Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Knitting Craze Prompts Guru to Open OKC Shop

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Knitting Craze Prompts Guru to Open OKC Shop

Article excerpt

Interest in purls and stitches has grown enough to prompt SWAK Knitting owner Keely Northup to open a second store in the Oklahoma City metro area.

"Some people say it's an aftereffect of 9/11, as a way of dealing with stress," said Northup, who opened the first SWAK - Sealed With A Kiss - in Guthrie in 1997. "Some say it's a response to our high- tech world, that we need something simple to fall back on. Or that it's a trend to being more organic and earth-friendly. Then some people say it's about fashion, because you might see a design on the runway that you like and want to make yourself."

But in Northup's opinion, it's a pop culture phenomenon bringing even youngsters in for classes and materials. The characters Izzy and Meredith on the TV show Grey's Anatomy, for example, have been shown knitting, and Julia Roberts has been named as the lead in The Friday Night Knitting Club movie scheduled for release next summer.

Northrup recently contracted with Red Cup coffee shop owner Kurt Orth to take up residence in the first floor of the renovated two- story building he owns at NW 31st and Classen Boulevard, formerly a dentist's office. The upper floor will likely be used as office space, she said. The first floor, at about 2,000 square feet, has plenty of room for her retail and knitters to gather.

She turned knitting to a profession in the early 1990s with mail- order patterns and kits, but finally gave up her daytime accounting life for running a yarn store full-time in 1997. She acquired a historic Guthrie building of about 6,000 square feet, with retail and classroom areas downstairs and pattern production, photo and film studio and her offices upstairs. …

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