SquirrelHillYarns

Inspiring multicolored, all-natural hand-dyed yarns.

Announcement    Announcing the opening of Squirrel Hill Yarns!
Have you been looking for a quick project with unique yarn? Did you know that research shows knitting can reduce stress, lower blood pressure and raise dopamine levels? CANDY yarns are the best over-the-counter medicine during this quantine!

Available in more than a dozen delicious colors, CANDY yarns are hand-dyed and hand=spun in small lots by artisans with over 30 years in the business. Previously seen only in specialty shops, you can now buy these yummy balls online. Colorways vary from neutrals to vibrant hues. All include the highest quality merino wool roving, mohair curls and a solid rayon core.

CANDY yarns are suitable for knitting, crochet, weaving, and any craft project that uses yarn. Make a hat, scarf or even a coffee cosy with a single 100 gram/4 ounce ball, knit up on size 17 or 19 needles, for about 6 stitches to 4 inches, depending upon tension.

Like SQUIRREL HILL YARNS on Facebook, and never miss another announcement! Go to Etsy, and enter SQUIRREL HILL YARNS to see our launch.

Announcement

Last updated on Apr 12, 2020

Announcing the opening of Squirrel Hill Yarns!
Have you been looking for a quick project with unique yarn? Did you know that research shows knitting can reduce stress, lower blood pressure and raise dopamine levels? CANDY yarns are the best over-the-counter medicine during this quantine!

Available in more than a dozen delicious colors, CANDY yarns are hand-dyed and hand=spun in small lots by artisans with over 30 years in the business. Previously seen only in specialty shops, you can now buy these yummy balls online. Colorways vary from neutrals to vibrant hues. All include the highest quality merino wool roving, mohair curls and a solid rayon core.

CANDY yarns are suitable for knitting, crochet, weaving, and any craft project that uses yarn. Make a hat, scarf or even a coffee cosy with a single 100 gram/4 ounce ball, knit up on size 17 or 19 needles, for about 6 stitches to 4 inches, depending upon tension.

Like SQUIRREL HILL YARNS on Facebook, and never miss another announcement! Go to Etsy, and enter SQUIRREL HILL YARNS to see our launch.

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Patricia Lemer

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Patricia Lemer

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About SquirrelHillYarns

Sales 22
On Etsy since 2020

Unique Yarns from Rainbow Mills Now Available Online as Squirrel Hill Yarns

In the 1980s, two hippies with four small children traveled the globe collecting handmade clothing and unique objects for their store, 10 Continents, in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Stanley, a glass blower by training, and his wife Carol, a fiber artist, discovered artisans everywhere. They bought rugs in Ecuador, beads in Africa, lace wedding dresses in Mexico, and sweaters in Italy. Little did they know that those sweaters would change their lives.

Stanley and Carol saw the sweaters fly out of the store, looked at how they were constructed, and declared, "We can make those!" "What are you going to use for yarn, asked Stanley. We can make it, they decided!

They ordered 50 pounds of wool roving, set up a couple of bathtubs in their basement, found a spinning wheel at a flea market, hired a couple of their students from the now defunct Ivy School of Fine Arts, and started dying and spinning. They experimented with colors, dyes, paints, and materials.

One day a friend announced she was going to New York for a fiber show. Could she take along a few balls of their experimental yarn? Sure, they told her. They gave her the dozen or so skeins they had produced. She came back to Pittsburgh empty-handed. What happened to the yarn? Stores snatched it up, and demanded more.

The phone started ringing. One day, an accented voice identified himself as a German who wanted to "represent their line in Europe." What line? They needed a name. Since they both liked rainbows, they called the company Rainbow Mills, hoping that there would be a pot of gold at the end of their rainbow.

That German representative soon turned their grassroots operation into a thriving business. Before they knew it, they had over 30 dyers and spinners and had to move out of the basement. Despite a fire in their bustling little operation, they continued to produce new colors with innovative combinations of materials and processes. They had regular wholesale customers who purchased their yarns for knitting, crocheting, weaving, sculptures and anything else you can do with yarn.

Stanley's interests moved from glass-blowing to photography. Since his father gave him the Kodak box camera at a young age, he was fascinated by light, peeling paint, birds, wild animals, and sunsets. He loved capturing these images for others to enjoy. He bought more complex cameras, bigger lenses, and, as this peripatetic couple ventured to far off places, his collection of magnificent images grew.

The couple were pioneers in the craft show movement, working to start A Fair in the Park in Pittsburgh, and traveling to shows across the United States almost every weekend. He set up a tent with his photographs on everything from notecards to giant canvases. Next to his was Carol's tent full of yarn and her creations: capes, shawls, scarves, jackets, tops...everything that could be made from their delicious yarns.

Then Carol died suddenly, and life stopped for Stanley. No more craft shows. Few trips. The phone continued to ring, and two loyal employees continued to work. When an call came in, Gale took the order, and Nancy came in to fill it by dying and spinning the yarn. As yarn shops closed and competitors entered the marketplace, sales dwindled. Stanley was "done." He tried to give the business to his employees, but they had no interest.

Enter Patty. On March 23rd, 2016, Patty's birthday, Stanley met Patty, a lifetime lover of yarn, knitting, fiber, and most crafts. A mental health professional by training, she had a 45+ year career as a counselor, working with families of individuals with disabilities, first in the Washington, DC area, and then in her native Pittsburgh. Her 3 books on treating and healing autism were best sellers. She had retired at least 3 times, and was ready for something new.

Stanley and Patty lived about 800 feet away from each other, yet had never met. Mutual friends introduced them because of their shared interest in travel. Patty had had a dream about meeting an aging 60's hippie craftsman with a pony tale to share her "golden years" with. You gotta be careful what you wish for! After a hike in Frick Park, followed by sharing pastries from the Cafe at the Frick, and learning that both their birthdays were on the 23rd, they knew it was a match. She and her friends call him "Boyfriend;" He calls her "Girlfriend."

Since they met 4 years ago, Patty has been itching to revitalize Rainbow Mills with an online presence. It's a new world: few brick and mortar stores, increased interest in hand-made products, quarantine for a deadly virus. Why not???

Shop members

  • Patty

    Owner

    In 2016, Patty, a knitter, fell in love with Stanley, owner of Rainbow Mills. This wholesale maker of hand-dyed, hand-spun yarns since the 1980's, never had a web presence. Their romance brings CANDY yarn online to you as Squirrel Hill Yarns.

  • Nancy

    Dyer And Spinner

    Nancy's been dying and spinning yarn since the 1980's. She is passionate about combining beautiful colors to make unique yarn. Each dye lot of wool roving and mohair curls are dyed in separate tubs to produce various colors that she spins together.

  • Stanley

    Owner Rainbow Mills

    Stanley met Patty on her birthday in 2016. His specialty yarn company, Rainbow Mills, was a thriving business until his wife, Carol, a fiber artist, died in 2012. Patty and Stanley revitalized the yarn business online as Squirrel Hill Yarns.

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