Today’s subject is Donna Lester, owner of Love To Knit Studio.

Q: How long have you been in the yarn business?

A: Love To Knit Studio has been in business for almost two years now, but I have been working in the yarn retail business for about 20 years. Previously, I worked at Grace Robinson & Co. in Freeport, for seven years, and I worked at Central Yarn Shop for six years. I have also been teaching people how to knit for about 10 years. Knitting is what I love to do best. So for me, this is the best job in the world.

Q: How long have you been knitting?

A: More than 50 years.

Q: Who taught you?

A: My mother. I was the last of her seven children and I think she wanted me to sit still. I loved it right from the start. I used to knit my own doll clothes and had the best-dressed dolls in the neighborhood. Back then, yarn varieties were limited and we were on a limited budget. I remember unraveling old sweaters that my mom had made years earlier and (repurposing) the yarn for my knitting projects.

Q: Tell me about your shop and what you sell.

A: The shop size is about 1,400 square feet. The store is filled with different varieties of yarn that are available in a wide array of colors. We also carry a whole line of patterns and knitting needles, made of bamboo or metal, that come in all sizes, as well as knitting accessories like stick markers, tape measures, zippers, buttons and fasteners, darning needles and tapestry needles. Often, customers will come in with their projects to knit and socialize. They even bring in a lunch.

Q: Do you offer classes?

A: Our classes run from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to noon and 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, and from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursdays. Those classes each run for five weeks for a fee of $50. I also am available for one-on-one knitting class sessions. And, when customers buy yarn at my shop, they pretty much have me for advice throughout their entire project. People also commission me to knit for them. I knit for the shop and I knit for charity.

Q: Any knitting groups?

A: We have a charity drop-in group on Sundays. Some customers drop by for knitting and socializing, and I have a dedicated group of individuals who knit for Project Grace, a local Maximilian Kolbe Parish of Scarborough project that donates knitted items such as sweaters, scarves, hats and blankets for people in need. Most of my customers make these at home and bring them in when they are finished. We have a drop box here and those items are delivered three or four times a year, once the box is full. They knit a tremendous amount of stuff for charity.

Q: Do you sell hand-knitted items?

A: Yes, mostly custom orders for sweaters. We have samples of finished items in the store that we can sell off the rack, but we prefer to make copies of those styles so that we don’t lose our display models.

Q: What’s the turnaround for completing a custom sweater?

A: That depends on the sweater and how busy I am with other projects. Normally, it’s done in three to four weeks.

Q: What has changed in the knitting world since you first became a knitter?

A: When I first began, the choices of yarn were limited. Now there are so many kinds available, in washable fibers and wool blends and colors that are just beautiful. I carry yarns that are 100 percent wool and wool blends, like with cotton, acrylic, alpaca or silk — some of it washable and some not. I also carry soy and silk blends, which are new and very soft.

Q: Isn’t wool itchy?

A: It can be, but some of the newer blends of yarn are very soft. I sell one that’s called superwash. It’s a soft merino wool that comes in a wide array of colors. Years ago, we used to knit with a lot of acrylic yarns. Acrylic is a man-made fiber that’s soft but doesn’t hold its shape like wool does and it also tends to pill easily.

Q: Have you noticed a resurgence of folks returning to the art of knitting over the past few years?

A: There was a big return of knitters a few years back when (Fun Fur) scarves were in style. Stores were charging a lot for them and people realized they could make them less expensively.

Q: Are you seeing a lot of young knitters these days?

A: There are quite a few. And one thing I have noticed with newer generations of knitters is that they have become very creative and think outside the box. They are always coming up with different patterns for hats and additions we would not have thought to do.

Q: Do you get any male knitters?

A: A few, but not many.

Q: What’s hot in knitting trends?

A: Socks and children’s things are always very popular.

Q: What about crocheting? Is that hobby featured at your shop?

A: Yes. And I also teach crocheting.