June 29, 2022

Homebase for Rosa Pomar's Yarns

Local Yarn Store<br>Retrosaria  Rosa Pomar

Text by Patricia Hurley

Retrorosaria began in 2010 as a simple website selling fabric and yarn, with an initial focus on Japanese quilting fabrics and yarns. Rosa Pomar, the founder had been blogging about textiles and researching traditional Portuguese craft and textile culture for years, and realized there were no knitting yarns made from Portuguese wool. Local shops offered mostly poor quality yarns. The more she learned about Portugal’s rich craft and textile history, the more determined she became to revive the use of local wool, particularly from heritage Portuguese sheep breeds on the verge of dying out. She traveled the country, learning from older women who shared their knowledge with her (meet some of them here: https://vimeo/laemtemporeal): how they chose and prepared fleece, how they spun yarn, etc., and during that time she was also writing a book about Portuguese knitting traditions. Retrorosaria was a result of these experiences, and making the best possible yarn from native sheep’s wool became her passion.

The shop currently has 6 full-time team members. Rosa is responsible for all the creative processes related to their yarns. She travels extensively throughout Portugal, especially during shearing season and whenever a new batch of yarn is spun. She designs all of their yarns and creates the color palettes. When she has time, she hand dyes small batches of yarn, creates patterns, and teaches traditional Portuguese knitting techniques. While these are her favorite shop duties, there is also the unglamorous work— shop decisions, computer work, emails and so on. Filipe does a variety of tasks, but his primary responsibility is wholesale. Ana, Debora, Sonía and Marlene do everything from taking product photos for the website to preparing online orders, bookkeeping, and helping customers find the perfect yarn for their project. Rosa is proud of her team, thankful for their expertise and dedication to the job, and she’s pleased to have her older daughter now working part-time in the shop, preparing wholesale orders. The shop used to be in a beautiful, but touristy neighborhood on the second floor of a space they eventually outgrew. In September, they moved to a different neighborhood, still very central, but now in a much larger, street-level space, with better working conditions for the entire team. One of the things Rosa likes about the new location is the fact that many of their furnishings are reclaimed and quite different from those found in a typical yarn shop. Her desk is in the basement, over which there is a skylight that looks into the floor of the shop above her — through which children (and grown-ups) can say hello to her when she is working. Retrorosaria organizes and offers knitting classes and other events regularly, announced when scheduled.


R. Maria Andrade 50A, 1170-217 Lisboa, Portugal


All Photo by Masahiro Shimazaki