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Open for Business: Knitter prepares to welcome all into crazy world of yarn

At Jonesborough’s Yarn Asylum, the doctor is always in. Or, when she’s not in, according to owner and knitter Deb Burger, she is always simply a phone call away.
“When I am here, the sign says, “The Doctor is In,” Burger explained. “When I am not here, the sign says ‘The Doctor is on call,’ and people are welcome to call me.”
In fact, they are not just welcome to call, she said, they are encouraged to call.
For anything from a need to buy yarn to solving a problem with a dropped stitch, Burger is determined to be available – helping any and all discover the true joy of stitchery.
“In a day and age when so much of our lives are out of our control and at such a hurried pace, and so much of the work that we do, we don’t see a tangible results – this can make a difference,” Burger said. “This is something small and under control. So much of life is not under our control. But wrapping this yarn around this stick and pushing it there, that is controllable.”
And so rewarding, she said – a chance to experience the wonder of creating art without that innate skill. “There is such a meditative equality, watching it grow.”
Yarn Asylum, named in honor of the crazy love she and other knitters have developed for the craft, opened Nov. 16, and is one of the shops in downtown’s new Old Town Hall.
Burger said she went into the project with two major goals: to provide a teaching venue for those who either want to learn the skill or improve upon skills they already have; and to be able to offer the tools, yarns and more needed to pursue the craft.
Burger said she also wanted to do all this in a responsible manner.
“The point is, we should be able to have our hobby without exploiting other people or the environment,” she explained. For products she regularly carries in her shop, Burger supplies her own filter, asking who might have been exploited or what might have been damaged to fill the order.
Her bamboo knitting needles are created from farm-grown bamboo, not through deforestation; her scissors crafted from recycled steel.
Burger currently carries Peace Fleece, which Burger said is a wonderful product originated in the idea of helping to create peace between traditional enemies, and Brown Sheep Company, a fourth generation family farm in Nebraska.
The Yarn Asylum will also showcase local producers.
Burger’s stock is still growing, with more hues and weights to come.
“Part of the beauty is the yarn itself, how it is made,” Burger said. “And part of it is the artistry of the dyers.”
Classes have already begun and there will be more to follow. A spinner will also soon be available.
As for daily hours, she said, they are currently being evaluated to fit the needs of her customers. Right now, Burger said, when the Old Town Hall is open, the Yarn Asylum will be open — either with her in the shop or a phone call away.
Burger is also excited about plans to set up, once a week, in the neighboring Corner Cup, something that will probably be implemented early next year.
“Now that the Corner Cup is open, as I’m building my clientele here, we’re planning on having a open drop-in stitching group once a week,” Burger said. “Everyone can come in with the project they’re working on, have coffee, tea or a snack, and sit down and knit and chat.”
“There is something that happens,” she added, “when we get together to create something.”