Potterheads, raise your butterbeers! D&D players, grab those lucky dice! Fiber crafters, pick up those needles! No matter your fandom or craft, you are going to want to head to Weird Sisters Wool Emporium in Aberdeen, where fiber arts meet geeky fandoms in the best possible combination.
Although Weird Sisters Wool Emporium is not owned by sisters, Chelsea Barr and Megan Blackburn are often mistaken as twins, despite the nine-year gap in their ages. Their stories are also quite similar. Both women learned how to crochet when they were younger from family members, but dropped the craft until their 20s, when they both found themselves back at it. “I crocheted off and on for years, but I didn’t really get in to it until I was in my mid 20s and a friend that hosted our weekly D&D sessions talked me into picking a hook back up,” explains Chelsea. Megan picked the craft back up while pregnant with her first child, now 18, and decided to learn to knit about a decade ago.
The two met when Megan started working at Black Sheep Yarn Boutique in Olympia. It was there that Chelsea started to take an interest in spinning, weaving and dying.
While they knew each other, the two did not immediately start up shop together. In fact, the both had their own separate Etsy shops to sell their own various artworks and crafts. Megan started hers in 2017, as a side business, that took off to where she quit her day job at the end of 2019, right before the pandemic.
Chelsea, on the other hand, did different things on and off. “I’ve made and sold crafts/artwork in a number of different mediums but nothing ever really stuck,” shares Chelsea. “Usually around six months to a year in, I’d get bored and move on to the next. Apparently, yarn was the medium I was looking for.” In 2019, she started her Etsy shop, selling yarn.
When the pandemic came, it afforded an opportunity for them both. “I ended up making and selling masks for the bare minimum cost so that people had access to something, since they were in short supply at that time,” shares Megan. “That allowed my shop to grow and people found my yarn and realized fiber arts were a great time filler while in quarantine.”
While both were successful separately, they decided they could be even more so together. And in October 2020, they merged businesses and became the Weird Sisters Wool Emporium with a brick-and-mortar store as well as an online shop.
The two are both spoonies, meaning they both suffer from a chronic illness. “Megan has MS, I have fibromyalgia, along with various comorbidities that tend to go along with each of those,” shares Chelsea. “For me, it’s important to be open about being a Spoonie to make the invisible…well, visible. On the other hand, part of it is certainly pride in what we’ve accomplished despite the setbacks our bodies cause, and part of it is commiseration with other Spoonies, of which there are many in the fiber arts world.”
Megan agrees, and says having a business partner that understands that some days you can’t do as much as usual, is a wonderful thing to have and really makes life easier.
Geek Fandoms and Wool Equals Fun for Everyone
It may seem like a very small niche, to cater wool and other fiber arts products such as stich counters, to people who also love fandoms—from Harry Potter and Star Wars to Disney and Dr. Who—but it’s worked incredibly well for Megan and Chelsea, who say they get the best of both customers with their products. The fiber arts and fandom community are incredibly accepting and friendly they both say, and are a large reason they love their work. “Frankly, I know this sounds cheesy, but we have the most amazing customer base,” Says Chelsea. “Fiber arts people tend to be warm and kind to begin with, but when you start adding the fandoms to that…it’s amazing how wonderful and supportive people are!”
“The community of people who love fiber arts are so accepting and friendly,” adds Megan. “It seems no matter a person’s background, the fiber arts just bring people together in a unique way.”
Both speak of the love of creating something by hand, the added appreciation of knowing how much work goes into handmade clothes, and of course, being able to clothe themselves and their family should the zombie apocalypse happen.
Weird Sisters Wool Emporium features their own, hand-dyed yarn with original formulas. They currently have over 200 colorways that they’ve developed and carry, with some being dyed as they are ordered and others are in stock in the store.
In addition to the yarn, they carry all sorts of fun, fandom items, including stickers, pins and stich markers. What Harry Potter fanatic doesn’t want a pin that say “Knit like Mrs. Weasley”? Disney fans will love the Sanderson Sisters stitch markers, They have yarn kits for different fandoms that create fun projects, such as the Marauder’s Socks set. They also make exclusive fabrics and have project kits with those too, like the Free Dobby, knit socks project bag or the Alice’s Wonderland Adventure project bag.
For those wanting something new each month, subscribe to their Owl Post! Each month you will get a themed package that comes with supplies to create your own project, except the pattern and needles. “For example, We just announced our May subscription box, which is Star Wars themed,” shares Chelsea. “We always have a quote of the month, sometimes it’s profound and inspirational, sometimes it’s silly. This month’s quote is ‘Laugh it up, fuzzball!’ which is a solid example of the latter. Each month you receive a skein of yarn, a sticker, one to four stitch markers and a laser cut keychain or pin featuring a stylized rendition of the quote of the month.
The two also plan on offering fiber art related classes in the store, taught by themselves as well as outside instructors, and even a regular Yarn and Dice D&D Game night is in the works as soon as they can find a Dungeon Master!
Head to Weird Sisters Wool Emporium and you’ll be dye-ing to pick out some hand-dye yarn, a needle and start creating…even if you never have! Visit the Weird Sisters Wool Emporium website to shop or drop by their store in Aberdeen.
Weird Sisters Wool Emporium
305 W First Street, Aberdeen