Fuzzy Mabel specializes in yarns

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By The Staff

Cynthia Robinson's yarn shop has a unique name – Fuzzy Mabel.

It's named after her two dogs, and she hopes its downtown Lancaster location will become a popular destination for people who like to work with yarns.

"Yarn shops often become a local 'hangout' for customers who will come and bring their knitting to work on in the shop just for the enjoyment of the atmosphere and the companionship of people who like the same things," she said. "I hope that Fuzzy Mabel will become that kind of place for Lancaster."

Robinson opened the shop here in mid-October.

It started in 2002 as an online store when she and her family lived in St. Simons Island, Ga. She opened her first brick and mortar shop in Georgia in 2005.

Then her family decided to move here after she and her husband, Phillip, a Lancaster native, had their second child.

"We wanted our children (Phillip Jr., 3, and Naomi, 10 months) to have the benefit of growing up surrounded by family, and we both appreciate the quality of life we all have living in a small-town environment," Robinson said. "In fact, this was part of why I wanted to locate the new Fuzzy Mabel walk-in shop on Main Street – to help participate in the success and growth of downtown Lancaster."

The shop sells a wide array of items, including yarns for hand knitting and crocheting, as well as weaving, felting and other fiber arts. Fuzzy Mabel has yarns made of wool, cotton, linen, alpaca, angora and cashmere.

Many of its yarns are hand-dyed by some of America's best-known dyers, including Cherry Tree Hill of Vermont, Mountain Colors from Montana and Fiesta Yarns in Albuquerque.

Fuzzy Mabel also carries what Robinson calls "daughter-in-law-proof" yarn, or yarns that can be machine-washed and dried.

"Anyone who is or knows a busy daughter-in-law with kids and laundry knows how important that is," Robinson said.

The shop has self-patterning and hand-dyed yarns for sock knitting and oodles of colors of high-quality worsted for afghans. If you're looking for it, there is a good chance Fuzzy Mabel carries it.

Besides yarns, Fuzzy Mabel has hundreds of pattern leaflets, books and magazines for knitting, crocheting and felting. The shop carries plastic, aluminum, nickel-plated and bamboo knitting needles and crochet hooks, fiber-arts notions and fun gadgets.

"Fuzzy Mabel has a really good stock," said store customer Annette Praay. "We are benefiting greatly because of the online business."

Because of the store's online customer base, Robinson said the store here is able to carry a range of products it otherwise wouldn't be able to carry.

"This national (even world-wide) customer base means that Fuzzy Mabel has a variety and depth of offerings that is difficult for most small-market yarn shops to maintain," Robinson said.

Robinson really loves the fiber arts and greatly enjoys having a store dedicated to it.

"My favorite part of running the business is actually meeting other people who are making things and learning what they are doing, helping someone pick out a project or providing help with a problem," Robinson said. "Human interaction is something that an Internet business doesn't provide, and I learn so much from our customers."

In the future, Robinson said she plans to offer classes at Fuzzy Mabel.

You can stop by the store for a brochure or go to www.fuzzymabel.com for more details about its offerings.