Knit One nurtures the fabric of the community

by Marnie Schleicher

Cozy, inviting Knit One sits in the historic Morrowfield Building toward the bottom of Murray Avenue, past Get-Go and the empty storefront where upscale restaurant Poli was once located. Through the glass door, visitors will find a warm, inviting store that seems like it could be a second home to any avid knitter, crocheter or craft-maker who happens to pass through. Knit One’s façade is filled with a plethora of wool garments, featuring a mannequin that resembles a knitting grandmother along with a few spinning wheels and other accessories.

“I saw the space and I loved it,” says Stacey Wettstein, who has owned Knit One for 10 years. She sits behind the register, wearing a pair of red-framed glasses and a scarf that surprisingly isn’t knit, and smiles as she picks up the phone to answer a call.

Stacey is a psychologist with her own private practice and she is also an adjunct professor of at the University of Pittsburgh.

Despite her hectic schedule, she orders all of the merchandise and handles the inventory of the store, which gets new items every week.

At 2721 Murray Ave., Knit One is a fairly large space. The walls are a vivid orange, and the floors are all hardwood. There is an antique typewriter to the left and an arrangement of shopping baskets for visitors.

Knit One, crafters find themselves in a woolen paradise. Photo by Audra Joseph

Knit One, crafters find themselves in a woolen paradise.
Photo by Audra Joseph

Large, comfy couches are placed throughout the store amongst the shelves of different colored yarns, ranging from all colors in the rainbow to different fibers. On top of the racks and shelves of yarn sit pattern books and handcrafted items, including sweaters, scarves and shawls made by Wettstein herself.

Brandi Mattison, a Pittsburgh resident, left a five-star review on Google for Knit One, saying, “The staff is super, warm and friendly. The yarn selection is purely high end, with some items on sale… This shop features zillions of exotic fibers from a variety of places.”

Yarn types range from cotton to wool to mohair, all for different types of patterns and projects on display in recycled wardrobes and cabinets. But yarn isn’t all about sweaters and scarves. Yarn bombing, a type of street art that uses knitted or crocheted yarn in place of paint, has recently become popular in Pittsburgh. Knit the Bridge is a community-led project that coated the Andy Warhol Bridge with a riot of knitted, crocheted and woven blankets from Aug. 12 to Sept. 3, and Knit One was a contributor to the installation.

With an influx of new knitters, Knit One offers classes for beginners or those who want a refresher course for $25 a session, but Stacey says that only one of the two-hour classes is required to learn to knit. The classes are small, with four people and an instructor, because it’s a hands-on process.

The classes are held in a small area toward the back of the store, past the register, where a large dining room table sits with mismatched chairs placed around it. An easel pad sits against one of the shelves, a drawing of a crochet stitch from a previous class on the paper.

Beth K. from Pittsburgh left a Yelp review along with 4 out of 5 stars after taking one of the classes with her friends. “We left the class with the knowledge on how to continue to work on our project [a cowl] and how to fix a few simple problems we run into,” she said.

There’s a sign on the wall that says, “Keep your sunny side up,” matching the positive vibes that flow through the store, which almost looks like it could be one of Squirrel Hill’s teashops. Stacey said that many of the people she gets in the store are from the East End area of Pittsburgh. However, locally owned knitting stores are a destination for out of towners, and Knit One sees customers from across the world.

An avid knitter herself, Stacey also goes to knitting stores when she travels and visits trade shows to keep up on current trends. Knit One has an online store, but it isn’t very active, despite its potential.

“I don’t really like online selling; it’s more impersonal,” Stacey says. “I like being able to get to know people.”


There’s a spectacular spectrum from sparkly yellow to deep purple.
Photo by Audra Joseph

When visitors come to the store, she helps them find exactly what they need, from stitch markers to looms, and is very good at recommending yarn types for various projects. She even helps customers find a pattern that they want and if it’s free online, she’ll print it out and describe how to get started.

Stacey helps a mother and daughter visiting from Jerusalem find a pattern for a knitted head wrap, showing the young woman pictures of patterns on the computer screen behind the counter. Above their heads, a clock proclaims, “Time for more yarn!”

Once a pattern is found, Stacey prints it out and helps the duo select the yarn that is best suited for the head wrap, chatting the entire time and getting to know them.

Knitted head wraps have been a popular trend over the past few years, and jewel tones and intricate patterns are in store for the coming seasons. Different textured stitches and chunky knitwear have been on the rise among high-end designers, and these trends and styles are reflected in patterns that can be found online or in stores.

Knit One is a home away from home for knitters, and a jumping off point for beginners. The staff is always prepared for questions and Stacey is always looking to get to know the customers better, whether they’re seasoned knitters or just starting out.