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!