Today I would like to introduce a local yarn store owner who is very dear to my heart, Eleanor of Knit Nottingham.
91 Mansfield Road
Online yarn ordering available
Mailing List http://knitnottingham.co.uk/mailinglist.html
Monday – Saturday
10.30am – 6.30pm
How did you first get interested in knitting?
Well, I was about 16, it was October and I was bored at college so I popped into Wilkos and bought some 5mm needles and some cream and lilac yarn. I cast on 200 stitches which I thought would be perfect for a scarf – turns out 200 stitches is about single bed width. I persevered all day and when I got home I got a phone call from my cousin telling me that she was pregnant! So the very next day I popped into John Lewis and bought a baby book that I have to this day to make hats and booties. My mum taught me to purl and I was off!
Do you have one favourite project that you’ve created? Tell us about it…
OOOOOOOH that’s a difficult one! There are a few I suppose. I made a beautiful Laminaria Shawl in gold about four or five years ago and it’s still the most beautiful thing that’s ever come out of my fingers.
I also loved making my strawberry dress which has a knitted bodice and a sewn bottom. The bodice is really fitted and fits me perfectly. It has little straps that tie at the top and I lined them with the strawberry fabric. The first pattern I successfully made up! It was also the project I was working on when Lizzie from Knitty Gritty asked me to teach her lessons for her which was my legup into professional knitting! And I also ought to give a mention to my mental crochet granny blanket. This was the blanket where I really learned to crochet which has become such a massive part of my life recently. It used all of my scraps and not a single square is the same. It had been a long term project (about two years) and then we opened the shop and I had to get it finished (crocheted, ends sewn in, sewn up and edged) in about two weeks. Mental! But I use it almost every day. Lovely.
Tell us about how your store first began…
Well, Lizzie from Knitty Gritty decided to close her shop after a year or so and at the same time a short term contract of mine was coming to a close. A couple of friends and I were talking about what we would do differently if we were in charge of Knitty Gritty and then all of a sudden that became an option! It was sort of do or die and we did!!!
Give us an idea of the yarn range that you stock…
We concentrate on affordable and reasonably priced yarns. That’s the first thing that’s in my mind when a rep comes to see me. When I say reasonably priced, it doesn’t mean that it’s the cheapest (we’ve got Wilko’s for that), it mean that I think it’s worth the money and on top of that it’s got to be in the middle range. Handspun, hand dyed, unicorn fluff may be reasonably priced at £50 but that’s not our affordable price range.
So, with that in mind we have the biggest range that we can stuff into the nooks and crannies of our tiny shop. We have 2-ply through to super-super-chunky and everything in between. We have acrylics, merinos, bamboo, cotton and plenty of polyamide (for socks!). We have self stripers and plain, sequinned and slubbed, mercerised and soft as a baby’s bum. There’s never been a project that I’ve not been able to find an alternative for in three years (whether the customer wants it is another matter…).
Do you stock patterns, magazines or books? And what about other knitting and crochet supplies?
We so indeed stock patterns, magazines and books. The patterns and books are mainly King Cole with a choice selection of Patons thrown in. I’m a little selective with my patterns and won’t stock things that won’t suit anyone but I try and have a range for everybody, babies, kids, mens, womens, accessories and homeware. I’d say I buy about 90% of King Cole’s patterns and then keep the good sellers in for the long term. I also ought to point out that we buy every single King Cole Crochet pattern without doubt because crochet patterns are so hard to get hold of!!! We also have other knitting and crochet supplies – needles, hooks, DPNS, circulars, stitch holders, cable needles, stitch markets etc., etc. Pretty much anything you can think of we have – but all reasonable priced and affordable – we won’t be stocking Signature needles any time soon for example…
Are there any courses or other events that crafters can attend at your store?
Blimey O’Reilly – what a question! There’s a LOT so I’ll keep it short and sweet:
Knitting and Crochet lessons almost every week taught by yours truly:
Four week knitting and crochet lessons at Lenton Library taught by yours truly, starting on the 19th of June at 10am:
Knit In Public Picnic at the Arboretum in conjunction with Knit In Notts at the Arboretum on the 16th of June at noon:
A trip to the Yarndale Fibre Festival in Skipton on the 28th of September (only two spaces left):
Ring us to book on (0115) 9474239.
Some sort of MASSIVE fundraising event at a pub/bar in the centre of town in August/September-ish time. Keep an eye out on the blog here:
And this is the big one – Amy Singer of Knitty.com will be coming over from Canada to teach some lessons for little ol’ us!!! Can you believe that!? Again, keep an eye out on the blog:
or join us on the mailing list:
Could you give us a little introduction to the rest of the team at your store?
Ooh there are a few of us. Liese and Sue are technically partners but you won’t see much of either of them.
You’ll also see the lovely Verity around if you’re in the shop during the week. I can’t really say she’s part of the team but she’s a brilliant crocheter with her own little business Truly Hooked and she’s always helping customers when I’m busy.
What do you enjoy most about running a local yarn store?
It sounds like a cliché but every day is different! I get such a satisfaction from helping people with their projects – finding the right yarn, working out a weird little stitch, resizing garments and I’m always amazed at the scope of the different projects people bring to me. Just last week there was a woman trying to design a series of jumpers she saw at the David Bowie exhibition at London and we found a spot on yarn for her and I showed her how to do the magic loop technique to get the sleeves just as she wanted.
What do you think makes your store special to a potential customer?
We’re the only independent knitting shop in the centre of Nottingham! We open odd hours so you can get in after work and it’s usually me here so you get a personalised service. I don’t remember names but I remember projects so you won’t be forgotten. I’m especially interested in design and changing things up a bit and I have every confidence that any knitter or crocheter can make a design work for them so I’m always helping people redesign or mess around a little with a pattern to make it perfect for them. I guess it’s specialist knowledge in a tiny little shop that’s crammed full of all of the best things in life.
And finally, describe your store in three words…
Tiny, Full, Fun.
So there you go! I can attest to the fact that Eleanor is a LOT of fun and that I have never heard anyone ask her a knitting question that she didn’t have a brilliant answer for so, if you are in the area, don’t hesitate to visit Knit Nottingham.
Do you shop at a local yarn store that you love, or work for a local yarn store? Why not suggest a store that we could feature via the LYS Spotlight Suggestion Form!