Thursday, 26 June 2014

Shop Profile: Fringe

The last of our new shops for this year's yarn crawl is Fringe, located on Alexandra Palace Road in Muswell Hill. Set in the middle of a row of lovely shops and cafes, Fringe has a wide range of products to tempt Yarn Crawlers, ranging from yarns to ribbons to knitted jewelry and sweater kits. 

How would you describe your shop's atmosphere in three words?
Welcoming, Inspiring and Calm.

What makes you different from other yarn stores?
Fringe is a shop, workshop and gallery space. As well as stocking yarns made from natural fibres, we also champion work by UK designer-makers and encourage local people to take up heritage crafts in our range of workshops.

What is the most popular type of yarn or product that you carry?
Rowan yarns are popular with both beginner knitters and those with more experience. MillaMia merino is especially favoured by our customers who like to knit for babies and children - it also makes really lovely garments for adults. 

Aside from the yarn, we’ve found that our knitted and crocheted wire jewellery is always much admired - the maker Suraya Hossain also provides kits and teaches workshops with us.

What expertise or classes do you offer to your customers?
Every member of the Fringe team has a different craft skill, so we are fortunate to be able to offer daily advice to our customers on an array of knitting, crochet, sewing and felting skills. This know-how is reflected in our range of workshops for children and adults which cover a variety of knitting and crochet skills from the basics through to working with cables, knitting lace and colourwork techniques. There are sewists amongst us who teach needlecrafts and dressmaking, plus we welcome independent tutors with specialist skills in heritage crafts like rug making and basketry.

What is notable about your part of town/your location?
We are located on a vibrant row of Edwardian shops on the fringes of Muswell Hill. From an artisan deli and café to galleries, a music shop and a gastro pub we are based on an attractive parade amongst likeminded retailers who seek to promote creativity in a variety of ways. 

Friday, 20 June 2014

Shop Profile: Wild & Woolly

Our next shop profile is of the newest kid on the block of London's knitting scene. Wild & Woolly opened in Clapton in May of this year. Charming displays in crate boxes on the walls change often to keep things fresh and wares from local London indie-dyers' Kettle Yarn Co. and TravelKnitter have a place alongside more commonly known brands such as West Yorkshire Spinners, Rico, and Cascade 220. Shop owner Anna has created a really warm and inviting shop!

How would you describe your shops atmosphere in three words?
Inspiring, supportive, welcoming.

What makes you different from other yarn stores?
Well, the two main constraints I'm placing on stock are that I'm sticking as far as possible with natural fibres, and that I've got a decent range at all price levels. And then of course I'm also trying to get in interesting yarns from British breeds and independent dyers and spinners. So far so normal!

For the rest I really want my shop to make people feel like they want to knit and that they can do it - that it's for them, it's affordable and that I can help them through the obstacles. At any time of day I commonly have people just hanging out here doing their knitting. I see it as a space not that different from the barber shop next door where the locals are just as likely to come and 'chew the fat' as they are to get a shave.

What is the most popular type of yarn or product that you carry?
A bit too early to say. Generally, the Cascade Heritage (sock) and 220 has been very popular, the West Yorkshire Spinners BFL, Rico Essentials DK and Big. Everyone loves TownEnd Alpaca and the Louisa Harding Amitola has also gone done well.

What expertise or classes do you offer to your customers?
So far, I've only run beginners knitting classes but I'm hoping to do classes for making tea cosies, lamp shares, sweaters, cables, fair isle and lace later in the year. My expertise is based on knitting since I was a child, fairly obsessionally since I was a teenager, and several years doing the City and Guilds Hand Knitting craft and design course.

What is notable about your part of town/your location?
It's quite a diverse neighbourhood with lots of seriously experienced knitting grannies, many for the Caribbean, Turkey and other cultures throughout eastern Europe. Then there are the more recent arrivals, more affluent young mums interested in taking up knitting for lifestyle reasons - wanting to create a better balance between screen time and personal creativity. The grannies are the more avid knitters, but the younger women are more experimental with yarn. :)

And having visited the shop as part of our GLYC reconnaissance we can tell you that there's a FABULOUS coffee shop right next door if you fancy a cuppa when you're visiting Wild & Woolly!

Friday, 13 June 2014

Shop profile: Stitch Up

Our second new addition is the fabulous Stitch Up in Wimbledon Park, just steps away from the Wimbledon Park tube station on the District Line. Sandie, the owner of Stitch Up, started off in the fabric world, and her charming shop is full of delightful fabric, haberdashery and some lovely yarns including Colinette, Malabrigo, and arriving shortly, John Arbon's Knit by Numbers. They also hold classes and workshops for adults and children in crochet, knitting, quilting, sewing and more!  

How would you describe your shop's atmosphere in three words?
 Vibrant, quirky & friendly.

What makes you different from other yarn stores?
Our enthusiastic & friendly staff are always happy to help with our specially selected range of yarns, fabrics, haberdashery and crafty gifts.

What is the most popular type of yarn or product that you carry?
Our most popular yarns are Malabrigo Worsted and Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino.

What expertise or classes do you offer to your customers?
 We offer classes and individual tuition in quilting, dressmaking, crochet & knitting. Our lively Knit & Knatter group meets every Monday afternoon and we hold a variety of children’s classes during the holidays.

What is notable about your part of town/your location?
 Wimbledon is a leafy enclave of parks and common, well known for its annual tennis tournament. Stitch-up is located in a parade of independent shops & cafes just on the edge of Wimbledon Park.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Refuge needs your knitting skills!

The 2014 edition of the Great London Yarn Crawl is barely less then six months away, and there's been a lot of planning going on behind the scenes here at HQ. One project that we'd like to introduce you to is a charity knitting call for Refuge, our charity partner in this community-building woolly endeavour.

Refuge, as many of you already know, is a non-profit organization in London that provides support and services to women and children who have been subjected to domestic violence. We contacted them to see if they might be interested in receiving donations of warm and toasty knitted items for their shelters, and the response was enthusiastic! And we know that you knitters out there are warm and wonderful people who know that the gift of a hat, or a pair of mittens, or a scarf, is one that can mean so much more to someone in need then just an item of clothing.

Here's what we're looking for:
  • warm accessories in a range of sizes, from babies to adults
  • in a perfect world, they'd love mittens and hats for the wee ones, scarves and hats for older children, and scarf and hat sets for the women.
Any items that you can knit up over the next few months will be very gratefully received. We will collect everything at the PPQ after-party on 20 September, and take the donations over to Refuge to be distributed to their shelters. As an added incentive, every item donated will earn you an extra entry into the grand prize raffle drawing at the after-party. What is the grand prize raffle drawing you ask? Well, that will be detailed in a later post, but suffice to say it will be more than a door prize and super full of extra fabulous goodies.

If you'd like to knit something up, but aren't able to do it out of your own stash, please contact us - we have come into a supply of yarn that would be perfect for charity knitting, and we are happy to pass it along to you for this purpose. Email us at greatlondonyarncrawl AT gmail DOT com with the subject line "Charity Yarn" and we will get back to you.

If you're in need of some new patterns to try out to get your knitting mojo flowing, Rachel is offering a discount on any of her hat/scarf/mitten patterns on Ravelry. Just enter the coupon code "GLYC2014" in the appropriate place when you check out to get 15% off the purchase price - this promotion will run up until GLYC 2014, on 20th September.

We hope you are all doing well, and looking forward to this year's event. We certainly are!

Friday, 6 June 2014

Shop Profile: Mrs. Moon

Joining the Great London Yarn Crawl for the first time this year is Mrs. Moon. Located in zone 4 in charming St Margarets, this wonderful shop is run by sisters Karen and Susan. There's something for everyone here: Blue Sky Alpacas and Spud & Chloe, MillaMia, SweetGeorgia, and a good selection of Rowan too. They even have their own in-house yarn launched earlier this year - Plump! It's a super bulky blend of merino and alpaca that feels like a little cloud!

The colourful yarn-y delights that await you at Mrs. Moon!

How would you describe your shop's atmosphere in three words?
Friendly, relaxed, fun.

What makes you different from other yarn stores?
I'm not sure. I think shops are made by the people who work in them and we have lovely people who work for us. Everyone is very relaxed, knowledgeable, but doesn't take anything too seriously. We hope that people find Mrs. Moon a lovely place to shop.

Susan and Karen are the friendly faces behind Mrs. Moon.

What is the most popular type of yarn or product that you carry?
That varies from season to season... knitters can be quite a fickle lot! Blue Sky's yarns are always popular because they are such incredible fibres. And of course our own Mrs. Moon Plump is popular too!

Plump is Mrs. Moon's latest offering - their own signature in-house brand of yarn.

What expertise or classes do you offer to your customers?
We teach crochet and knitting from beginner to advanced techniques. Most popular are our one-to-one classes that can be any time during the week. We teach anything in these... it might be finishing something off or learning something new.

What is notable about your part of town/your location?
St Margarets is a beautiful part of London that hugs the Thames at its prettiest point. We are lucky to be surrounded by fabulous independent cafés, restaurants and shops. We are a ten minute walk from Richmond and Twickenham and benefit from all they have to offer...(in Twickenham's case it helps if you like rugby!).

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Ch-ch-changes! You asked, we answered! What's new for 2014!

June is upon us, and it's time to start updating you on all the exciting things we have in store for this year's edition of the GLYC! There are a bunch of changes upcoming, so let's get right into the details.

More shops!
You asked for more shops, and we are thrilled to say that we've found some great ones to add to the GLYC line-up. We're expanding into zone 4 this year with four new shops joining us - Mrs. Moon (Twickenham), Stitch Up (Wimbledon Park), Fringe (Muswell Hill) and the brand new Wild & Woolly (Clapton). We are so excited to have them joining us! Over the next few weeks we will profile each shop to give you a few more details about what they have to offer. We hope you'll enjoy visiting them!

More routes!

The inclusion of four more shops means we are offering more routes then last year's edition. One of the consistent themes from the feedback we got after GLYC 2013 was that the groups were a bit big for some of the shops - this year, each route will have a maximum of 10 participants (plus two volunteers). Don't worry - we're going to have nine different routes available, so you'll have plenty to choose from and there will be room for everyone!

Nine routes also means we're going to be looking for more volunteers, so if you're interested in being a route leader, please let us know by emailing us at with the subject line "2014 Volunteer". One of us will get back to you as soon as we can. In the meantime, check our our volunteer job description so that you know everything that is involved in the role on the day - and leading up to the event.

More ways to support Refuge!

We've also been looking for ways to maximise the amount of money raised for Refuge, who is our charity partner again this year. Based on feedback from last year, and a lot of brainstorming, we've come up with a few ways to do this:

  • no longer including a travel card with each GLYC ticket;
  • having a raffle for a very special prize basket of goodies;
  • and doing some charity knitting for Refuge to benefit their clients.

Looking at our expenses from last year, the travel cards were our single biggest expense. Many of you chose to use your own Oyster cards or have your travel card included with the price of your train ticket so that more money could be donated to Refuge, which is all kinds of awesome. In fact, when we looked into it this year, the savings of getting your travel card  with your rail ticket are almost half of what we would pay Transport for London for a travel card for zones 1-4! Our survey results from last year's event also backed this up, with the overwhelming majority of you telling us that you'd prefer to make your own arrangements so that more money raised from the event could go directly to the charity. Thanks to your feedback, you've made this decision an easy one for us and we applaud you all for the support you're showing for this event, and for Refuge!

Our second fundraising enhancement opportunity: we will be running a raffle at the Pom Pom Quarterly after-party for a very special prize basket chock full of yarnie goodies from our sponsors. There will be a number of ways to get your name in the pot, including some charity knitting opportunities. 

We are really looking forward to this year's Yarn Crawl, and we know it's going to be bigger and better then last year! Stay tuned here, on Twitter, on Facebook and on the Ravelry board for updates, and don't hesitate to give us a shout with any questions. We can't wait to see everyone in September!