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Interview with Jenna McKeone of Knit Buffalo

Tell me a little bit about Knit Buffalo? 

Knit Buffalo is WNY’s first mobile yarn store. It’s like a food truck, but for yarn. Knit Buffalo carries heirloom quality, mostly indie dyed yarn from small businesses along with other fiber notions. I pop-up at farmers markets, local art festivals, and fiber festivals. If you have a space where I can park, I can pop-up! I also organize local sip and stitches which are inclusive gatherings of fiber lovers in community spaces. 

Who are the founders? 

Knit Buffalo was founded in 2014 by Jenna McKeone. I started my own yarn dyeing company, 716knit, in 2009 and wanted to expand to a store. A brick and mortar was not doable for me and I was inspired by a yarn truck in California, so I went that route. 

When did it start? 

Knit Buffalo sold its first skein of yarn in July 2014. 

How did you come to have such a knowledge and appreciation for knitting?

I got into knitting when I was in graduate school, to help manage stress. I took an in-person class, then the rest was all from watching YouTube videos. My appreciation comes from my love of heirloom crafting and how empowering fiber arts can be. You can take raw materials and transform them into something that isn’t just functional but also beautiful that you can pass on to someone you love.

Who else is involved? 

I run the business and work with other dyers/vendors but Knit Buffalo really was a community effort to take from a dream to a reality.  Friends, family, and fiber lovers all helped to contribute the start up, growth, and success of Knit Buffalo. 

Is there a home base? 

The perk of being a yarn truck is that I can go and make anywhere a home base! There is no brick and mortar, but that means I can go to your location and host a private shopping event for you. 

Is it open to the public? By membership?

There is no membership – although I do always try to educate people on the Knitting Guild of Greater Buffalo which does offer membership and a great resource to meet other knitters/fiber artists.  When I set up Sip & Stitches, they are open to the public.

What sort of projects are people working on? 

People bring whatever they are working on. Some people even show up to the Sip & Stitches just to get ideas for their next projects. We have knitters, crocheters, spinners, needle workers, felters, and people who sew show up and share their amazing works. 

Do you source materials (alpaca yarn/dyes) or any other resources locally?

The alpaca yarn I sell if from Thistle Creek Alpacas in East Aurora. I do work other local dyers like 5 Cent Homestead, The Knotty Buffalo, ZanieCrafts, Laser Crits, and Brandywine Fiber Arts. I sell their products on the truck.

Can you tell us about the pop-ups?

Currently, the yarn truck is off the road due to the colder weather. Truck pop-ups create a fun space for shopping and hanging out. I work with Rising Goddess in Tonawanda and host a monthly Witch & Stitch there, one Sunday a month, and I am starting back up hosting a Sip & Stitch at Steamworks Coffee in Lockport (see inset flyer, above). Come the warmer months, the truck may also show up with me at these spaces. Other pop-up locations can be at local libraries or small business that want to host the yarn truck. You can always check out my website, knitbuffalo.com, to see a schedule of upcoming pop-ups and events. 

What is the caliber of people in the group? 

Everyone – beginner or expert- is working on gaining or sharing their experience within the group. We have people from different walks of life and the common thread (pun intended) is fiber and crafting. 

Can anyone take part? 

Yes! 

Are there lessons? 

We don’t currently offer classes, but if you have a question, there is usually someone skilled enough to answer it. 

What’s up next for Knit Buffalo? 

The Knit Buffalo yarn truck is still hibernating, but I will soon be posting upcoming spring events. I look forward to continuing Sip & Stitches (and Witch & Stitch!) in the area bringing more awareness to fiber arts and expanding the community around it. 

Do you work with any other knitting groups?

I don’t necessarily work with any specific groups but I do often partner with the Knitting Guild of Greater Buffalo and Little Button Craft (in Rochester, NY) to promote awareness of fiber arts. 

Are there resources available? 

If you are looking for upcoming Knit Buffalo events you can head over to my website, Knitbuffalo.com, and see the schedule or check it out on social media (@knitbuffalo). 

If you want to learn how to knit I encourage people check out local brick and mortar shops for classes and even check out your local library. The Knitting Guild of Greater Buffalo also has resources and great knitting seminars available with their membership. Rochester also has a great knitting guild if you live out that way. 

What is the end goal for Knit Buffalo?

Knit Buffalo is about bringing great yarn to people who love fiber arts! I want to create a space (wherever I park the truck!) that is welcoming to any and all fiber lovers. Knitting has changed my life tremendously- through friendships, networking, opportunities, mental heath support, traveling, and even being a source of self-care. 

Get connected: Knitbuffalo.com | Instagram

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