The Hands On Knitting Center is a fiber arts store where visitors can discover natural yarns and fibers of animal and plant origin, many of which are machine washable. It offers patterns, pattern books, and the tools — needles, hooks and looms — necessary to create sweaters, socks, scarves, shawls, hats, gloves and cuffs.

Since weaving looms are expensive, the center offers looms for rent, so one can try a weaving project without having to purchase a loom.

It all began in 2011 with three partners, Sharon, Sue and Molly.

Sharon had worked and taught in various local yarn shops. In addition, she is a pattern designer who has published two knitting books, numerous articles for knitting magazines and many patterns on the Ravelry website.

Sue was a medical office manager who loves to knit.

Molly was a retail consultant whose sister taught her to knit 11 years ago. She quickly decided to change careers. Her knitting designs also are on Ravelry.

They grew their business to the point where more owners were needed to bring additional fiber arts skills and business acumen to the center. In 2016, Sharon retired, so Molly and Sue updated the business plan allowing for 10 owners. The talents of the additional owners broadened the business’s fiber arts skill sets to include weaving and spinning. Spin Inland, a local spinning society, has free, drop-in spinning sessions at the center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the second Saturday of each month.

Classes — skill-based, project-based, designer-based — are available along with twice-yearly mystery knit-alongs. A mystery crochet-along class will be held in July. Spinning classes are anticipated to be offered next year. Three of the owners are bilingual (English and Spanish) so classes and one-on-one help is available for Spanish speaking customers.

Most classes are taught by Hands On owners or customers, although guest designers, local and national, occasionally teach. This year, a Mommy/Daddy and Me knitting class will be offered in July. Parent and child weaving classes will be offered in July and August.

Daily, drop-in knitting, crochet, and weaving is encouraged. Customers work on their projects while socializing with each other. There is a kitchenette in one corner where customers can eat lunch or bring snacks to share. Coffee, tea, and water is on-hand. Other socializing opportunities are the semi-annual Pajama Party Potlucks in July and December.

An annual Artisan Fair is held on the second Saturday in November. Local artists are invited to sell their products — jewelry, beading, clothing, purses and home décor. Mr. Pickleman, local producer of jams, jellies, and pickles, is always on hand at the event. His products are also available year-round at the center.

Fiber arts events are organized and hosted at the center.Many locals don’t have the time to travel to the “Yarn Crawl” in Los Angeles, so Hands On puts on an annual, one-day in-store yarn crawl, spotlighting many Southwest indie dyers, such as Laser Sheep, BaaBaa Fibers, Oak Glen Fibers and Yarnshine. Design and product trunk shows are presented periodically.

Hands On Knitting Center is socially and community focused. They purchase from fair trade organizations. Many of these organizations have created co-ops for indigenous workers in Central and South America, allowing the workers to earn a fair wage while remaining in their local communities.

Molly teaches an annual, weeklong knitting class at Yucaipa High School.

Shop local

Hands On Knitting Center

Where: 912 New York St., Suite A, Redlands, CA

Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m. 9 p.m. Wednesday.

Why Shop Local? 

You nurture community. Local business owners know you, and you know them. Studies have shown that local businesses donate to community causes at more than twice the rate of chain stores.