If you envision a knitting store as a quiet place full of rocking chairs, then you've never been in in downtown Rochester.
The store is bursting with color, laughter and one high-energy owner, Lori Sheffield.
"I think our biggest draw is the atmosphere," Sheffield said. "It's very unique, no 'vanilla box' here."
It all started with a gift
This month marks 30 years of knitting for Sheffield. She started at the age of nine.
"My aunt and uncle opened a yarn store when I was nine and a half. That year they got my brother a really cool video game and I got a box with yarn, needles and a book," Sheffield said.
Although her current occupation might lead you to believe she accepted this gift with great excitement, that was not the case.
"I asked my aunt, 'What is this?' and she told me she was going to teach me to knit."
Despite a rocky start with the knitting needles, Sheffield did learn to knit. In fact, in a matter of months she was knitting professionally and by age 12 she was teaching, too.
"Don't ever tell me I can't do something," Sheffield said. "That will make me only more determined."
As an adult Sheffield continued to teach classes at various stores while working full-time. But then, as can happen in knitting and life, things started to unravel.
"Ten years ago my husband and I both lost our jobs within a week of each other," Sheffield said.
She had heard of Skeins on Main and went in to ask if they were hiring.
"They asked what could I do and I said, 'What do you want me to do?' "
She was hired and began teaching five to six classes a week.
Three years ago, when the owner wanted to focus on the more creative aspects of knitting rather than the business, Sheffield and her father, George Ash, bought the store.
Pure yarn paradise
Sheffield calls her 2,500-square-foot store "pure yarn paradise."
In addition to the yarns and needles, it carries exclusive buttons, beads, patterns and hand-dyed yarns.
Classes are offered daily, with the exception of Sunday when the store is closed.
"We have the most amazing instructors," Sheffield said. Most are published.
Sheffield teaches 11 classes. "Classes include all levels of knitters. You work at your own pace on your own projects."
While Sheffield's favorite latest creation is the Swirl Sweater, the two most popular projects at the store are scarves and cowls.
"It's crazy how many people are making these things but we'll see what spring brings!" Sheffield said.
Skeins on Main is located at 428 South Main Street. It is open Monday through Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. It's closed on Sundays. Call 248-656-9300 with questions.