Welcome to The Gingerbread Bunny! I'm Sarah, a textile artist specialising in crochet and felt based in Wigan in the North-West of England.

On my blog, you can find my day-to-day craft adventures and tutorials.

You can find details of my work for sale and workshops on my website - www.thegingerbreadbunny.co.uk

Friday, 29 March 2013

Where do you buy your yarn?

Black Sheep Craft Barn- My Local Yarn Shop!

2 events this week have got me thinking about where I buy my yarn from.  The honest truth is that I buy my yarn from many different places.  The main places I buy my yarn from are Abakhan (a large haberdashery chain here in the UK), Deramores (an online yarn store) and my Local Yarn Shop (LYS) The Black Sheep Craft Barn in Culcheth just down the road from me. Occasionally I may pick the odd ball up from Hobbycraft (a large craft chain in the UK), from independent yarn shops on my travels from small indie dyers such as Laal Bear (who lives just up the road from me) and those vending at festivals such as Woolfest. 

Yesterday I was doing my shopping in Tesco and was surprised to find them selling knitting needles, crochet hooks, cable needles and yarn.  The yarn was acrylic and, wuite frankly, overpriced at £2 for 50g.  At first I was quite excited and then I started to look at the prices, the range, the quality and I started to think.  Why? Why is Tesco, a supermarket, selling yarn supplies? 

This isn't the first time I've been into a supermarket, or large shop chain, that is selling yarn.  Sainsburys started to sell Red Heart Yarn and needles a while ago (and had quite a good range that, when on offer, was a bargain and yes, I did buy 10 balls of sparkly pink yarn!) B&M Bargains sells 100% wool in amazing colours for £1.99 a ball and I know that other chains sell acrylic yarn and needles to. 

I read a rather worrying post in a group on Facebook. Someone had started knitting and wanted to know where they could get cheap yarn to knit with because everything they had seen was very expensive.  People then started to make suggestions, charity shops (a great place for yarn I think) and then came the recomendations for the chains that sell a small selection of, what I consider to be, poor quality acrylic yarn at high prices.  Not one person suggested that this person went to their local yarn shop where they would be able to find good quality acrylic yarn at much cheaper prices.

On the one hand, I think it's fabulous that knitting and crochet is so hugely popular at the moment that large chains and supermarkets feel that there is such a demand that they can stock these items.  I think it's wonderful that people can buy yarn and needles and hooks from anywhere and be inspired to knit and crochet.  That's great.

However, what about the 'little man'? What about the small, independent yarn shops and indie spinners and dyers?

Your LYS is a treasure trove of yarny goodness.  They stock at great range of yarns at various prices.  They sells needles, hooks, buttons and other necessary notions.  You can buy your patterns, join their knitting group and ask for advice about your current project from the experienced and passionate staff.  I'm not sure how much knitting and crochet advice you could get from the staff who work in the supermarket (although I'm sure some of them would be able to). At my LYS, you can even get coffee and cake in the new cafe!!!

Events this week have really made me think carefully about where I purchase my yarn from.  I love my LYS (Black Sheep Craft Barn) and would miss it if it wasn't there.  I love being able to see, feel and smell (yes I do smell every yarn I come into contact with!) the yarn before I buy it.  You can't beat buying a skein of hand dyed yarn from an indie dyer online or at a festival and knowing that it was lovingly and carefully dyed to create a unique, one off yarn.  I want to be able to continue to buy my yarn this way.

Laal Bear - One of my favourite  independent dyers!
I don't want to see my LYS go the same way as so many local, independent businesses who have disappeared from the highstreet. I want it to be here for as long as I will need it, and beyond for future yarn addicts!

So I have decided that I am going to purchase my yarn this way in future, from my LYS, from independent yarn shops on my travels and from the indie dyer. 

I am going to support my Local Yarn Store and the indie dyer and I think you should to!

1 comment:

  1. I love buying handspun or hand-dyed wools from indie dyers - usually on line.
    I loved going into a LYS until it closed...and I do purchase more commercial woolly balls from the haberdashery sections of two local department stores.
    However I am really looking forward to a trip to a local LYS that has just opened...alongside its indie suppliers they also stock their own dyed yarn! Can't beat a good smell and a squidge!
    Ali x