Sisters, Harumi and Yaxchelt Oliván, of Palos Hills, opened Llama Llama Ding Dong Yarn, 12711 S. Ridgeland Ave., Palos Heights, in December of 2018. The shop is serving as the local stop for the annual Chicago Yarn Crawl from July 31-August 8. (Supplied photos)

Sisters, Harumi and Yaxchelt Oliván, of Palos Hills, opened Llama Llama Ding Dong Yarn, 12711 S. Ridgeland Ave., Palos Heights, in December of 2018. The shop is serving as the local stop for the annual Chicago Yarn Crawl from July 31-August 8. (Supplied photos)

Llama Llama Ding Dong hosts annual Yarn Crawl

By Kelly White

Yaxchelt and Harumi Oliván are sisters with a love of knitting.

Together, they opened up Llama Llama Ding Dong Yarn, 12711 S. Ridgeland Ave., Palos Heights, in December of 2018.

“In an attempt to come up with a cool name for the store, our sisterly goofiness took over and we started to outdo each other with funny names instead,” Yaxchelt Oliván said. “Eventually, we landed on Llama Llama Ding Dong and it was so much fun to say out loud and truly captured a little bit of who we are.”

Both sisters who grew up in the southwest side of Chicago currently reside in Palos Hills. Aside from co-owning Llama Llama Ding Dong Yarn, they are also the independent hand dyers of RMR Yarn Co., which was named after their mother whose initials were RMR.

“Our late mother, Rocio, was an avid knitter and made all the winter essentials for each of her children,” Yaxchelt said. “We always had a scarf and a hat to keep us warm and always in our favorite color. She was the one who taught us how to knit and truly appreciate the art of knitting and all fiber arts.”

Llama Llama Ding Dong Yarn is serving as the local stop for the annual Chicago Yarn Crawl from July 31-August 8 for the Palos Heights, Palos Hills, Palos Park, Orland Park, Tinley Park, Crestwood, Alsip, Worth, Oak Lawn, and Chicago Ridge area.

Started in 2009, the Chicago Yarn Crawl is a collaboration with many of the yarn stores in the Chicagoland area. The main goal of the Chicago Yarn Crawl is to unite the fiber arts community in the Chicagoland area. Since adding a virtual component last year, that goal has expanded to the country and to those around the world who follow each store and the Chicago Yarn Crawl through social media.

Aside from offering free patterns designed by each store, special discounts, raffle prizes and other special events, the Chicago Yarn Crawl was a platform where the sisters were able to introduce up and coming makers in the fiber arts community from all over the US. Every year, a theme is chosen for the Chicago Yarn Crawl. This year’s theme is “Celebrating Chicago Blues.”

The sisters’ participation in the Chicago Yarn Crawl extended far beyond the many offerings they have for all of their wonderful customers that stop by the store during the event.

This year, their contribution to the organization and successful execution of the Chicago Yarn Crawl has been to volunteer to be in charge of social media on Instagram, assist with the Chicago Yarn Crawl newsletters, to share the responsibility of updating our Facebook account and the Crawl’s Ravelry Group.

Each year, the Oliván sisters also invite makers to do trunk shows so they can introduce them to the Chicagoland fiber arts community.

“Before we were store owners, we were Crawlers ourselves,” Yaxchelt said. “It is an opportunity to be among wonderfully talented artists of all walks of life. For us, it is an opportunity to help mold the fiber arts community in our area to continue to be diverse and inclusive. This sense of community is especially welcomed during these very difficult times.”

The sisters said they are grateful to the Palos community and all surrounding communities for embracing the store since the day they opened, and for their continued dedication that allowed them to survive the pandemic.

“Like many other businesses, we had to make difficult decisions and find creative ways to enhance our productivity with diminished resources,” Yaxchelt said. “It continues to be a work in progress but we are absolutely determined to meet any challenges head on.”

“To be able to have our doors open to this day is a true testament to the power of family, both chosen family and blood family,” Harumi Oliván, said.

Another sister in the Oliván family, Karina, has been an integral part in keeping the business going as she helps Yaxchelt and Harumi on her days off from her full-time job as a stylist, and has never asked for anything in return.

“Our chosen family, comprised of life-long friends and everyone we have become friends with since we opened our doors, supported us in every way they could,” Harumi said. “Being the only hub for the fiber arts community in this area, their support has kept us going and our determination to keep our dream alive is what helps us keep looking into the future with a positive attitude.”

 

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Llama Llama Ding Dong Yarn, 12711 S. Ridgeland Ave., Palos Heights, is serving as the local stop for the annual Chicago Yarn Crawl from July 31-August 8 for the Palos Heights, Palos Hills, Palos Park, Orland Park, Tinley Park, Crestwood, Alsip, Worth, Oak Lawn, Chicago Ridge area.

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