In the center of Gosh Yarn It! is a long table that can seat eight easily. This table is a symbol of what Gosh Yarn it! is — just like the giant needles and yarn that greet you upon entering — a communal experience that is “so much more than just yarn,” according to the owner, staff, and regulars. That is the atmosphere that owner Jill Schwartz has sought to cultivate, and in this writer’s opinion, she has succeeded in a way that some people can only dream of.
The impetus for the shop came from what Schwartz perceived as a vacuum in the area. Having knitted off and on for years, she would pick up yarn while traveling for business and would lament about how very difficult it was to find quality yarn at home. Knowing that there must have been others who felt the same way, she opened Gosh Yarn It!, the preeminent yarn store in the area. Since its opening in 2010, at least six other similar shops have closed in surrounding cities and towns, yet this business is still going strong.
What I love about the shop is that it carries yarn at any price point I, or anyone else, could want. Their selection ranges from the durable and low-cost to the luxurious and dear. I asked Schwartz why carry cashmere and baby alpaca yarn when she could have a larger inventory of cheaper goods and she replied, “If you’re putting that much time into something, don’t you want it to be high quality? Don’t you want it to be worthy?” She has a point. If I am putting twenty hours of knitting into a gift (something I have done!) I want the recipient to treasure it, not only for the time invested, but also because it is a beautiful item that they are proud to adorn themselves with.
It’s wonderful that the yarn selection is so robust, but what if you’re new to knitting and despite the plethora of YouTube videos, you just need that hands-on learning? Gosh Yarn It! offers some of the only knitting classes around — for free! — every Tuesday morning. In addition to their weekly classes, everyone is welcome to “Sit and Knit” every Thursday night and Saturday, where you can learn from, and talk with, some of the most proficient knitters and crocheters in the area. Know how to knit or crochet but you’re looking for something new? Gosh Yarn it! carries an ample stock of needlework accessories in addition to a physical and digital library of patterns, many of which are free.
It is almost impossible to convey through words how welcome you feel when you visit. It’s almost like going to your favorite grandmother’s house during the holidays. Every time I have been to Gosh Yarn It! there have been no fewer than three people knitting and crocheting at that long table. When I observed this and noted it to Schwartz she instructed me, with a laugh in her voice, “You need to make time for yourself, because no one else will.” If you have ever had even an inkling to knit or crochet before, you must visit Gosh Yarn It! It is open Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The business is located at 303 Market St., Kingston. Even if you don’t visit often, it’s likely to become your favorite store in Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, or anywhere else in Northeastern Pennsylvania.