SMALL BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT: Sassy Black Yarns sits inside some history

Sassy Black Yarns in Manchester sits inside the Hilliard Mills site, which is known as America’s oldest woolen mill site.
Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 4:25 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 4, 2022 at 5:23 PM EDT
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MANCHESTER, CT (WFSB) – Sassy Black Yarns in Manchester sits inside the Hilliard Mills site, which is known as America’s oldest woolen mill site.

For the first time in more than 80 years, there’s yarn for sale inside.

“I didn’t know much about the mills before I was actually interested in leasing a space here, but the more I found out about the history and the different buildings and what they used to do in the different buildings I feel like my business brings that all back home,” said Lakisher Hurst.

Hurst started Sassy Black Yarns in Jan. 2020 out of her home, and just recently had her grand opening in the mill.

“Everything has come full circle,” she said. “I’m actually in a space where they used to dye indigo yarn, so everything was blue, a very dark blue and if you walk maybe three steps to your right, you’ll feel the dip in the floor where the dye pots used to be.”

She said she’s hand-dying yarn, not in old dye pots, but on her stove with acid-dyes to get vibrant colors.

“I get a lot of the colors are so beautiful, even people that don’t knit or crochet or do anything with yarn, they’re attracted to my table when I do fairs and festivals just by the colors themselves,” Hurst said.

For the pinks, purples, oranges, yellows, and blues, she combines colors to get what people see on the racks just right, to get the “wow” factor.

In addition to the yarn, customers can find much more in the shop.

“I wanted to have a space not only to display and sell my own yarn, but a place where people could come, chat, watch Netflix, of course, and if they needed help with a project, if they needed help starting anything, I’m a very patient person,” Hurst said. “So, if you wanted to come and learn how to crochet, I’d be more than happy to teach anybody.”

She said she sells kits where people can get a pattern to work on and pick the color and type of yarn they like best, including alpaca, cotton, or wool.

Hurst said she even carries the tools people need to do all the work.

“It’s a community space,” she said. “I want everybody to feel welcome whether you’re a crocheter, a knitter, even a weaver, everybody is welcome.”

In the space she welcomes community, she also honors the history, and hopes for more success in her future.