Hi, I'm Melissa Martinez but everyone calls me Mel. I'm a 30-something fiber enthusiast and have been knitting and crocheting for 25+ years now. I was taught these crafts by my grandmother as a young girl and my hands haven't been idle since.
Over the years my hobbies in the fiber arts have turned into micro businesses including a shop on Etsy.com (MelsBellsHats) featuring hand knit hats and other accessories and I've also written numerous knitting and crochet patterns under the name Acts of Knittery. Most recently, I've designed a baby blanket for Made in America Yarns (Philadelphia based!) as well a lacy shawl for Classic Elite Yarns.
I was born and raised in New York City but in 2010, after being laid off from my job as a Caseworker due to City-wide budget cuts, I moved to Philadelphia to live with my now fiance and have been proud to call Philly my home ever since.
The Yarn Cafe:
The one discrepancy I've noticed from these two cities is that Philadelphia is lacking a yarn cafe while New York has two of them. My passion for yarn and the fiber community have led me on a mission to start Philly's very first yarn cafe, The Thirsty Ewe.
The Thirsty Ewe will be located in South Philadelphia (a tentative location has been spotted on East Passyunk Avenue) and will feature indie yarns, supplies and notions from smaller up-and-coming companies in the USA as well as knitting classes and community meetups. In addition, it will feature an all gluten-free certified menu with many food items being vegan as well.
I have a personal story to share about this one. A couple of years ago I started having asthma-like symptoms and was being shuffled back and forth to several doctors and specialists to determine if whether I had asthma, a problem with my lungs, thyroid, problems with stress etc. I was given an Albuterol inhaler which I had to use on a daily basis and well more than was prescribed. I had an MRI done, pulmonary function tests, blood tests... Thank goodness for my own due dilligence and online research. I began to entertain the possibility that I was having an allergic reaction even though I was also taking Claritin everyday. I started to reason that if it wasn't something in the air it must be something I was ingesting. I decided to try a gluten-free diet since this was what several articles suggested that I be doing anyway since I also have Hashimoto's (autoimmune thyroid disease). Guess what? All of the symptoms started going away. I can breathe free again. If I ingest even a tiny amount of gluten through cross-contamination though my throat closes up again.
Dining out as a gluten-intolerant person has been a bit of a struggle but it has become a bit easier. It still is hit or miss at times though which is why I'm adamant about having a gluten-free certified establishment. Those with Celiac disease or other gluten allergy or intolerance should have the freedom to enjoy a cup of coffee and a pastry without fear of getting sick.
How You Can Help:
Your contribution will help bring The Thirsty Ewe to fruition in South Philly. Financial contributions are greatly appreciated. Also, please share and pass this campaign on to anyone you know who likes to knit, be crafty, would like more tasty gluten-free options in their life or just lives in the neighborhood and wants a place to chill. Nothing is too small and we greatly appreciate all the help we can get. For your convenience you can use Indiegogo's share tools to help spread the word.
What Your Contribution Will Help Us Do:
Starting a business involves a great deal of planning and money. All of the money donated to this campaign will go toward start-up costs such as:
- Yarn inventory, needles, hooks, patterns, books...
- Stove to bake our yummy gluten-free goodies
- Mixer to mix batters for our donuts and snacks
- Coffee making machine
- Furniture (tables and chairs)
- Baking ingredients (gluten-free flours, spices, sugar, butter, eggs...)
- Coffee, teas and other beverages
- Store sign
- Rent and utilities
This is just the bare minimum that needs to be covered in order to launch the cafe.
If our goal is not reached in time we will still move forward with the launching of half of the business: a website where you will be able to purchase yarn but not our food items. I will keep trying to make the whole yarn cafe a reality however. It just might take a bit longer than expected.
We appreciate your involvement and that of the community in making this happen.
Here's What You'll Get:
Take a gander at all the cool perks available to the right of this page.