UNCONDITIONAL TIES: Vicksburg’s Agape Knits celebrates community, new beginnings

Published 3:03 pm Friday, June 17, 2022

A beloved Vicksburg yarn store has rebranded and revamped its offerings as Agape Knits, formerly Fabs and More and The Whole Nine Yarns.

Owned and operated by Judy Busby and Emily Wolfe, Agape Knits is located at 1370 Culkin Road in Vicksburg and features a variety of artisan yarns, knitting and crochet supplies and everything in between. But what makes Agape Knits stand out, Busby said, is the community of knitters that support it.

“I love people, and I love working with people. The name of our new store shows that,” Busby said. “Agape is the Greek word for ‘unconditional love.’ When you meet someone who knits or crochets, you’re instantly friends — unconditionally, no matter anything. It’s unconditional love through the fiber arts.”

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Every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Agape Knits, a crowd can be found mingling and crafting as part of a time of fellowship with one another. Knitters and crocheters of all ages gather in the store, swapping stories and tricks and tips — with many women crediting Busby for teaching them her ways.

Busby and Wolfe also host a Wednesday morning devotional where a Bible lesson is shared while attendees work on their respective projects.

COVID-19 changed a lot about the business, Busby said, but it did bring around new opportunities. One leap of faith the women of Agape Knits took was to expand their in-house yarn company, JEMS Luxe Fibers.

With the ever-increasing complexity of patterns in their personal knitting projects, and their desire for higher-quality materials, Busby said she was the first of the pair to approach the idea of hand-dyeing.

“I said, ‘Emily, let’s dye yarn,'” Busby said, to which Wolfe replied with a deadpan “No.”

She ultimately caved, and both said the decision has been worthwhile thus far.

JEMS stands for “Judy, Emily and Mississippi,” and their hand-dyed yarns have gained nationwide popularity over the last couple of years. JEMS had been around for a year pre-COVID, but once Busby and Wolfe started doing virtual shows during the COVID-19 pandemic, their business more than tripled.

The yarn itself has a broad color spectrum, with shades inspired by precious gemstones and by stories and characters in Greek mythology.

While Agape Knits is their home base, Busby and Wolfe often take their show on the road. Next week, the pair will travel with a cargo trailer full of merchandise to the Zombie Knit-pocalypse in Minnesota. In the early fall, they will host a local festival, Fiber Fun on the ‘Sip, at the Vicksburg Convention Center.

After that, they will zig-zag across the country, taking a little string from Vicksburg to share with the world.

To learn more about JEMS Luxe Fibers, visit https://jemsluxefibers.com.