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Junior outfielder Dan Tauken hits the ball.
PHOTOS: Baseball drops midweek game to SEMO
Rebeca Mertins Chiodini, Photo Editor • April 18, 2024

After coming off a winning weekend away, the Murray State Baseball team lost in what started as a close battle in their midweek match up...

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Needleworking hobby turns into business

Owners+Janeen+Sutton+and+Susan+Williams+explore+their+passions+for+needlework+and+how+it+influenced+their+entry+into+the+business+world.+
MacKenzie Rogers
Owners Janeen Sutton and Susan Williams explore their passions for needlework and how it influenced their entry into the business world.

What started as hobbies have long since turned into a business for two passionate needleworkers. 

Red Bug Yarn & Gifts opened in 2010 when Trudy McFarlane decided to open a yarn shop. A year later, McFarlane sold the business to Jill McElya, sticking around as a customer and knitting instructor. In 2015, McFarlane reacquired the business and brought in Cindy McDaniel and Susan Williams. McElya and McFarlane both retired in 2019, and in 2021, Janeen Sutton joined the team. At the end of 2023, McDaniel also retired and left the business to the current co-owners, Sutton and Williams. 

This is Sutton’s “second rodeo” in the business-owning world, as she formerly owned a quilt store from 2000 to 2006. Having learned to knit from her mother, Sutton has spent her entire life knitting while picking up other needlework along the way. 

When Sutton joined the team, she brought with her the knowledge she picked up from her previous business venture and her love for all things needlework. 

“I learned a lot… when I had the quilt store,” Sutton said. “I had a lot to learn. There is so much more to running a business than doing the thing that you like.”

Williams, on the other hand, said she never imagined she would one day own a business. Before joining Red Bug Yarn & Gifts, Williams was a guidance counselor and, before that, a teacher. 

“I never ever would have said that I was going to be in retail,” Williams said. “Nor did I ever imagine that I could take the thing that I enjoyed and have a business with it.”

With both owners passionate about yarn and needlework, the two continue to maintain a small space on 4th Street, where they strive to create a sense of community. 

“You (can) just come and knit, and if you’re not a knitter, crochet (or do) needlepoint,” said Williams, referring to the center of the store: a large table where customers can work on their needlework projects alongside others. “We want everybody that comes in to feel like they can sit down and just hang out, knit, crochet, stitch, ponder, get away from it all. That’s what drives us.”

Outside of selling yarn, the shop offers lessons and beginner classes for those interested in learning how to knit or crochet, but Sutton said she would love to be able to put on bigger workshops or retreats. 

“Almost without exception, 99% of the time, it lifts my spirits to walk in that door,” Williams said.

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About the Contributor
MacKenzie Rogers
MacKenzie Rogers, Lifestyle Editor
MacKenzie Rogers joined the staff of The News in Fall 2022. Rogers is a junior studying creative writing and journalism. She spends all her spare time reading, writing and playing video games.

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