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Aalta Yarn knits together business and social good

Bags from Aalta Yarn

"All knitters are givers," says Christine Forester, founder of Aalta Yarn. Tapping into the national trend toward social enterprise, her business links knitters not only with high-quality hand-knit yarn but with charities in need of knitted goods. 

Forester, a Bucks County native, worked in the yarn industry for years, witnessing the explosion of the knitting craze. 

"The younger generation wanted to make something of their own that was beautiful and unique," she explains, recalling how celebrities like Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen and Jennifer Aniston led the trend, knitting European novelty yarns into simple scarves. 

Knitting's popularity has only increased since then: Philly millennials are showing up to classes at Nangellini in Fishtown or LoopKnits on South Street, and making names for themselves yarn-bombing all over the city (that includes Jessie Hemmons of Ishknits). 

Today's knitters want quality yarn to work with from companies that prioritize purpose along with profit. Aalta Yarn fits the bill. The high-quality Italian product is ideal for creating long-lasting blankets -- something Forester encourages knitters to create and donate to support their partner charities, the local chapter of Project Linus and Tabor: A Family of Services

"I was absolutely amazed at the number of needs [these organizations] had," recalls Forester. "There were so many children in need of blankets." 

Along with coordinating donation points at local shops, the company donates yarn to knitters via website request so that anyone can contribute their skills to make a blanket. 

Aalta Yarn is available in regional yarn shops including The Tangled Web in Chestnut Hill, Finely A Knitting Party in Swarthmore, and Knit in Newtown. The shops also carry Philly-made wool baskets and bags braided with 100 percent wool yarn.

Forester, who grew the business out of her capstone project for an MBA in strategic design at Philadelphia University, sees Aalta Yarn as a way to connect the giving spirit of knitters with quality products for kids who, like Linus in Peanuts, need that extra bit of comfort. 

"I want to make a difference," she says. "I want to make an impact, I want to bring joy and happiness to these children that are in need."

Writer: Martha Cooney
Source: Christine Forester, Aalta Yarn

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