The weekend just gone I was fortunate enough to head up to London for the first ever Great London Yarn Crawl. If there was ever anything which deserved to have the prefix of great, this was it. A few months ago I claimed to have done a yarn shop crawl in London and I can tell you that that was nothing, and I mean nothing compared to the fantastically organised and executed yarn crawl which happened on Saturday. Four routes, numerous amazing volunteer yarn guides, prizes to be won and of course fantastic yarn shops to browse through.
As some of you will know, although I have explicitly talked about it on here, I am planning on opening a yarn shop here in Brighton. So along with just wanting to go to lots of yarn shops and meet some other lovely knitters, it was also a great opportunity for me to do some sneaky shop research. Things I was particularly interested in were shop layout, what none shopping space they provided, i.e. seating areas, and also what else they sell other than yarn.
I chose the Red Route which included the shops Nest, The Handweavers Studio, Prick Your Finger and Loop. Apart from Loop I hadn’t been to any of the other shops before. We had about 45 minutes in each shop, which in the first shop Nest I found a bit overwhelming. I couldn’t quite get my head around having to make a purchase decision in that amount of time so I focused on the tea and biscuits they had kindly provided at the back and took some notes of some of the small knick knack items they had.
Next up The Handweavers Studio which I already knew a bit about as they have a lot of yarn suitable for machine knitting.
They have a huge amount of yarns beautifully displayed but their speciality is weaving so there was also an array of fascinating looking equipment including looms, spinning wheels and crazy bits of wood which I couldn’t even begin to guess what they would be used for. I didn’t get anything there but I know there were quite a few people who bought drop spindles and fibre.
They work with a lot of artists who make things for the shop and also run events. One of there more recent collaborations was with artist Lisa Anne Auerbach who worked with people from the local community to create a series of protest jumpers.
By the time we got to Loop we had lost a few on the way and were all pretty pooped. But the day was not over yet and our last stop was the Mulberry Bush pub near Waterloo where we got to meet and hang out with everyone from all the other routes. There were A LOT of knitters all in one room, I think the bar man was a tad over whelmed. There was knitting, drinking and prizes (I didn’t win anything unfortunately) and I met some lovely ladies. I spent a fair bit of the evening going ‘oh I think I recognise that scarf’ or ‘have we met before’ as the wonder of ravelry upheld.
And that was about it. I stayed until the bitter end with Dani and a few others then hopped back on the train to Brighton. And what did I buy I hear you all cry. I did make a couple of small purchases at Prick Your Finger. A few skeins of Knit by Numbers yarn which I will talk about more in another post and the buy of the day, this badge by Zeel also at Prick Your Finger. There has never been a truer word said.