Village Wools History
In 1998, at CONVERGENCE (HGA) in Atlanta, I ran into Rob Pulleyn at the Lark Books booth and asked him if he would please pay Village Wools’ electric bill as his name was still on our bills. After a lot of laughter (he sold Village Wools in the late 1970’s or 1980ish, I think), he declined but did give me the history of this venerable shop.
In 1971, the children of the owners of Scotts Woolen Mill in Massachusetts, opened a fabric store in Old Town (or on Fourth St., the exact order is a little fuzzy), specializing in woolen yardage from their family’s mill. In the back room were coned yarns of wool that the local weavers soon heard about. Within that first year, the back room with coned yarn was doing more business than the front. Rob Pulleyn, whose wife was a weaver, bought the shop and turned it into a weaving supply shop. Village Wools started publishing a large format newspaper called Fiber Arts that had articles about things going on in the fiber world, funny stories about what was going on in the street outside the shop, etc. This newspaper took off and Rob sold Village Wools to move the magazine to North Carolina where he went on to start Lark Books.
Right after Convergence, Rob’s name disappeared from our electric bills. I know the rest of the story first hand.
Village Wools’ new owners moved the shop to 3801 San Mateo in 1981, laying that signature brick floor the night before it opened, and continued teaching weaving, adding knitting classes, and selling only natural fiber. The shop continued to grow and many owners have come and gone, each adding their own personal specialty to the store: silkpainting was added in 1985, knitting grew and buttons were added in the early 1990’s. Spinning, and many other fiber related techniques have been added over the years as well.
After 25 years on San Mateo, Village Wools completely outgrew its space and moved to its current location in 2006, where a long time dream was realized with the four classrooms. Our current location has tremendous light (16 skylights!), lots of parking, comfortable room for browsing and sitting, space for people to meet up and fiber together or get help, a bookstore, and of course ample space for classes, guild meetings, dyeing sinks, a weaving room, etc. You are the continuation of the story.
Cathlena Burr (owner since 1992, apprenticing since 1985)