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San Clemente Journal

Strands Knitting Studio Where ‘Knit Happens’

Jun 06, 2023 11:37AM ● By Nina Welch

Christine Chesley

by Nina Welch

There’s a world of yarn in a charming shop at 111 Avenida Granada. Christine Chesley, who has owned Strands Knitting Studio for 14 years, was taught to knit by her grandmother when she was seven. According to Christine, knitting is an art form that sticks with you and comes back no matter how long it’s been. 

  As a nurse, mother, and now grandmother, she never thought the knitting bug would come full circle and she would open her own store. After retirement, the yearning for yarn returned when she worked with a friend in Laguna Beach at Strands and Stiches. Then when another store named Strands opened in Dana Point she managed it and in January, 2009, her own Strands store was established.  

  The yarns in Christine’s small boutique are exquisite to look at and touch. The yarn balls, skeins and mini skeins consist of cashmere, Merino wool blends, cotton, silks, and alpaca. “The quality of the yarn means longevity of the garment,” says Christine. Yarns at the studio come from hand-dyed selections from all over the world including Italy, Japan, Turkey, Peru, and the United States. Christine purchases the yarns to make wonderful items, and when that collection is depleted, she brings in new assortments. 

  Sample sales are offered at the studio once a year. Knitting kits, including self-striping yarn and instructions to make socks and a kit to make beanies are also available. Private lessons are offered for first-time knitters and crocheters, who soon become ready for the outdoor workshops with an ocean view. 

  The professional team of teachers include Christine, Faylynn, the studio’s primary instructor, and Ella, who is a teenager teaching kids’ workshops. Special projects include sweater lessons and year-long heirloom square blanket classes. In the latter, knitters learn how to sew all 24 squares into an heirloom blanket. A kids knit camp also takes place in the summer, taught by Ella. During the school year, there are kid workshops on Saturdays. 

  Monica, Christine’s daughter, who is an ER nurse, lives in San Clemente with her daughters Stella, 16, and Sunny 14. The grandmother connection is revisited with a love for knitting as Sunny works at the studio. She knows how to wind-up yarn, use the cash register, answer the phone properly, interact with customers, and she even decorates the window and puts out Adeline - the stuffed alpaca - who signals that the store is open.

  Christine’s personal favorite knitting projects are children’s clothes and sweaters for herself. She lives in Laguna Beach with her husband, Bob, and their dog, Buddy.

For a listing of private lessons, workshops and classes, go to