What happens when a group of knitters and crocheters find themselves without a local yarn shop where they can purchase supplies and gather to work and brainstorm?
One of them opens a store.
Such is the case of the unique little yarn shop Spinnin' Yarns, located in the Griffith home of Jamie Gunnink.
"We all actually met each other online at the Ravelry website," Gunnink said.
According to Ravelry.com, it's a place for knitters, crocheters, designers, spinners, weavers and dyers to share information and keep track of their yarn, tools, project and pattern information.
"We meet Mondays at the Borders in Highland and would meet at Stitch By Stitch yarn shop in Highland," Gunnink said. "It closed about two years ago and suddenly we had to go to Chicago or Valparaiso for the specialty yarns and supplies we needed."
Gunnink was already having kind of an open informal gathering at her home on Fridays so the idea of opening the shop was supported by the members of the group.
Over the years, Gunnink has worn many hats and has been everything from a professional photographer to a trucker. But it didn't matter what job she had, her passion has always been knitting and crocheting.
Opening the shop in her home has made it possible to spend more time with her 25-year-old daughter Erin, who is developmentally disabled.
"I decided to open Spinnin' Yarns to supplement the family income and still be available to my daughter," Gunnink said.
Her flexible schedule made it possible for her to take Erin to the 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games, where she won both gold and silver medals.
Keeping Gunnink equally busy is Erin's little sister Rachel, a senior at Illiana Christian High School in Lansing and member of the Northwest Indiana Youth Orchestra.
On a typical Friday night when the shop closes friends gather with snacks and projects to knit, crochet and visit for a couple of hours.
Jen Sarb-Beer, of Hammond, has been known to weave her own yarn before she knits. She has a travel wheel she brings with her to the sessions.
Cris Heredia, a teacher in East Chicago at Franklin School, uses acrylic yarn for some projects but said different projects require different yarns and those are brands you can't always find without a yarn shop.
"Yarn is something you have to see, touch, feel. You just can't do that online," Gunnink said.
Jackie Taylor, of Griffith, has a friend sending alpaca fleece, the natural fiber harvested from her alpaca farm, and can't wait to see what it will look like after it's carded and woven.
Felicia Caminski, of Hammond, who uses a tackle bag to carry her knitting supplies, mentioned that aside from yarn it is the special needles, books and patterns that can only be found in a shop like this.
Aside from running the shop, Gunnink is currently teaching two classes at the Highland Parks Department -- one for beginning knitting and one for crocheting. Although these classes are full, you can get on the waiting list for the next session by calling (219) 838-0114.