A Yarn Market expands from workshops to storefront in Carmel’s Village of WestClay


In September 2023, Ali Dillingham, a speech pathologist, started presenting knitting workshops at Macarthur Books. Her family loves to read and are frequent shoppers at the WestClay bookseller, getting to know the owner.

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Ali Dillingham smiles in front of her yarn wall at her shop, A Yarn Market. (Photo courtesy of Julie Curry Photography)

Dillingham loved the welcoming feel of the bookstore and secured space there to present a knitting workshop, which is a hobby of hers.

The Carmel resident toyed with the idea of taking a leap of faith and opening her own yarn shop one day, with room for knitting and crocheting classes for kids and adults. The overwhelming positive responses from her knitting workshops solidified her decision.

“I wanted to see what the reception would be,” Dillingham said. “The response was great, and so I’ve collaborated with a couple other small businesses, and we’ve done pop-up workshops at Mini Minds and then Rivet Coffee Shop in Westfield. So, I’ve been doing different locations in Carmel and Westfield.”

By November 2023, Dillingham got word that retail space was available in the Village of WestClay. She secured the spot at 1905 S. New Market St. Suite 167, and on Jan. 13, she opened her shop, A Yarn Market.

“There are people knocking on the door as I’ve been setting up,” she said. “People have been coming even though we’re not open, just to show support.”

Another factor that went into Dillingham’s decision to open a yarn shop was a fiber arts festival that was hosted this fall, drawing hundreds of people.

“(That event was a) step forward as far as showing that the community was ready for a yard shop,” Dillingham said. “I think there’s a hunger for having a local yarn shop. I’ve had people contact me from out of state, saying they want to come and visit.”

A Yarn Market carries a variety of yarn and supplies, and she’s able to stay true to her roots by continuing to host crochet and knitting workshops out of her storefront.

The shop is an exclusive stockist for Brooklyn Tweed, a U.S.-sourced yarn company.

“I think people are good to see yarn that they’re familiar with, and then also try some new lines that they haven’t seen yet,” Dillingham said. “Sometimes I think people go into stores and they get overwhelmed. My hope is that by offering a variety of classes, this can be a welcoming place, and to encourage people that this is something that they can do, and that we can help them along the way.”

Dillingham, a mom who plans to continue part-time work as a speech pathologist, wants to continue to be an outlet for creativity and share that with the community.

“I would say that knitting has brought me joy and comfort throughout the years,” she said. “And I have taught many people who have said that it has brought them the same, and it’s been an outlet for creativity. I hope that I can share that with the community and give other people that have that same connection and source of creativity.”

Learn more at ayarnmarket.myshopify.com.