Constance Alexander: Hygge — a warm Danish word — can be found close to home at Red Bug Yarn

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That comfy, cozy feeling of being home by the fireside on a cold winter’s day — called hygge in Danish and Gemütlichkeit in German – had no direct translation to English until Red Bug Yarn & Gifts relocated to South Sixth Street in Murray. Those who venture into the quaint shop, whether they enter with a specific purchase in mind or just drop in for a casual look-see, feel the ambiance right away.

Susan Williams, one of the owners, attributes the welcoming atmosphere to the colorful display of yarns lining the south wall of the front room. “They’re eye candy,” she says, adding that yarn has unique sensory appeal. As she mentions the example of the gentle click of knitting needles, she cannot resist gently squeezing a lush skein of fiber.

Trying to define the pleasant scent associated with new yarn, she closes her eyes and slowly inhales. “It’s something…“ She searches for the right word and finally shrugs. There is no apt description.

Men and women from near and far, people of all ages, make their way to Red Bug to buy yarn for knitting and crocheting projects, or to purchase gifts for momentous occasions. A regular group meets at the shop on Wednesdays. Workshops, demonstrations, and a special line of Red Bug patterns are other Red Bug offerings. Regardless of customers’ initial intent, even if they are in a hurry, the tendency is to stay and chat awhile.

According to Cindy McDaniel, another partner in the business, “People feel at home here. One customer walked in and said, ‘This is like a Hallmark Christmas movie.’”

Trudy McFarlane and Jill McElya round out the Red Bug team. Ms. McFarlane first opened a yarn shop on 3rd Street in Murray in 2010. Eventually, the operation needed more space, so Jill McElya bought the shop on South 6th with Trudy staying on as buyer, knitting instructor and consultant. In 2015, the four women formed an LLC partnership.

Whatever they do at Red Bug, the owners support other local and downtown enterprises in practical and creative ways. Early in 2018, for example, they will team up with the Murray Art Guild (MAG) on a special project designed to encourage the common bond inspired by weaving.

A few blocks away on North 4th Street in Murray, MAG Executive Director Debi Henry Danielson explains that the New Year endeavor is called “Interwoven.” Individual weavings will be linked together to create a large installation, with the result engendering the kind of comfort and good will associated with hygge and Gemütlichkeit.

Packets of weaving materials and instructions will be available for individuals, and workshops will be conducted with groups such as senior citizens, residents of assisted living facilities, gatherings of friends, churches, and civic organizations. The weaving process itself is simple, according to Ms. Danielson, but the satisfaction and interaction of those participating will foster communication, emphasizing the common bonds of family, community, and shared values.

“I imagine ‘Interwoven’ to be like the old quilting bee, with people coming together.” Debi Danielson asserts. “While their hands are busy, conversation happens and so do connections.”

There will be community weaving sessions, February 1 – 16, downtown at the Miller Center, with individuals and groups welcome. Those interested in holding a weaving session at other locations in the community are also welcome.

A composite display of all the weavings will be exhibited at the Miller Center from February 24 – March 2.

More information about Red Bug Yarn and Gifts is online at
Details about “Interwoven” are available on the MAG website,

Constance Alexander is a columnist, award-winning poet and playwright, and President of INTEXCommunications in Murray, Ky. She can be reached at Or visit

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