Needless to say when I find a fabulous store that offers great service, modern yarns (preferably British) and I find myself salivating over the choice of patterns (oh which to knit first?) I'm in seventh heaven. A town I used to live in, Leamington Spa, had a great quirky yarn store called Web of Wool that specialised in sock knitting. The owner, Anna, was always on hand to recommend wool and patterns and help me out with any tricky stitches I wasn't sure about. She changed the shop window to reflect events and the seasons. Sadly the shop began opening intermittently and then shut its doors permanently. It's still there but in rather a Miss Haversham state.
baa ram ewe during a family visit to Harrogate, North Yorkshire, I was back in my, although rather expensive, element. A whole wall stocked with modern yarn! Knitted up samples to try before you buy! The latest releases of pattern books by British designers! A trendy, comfy sofa that I recognised from the made.com website!
The shop specialises in higher end rather than bargain basement knitting. Whilst this doesn't come cheap it means that the knitter ends up with a quality garment to treasure rather than a bit of Chinese acrylic that will be fit for the bin after a couple of hand washes.
There must be so many quality local, independent yarn shops around the country that would set my heart racing. Here are three that are on my 'to visit' list:
- Loop. I've heard great things about this shop based in Islington, London. It has had good reviews in the knitting press and stocks a good selection of small, indie yarn brands as well as the bigger names. Its website leaves a lot to be desired, being hard to navigate round and find you want, therefore this for me is definitely a shop to visit in person and perhaps take one of its knitting classes on offer.
- Purl & Jane Knitting Emporium. I'll hopefully visit this Skipton store in September when I go to the Yarndale festival in the town. Its website is enticing and colourful and the shop only sells natural yarns - a great plus in my book. The yarn range is quite limited but Purl & Jane's own brand yarn is on my 'to buy' list, it being British and spun in Yorkshire.
- Marmalade Yarns. Frome in Somerset is a picturesque town I've never visited. As well as having a fun name, Marmalade Yarns champions smaller British brands such as Susan Crawford's Excelana. The shop's website, at the time of publishing this blog post, was out of date and basic, with little enticement to buy. However, get me in the bricks and mortar shop and I reckon my credit card would be out in a flash!