LYS Spotlight – Unwind Yarn House

This month I am very pleased to introduce a lovely yarn store in Ontario, Canada, called Unwind Yarn House. It is in a suburb called Newmarket where one of my dearest friends, Amanda, lives now and where my great-Aunt Margaret used to live when she was first married after emigrating to North America from the UK. When visiting my friends and family in autumn 2012, I popped in to Unwind Yarn House with Amanda because I needed some new DPNs for the project I had taken away with me on holiday. I never pass up the chance to visit a new yarn store! I chatted for a while with the owner, Michele, who was really friendly, welcoming and helpful, and left with exactly the needles I had wanted. Perfect!

Unwind Yarn House
232 Main Street South
Newmarket
Ontario
L3Y 3Z5
Canada

Phone
(905)954-1153

Website
www.unwindyarnhouse.com
Please visit our website for a list of classes and events, and to shop on line.

Email
info@unwindyarnhouse.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Unwind-Yarn-House/112715952099116
Pinterest: Unwind Yarn House
Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/groups/unwinders

Opening Hours
Mon: Noon – 4:00pm (Closed MAY – AUG)
Tue: 10:00am – 7:00pm
Wed: 10:00am – 7:00pm
Thu: 10:00am – 9:00pm
Fri: 10:00am – 6:00pm
Sat: 10:00am – 6:00pm
Sun: 1:00pm – 5:00pm

How did you first get interested in knitting / crochet / yarn crafts?
I started knitting when I was about 5 years old.  My Mom was a Home Economics teacher, when such a thing existed, and was always knitting, crocheting or sewing something.  It was inevitable that it would rub off on me.  She showed me how to be creative and I love to knit because of her.

Do you have one favourite project that you’ve created?
I have plenty of favourite projects but my most recent favourite is the entrelac shawl that I knit with Noro Silk Garden.  It was totally addictive and I can’t wait to make another one in different colours.

Dreambird

Tell us about how your first got involved with the business?
Unwind Yarn House was started by Wendy about 8 years ago.  Back then, I taught a few classes for her in the evenings and filled in from time to time when she needed extra help. I loved hanging out at the store and hardly missed knitting night.  After living for a few years in France, one of my first stops when I returned to Canada was to my LYS, and I couldn’t believe it when Wendy asked me if I wanted to buy the store.  Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d own a yarn shop, but here I am a year later, living my dream!

Give us an idea of the yarn range that you stock.
Unwind Yarn House stocks a wide range of yarns from around the world, but we like to highlight hand dyed yarns from indie dyers and Canadian produced and dyed yarns. Some names you may recognize are Debbie Bliss, Noro, Bergere de France, Madeline Tosh, Misti Alpaca, Louet, Regia, Cascade, Sublime, Berroco, Malabrigo, and Rowan.  Other less familiar yarns that we carry are Biscote & Cie, Dyeversion, Americo, Tanis Fibre Arts, Hand Maiden, Fleece Artist, Sweet Paprika, HPKY, Spud & Chloe, Sweater Kits and of course our local favourite, Koigu. Our newest find is Big Loop Merino by Loopy Mango in New Your City. IT’S HUGE!!! and uses 25mm needles!!! Can’t wait for our first shipment to arrive in the next few weeks.

Big Loopy Merino

Do you stock patterns, magazines or books? And what about other knitting and crochet supplies?
We carry big name pattern books and magazines such as Vogue Knitting and Interweave, but the most popular patterns are those from Cocoknits.  Their designs are current and we have a hard time keeping them in stock.  We also stock a wide range of knitting and crocheting accessories from Soak, Lantern Moon, Addi Turbo, Knitter’s Pride and Clover.

Are there any courses or other events that crafters can attend at your store?
Unwind Yarn House has always given knitting classes at all levels. Our summer promotion of Learn to Knit or Learn to Crochet for only $5 was a hit, and I think we got more that a few people hooked.  Our fall schedule still has the basics, but we also have wet felting, hand dyeing, toe up socks, cables, entrelac, crocheted baskets for beginners…the list goes on.  We’re always looking for new projects to teach.

We also have Knit A-Longs.  Our current KAL project is the Beekeepers Quilt, found on Ravelry.  It’s a great way to use up odds and ends of sock yarn.

Beekeeper
This fall, we’ll be appearing at several shows:
Kitchener-Waterloo Knitters’ Fair, Sat, September 14th, 2013, in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
http://www.kwknittersguild.ca/fair/
Woodstock Fleece Festival, Sat, October 19th, 2013, Woodstock, Ontario, Canada
http://www.fleecefestival.com/
Creative Festival, October 25th, 26th, & 27th, 2013, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
http://www.csnf.com/

Could you give us a little introduction to the rest of the team at your store?
We have a great mix of people here at Unwind. Sheila has been here since before my time and is not only a knitter, but our crochet expert. Dawn is “Mrs. high energy”, and is always available to help people when they drop a stitch or can’t understand a pattern.  Deanna has the biggest smile you’ve ever seen and is truly interested in helping you find the perfect yarn for your project. Fiona floats in from time to time to teach and fill in when someone goes on vacation, and has been a fixture in the store since it opened.

What do you enjoy most about running a local yarn store?
The best part of owning a yarn shop is talking to people all day.  I don’t know any other place where I could sit and chat all day and not get fired.  I get to know a lot about my customers and I love it when people just want to stop in and say hi, not to just buy yarn.

What do you think makes your store special to a potential customer?
What sets us apart from other yarn shops is our service. We all love what we do,  and we enjoy our customers.

And finally, describe your store in three words…
Colourful
Inviting
Inspirational

With such enthusiastic staff and so much going on in-store, I can’t recommend Unwind enough if you are in the Ontario area. Even if you are just visiting on holiday!

LYS Spotlight – Ewe Wool Shop

I recently received this recommendation via the LYS Spotlight suggestion form:

Rachel has transformed this tiny little shop, the only yarn shop in Stamford, into a veritable slice of yarn heaven. It is packed with gorgeous yarns, patterns and kits, but without feeling cramped. She is very friendly and helpful, and it is a joy to visit. ~Libby

With such glowing praise arriving in my inbox, I simply had to get in touch with the owner, Rachel. Here, in her own words, is what Ewe Wool Shop is all about.

Ewe Wool Shop
17c St Mary’s Street
Stamford
Lincolnshire
PE9 2DG

Phone
01780 765351

Website
Coming soon…!

Email
i_love_ewe@ymail.com

Facebook and Ravelry coming soon too!

Opening Hours
10am till 4pm Tuesday – Friday
10am till 5pm Saturday

 

How did you first get interested in knitting / crochet / yarn crafts?
My mum and 3 older sisters all knitted so when I was about 5 I wanted to do what they were all doing and I made a scarf from all odds and ends. I remember it well they were all fans of Patricia Roberts so my first project was made from her yarn. It grew from there really, I made a baby jumper, Sindy doll clothes, my dog a coat and then when I was about fourteen I couldn’t find any fashionable knitting patterns so I adapted and wrote my own. I made my friends and my sisters all fair isle mohair ( it was the late 1980’s!!) jumpers.

Luckily Rowan started then and my family and friends were saved from my creations!! I remember when I went to live in America in my early 20’s cramming all my knitting projects in my suitcase only to find Rowan was big over there and there was a fantastic yarn store in St Paul. I stopped knitting for a few years when I worked long hours but then when I was pregnant couldn’t resist the first baby cashmerino book and made several things from it.

Do you have one favourite project that you’ve created? Tell us about it…
I wrote a scarf pattern for a friend’s husband from a sketch of what he wanted. It is all different cables and the sides of the scarf go in and out because the edge is cabled. It is in my favourite yarn, Rowan Cocoon.

Cable Scarf

I am really enjoying knitting in Debbie Bliss Pure Silk. I have adapted the pattern to suit me and I can’t wait to finish it later so I can see if it’s  worked!

Tell us about how your store first began…
My job in further education was getting in the way of my knitting! So I decided to quit and open a shop. My store began in Fineshade Forest at a forestry commission site, it was very small but I knew if I wanted to expand I would need to move into the Stamford area where I also live. A property came up to rent which had previously been a haberdashery store and I took on the lease in November 2012 and opened in December.

Give us an idea of the yarn range that you stock…
Rowan, Debbie Bliss, Patons, Regia, King Cole and Noro.

Do you stock patterns, magazines or books? And what about other knitting and crochet supplies?
I have a range of single patterns which are mainly King Cole and Patons, booklets which are Debbie Bliss and Rowan, and published books such as The Amazing Kaleidoscope from Debbie Abrahams. I also stock Jane Crowfort Knitting Bags, needles, crochet hooks and all knitting accessories.

Are there any courses or other events that crafters can attend at your store?
Debbie Abrahams is doing a “design your own blanket” course on 22nd September
Sarah Hatton is doing a finishing techniques workshop on 4th November and a lace knitting workshop on 22nd January
I will also be running a Learn To Knit and Learn To Crochet course, dates to be confirmed.
Please ring or email for details

Could you give us a little introduction to the rest of the team at your store?
I am very lucky to have a brilliant team of 4, 3 of whom are volunteers!

Amanda my sister helps me in the shop and with my accounts. She is not only a fantastic knitter and crocheter but a qualified accountant, she also helped me at my first shop.

Eileen is an amazing knitter and has been knitting all her life, her knitted garments inspire the customers.

Frances is also great at knitting and has worked in retail all her life, working in Liberty’s yarn and fabric department and running her own chain of bag shops. She loves knitting and sewing, and is very good at both.

Carole is great at knitting and loves it. She hadn’t knitted for a few years but has got back into it in the last year or so.

They are all excellent in customer service and help with all knitting problems and teaching people to knit. I am very lucky to have them.

Ewe Wool Shop Interior

What do you enjoy most about running a local yarn store?
I enjoy meeting the customers and chatting about their projects – lots of my customers are now friends. I love seeing like-minded people enjoying the yarn and showing me what they have made as well. And when the shop is closed I just enjoy looking at all the yarn for inspiration.

What do you think makes your store special to a potential customer?
We cater for all budgets and abilities. The friendly, helpful staff and after sales care. If any one has a problem they can come in for advice and sit on the sofa and knit.

And finally, describe your store in three words…
Friendly, Colourful and Inspiring.

Ewe Wool Shop Exterior

With a team of such fabulous knitters on-hand to help at any time, exciting courses being offered from big names in knitting, and a fantastic range of yarn for sale, it sounds like Ewe Wool Shop is the place to be!

LYS Spotlight – K2tog / Cucumber Patch

Today I would like to introduce local yarn store owner Jane of K2tog (store) and Cucumber Patch (website). Jane owns not one, but two stores in the same town!

K2tog
59 & 63 High Street
Wolstanton
Newcastle under Lyme
Staffordshire
ST5 OER
UK

Phone
01782 862 332

Website
http://cucumberpatch.co.uk
Online yarn ordering available

Email
sales@cucumberpatch.co.uk

Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/pages/k2tog-Cucumberpatch/187770945859

How did you first get interested in knitting?
My Grandma taught me how to knit when I was 6. A year later we had knitting at school and I was very proud of my near perfect dishcloth!

Do you have one favourite project that you’ve created? Tell us about it…
My best knitting experience was making a Colinette Absolutely Fabulous throw. From winding the skeins into balls through to knotting the tassels on the finished item was an absolute joy.

Colinette Absolutely Fabulous ThrowColinette Absolutely Fabulous Throw

Tell us about how your store first began…
I opened the shop in 2001. The last of the local shops had closed but I felt sure there were still knitters out there just like me who needed a wool shop.

I noticed that you have not one, but two stores, and that they are on the same street! How did this interesting situation come about?
We increased our stock dramatically over the first few years and we needed a bigger shop. A second shop seemed the best option!

Give us an idea of the yarn range that you stock…
Rowan, Debbie Bliss, Hanne Falkenberg, Colinette, Araucania, Manos, Wendy, Robin, Twilleys, Sirdar, Rico, Katia, Stylecraft and more…

Yarn Stock

Do you stock patterns, magazines or books? And what about other knitting and crochet supplies?
Yes we have hundreds of patterns and booklets along with a huge number of published books.

Are there any courses or other events that crafters can attend at your store?
We don’t offer workshops but we are always happy to help when needed.

Could you give us a little introduction to the rest of the team at your store?
Daniel is our mail order guy. Lynne and Jacqui have a vast knowledge of knitting and crochet and are always there to help customers in the shop.

What do you enjoy most about running a local yarn store?
After all these years I still get excited when a delivery arrives. I love opening the boxes.

What do you think makes your store special to a potential customer?
We always do our very best to help and advise. Our aim is Happy knitters.

And finally, describe your store in three words…
Colourful, Friendly, Exciting.

K2tog Store

You can see from the photos that the K2tog stores (yes, not one but two!) are a riot of colour and texture. Who wouldn’t want to dive into those wonderful piles of yarn?

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!

LYS Spotlight – Knit Nottingham

Today I would like to introduce a local yarn store owner who is very dear to my heart, Eleanor of Knit Nottingham.

Knit Nottingham
91 Mansfield Road
Nottingham
NG1 3FN
UK

Phone
(0115) 9474239

Website
www.knitnottingham.co.uk
Online yarn ordering available

Email
knit@knitnottingham.co.uk

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/knitnottingham
Twitter https://twitter.com/Knitnottingham
Ravelry http://www.ravelry.com/groups/knit-nottingham
Mailing List http://knitnottingham.co.uk/mailinglist.html

Opening Hours
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.
Laminaria Shawl

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.
Crochet Blanket

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:
http://www.knitnottingham.co.uk/workshops.html

Four week knitting and crochet lessons at Lenton Library taught by yours truly, starting on the 19th of June at 10am:
http://www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1087

Knit In Public Picnic at the Arboretum in conjunction with Knit In Notts at the Arboretum on the 16th of June at noon:
https://www.facebook.com/events/161904480644439/?fref=ts

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:
http://knit-nottingham.blogspot.co.uk/

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:
http://knit-nottingham.blogspot.co.uk/
or join us on the mailing list:
http://knitnottingham.co.uk/mailinglist.html

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.

June’s here on a Monday, she’s in charge of our social media (in reality it’s mainly me ranting). She’s a fabulous knitter who specialises in cables and lace and she’s got a wicked sense of humour.
Eleanor and June

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.

Knit Nottingham

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!

Coming Soon – LYS Spotlight

Any knitter’s best friend should definitely be their local yarn store owner; these lovely people are always there to help us when we’re agonising over yarn choices, stuck with unintelligible patterns, or in desperate need of just the right size of needles 5 minutes before closing time. Where would we be without them? And yet, despite the friendly and personal service we get from these dedicated store owners, many small stores feel the difficulty of competing against the big businesses with their seemingly bottomless resources and huge online logistical solutions.

To help redress the balance, I will be running a regular feature where I’ll get to know some local yarn stores and the hard-working people behind them, so that we can all find out why our local yarn stores are so brilliant and most definitely worth supporting.

I have a few stores already in the pipeline for this feature but I would love to hear any suggestions for more stores to include in future. If you shop at a local yarn store that you love, or work for a local yarn store yourself, use the LYS Spotlight Suggestion Form to nominate a store.

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