Our customers frequently ask why the store is called Hill Country Weavers — we’re a yarn store. The answer is simple: things change.
Hill Country Weavers opened in 1981, in a space at 34th and Guadalupe. In addition to floor looms, weaving yarns and classes, the store had a gallery that featured local weavers. In 1983, we moved to a larger location at Lamar and 12th. This space also had a gallery as well as more space for looms and yarn.
If you stepped into a way-back machine to see what kind of yarns were sold in 1981, you’d be very surprised. The store carried what was available: very traditional yarns for weaving — worsted spun wools and wool blends in solid colors. Although these yarns were on cones for weavers, knitters did find the store and started asking for needles, hooks, knitting patterns and classes. In the days before the Internet, we were Google for information on what was available in the knitting and fiber world. Customers came to Hill Country for what was new and trending in weaving and knitting.
In 1994 we moved to the current location on South Congress. Back then South Congress was still a bit colorful. But the store became a cornerstone in the changing neighborhood. Today SoCo is a vibrant part of Austin, with its mix of residences, independently owned stores and monthly street fetes that feature local artists and musicians.
The yarn industry has changed too. Today companies are creating yarn with natural and manufactured fibers that no one dreamed of in 1981. Yarn from independent mills and dyers is becoming the norm. Green sources for fibers like cotton and bamboo are entering the marketplace. The Ravelry community has changed the focus of the industry by supporting bold new designers unencumbered by traditional publishing sources.
If you visit the store, either in person or online, you’ll feel our distinct Austin style — classic, eclectic and a just little edgy. Our yarn inventory includes Woolfolk, Vice, Yarn Carnival and Shelter, as well as Rowan, Shibui and Habu. We are establishing new traditions with HCW-designed patterns that incorporate weaving with knitting and crochet. Our project kits take the stress out of choosing colors that work together. We encourage local designers with our pattern collections. Our challenge is to keep up with our customer's evolving demands for trending yarns and projects.
Today, we are first a yarn store. But if you peek into the classroom, you’ll still see a loom or two.