nancy O first opened in 2005, in a quaint historic building on Big Shop Lane. Our goal was to create a gathering place where people could come for creative inspiration and camaraderie. A place for knitting, a place for connecting, and a place for shopping, with gifts and fashion accessories complimenting the rich colors and textures of the hanks of fine yarn lining the shelves.
Our shop enjoyed over 7 years on Big Shop Lane, until 2012, when the opportunity came to expand into larger space. Still in Ridgefield, nancy O is now located in a restored 18th century building at 23 Catoonah Street.
The tradition continues on Catoonah. The selection has expanded to include beautiful sweaters, funky clogs, and adorable baby gift items, alongside a wide array of accessories inspired by the incredibly gorgeous fibers that we bring in from around the world for our knitting customers.
Our place is still a gathering place, and we feel a warm connection to our customers who we’ve come to know as friends. The new shop feels like home already, as customers enjoy our “knitting lounge”, where comfy couches are set beside a fireplace. On any given day, you’ll find customers stopping by to say hi, to meet one another, and to gather whether shopping, knitting, or simply connecting.
We hope you’ll come visit us soon to become part of our nancy O community.
Meet the Staff
Nancy O’Connell, Owner
After many years in marketing, Nancy decided to follow her dream and open a shop where she could share her passion for fiber arts and wonderful things of color and texture. She lives in Ridgefield with her husband, Tom, and two Siamese Ragdoll cats, Sophie and Simon. Three beautiful women call her “mom”, and seven grandchildren call her “Memere”, a nod to her grandmother, an inspiring French Canadian woman who first taught her to knit many years ago, and her own mom who blessed her with the creativity and confidence she needed to make nancy O a reality.
Daytime knitting instructor, Missy, is a talented fiber artist who also teaches rug hooking in the Ridgefield area. There is no challenge she won’t take on, and she is a perfectionist in everything she does, her role as instructor included, as she has unparalleled patience when it comes to teaching our knitting classes. Missy has lived in Ridgefield for the past 19 years during which time she has concentrated on raising her 3 children with her husband and pursuing her love of all things fiber. Prior to that Missy lived and worked as an international banking executive in London, Hong Kong and New York. The one constant in her life has been knitting. With advanced degrees both in International Business and Asian studies, Missy is living proof that when the left and right side of the brain collide, brilliance happens!
Christy comes to us from the Dallas Ft. Worth Texas area, moving to Ridgefield just a year ago with her husband, Tom. Christy first started to work with the nancy O crew as part of our Yarn Bombing Team, then helping to decorate our chairs for the Chair-ish Ridgefield event. She is an accomplished crochet and watercolor artist, and since working at the shop, can now add knitting to her list of accomplished skills. A quick study, her first knitting project was a basket weave baby blanket. She’s very knowledgeable in both knitting and crochet and is here to help you plan your next creation, and to help with any challenges you might have with your projects.
Cindy lives in Wilton with her husband and three children. She grew up in Massachusetts near Boston, where she learned to knit as a child. Her knitting interest was reignited while waiting at the bus stop in 2005 with her youngest child Grace (now a Junior at Villanova). One of the other mothers was raving about a new knitting shop in Ridgefield that was giving away yarn to make blankets for Hurricane Katrina victims, so Cindy joined in at nancy O, and has been an avid knitter since that day. Cindy and Grace took a mitten workshop taught by Nancy’s sister Bette, and now, in addition to mittens, Cindy loves knitting Christmas stockings and anything involving cables and colorwork. She has generously shared her love of knitting, teaching the Nuns at Sisters of Notre Dame in Wilton. When not knitting, she can be found walking the beach in Ogunquit, Maine, volunteering at SSND, or walking her beloved “Grandpuppy” in NYC.
Meet Dayna, a Ridgefield resident who hails from Oakville in Ontario, Canada. She has lived in the US since 2004, and has been married to Tim since 1989. She and Tim have 3 sons: Dan who is 23 and working at the Wright Lab at McMaster Univ, Hamilton Ontario; Chris, 21, is attending Queen’s University, Canada; and Brendan, 17, who will be a freshman at Queen’s University this Fall. Dayna learned to knit in 2012, and loves to try new projects and techniques. While not knitting, she loves to bike, swim, and hike with her dog (Buffy, a cocker spaniel rescue from Georgia). She also watches a lot of hockey, football, and soccer with her boys – which gives her extra knitting time, of course!
Cassandra Tonkin, Instructor
Nancy O is excited to announce the arrival of Cassandra Tonkin. With her classes moving breezily between freewheeling fun and the rhythmic click-clack of concentrated needles, you will create gorgeous artisan pieces with Cassandra. It’s not a coincidence. Cassandra uniquely offers just the right combination of creative flair, technical mastery and instructional gifts to produce deeply satisfying learning experiences. An Australian with knowledge of English knitting techniques and Italian fashion aesthetics. In all this is a wider philosophical underpinning. Cassandra strives for excellence in support of her family. Her family is blunter, declaring her a domestic goddess, whilst they wear her cabled-sweaters and devour her scrumptious home baked frangipani pies.
watches a lot of hockey, football, and soccer with her boys – which gives her extra knitting time, of course!
Meet our Alumni
Rachel first stepped into nancy O when she registered her son, Taylor, in knitting classes. Everyone at nancy O immediately fell under the spell of Rachel’s charming personality, quick wit, and incredible mid-Western friendliness. One of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, Rachel lives in nearby Wilton with Jeff, her husband, Taylor who’s a recent graduate of U-Conn, and two cats named Tillie & Mac. Her son, Cody, lives in Virginia. While Rachel is no longer part of the nancy O staff, she will always be a friend to everyone here.
Libbie, who recently worked at nancy O grew up in nearby Old Greenwich, and now lives in Wilton with her husband, Sean, and three children. Shannon recently graduated from Bucknell and is studying for the MCATS, Sean Jr. is entering his Sophomore year at Middlebury, and Collin will be entering Wilton High School this Fall. Three golden retrievers complete the Carroll family: Ginger, Ellie & Chance. Libbie is a yoga enthusiast and avid knitter, and we were lucky to have her on our team until 2016, when family priorities took her from her work at nancy O
Mary Ann Mortati
Nancy met Mary Ann while in the planning stages of opening nancy O. Anyone who knows Mary Ann is not surprised that Mary Ann found out about the shop while striking up a conversation with someone in line at Costco. That person was a family friend who knew of the shop, so the referral was made. Anyone who’s ever been in the shop remembers Mary Ann as someone who could always lift their spirits with her funny personality, warmth and compassionate nature. Mary Ann is no longer with the shop since she’s not living in the area, and we all miss her terribly, but wish her all the best wherever life may take her.