Friday, 11 April 2014

Why Should We Love Our Local Yarn Shops?

Because good independent shops are wholeheartedly the best. No questions. Bad ones, on t'other hand (and I've come across a few) are the worst ever. But good ones provide:
  • Expertise
  • Knowledge
  • Passion
  • Dedication
  • Community
  • Personality
  • Friendship
  • Encouragement
  • Personalisation
And much, much more. I love visiting LYS's when I'm out and about, you know this - remember Poole, Ilfracombe, Isle of Wight, Bakewell and York? There's something incredibly special about going to somebody else's little yarn shop - and you just don't get that with the big boys. I think it's the enthusiasm thing, in fact I'm pretty sure that's it. For example, the Bakewell shop, they weren't a proper yarn shop - they had mostly cross stitch and I'm convinced that if I'd have gone in as a cross stitch customer I'd have had a much better experience. I always say that I hate people but I like knitters and crocheters - I'm sure there's nothing special about knitters and crocheters but there's just something about being around people who get it. Yes?

You don't get that at Poundland. Fact.

In fact, I must admit that I'm slightly worried about all the yarn that pops up all over the place. Asda, Sainsbury's, Poundland. Yarn should be savoured, inspiring, special - not just shoved in the trolley. Plus - who the bloody hell will help with a dropped stitch or some tricksy short-rowing when you've bought your yarn from Sainsbury's?! Asda don't write blogs giving you handy advice, or spend their spare time practicing new stitches to teach you, or sympathise and advise when you've gone wrong with a pattern. Wilko's don't care that they sell 5mm needles with dk yarn (though it looks like they might actually be stocking aran now too - only taken nine years to catch up!). Poundworld don't get excited about new patterns and new textures and whether your dye lots match. They don't remember your size and what you crocheted last and whether it suited you. They don't stock sock yarn and patterns and needles and if all of that doesn't work then pop into the lesson.

Moreover, they don't organise bloody brill booze ups! :)

We are dead lucky that Knitty Gritty closed just before we opened - in the nicest sense of the phrase. I think it took a jolt like that for people to remember that local yarn shops are actually shops and businesses and they need money and support to survive. I'm perhaps a bit more outspoken about this than the lovely Lizzie was and I'm quite happy to tell somebody who buys yarn only from Poundland that I'm 'just dead busy at the moment, is there any chance you could ask for advice where you bought it?'. No? Sorry about that. Mwahaha...

Hmmm. I can't work out a way to word that any nicer but I should probably try... little yarn shops (and not just ours but places like Yarn in Beeston and Knitworking in Gedling) are worth supporting for all of the reasons above. Buying yarn from the Poundshop/Asda/Sainsbury's is fine, even good, in the same way that a quick and dirty kebab is good after a night out - but don't go complaining to the yarn shop when the Poundshop/Asda/Sainsbury's yarn starts hurting your tummy. Ahhhh, I'm giving up on the analogy. I'm almost certainly preaching to the converted with you lovely blog readers. Come celebrate with us???

So here's the bit where I get to show off. I'm going to let the quotes speak for themselves because most of them made me well up. *blub blub blub*

Singing Bird Artist:

"the shop of rainbows! the shop of squashed in together laughter as we knitted big issue blanket squares! the shop of sharing homemade treats around the bus to Yarndale! so much laughter and sharing and helpful advice to newbies and advice and encouragement and friendly welcomes and chatty blogposts and a boyf who sent flowers to the shop customers! wowza, beat that!"

Bethan Davies:
"Your shop is pretty much my favourite place to go in Nottingham! You are so welcoming to your customers and have been so helpful to me since I started learning to knit and crochet. Likewise you have given me the confidence to try new things that I otherwise would not have done - I'm so close to finishing those socks!"

(and she finished them!!! 


Sue Richardson: 

"Entering the shop is like entering a cocoon (albeit a slightly mad one) - you just feel enveloped by warmth and positivity. Just realised this sounds very New Age:) what I'm trying to say is that Eleanor makes me believe I can tackle anything, after all it's just sticks and string."

Alex Walls:

"Welcoming, friendly and so so helpful whether it's choosing yarn, patterns or just general chit chat the best yarn shop ever oh and real value for money workshops! X"


 And just to cheer us all up here's my pick of the best things that have happened over the last three and a half years:

We opened on the 4th of September 2010.

The shop was tidy.

We went to the Bead Shop's first Bead Show with half of the shop...

We got a tonne more yarn. 

I met Verity. 

And we started selling online. 

We got royal wedding memorabilia. 

Celebrated our first World Wide Knit In Public day. 

And had our FIRST BIRTHDAY! Awwww!!!

And properly out of sync now because I've no idea when all of this happened... 

I got famous by being on Sky News (and the Charlie Brooker!)

My fame spread and we did some proper filming for SkillMeOnline. 

Then I got so famous I got to shout at politicians! 

We had a second birthday party.

A third birthday party (where Steph got preeeeeeetty drunk). 

 We did some charity-ing for the Big Issue and made loads of squares and raised loads of money. 

More knitting in public. :)

King Cole produced some AMAZING patterns. 

I produced two AMAZING jumpers. 

And I bought an AMAZING price gun. Which I've now lost. 

We had many....

 Many... successful lessons. :)

And introduced some of you, perhaps for the first time, to some brilliantly talented WAHM's. Like Nicola from Fleabubs and:

Who was busy with a rather important WIP during 2013 who blossomed into a beautiful FO a few months ago: 


We took you to Yarndale last year to meet more little independents and we're taking you again this year. :)

We made the most of our ridiculously talented friends. 

And made more ridiculously talented friends... all the way from CANADA!!!

And because of all of this, we travelled to London... 

To collect our award from Best Independent Yarn Shop in the Midlands. THANK YOU, THANK YOU and THANK YOU AGAIN for voting for us. :)

More recently we went a bit neon mad.

And found a Boyf who appreciated that. 

And kinda based our Christmas decorations around it...

 But lastly, and most importantly, we met you lot and got inspired and awestruck by all the incredible things that you make with our yarn. LOVE! 

Actually, this might be a bit more important: 

We introduced you to the Selbutruse pattern. 

You can't tell me that bloody Asda, Sainsbury's, Poundland, Poundworld or Wilko's would have done half of that?

Love your independent shops and come and enjoy the day with us on the 3rd of May 2014.

Love Eleanor.


  1. i only wish you was closer id spend my days off sitting knitting or hooking with you what a fab blog x

  2. This post made me blub and I've not even been into the shop yet! I feel like I know you and your customers so well just from reading your blog. Big up LYS and Knit Nottingham! Zoë xx

  3. Will always treasure the day I kinda fell into your shop after being very nervous walking around Nottingham on my own! Even though I can't visit you so happy I can shop on line!
    Margaret from Perth Western Australia