All About Purl’s

Co-owners, Rik and Elizabeth Schell, hope that stitchers who enter Purl’s will find a colorful, eclectic, welcoming, and nerdy atmosphere that feeds their fiber whimsy. Since the beginning, a main goal of Purl’s has been to create a community gathering space—a place where knitters and crocheters (and anyone else who likes to play with yarn) can come and find help, laughter, and a space to create.  Hence, the creation of their mission statement in 2010:

“Every knitter knows that you can’t make very much after only a couple of stitches: you need a whole needle full. Purl’s is a needle full of stitches, a place for people to get knit together—to gather and swap yarns, patterns, and projects, to get and give advice and ideas. Purl’s is proud to offer yarns that are beautiful, soft, and interesting, from around the world or just around the mountain—yarns with stories. If you’ve been knit together, dropped, frogged, or reworked (like all the rest of us)—come join us at Purl’s Yarn Emporium, and you’ll leave in stitches.”

Purl’s Yarn Emporium opened in May 2005 on College Street in downtown Asheville. In 2008, the store moved to its present location on Wall Street. In August 2010, Lindsey Rey, the original owner, decided to retire from the yarn store business and sold the store to her former customer, Elizabeth Schell, along with her husband Rik Schell. 

Elizabeth (a.k.a. “lizabee” on Ravelry) grew up in a yarn store, Happy Hooker’s, which was owned by her mother, Bonnie, back in the San Fernando Valley in California. Though she only took up knitting upon moving to Asheville from Brooklyn, NY in 2008, Elizabeth has always been involved in doing handwork of some kind. Elizabeth’s first calling is as a worship and theater artist and she loves to help people find ways to express themselves creatively. 

Rik (a.k.a. “purlinsbeard” on Ravelry) has long enjoyed warm garments made by mothers and grandmothers, but is now quite an avid knitter and crocheter himself. He happily teaches the kid’s stitch classes, our Intro to Crochet classes, many Stitch Doctor and Yarn Dyeing sessions, and is also the in-house dyer of our Whose Sock, Adventure, and Science! yarns. Rik previously worked in publishing in New York and has also pursued certification as a Middle School teacher. He loves teaching people to knit and learning new techniques himself. 

Soni Pitts (a.k.a. “stitchtheripper” on Ravelry) has been working at Purl’s since 2012. When not offering patient and wise assistance to Purl’s customers, Soni is pursuing health & wellness concerns including a dream of becoming a personal trainer to the nerds of the world.

Noma Mpofu (a.k.a. “NomaKnits” on Ravelry) joined the Purl’s staff at the end of January 2020. Noma has been dyeing special hand dyes and stitch markers for Purl’s since 2018.

Kim Coyne (a.k.a. “NomadicKim” on Ravelry) started working at Purl’s in 2016 not long after moving to Asheville from Chicago. Kim served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Paraguay and enjoys exploring other cultures through travel. She brings her love of knitting, crochet, and spinning yarns, along with Spanish language, to Sundays at Purl’s.

Marilyn Hastings has been with Purl’s since the beginning. She is our wise and quirky knitting teacher and is personally responsible for the existence of many a knitter on the streets of Asheville, if not in the entire southeast region!

Purl’s Yarn Emporium on Wall Street in Asheville, NC
Eliz a.k.a. Lizabee
on Ravelry
Rik a.k.a. Purlinsbeard
on Ravelry
Elizabeth & Rik with son Art
on Talk Like a Pirate Day
Soni a.k.a. StitchTheRipper on Ravelry
Kim a.k.a. NomadicKim on Ravelry
Noma, aka “NomaKnits” on Ravelry