Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Local Yarn Stores

I very rarely have a rant on here but I am going to today. 

I live in a nice little suburban town on the outskirts of London. We have lovely local shops that are in walking distance and cover all your needs - except one - decent YARN! There is a little department store that carries a few balls of yarn, mostly acrylic but at least it's something. 

Then there is a shop that sells yarn and blinds and all sorts of bits and pieces. Again the yarn is mostly acrylic! When you go in the shop it's a total mess and the window display is pathetic at best, it's hardly inviting. The worse thing is that it's more often shut than open, as was the case today, which is really annoying  because I am rarely around in the day.  

I spoke to the owner once about the shop as a business, but she is clueless. She told me she buys in acrylic mostly because that's what the old ladies buy - fine - but what about trying to entice a new generation to take up knitting and crochet? How about a window display based on the gorgeous crochet makes on Attic 24? What about modern knitted garments in the window rather than little old lady knits and dreadful kids jumpers? When I mentioned Ravelry she didn't have a clue what I was talking about. At present she is continuing the stereotype of knitting and crochet being for old ladies. 

As a teacher in a secondary school I know there are lots of young ladies who have been taught to knit and crochet by older relatives. Some wear scarves to school they have made. What about trying to entice them in? A little display of quick and easy festival knits would be good. It is a massive shop so what about having a little seated area with a pot of coffee on the go?

I want to be Alex Polizzi and go in and fix the shop - not for the owner but because I would love a fantastic LYS. 

Oh well - dream on!


  1. I know what you mean! Attic 24 is truly inspirational and with magazines such as Mollie Makes crocheting and knitting is becoming very fashionable so it would make sense to stock products that the younger generation would buy ... the older generation would probably like a change too! xxx

  2. Maybe you could buy the business......imagine rolling in all the fabulous yarn that you would be buying!!!!!!! Its such a shame when your local yarn shop has such a limited stock - hopefully you'll find another local-ish supplier soon x

  3. I part agree and part disagree.

    Your description makes me think of a local shop, its stuffed full of yarn - acryic/acrylic wool mix, still left in their wrapper, on shelves, with a dull display, hardly any room to move and a definate smell of cigarette smoke.

    I also think of 2 other yarn shops I've visited.

    One a little less cramped, with friendly staff who will help you decide on how much yarn you need or suggest what you could make. Yarn covering the range from acrylic to arucania and Noro plus some >£20 a ball yarns in stock too. Something for everyone and run by people who love knitting and crochet, and know about ravelry :)

    The other in London, knowledgeable mostly young fashionable staff who are really helpful, excellent displays but nothing on sale for less than about £6 a ball (I think I bought the cheapest yarn but I may be slightly wrong), no acrylic, definately ravellers, willing to wind skeins into balls for free for you.

    I feel embarassed when I go into yarn shops where I can't afford anything. The ideal yarn shop would be a cross between the two shops...but with a wide range of prices.

    Seated area with a pot of coffee on the go? Sounds wonderful - where do I find such a yarn shop?

    1. Hi

      I agree with you about a mix of yarn - I wanted to go in there to buy white acrylic, I'm not a yarn snob at all. However what annoys me is that she moans about trying to make ends meet etc but her shop is a mess, bin bags full of yarn, old patterns strewn everywhere (and I love vintage patterns), bits of blind propped up here and there and the most awful displays imaginable. The garments on display - well - no one in their right mind would wear them no matter what age you were.

      There are lots of yarn shops that are part cafe and part yarn, I'm not asking for anything as grand as that. Just a shop run by someone who knows and understands what fabulous crafts knitting and crochet are and how they can appeal to any age. As it is, I don't think the shop will last much longer, not selling yarn anyway, it'll probably move over to blinds.

  4. Anywhere north of London? near The Grand Union Canal? We'll give you a shout out in a couple of years time when we next bring The Wool Boat down your way. We try to stock a broad range of yarns from acrylics to merinos and have just got on board some llama based skeins.
    Capt Col The Wool Boat


I really appreciate it if you can take time to comment - I love to read other people's thoughts and ideas.
Take care x

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