A passion for knitting, crocheting and spinning, had long instilled in Cardoza the dream to one day open his own shop devoted to yarn, fiber and needlework. Today, Cardoza keeps his dream alive at 6 S. Wall St. where The King’s Knit Wit offers high-quality fiber, tools and tips for new or veteran knitters.
Before March of this year, Cardoza’s career was in education. He taught in his native California for 13 years before accepting a position in Georgia. After moving to Georgia, the position was eliminated due to budget cuts, eventually leading Cardoza and Kincaid to start their own business.
“After the position I came to Georgia for was eliminated, I tried to get every job imagineable just to pay the rent. No one would hire me. They’d say, ‘Sorry, you have too much education. Sorry, we can’t pay you what you’re worth.’ I got turned down by everyone you could think of, Wal-Mart, Target, gas stations,” Cardoza said. “I had to do something. I was running out of options. I closed out my retirement to do this, so it’s really make or break.
“If you would have asked me five years ago that I was going to be a business owner, I would have said you were crazy.”
The downtown shop is arranged in a way to encourage more than just shopping. With retail products along the walls, the store’s center is reserved for an open table for use by knitters and crocheters.
For customers purchasing yarn or other fibers, Cardoza opens his own collection of patterns and offers lessons or advice for beginners. Also utilizing the shop’s community knitting table is a weekly knitting group meeting each Sunday.
The King’s Knit Wit specializes in high-quality fibers. Cardoza has set his sights on filling a need he saw in the availability of quality needlework fibers.
“I have stuff that you’ll never find at Hobby Lobby, Wal-Mart or Michaels. I have pretty much all-natural fibers, high-end, high-quality stuff,” Cardoza said. “We have wool, we’ve got alpaca, we’ve got cashmere, we’ve got angora and cotton. We do have some acrylics, but they’re high-end nice wool-blend acrylics. So it’s a nice, high-end shop with things that you can’t find everywhere else.”
Also pursuing a dream through the realization of The King’s Knit Wit is Cardoza’s business partner Kincaid. At the back of Cardoza’s shop is a corner called The Knit Wit’s Sit, an area of the shop devoted to used books and the passage of time. Kincaid wanted to help in the building of Cardoza’s dream, so he pitched in and requested only a small piece of the store for his own.
“Whenever Doug and I go anywhere, he has to find a yarn store,” Kincaid said. “If it’s a place I know, that’s fine. I can drop him off and come back in about three hours, otherwise I’m sitting in the corner twiddling my thumbs. So when he wanted to open this, I said only if there was a place where the person that doesn’t knit can sit down, read and relax.
“The wife can sit around and do all the knitting she wants and the husband, or friend, can have something to do and doesn’t have to be totally bored.”
Others items available include some novelty collectibles and hand-made dolls and soft sculptures. The dolls and soft sculptures are made by Kincaid’s sister, who still lives in California, and proceeds benefit needy children in the Los Angeles area.
Cardoza also offers his own knitting or spinning service to customers at $10 an hour. Recently, he has been contracted for several holiday items, including baby clothes, bonnets and booties. Currently, he’s working on an order for 1,000 yards of lace-weight yarn.
Although Cardoza offers lessons to customers for free, teaching lessons also are available at $20 an hour without a purchase. He offers the lessons for free to those who purchase goods in hope of keeping the craft alive. The King’s Knit Wit reflects medieval and Renaissance themes in its name and decoration as an homage to an age-old skill, which Cardoza hopes to pass along to others.
Cardoza is self taught in the art of knitting. Originally inspired by his mother’s craft work, he found tutorials at a local library near his childhood home in California where he began knitting and crocheting.
“I grew up on a 20-acre farm and my dad was one that if we didn’t need it, we didn’t buy it,” Cardoza said. “He didn’t believe in paying for cable. There wasn’t a whole lot to do. My mom was always a crafter. She was a stay-at-home mom, so she was always baking or cooking, but in the evening there wasn’t much to do.
“One day, I went to the library and started checking out books. I spent hours pouring over pictures that showed different techniques, so basically I’m self taught.”
The King’s Knit Wit, 6 S. Wall St., Cartersville, is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and a weekly knitting group meets Sundays between 1 and 5 p.m.
For more information, call 770-883-9023 or visit www.thekingsknitwit.com.