Kamaca Champion learned how to crochet when she was a young girl, visiting her aunt at 99th Street and Longwood Drive.
The Morgan Park resident went on to develop a love for knitting as well, and now, she has opened a yarn boutique and craft store in Beverly.
Miss Purl, 1824 W. 95th St., hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sept. 3.
Champion felt there was a need for such a business on the South Side, and she’s thrilled to get started.
“I’ve been in this community since I was 9 years old,” she said. “I learned to crochet at [my aunt’s]. It’s just been exciting and full circle for me to be able to have a store right where I learned how to craft as a child.”
Miss Purl sells well-known yarn brands, Champion said, in wool, acrylic and cashmere blends. She also sells tools for crocheting, knitting and weaving.
Thirty percent of her inventory comes from independent yarn dyers.
She plans to offer classes and host “knitting nights” on Fridays and Sundays.
Champion learned how to knit 15 years ago in California, she said, and when she came back to Chicago, she couldn’t find a good resource for yarn—shops were always on the North Side.
It was easy enough to visit those shops when she worked downtown, but 12 years ago, she became a stay-at-home mom.
At that point, she said, she knew she wanted to open a store closer to her neighborhood. Two locations in the area, including one owned by a relative, closed their doors.
Champion said The Quilter’s Trunk, a similar store located at 10352 S. Western Ave., is an inspiration to her.
She feels that store, and her own store, are especially attractive during the public-health crisis, when people can’t go out as much.
“Assets like this gave people places to express themselves,” she said, “and places to have some relief in the midst of this pandemic.”
The name of her shop, Champion said, is based on a purl stitch, which is often considered the backward way to stitch; Champion wants to “re-enforce the idea that I really want this place to be welcoming and inviting.”
She added “Miss” to the name because, as a child, there was always someone on her block who had that nickname and was the grandmotherly person kids could visit “to get loved on” and cared for if their parents weren’t home after school.
Champion’s children attended Sutherland and Vanderpoel elementary schools.
The first days of her business, she said, have gone well. Many people from nearby Hamilton Avenue have already stopped by.
“I’m super-excited,” Champion said. “I’ve had so many people already from the Beverly community just walking by. … I love this community.”
Champion also met customers at a recent 95th Street Farmers Market, which is directed by 95th Street Business Association Executive Director Erin Ross, who Champion said has been especially welcoming.
This fall, Miss Purl will be open Thursday-Monday, noon-7 p.m.
Champion is thrilled to be open for business in Beverly.
“I feel at home in this area,” she said.
For more information on Miss Purl, call (312) 513-6464 or visit misspurlchicago.com.