Saturday 28 February 2015

The Mobile Yarn Shop

With local yarn shops closing at an alarming rate due partly to the recession, to business rates and because of price undercutting on the internet, it's lovely to hear of a woolly business in Essex that's bucking the trend and bringing yarn into the community.

The Woolly Giraffe, based in Southend-On-Sea, is catering for both internet and real-life shoppers, running a monthly show on the second Thursday of each month at Southminster Parish Hall, and also selling online.

The business travels round in its branded van to various shows throughout the year in south east Essex. Run by Kate Strange and Jiona (aka the Woolly Giraffe), the business displays the pair's passion for taking their hobby out into the community.

Could this be a business model to save local yarn stores in the future, having both a virtually business and one that travels out within the community, whilst not having to pay the overheads that come with a high-street store?

Whilst many knitters love to travel to knitting shows and exhibitions, for those who find it harder to get out and about or don't have a weekend to spare the opportunity to browse and buy the latest yarns from your local church hall or community centre is a welcome one.

On a different note I recently came across a wonderful sewing and wool store in the village of Tickhill, South Yorkshire. From Rags To Stitches doesn't have its own website but there is a Facebook page. One half of the shop is dedicated to sewing, with the other half to wool. Whilst there's a small range of budget wool, what really caught my eye is its specialism in Debbie Bliss and Louisa Harding yarns, with the most recent additions to the collection on display just a few weeks after launch.

There were a few knitted up garments on display, for inspiration, with a small but carefully curated collection of pattern books to go with the yarn. I'm currently sworn to not buy any more yarn this year until I've used up my large stash ... but my husband was easily persuaded to buy me a couple of balls of Louisa Harding Noema yarn for my forthcoming birthday. From Rags To Stitches is fabulous store to visit and Tickhill village itself has enough history and charm to make a day trip of it.

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