FARMINGTON — A new retail store downtown offers a farm-to-needle experience for knitting and crocheting enthusiasts.
Sherry Martin and India Bublitz are behind Willow Tree Fiber Farm at 213 W. Broadway St. The store specializes in natural yarns and fibers.
Many of the yarns and fibers come from Sherry and Albert Martin's ranch on Bloomfield Highway. The Martins raise Angora goats and rabbits, Navajo churro sheep and Finnsheep, Alpacas and cashmere goats.
Sherry calls the menagerie "my critters."
The shopkeepers say they prefer the feel, look and durability of natural fibers.
"They're warmer, I think," Sherry Martin said. "They last longer. They wash better."
Added Bublitz, "No polyesters were harmed in the making of our yarn."
Willow Tree uses other local and regional sources to supplement their inventory. "There's no way we can grow enough," Martin said.
Martin and Bublitz were neighbors and friends in Shelton, Wash. Martin, who was raised in Durango, Colo., moved to Farmington to be closer to family. Bublitz still lives in Washington, where she and her husband own a sign business, but hopes to move to Farmington if Willow Tree is a success.
They made their first sale Wednesday.
"We're a small shop right now, but we hope to expand," Bublitz said.
Willow Tree is located along Broadway, the busy thoroughfare south of Main Street. Sherry's father, Lonny Davis, owns the building.
"I think it's a good location," Bublitz said.
Martin and Bublitz are eager to pass on their passion for fiber arts. They plan to teach classes on knitting, crocheting and spinning. They're also looking for teachers to help out.
"The younger generation of people are not learning the skills," Bublitz said. She taught her 26-year-old daughter, Logan, and she "loves it."
Martin said she wants to learn more about natural dyes for Willow Tree's products.
Willow Tree fits neatly into a growing trend for local products.
"We have so many arts and craftsters in San Juan County and they're always looking for another outlet, especially with natural products," said Dorothy Nobis, president and CEO of the Farmington Chamber of Commerce.
"That's very exciting," she added.
In addition to untold yards of yarn, Willow Tree also sells ready-made products, from dresses to baby clothes, fashioned by Martin and Bublitz. They're willing to take custom orders as well.
Willow Tree is open Monday through Saturday. Hours have not yet been finalized, although they expect to be open regular business hours. Their website is at willowtreefiberfarm.com.