Well, hello there! I’ve been away for a symposium in St Andrews, Scotland I’m happy to be back with some fun news and reviews–and, of course, pretty yarn! For me, travel is a great excuse to check out the local yarn culture, see (and squish) as much fiber as possible, and bring home some stories of my travels. Having visited a couple shops in London this past October, I was curious about the fiber culture of the north. And I was not disappointed. I managed to slip away to a couple of yarn shops en route (in Edinburgh and Glasgow). St Andrews does not have a yarn shop, but there is a terrific story about the local knitting club’s field trip in search of fiber). I thought of you all often and fondly and wanted to share my little journey with you here!
There was a lot of textile art across Scotland–or maybe I was just on the lookout? It’s hard to tell 🙂 Above are some pictures from several museums that had a bit of knitting in them. And then, there are the yarn shops!
First up, I visited two shops in Edinburgh: Kathy’s Knits and Ginger Twist Studio. Both were absolutely unique! Kathy’s Knits was in the basement of a townhouse row and it was a lovely beacon of light on a less than hospitable evening otherwise flu of rain, wind, and darkness! As I browsed around looking for local fibers–in which she specialized–I struck up a conversation with Kathy, who was super happy to talk about British wool and, as it turned out, all of the other yarn shops around town. Kathy had lots of local pattern and informational books from shops, owners, and shepherds around the area. She also had some terrific single breed wool from Blacker Yarns (I picked out some Gotland); and I couldn’t resist a skein of purple goodness from Eden Cottage Yarns.
Next up, Ginger Twist Studio, which was tucked into a space that couldn’t have been larger than a pantry cupboard. The woman working there was finishing up a beautiful and bulky sweater and it turned out she was from the States! The owner was from Portland, and so was this lovely lady, who was in Edinburgh studying gastronomy–specifically historical foods. LOVE! What a terrific conversation. Here, I just had to pick up some of the hand dyed yarn–this time, a skein in green of sock yarn to make a pair of socks for my son. And, again, I couldn’t resist some of the local, breed specific wool from Black Bat Yarns; this time Yorkshire Hebridean Wool. The shop was super small, but very well organized; the indy yarn was the real star of the show hanging in a rainbow of colors along the main wall.
While in Glasgow, I visited two more shops: The Queen of Purls and The Yarn Cake. The Queen of Purls is another indy-dyer shop and wow–her colors were the most beautiful naturals I have seen in a while. The owner was busy with a customer (teaching her how to knit and find yarn) or I would have chatted her up about her dye processes; my guess (given the colors) is that she is a natural dyer. She had many weights and bases from with to choose and, had I a larger yarn budget, I would have splurged for some of the cashmere yearn she had in a couple of lovely shades of pink and orange. She also had merino in tons of shades and some fun dyed fiber–including camel!
The Yarn Cake was last up, and it’s a novel shop in which you can get (my) two favorite things: yarn and cake! When I walked in the put on the kettle–I didn’t have time for tea, but if I had, I would have also requested a slab of some yumminess they had on hand. The shop keeps were restocking the shelves and I managed to grab a skein of Abstract Cat Yarn (in “Primary”) and a cake (how appropriate) of their special edition Glasgow School of Yarn (alpaca/shetland blend)–it is SO soft! The shop itself is split-level and houses mostly utilitarian yarn, but the two skeins I found are from their more indy stash upstairs.
The yarn journey continues next Spring, when I head to Birmingham for another symposium . . . I’m thinking City Knits will be on the walking path 🙂 In the meantime, I’m ready to hunker down at home and do some knitting, spinning, and celebrating the 1 year anniversary of the blog! I hope you are all well and having adventures of your own–at home or abroad!