Baaad Anna’s is a local destination for all things knitting related – with zero stuffiness or pretension involved. This is not your mama’s yarn store. Approaching its sixth anniversary in August, new owner Paula bought the business back in April. Having been good friends and a customer of Anna’s since day one, Paula has been knitting for some ten years, after learning from a friend, and her mother. “My mom is an avid knitter,” Paula says. “But it took me years to be in a certain place in my life to be able to catch on with it. It has to work for you and your lifestyle at the time. For me now, it’s a place to clear my head and it came along in my life at a time where it made sense.” With a Masters in Nonprofit Management and over a decade of experience, Paula’s education and background might surprise you. “I originally started with a completely different career,” she tells us. “At this point in my life that career path allowed very little work flexibility to be able to raise my kids and spend more time with them when they are young. Whereas here, I have a few staff on hand and I have a balance of being able to be in the store but also have time for the kids. Also I have the love of knitting. I feel extremely lucky to be able to that in my life. We were just in the right place at the right time in our lives. It was the same thing for Anna too, the points in our lives just crossed.” Paula picked up knitting about five years ago after having having her children, and explains that it offers her a sense of relaxation. “(It was) an odd time to start because you have less time, but it was the one place where I had a bit of quiet time and completely empty my head.” Classes are very popular at Baaad Anna’s, with all the curriculum taught conveniently online. “With knitting it’s interesting because there is always more to learn,” Paula tells us. “You could be doing it for 80 years and there is still new techniques, yarns and fibres to try out and just ways to challenge yourself. It’s also at your own time and pace, so you can always just pick it up.” Paula says she appreciates the variety of her job, and when it comes to personal projects, she enjoys creating items from sweaters, to socks, mitts and hats, blankets and toys. “A bit of everything – I like the challenge of doing something each time.” When we ask Paula if she has any advice for new knitters, she says it’s all about trial and error, and lots and lots of perseverance. “Try and try again,” she says. “Often you need to be in that point in your life, where you have patience and perseverance. And you might not always be there. There are lots of ways to learn, such as formal classes, learning solitary through YouTube and other online resources. There is so many ways to learn, so if anyone is interested there are really no barriers. Anyone can knit; it just depends on how much of an investment you make into it. It does get easier with practice.” The staff at Baaad Anna’s participate in a number of community events throughout the year, including a knit-a-thon with money raised for the Downtown East-side Women’s Shelter. When we talk to Paula about her thoughts on the East Village, she tells us the growth has been tremendously positive, and great for her to see as a business owner. “I love that it’s very grass roots,” Paula explains. “That people work and live in the area; and that it’s a destination. It’s become a destination with all the new shops and everything. I love that the job has been here during the transformation, and we are one of the grass root stores that are still here.” Visit Baaad Anna’s online to learn more, and stay social on Facebook and Twitter.