limit" in terms of what one can create!
Debby enjoys helping knitters decipher their patterns, correcting stubborn "problems" within a pattern, and generally helping them feel successful completing a project.
Editor's note: Prior to moving the Santa Cruz County, Debby actually DID live in a cold, snowy climate for 26 years of her life!Ravelry name: AccioYarn
Note: Debby's Rav name translates to "Bring me my yarn!" Thank you Harry Potter!
More about Helène coming soon!
Prior to opening up The Swift Stitch, Khristine held a number of executive level positions throughout the high-tech industry. She has also been employed by the US Agency for International Development, the US Foreign Service Department, and UNICEF. Khristine is an active volunteer and advisory board member for several charitable organizations located throughout Santa Cruz County. She completed her undergraduate studies at UC Berkeley, and holds a Masters degree from Stanford University. Khristine grew up in Los Gatos (GO WILDCATS!), and lived in Boston; Berkeley; Guadalajara, Mexico; Vina del Mar, Chile; Los Altos; Washington DC; and Woodside before ultimately making her home in Santa Cruz. She has traveled extensively throughout Latin America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, and speaks Spanish, Portuguese, a bit of German, and Kiswahili. Khristine firmly believes that all of these fancy credentials have left her wonderfully prepared for her current position of owning a yarn shop. Apparently she has a good sense of humor too. After spending the first half of her adult life working in a series of high-pressure, often stressful work environments, Khristine has discovered that ultimately she delights more in the simple yet rewarding interactions she has with the customers and associates at The Swift Stitch.Khristine has been knitting for approximately tweleve years, and most enjoys knitting scarves, blankets, and other rectangular objects, as well as the occasional dog sweater or award-winning baby bathrobe. Khristine favors geometric patterns and modular, modern design in her knitting, and she greatly enjoys sneaking in some sort of mathematical concept into all of her creations. ("Now cast on a prime number of stitches and use the following algorithm as a map for what will follow.") Nutty perhaps, but true. Khristine feels a strong sense of kinship will ALL knitters, no matter their ability level (but especially those that confess—always a bit apologetically—that they are currently knitting their fiftieth scarf.) She knits both Continental and English style, but still holds and American passport.
Marina used dull scissors to flense her first project from the needles when she was 8 years old. (She thought she was knitting a slipper, but it turned out to be a tent.) Her knitting career would have ended there had she not decided during her junior year of high school that all of her friends needed hand-knitted dickies for Christmas. After buying a book and a stunning array of Orlon yarns, she relearned to knit, much to the delight of her friends. Undaunted by the mysterious disappearance of the mutant turtlenecks (fashion-savvy aliens was one theory), Marina went on to create several useful items before giving up knitting for college.
It was after graduation she really hit her knitting stride. Armed with a second book, she began again and produced sweaters, vests and various other garments that were actually worn. She also began designing, inspired by a wall of Fassettesque sweaters she saw in Covent Garden while backpacking through Europe. Had she not been a one-project knitter at the time, she would be awesome by now, but alas, she found herself entangled in a recalcitrant cardigan. (Had she given the thing a time-out, her knitting life might have been different, but, to quote Vonnegut, “So it goes.”) Barred from starting anything new by an unrelenting hydra of guilt (the sweater in question had been commissioned by a good friend), she did not take up needles again for fourteen years. She credits the birth of her friend Helen with her return to the world of fiber. Helen needed a baby blanket and Helen got one. Having learned the error of her ways, Marina now has several projects on the needles at all times. She completed Level II of TKGA’s Master Knitter program, but was seduced from Level III by mystery shawls. Now that that romance has played itself out, she hopes to complete the program.
If she can avoid the temptation of her coworker’s projects, customer’s enthusiasms, Ravelry, and her own love of designing. She’s a wool girl — straight or blended — with an undying love of merino. She has recently, however, fallen in love with several silk/pima blends and has been known to dally with alpaca, mohair, bamboo, hemp, linen and rayon. Oh, who are we trying to kid? She’s a fiber slut and will work with anything that can be knitted into a garment.
Marina likes teaching people new knitting skills and will teach almost anything — given enough prep time. She enjoys teaching lace (with and without beads), cables, cast ons, hats, sweaters and finishing — she loves seeing people’s faces light up when they finally master a technique and realize they’ve got it.
Contrary to popular belief, knitting isn’t the only thing in Marina’s life. She plays with kids, harps and ukuleles, loves movies, travel, books, hiking, and her husband (who knits). She also writes fiction and has two novels that have gone in and out of print.Ravelry name: pipster
You can reach Marina at: marina@theswiftstitch.
Nancy came to us from Southern California, to our far more knit-friendly climate to be near her two adult children. But don't let the Southern California lifestyle fool you—Nancy has been knitting up a storm for 40 years!
Nancy's mom taught her to knit and Nancy has passed on the skill of the needles to her own daughter who can often be found in the shop knitting away on her own sweaters. (They say if you give a fish a knitting needle that fish will soon be knitting their own sweaters, don't they?)
Nancy's favorite projects are sweaters, preferably GREEN sweaters, but we won't call it knitting in a rut since she looks so fabulous in her creations! Nancy enjoys teaching beginning knitting where her patience is greatly appreciated and admired by her students and co-workers alike.Ravelry name: bisby
Sharlene considers her crafting obsessions to be an inherited condition. Her grandmother is a skilled seamstress and crocheter, while her mom introduced her to a lifetime of crafting possibilities. Sharlene has vivid memories of being fascinated by her mom's work as a needlepoint canvas artist and visiting the local yarn shop where her mom worked.
Wanting to craft something of her own at a young age, she bought a hook, yarn, and a "T to Crochet" pamphlet at the local Woolworth's. Eventually she completed a bright pink and yellow hat, much to the surprise of her mom. Growing up, Sharlene went through beading, weaving looms, a Knitting Jenny (which provided hours of hilarity to Sharlene and her sister) and later joined her mom in a series of crafting phases that included macrame, needlepoint, Russian punch needle embroidery, crewel and cross-stitch projects.
After college, she worked in photography, digital imaging, and eventually settled in to work for a marketing firm in Santa Cruz, producing print, web, and DVD deliverables for high-tech firms.
Sharlene picked up needles and yarn when small children in the household became too interested in the sewing machine and supplies that sat on the dining room table when in use. She was drawn to the portability of knitting projects, and the ease of being able to put those projects out of reach of toddler's hands. A month after her first knitting lesson, Sharlenel's mom took her along to Stitches West and an obsession was born. She's never been without knitting since. Finding her niche in the fiber arts has been a wonderful counter-balance to the world of high-tech. Computers and yarn play nicely together in Sharlene's office and she can often be found stitching and clicking.Sharlene's favorite projects are sweaters, many of which eventually find their way into the closets of willing friends. Her closet can only hold so many sweaters! Sharlene loves textural knitting, including cables and lace. Purples, pinks, and reds tend to dominate her color choices, though greens that remind her of little green parrots find their way onto her needles as well. Sharlene enjoys teaching knitting technique and project classes and has been designing a few little projects here and there.
Sofia has been at The Swift Stitch since 2009 and we are happy to say that yes, she still loves her job! Sofia loves the fact that working at The Swift Stitch allows her to indulge in her favorite hobby while getting to know other knit and crochet enthusiasts in the community. (We crafters do love to talk about our projects and share them with other enthusiasts!)
Sofia remembers herself as a restless 7 or 8 years old when her grandmother Stella attmepted to teach her to knit. It didn't stick at the time, but resurfaced 25 years later in 2007 when she had an inexplicable desire to knit something. Using some craft store yarn and the memories of those lessons with Grandma Stella, she managed to knit pink scarves for her toddler daughters. But Sofia's 7 or 8-year old self never learned the lesson involving binding off, and it was then she sought out help from a local yarn store. (Shameless plug for local yarn stores everywhere: Come learn what your grandmother didn't teach you!) Many lessons and many hours spent in that local yarn store taught her what great people knitters and crocheters are and how fun it was to sit for a couple of hours and talk about projects, yarn choices, techniques, and everything in between. Since then she has always had a project on the needles and has delighted in everything knitting and yarn-related.
Her favorite color is green, and favorite thing to knit are sweaters. Her favorite fibers are alpaca and merino wool.
Sofia's best moments in the shop have been teaching a new technique to someone and watching that "aha" moment happen. She enjoys being available to anyone in need of help whether stuck because of a mistake, or just need advice of picking out the right yarn to go with a new, exciting pattern.
Ravelry name: sofknits