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The Spin-Off Yarn Shop owner Beth Phelps has a passion for quality yarn and really became obsessed with knitting after raising alpaca on her farm.

The Spin-Off Yarn Shop Opens in Norad Mill

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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Phelps recently opened in the Norad Mill and offers knitting get-togethers in her shop. She's also planning to add classes.  
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Spin-Off Yarn Shop is committed to providing superior yarn for knitters across the county.
 
The Spin-Off Yarn Shop owner Beth Phelps has a passion for quality yarn and really became obsessed with knitting after raising alpaca on her farm.
 
"This actually all started on a farm and I started raising alpaca and I realized if I want to sell yarn, I better pick up knitting better than I had in the past," Phelps said. "I was fascinated by the concept of taking fur, fiber or the fleece of an animal and turning it into a fabric for a garment. ...
 
"There is something about the yarn running through your fingers and having fabric come out the end of it."
 
Phelps was previously located in Williamstown but opened shop in the Norad Mill on Roberts Drive in October. Nestled on the third floor in Suite 302, Phelps said she has already seen an uptick in business.
 
"There is a lot of curiosity and interest in the building and people come in just to check it out," she said.
 
The 100,000 square-foot mill owned by Moresi & Associates has been filling up with small and medium-sized businesses ranging from vintners and coffee roasters to dance studios and manufacturers.  
 
Phelps sells patterns, books, and of course yarn of all colors and origins. She said it is not the yarn you will find in your average department store.
 
"That is mostly synthetic fiber yarn and it is very inexpensive," she said. "I get yarn from all over the world … it is very good quality yarn and, generally speaking, it does not pill."
 
She added that she also sells yarn from Freia Yarns, which is made on the floor below her.
 
Another aspect of The Spin-Off Yarn Shop is education and community and Phelps holds knitting gatherings every Wednesday and Friday from 2 to 4.
 
"People can come in and knit, they can get help on a project, or they can be inspired," she said. "Otherwise they are here for the social aspect of it and joining other knitters. It creates community."
 
Phelps said she does offer one-on-one classes on demand and starting in January she would like to offer a more organized class.
 
Phelps said anything knitted takes patience and hard work to make and if you want something that will last it has to start with quality yarn. 
 
"If it is strong yarn it is lasting yarn and it is well made. The garment is going to last longer," she said. "If you are going to go through the trouble of knitting something you want to be able to hand it down to other family members. It is an heirloom."
 
Phelps welcomes all to visit her shop, along with the others in the Norad Mill, this Saturday from 11 to 5 during the Holiday Open Studios.

Tags: business changes,   knit,crochet,   norad mill,   

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Mohawk Trail Woodlands, Forest Service Team Up on Conservation

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

BRPC's Tom Matuszko asks advisory board members to raise their hands as FRCOG's Executive Director Linda Dunlavy waits to speak.
CHARLEMONT, Mass. — A shared stewardship agreement signed Thursday will bring U.S. Forest Service expertise to the state while keeping hundreds of thousands of acres of forestland in state and private hands. 
 
The Mohawk Trail Woodland Partnership encompasses 361,941 acres of state and private land across 21 communities in the northwestern corner of the state. About 28 percent of that land is permanently protected. The partnership will enhance conservation and forest research and provide technical support for businesses that depend on the region's natural resources such as tourism and forestry products.
 
"I am from this region, it is a part of the state that is near and dear to my heart," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides at signing held at Berkshire East Mountain Resort. "Something that is a priority to the governor is making sure that this region can continue to have economic security and opportunity for people, but also that connectedness to the landscape and that rootedness in the special places that make up Western Massachusetts."
 
Theoharides said the state is losing about 65 acres of forestland a day to development — housing, parking lots, and commercial establishments — and it's not coming back.  
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