New Yreka business teaches sewing and knitting skills

Danielle Jester
Janyce Hill opened the Yreka Knit and Sew Studio in February.

Yreka’s Oregon Street is home to a new business that opened in February: the Yreka Knit and Sew Studio. Janyce Hill opened the business after to moving to Yreka from Oakland, California two years ago. The studio offers workshops, classes, equipment and a makers’ space.

Until her move to Yreka, Hill had lived in the Bay Area since 1986. She never had plans to move but, after seeing a Victorian house in Yreka on a real estate website, she told her husband, “Buy me that house and I’ll move.” The couple drove up to Yreka on a Friday, saw the house the next day, and purchased it that Monday. Hill had longed dreamed of living in a Victorian home and said she loves the local community.

Hill has over 40 years of sewing experience. Her grandmother and mother both sewed, so she learned a bit from them as well as from some classes she took, including pattern making and couture tailoring. Most of her skills are self taught though – the result of research and trial and error.

Vintage, antique and historical clothing are Hill’s passion. She collects antique and vintage patterns and fashion journals. Her archives range from 1865 to the mid 1950s. She also digitally reproduces vintage sewing patterns to give them new life. Many of the patterns are French and German. Though Hill doesn’t speak either language, she does know French and German sewing terms because she has had to translate sewing instructions in both languages.

Hill has worked for herself for many years. She was previously a bookkeeper for startups, many times serving as the only financial professional for entrepreneurs.

She also taught sewing classes in Oakland, using a studio within her home. She wanted to continue teaching after moving to Yreka, but as her home is in the historic district, she was not able to teach out of it. Thus, she opened the Yreka Knit and Sew Studio.

It took some time to find the right space for her new business, but Hill said her location on 111 Oregon Street – formerly home to Cliff’s Trophies – is perfect. The building offers the ideal space for her classes and all her sewing equipment, which includes a CAD table, knitting machine, a 36 inch printer plotter.

The community support she has witnessed since opening her business “is amazing,” Hill said. It normally takes three to six months to build a clientele, she said, but the first two intro to sewing classes she held were totally full.

The Yreka Knit and Sew Studio’s classes include sewing, quilting and machine knitting. Her intro to sewing classes are geared toward people who have never used a sewing machine. The class is a four hour intensive covering all the basics and “gets people over the hump of being intimidated by the buttons and knobs on the sewing machine,” Hill said.

The ongoing classes last three to three and a half hours apiece and are self-paced, Hill described. Students can work on their own specific projects or Hill offers a series of small projects to build upon skills. From there, people can take ongoing classes.

Hill said she loves witness the “aha moment” during teaching when a student’s eyes light up while learning. It’s also rewarding to teach others to make something with their own hands that is truly original and theirs, she explained.

The Yreka Knits and Sew Studio’s next intro to sewing class will be on April 6. The cost for the class is $20. Hill is currently out of town on family business, so the studio is closed temporarily until March 16, when it will reopen.

The Yreka Knit and Sew Studio is located at 111 South Oregon Street, Suite A. For more information about the studio and its classes, email or call Hill at (510) 390-0444.