24 September 2014

yarn travels: London

Hi all. Hope you're ready for a super-long blog post, cos I've been off to London! Here's what I found on my travels.

The first stop was 'Loop' yarn store. I'd heard a lot about this shop so it was the first stop on our list. In a very trendy area (Camden Passage), Loop is an interesting shop. The shop has two floors, and they have a very large selection of nice yarns and big names.

They also have a couple of cabinets on the downstairs floor selling all sorts of retro knit and crochet trinkets, and a fair amount of pattern books. Overall a very nice shop, but possibly a little bit on the pricey side in my opinion - but that's sometimes what you get with nice yarn. Either way it's very nice, worth the visit. Anyway, onto the next stop.

Up near the Finsbury Park area, you can find 'The Handweavers Studio'. What I'd read about this place had got me intrigued, and I wasn't disappointed. Although more targeted at weavers than knitters/crocheters, this shop is a goldmine!!!

When you first enter, you'll see endless shelves of cones of yarn and threads, as well as a massive book selection (and really interesting books too - I bought one on traditional Peruvian weaving). As you walk through to the back of the shop you encounter loads of looms, and on the day we visited there were people working on them which is always good to see. They had a few sale baskets too, so I also bought some multi-coloured thread which was a bit of a bargain. Right, next one -

Over in the Stoke Newington area you can find 'Knit with Attitude'. As we were walking around the area we spotted quite a few fabric and haberdashery shops, so it seems a good place for us crafty folk.

Knit with Attitude is an awesome little shop. It has a great range of wool and a good range of brands. It stocks lots of hooks/needles/accessories and generally has a little bit of everything.

As well as all the wool and crafty things, it has a lot of cards, prints and handmade jewellery too, which makes this shop great to just browse around.

I also had a bit of a chat with the ladies who were working there and they were really nice, so this place gets a big thumbs up from me. I also got some bargain wool while I was there so left very happy. So, lets carry on our journey shall we?

Tucked away near Bethnal Green tube is 'Prick Your Finger'. It's a shop that pretty much exclusively stocks eco/natural yarns and I think they dye a lot of it themselves - so not many of your big brand names here.

I would say this is an interesting shop. The owner is really nice and friendly, and they have a lot of different types of yarn (as well as a fair amount of old pattern books). I would say it's the sort of place I would go if I had a big project in mind, as it had a big range of solid colours. In the end I bought some very fine Angora wool. Again, I'd highly recommend stopping by this place as it's certainly different from your usual stores.

Next was another store I'd heard a lot about, 'I Knit London'. I was particularly interested when I found out they also have a license to sell alcohol! I would have liked to have stopped and had a beer but I was pretty tired by this point and there was a knitting group in there, so I gave the drink a miss. But the store itself was very good. They stock a wide range of well known yarns, lots of books, lots of hooks etc, pretty much everything you could want.

I found some super fluorescent wool that I just had to buy here, and the guy at the counter was very friendly as well (a recurring theme - I like how wool shop folk are usually friendly!). It's just around the corner from Waterloo station so very easy to get too. The next and final stop on our wool tour was.....

...'Liberty' of course. The lovely wife really wanted to go here and I was very interested in their haberdashers section. Of course, they only really stock Rowan wool, but it's a good selection.

I bought some nice pink skeins and some lovely fabric, and we had a good look around everything else too (although I don't recommend going with a large backpack, I was very paranoid that I was going to knock and break something!). So, those were my yarn travels in London....but now I'm going to show you somewhere else I went to. It's not wool related, but maybe somewhere that isn't your usual tourist hotspot.

Yep, you saw that right, 'Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium'. Ohhhh, it's a shop selling cat themed items I bet you're thinking.....

....well you'd be wrong. It's a cafe.....with cats!!!! Lots of cats!!! You need to book ahead as they only let a certain amount of people in (so as not to scare the cats). You can have some coffee/cake while the cats are hanging out, and if you're lucky they might come and let you give them a stroke. It's an interesting concept and they clearly look after and care for the cats, but you're not guaranteed that a cat will want to curl up on your lap....they kind of just do their own thing while you watch! Either way, you can still be perked up by a 'Cattucino'.

So there you go, that was my London experience (although not entirely, another separate blog post with what else I did coming up next). I guess you want to see my haul....well I bought a fair bit, as well as a 'My Neighbour Totorro' t-shirt I got from Spitalfields market. Hope you've enjoyed!

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