Like many other people out of necessity I buy a good proportion of my yarn online but where possible I like to buy it from a bricks and mortar yarn shop or direct from indie dyers if I can. It's so helpful to see and feel yarn before buying it and you can also learn so much from knowledgeable vendors. I often say that my local yarn store is four hours away in Shrewsbury where my parents live. Ewe and Ply is a fabulous yarn store in the centre of Shrewsbury offering a great range of yarns (for all budgets) and some really special Shropshire Ply from a local flock of sheep owned by one of the owners Teri.
Becca and Teri who run Ewe and Ply are experienced knitters and so helpful - my Dad is also very obliging popping into see them to pick up this beautiful yarn from West Yorkshire Spinners to promote Yarn Shop day!
My other 'local' yarn store is even further away in Whitley Bay on the North East coast near to our family. Ringarosie is run by experienced knitter and crocheter Barbara who hand-dyes the most beautiful yarn as well as selling the most amazing array of yarns. Barbara always has the most lovely samples on display tempting you to try a project or a new yarn.
It's been a slight source of frustration that I haven't discovered a nearer local yarn store to visit. Last Saturday, my friend and I set off to find a yarn store not too far away from us that we had recently discovered online. We visited The Handmade Studio in Rowlands Castle, just to the north east of Portsmouth on the South coast.
The Handmade Studio is a hidden gem, nestled in the Hampshire countryside; it stocks a good range of commercial yarns but more excitingly, a lovely collection of yarns from indie dyers. If you can't attend yarn festivals to meet indie dyers in person, it sometimes feels like a gamble purchasing from online so it is fabulous that you can see, squish and buy indie-dyed yarns from a local yarn store.
Each month, Linda the owner of The Handmade Studio features one particular dyer - it is Verity from Truly Hooked this month. However, alongside the featured dyer, there is a good selection from other dyers such as Easy Knits, Eden Cottage Yarns, Handmade by Kate, and Sylvan Tiger Yarn. It was also great to see a good range of Rachel Cooley's Socks Yeah 4ply, Fiberspates and Baa Ram Ewe Titus.
My friend and I had a lovely morning browsing the store, which is made up of three rooms in a converted house. The back room also has sewing and embroidery supplies as well as space for the regular workshops run by the store.
Another selling point for The Handmade Studio is that it is located next door to the village coffee shop which sell a huge range of baked goods (including a great gluten free selection) and good coffee.
I think it's great to be able to support passionate and creative independent local yarn shops and indie-dyers. I have put the links to all three local yarn stores that I have mentioned below, and I would love to know of others that you would recommend and the reasons why.
I hope you have a great week of crafting ahead x
Ewe and Ply, Shrewsbury: https://eweandply.co.uk/
Ringarosie based,Whitley Bay: https://www.facebook.com/RingarosieYarns/
The Handmade Studio, Rowlands Castle: http://handmadestudios.org/