When it comes to the fibre arts, Chilliwack’s Kim Reimer is the cat’s meow.
Standing with an arsenal of hand-dyed polychromatic strands at her side, Reimer is the genius behind Chilliwack’s newest yarn house, Black Cat Yarn. It’s an idea, she says, that began as a DIY project for her daughter.
“I was making a blanket and dyed white wool with food colouring in my kitchen and thought, ‘Wow, I really like this!’” And so did her friends and family, who began buying her hand-dyed skeins and encouraged her to branch out, which is exactly what she did.
Arming herself with the proper dyes, Reimer increased her inventory and began venturing to online on sites like Etsy, which caters to creative vendors like Reimer, then to wholesalers and craft markets such as the PNE’s Knit City, which is visited by thousands of yarn snobs every year.
Now, Reimer stands in the middle of her 2,500 sq. ft. manufacturing and retail space in downtown Chilliwack and marvels and how far she’s come in just a year and a half.
“I wasn’t intending on having a retail front, but you can’t waste it if you’ve got it!” she exclaims. Her original plan was to simply find a space big enough for her to increase her hand-dyed lot manufacturing, however, the best bang for her buck came with enough front space to open a store front where she could sell her colourful wares.
“It was a huge step, and there’s been some hurdles, but there always are in big jumps like these,” she says of the venture.
Although Black Cat Yarn only opened its doors on Sept. 15, Reimer is no stranger to running a business: entrepreneurship runs in the family. Before Black Cat Yarn, Reimer ran her own wedding photography business, her husband owns his own business, and a family member did all her current branding in exchange for enough cashmere to knit a sweater.
Reimer admits opening another yarn shop in Chilliwack was a risk as the city already had two. “It’s worked out really well, though,” she says. “My shop’s really different from the other two.”
With bright, colourful twists of yarn lining the walls, it’s not hard to imagine why people would be attracted to what Black Cat Yarn has to offer. Since opening two months ago, Black Cat Yarn has developed a solid customer base, which Reimer partly attributes to so many new people moving to Chilliwack, making the city finally ready for a yarn specialty shop.
And special it is: Black Cat’s hand-dyed yarn possesses a uniqueness that caters to yarn connoisseurs who desire high-quality, deeply-coloured, vibrant wools for a variety of projects.
So whether you use needles, hooks, or wheels, Black Cat Yarn has what you’re looking for. And if they don’t, says Reimer while finishing a batch of rainbow splattered yarn for a wholesaler in Vancouver, they can create it for you.
With a future as bright as her yarn, Reimer’s committed to providing her customers with the best products she can. Although the majority of the wool in her shop is harvested from merino sheep raised in New Zealand, all of her products are Canadian spun. She’s also in the process of working out deals with a couple of BC wool producers, ensuring her customers the option of entirely Canadian-made, high-quality, wool products for their projects.
Reimer, who’s an avid knitter, hosts knitting circles at the shop every Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. “Come, drop in, knit, socialize. Knitting, crochet, I’ve even had people with lap looms, sometimes I’ll even sit with my spinning wheel. Everyone’s welcome!”
To get your hand-dyed wool, head down to Black Cat Yarn at 45904 Victoria Ave.