Monthly Yarn Store Spotlight Series: Potomac Bead Company

Basic yarn store info: Name, Location, Hours of operation and any current policies (e.g., appointment only, drop-ins allowed but only 6 people allowed in the store at one time, etc.)
Our store is Potomac Bead Company @ 518 Broadway in Alexandria, MN. We are the child store of Potomac Beads – an online bead store – but we carry yarn as well as jewelry making supplies. We are open Tuesday – Saturday 10-5. We are not currently doing in person classes or group knitting.
Tell us about your team or would you like to highlight someone special?
Our team is small. Co-owners Deb Kerr and Kyle Anderson are retired school teachers who left teaching in State College, Pennsylvania in 2015 and re-careered as retail store owners in Alexandria. Kyle grew up in St Cloud and wanted to get closer to home and this is how we did it! We love teaching and we are committed to creating an environment where people feel safe and supported when trying new things.
What yarn do you stock that you feel doesn’t get the attention it deserves?
We love all our yarns. After losing all our yarn due to smoke damage from a large fire in downtown Alexandria about a year ago, we were able to be purposeful about the yarns we brought back in. Deb’s favorite work horse yarn right now is Ultra Alpaca from Berroco. We love our Malabrigo yarns, particularly Rios, but they get lots of attention. We love our hand-dyed yarns from Three Irish Girls, Meadowcroft Dyeworks and Sweet Georgia.
What class offerings do you have coming up?
In person classes are on hold…
Are you offering virtual classes?
We are doing some classes via Zoom. We just finished up a beginning sock class and we are in the middle of a beginning knitting class. We are also using Zoom for jewelry classes, social knitting twice a week and knit along check-ins.
Do you have any upcoming trunk shows or other events?
We will be participating in the second annual Road Trip Mystery Knit Along sponsored by Really Clear Designs beginning 4/17 (Local Yarn Shop Day). During the knit along we’ll be virtually traveling around the state of Maryland. We had a ball doing this knit along last year as we traveled through Pennsylvania and we are excited for this year’s trip!
What is your favorite sample? photos encouraged
The Make a Million Shawl made from a mini-skein gradient set and another skein of sock yarn has been really popular. We did this as a knit along a few years ago and lots of folks added beads. Fox Paws from Mirasol Sulka Legato and our Road Trip Mystery shawls from last year’s knit along are also great pieces. And we love knitting with beads like this little beanie, Slip and Bead.
Do you offer a MKG discount or a frequent buyer club?
We have a rewards program for all our customers which we track through our point of sale – no punch cards! Spend $250 and earn a $15 reward.
Other than shopping, what are the best ways we can help support your yarn store?
We love having people follow our posts on Instagram and/or Facebook. It’s amazing how many people have learned about us from a friend’s like or share.
on Facebook @PBCAlexandriaMN   on Instagram @potomacbeadminnesota
Is there anything else you’d like us to feature? ie: are you committed to providing extra benefits to employees? are you involved with a local charity? are you committed to being green?
We are excited to be a drop-off location for the guild’s Service Knitting partner projects. We just announced our support 2 weeks ago and already have a basket brimming with hats, mittens, and cowls. People are so generous and we love that we can help get our knitted treasures to those in need.

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Jess Dahlberg

Newsletter Editor

Jess learned to knit in middle school and attempted (but never quite finished) a few garter stitch scarves. Years later, she picked up crochet with her best friend in law school and eventually fell back into knitting. Ever since then, she's been a daily knitter (commuting time for the win!) and has never looked back. She enjoys knitting gifts for friends and family and loves trying new techniques. (she, her, hers)

Laura Haave

Great Guild Getaway Committee Chair

Laura learned to knit in 2003 by taking a four-week class during MIT's annual January Independent Activities Period. The class project was a striped hat knit in the round, and since that time, Laura has been a big advocate of 1) helping other adults learn to knit for the first time, 2) hats as a manageable first project, and 3) circular needles for everything. She enjoys thinking about knitting and planning her next project almost as much as she enjoys actually knitting. Laura is highly motivated by knit-alongs and loves to knit in community. (she, her, hers)

Anne Rojas


Janese Evans

Yarnover Committee Chair

Bio to come. (she,her,hers)

Kate Westlund

Social Media and Technology Director

(Term 2, Year 3)

Kate became enthralled with knitting when she was a young girl and saw a fellow young person knitting on a plane. She implored her mother to teach her everything she knew, which as it turned out was only casting on and the knit stitch. Once Kate learned to purl froma beginner's kit, there was no end in sight. Kate is the type of knitter who doesn’t always swatch, which is often obvious in her finished projects.

Melissa Mintern

Marketing and Outreach Director

(Term 1, Year 2)

Melissa has been knitting for 15 years. She loves socks and sweaters. She is a new member who hopes to use her marketing background to lift up the MKG. While she isn't local to MN, she really loves the atmosphere created by the Guild. Melissa and significant other Al enjoy traveling, wherein Al graciously offers to drive so Melissa can knit in the passenger seat. (she, her, hers)

Nikky Heidel

Membership Director

(Term 1, Year 2)

Nikky was first introduced to knitting in 2012 when her visiting sister-in-law taught her the basics of casting on and the knit stitch. A few weeks later, she learned how to purl from her mother-in-law. From there, it quickly became a passion and she has taken on each new project with a desire to expand her skill and discover new techniques. She loves a good mystery (knit-a-long) and knits way more shawls than a single person can wear in a month.

Betsy Preston

Service Director

(Term 1, Year 1)

Betsy never had patience for knitting, until she found herself spending a lot of time at little league games and waiting for the last kid to emerge from the locker room after swim practice. With her background in graphic design, stranded colorwork has a natural appeal. Not to mention the practicality of an extra layer of warmth. Betsy has recently begun publishing her original hat and cowl patterns, which are available on Ravelry. (she, her, hers) (See our Service Knitting Page for more information about our current projects and donation process.)

Position Currently Open

Programming Director

(Three-year term)

This board position is currently open. If you are interested in helping to source and book teachers and speakers for Guild meetings, please contact Kathy at preside[email protected]

Rose Tobelmann


(Term 1, Year 3)

Rose learned to knit from her mother at the age of ten. She started knitting on the ends of small paint brushes. She continued to knit off and on through her teenage and young adult years and became a more avid knitter after taking a Norwegian sweater knitting class through community education. Today, knitting has become a passion and she knits for charity, herself, and her family her stash. She enjoys meeting other knitters and learning new techniques.

Kelsey Sorenson


(Term 1, Year 2)

Kelsey learned the knit stitch from her grandmother in middle school, and filled in the gaps enough to make lots of scarves for quite a few years. She began expanding her skills in college and is always looking to learn more. Kelsey is drawn toward projects that are seamless or include stranded colorwork. (she, her, hers)

Kelly Amoth

Vice President

(Term 1, Year 2)

A visiting friend from Seattle taught Kelly the very basics of knitting (a twisted loop cast on and just the knit stitch) in 2008 before flying home. Turning to the internet (thanks!) Kelly taught herself through a lot of trial and error. Uncontent to keep knitting the scarf she’d started as her first project, she jumped into knitting a pair of striped mittens for her non-knitter, but very knitworthy, twin sister. Twelve years later the mittens are still in her sister’s glove box, and Kelly is usually horrified when she pulls them out and sees the mistakes she made using double pointed needles for the first time. Kelly loves knitting socks and is thankful for the many months of cold weather when she gets to exclusively wear her handknits. (she, her, hers)

Kathy Lewinski


(Term 1, Year 2)

Kathy has always been into crafts, but didn’t teach herself to knit until after college. She really got hooked while living in San Francisco when a friend opened a knitting store. To pitch in, Kathy started knitting up fun (and odd) things for window displays, as well as teaching classes. In the last couple of years, she has started designing her own knitting patterns (many of them available for free on Ravelry!) with toys and mittens being her primary obsessions. (she/her/hers)