Do you go crazy for crocheting? Are you looking to up your knitting know-how? Then you need to meet Danielle Romanetti, the owner of fibre space in Old Town Alexandria. Known as a “yarn universe,” DMV locals flock to fibre space to shop for speciality yarns, hunt down the perfect pattern, and sit in on classes with crafting experts. If running a successful business wasn’t enough, Danielle also wears another title: mom to daughter, Maddie. Here, Danielle gives us a behind the scenes look at her biz and shares a few tips for balancing work and parenting in the nation’s capital.
You opened fibre space in 2009 after a few years of offering knitting classes throughout the DC area. What inspired you to open a dedicated space for your work?
My students really wanted a community center – one place that they could get supplies for their craft and get help fixing mistakes. Their encouragement is what pushed me to write the business plan for a retail shop.
From classes to yarn tastings and movie nights, fibre space offers creatives and crafters a built-in community. What can visitors expect the first time they visit the shop?
We love to show everyone around with a bit of a shop tour! We like to share the organization of the shop with our new customers and also point out our unique way of storing and displaying needles and notions (we have a massive vintage mail sorter that holds all of our needles). You will likely be greeted by Nemo, our shop Italian Greyhound. He is usually on a sofa waiting for a lap to sit on. There are usually a few folks sitting and stitching at our help bar or in our lounge area as well.
Fibre Space also sells patterns, including pint-sized creations for babies and kids. Do you have a favorite pattern for parents?
I am a big fan of the Walt Chevron Baby Blanket, which is a free pattern on our website. The pattern gives you a chance to really play with fun color combos, while using a stitch pattern that is easy to memorize. Hand-knit baby blankets won’t be outgrown like a sweater or a hat – the child will have it forever and will always remember who made it! I made two for my own daughter and have gifted many many more.
Old Town is known for it’s historical sites and kid-friendly hot spots. Can you share a few of your family’s Old Town favorites?
We start every weekend with a coffee and chocolate croissant at Misha’s Coffeehouse. The baristas keep a cup of letter magnets behind the counter that Maddie likes to play with after she finishes her treat. They also give her their famous orange cup with some milk in it so that she feels like the adults. For a coffee shop, it is surprisingly child friendly.
Sometimes the best thing to do in Old Town with your kid is ride the trolley to the waterfront! We usually end up on the docks to see the ducks and the fish. My husband is a big fan of sailboats, and Maddie has started to share his love for them as well.
You’ve got a free hour between appointments and pick-up. Where do you go for some “me time”?
I like to hide at La Fromagerie, which is across the street from our shop. The food is absolutely exquisite and their staff always have a great wine recommendation (as I know nothing about wine). It’s my favorite place to eat but also my favorite place for a quiet moment and some knitting time.
What’s the best thing about being a parent in the DMV?
There are SO MANY things to see and do! We are really lucky to have so many free museums, parks, and one amazing zoo here in the DMV. Amazingly, we are also only a quick ride from some awesome parks and farms. I love having all of the activities of our big city while also having access to great weekend hikes, historical sites, and natural wonders.
Do you know a super-cool parent? Tell us about them in the comments section below.