Hola Barcelona!

October half term break found us in Barcelona. This was our first visit and we absolutely loved it. A lively city with beautiful architecture, wonderful food and even a beach. I decided to visit All you Knit is Love and was not disappointed. The shop itself is in the older part of the city not far from the harbour, and was found along the narrow streets and alleys after a few very scenic detours.

 

The shop is beautifully lit to emphasise the stunning colourful displays, making a real feast for the eyes. This is what I really love about yarn shops that are well designed and laid out. The shop stocks their own brand yarns as well as wool from further afield.

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I bought some lovely Hjerte alpaca yarn to make a long tunisian crochet scarf.

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Which seems a bit daft because the cream and grey are very muted, but it is irresistibly soft. Look at this lovely display of pinks and reds which looked just like a bunch of roses.

 

All You Knit is Love

All You Knit is Love

Highly worth the visit. Check out their website if you are going as there are knit and natter sessions open to anyone.

My final yarn related tip is to check out Desigual’s bags which are colourful and good value. I got this small one in the sale which is perfect for small projects on the go.

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Black Sheep Wools Craft Barn

I count myself as very lucky to live within about an hour’s drive of the Black Sheep Craft Barn near Warrington. If you don’t live as near, keep it in mind next time you are travelling up or down the M6 as it is not far off the motorway and now has a lovely cafe and customer toilet facilities (great move!).

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This isn’t me, it’s my good chum Shelley who has an even worse yarn buying habit than me. Look at that happy face. If you are in any way excited by yarn shopping then do try and plan a visit sometime, you will NOT be disappointed. I nearly get too excited and genuinely have to take deep breaths when I arrive!! I’ve yet to find anywhere with more floor space and stock that you can actually buy direct from (let me know if you know otherwise!). Compared to most yarn shops it is huge and they also have sewing and fabric supplies.

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The staff at The Black Sheep are always cheerful, knowledgeable, helpful and patient. The shelves are always well stocked with 30 different brands of yarn and a great selection of pattern books, needles, hooks and other useful notions. The sales are always worth a visit, including full packs of yarn piled high at bargain prices.

The Black Sheep also has a good programme of workshops and a new CAL in association with Cherry Heart

On this occasion I was on the look out for some yarn to make an aran cable jacket by Debbie Bliss. Incidentally, I once met Debbie at the Black Sheep when she was there for an event, I was a bit star struck but we had a lovely yarny chat.  I chose Sirdar’s Sublime Luxurious Aran Tweed in shade 365 a lovely mute lime green. Slow but steady progress in being made, not bad for a mostly crochetter!
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I needed loads of it so paid on the day and the full amount was posted out to me. I absolutely need to see the colour and feel of the yarn in real life and that’s why I’m passionate about supporting real life yarn shops and indie dyers.

 

 

A little trip to Edinburgh

 

 

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This year we ended our summer holiday in Edinburgh and I managed to escape for a morning’s yarn finding. I visited two very fine establishments and would highly recommend you seek them out. You can walk between Kathy’s Knits and Ginger Twist Studio in about 10 minutes and both are pretty central.

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Kathy has a lovely airy shop stocked with proper woolly, quality British yarn-stuff you don’t see elsewhere. I bought six balls of Rennie’s cashmere because I loved the colour combination-I’m still in my purple phase. There is also Blacker Yarns, Eden Cottage, Jamieson & Smith and more! On display are some amazing celtic cable shawls  from a local designer and there is a good stock of pattern books from Edinburgh designers like Ysolda Teague.

Kathy is living the dream, sharing her enthusiasm for knitting and quality yarn and her shop is a perfect treat.

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With my Rennie’s cashmere I Have started a tunisian crochet scarf. I love the tweed effect created by tunisian simple stitch in three colours. I promise to post the finished article!

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Jess owns Ginger twist Studio and produces her own hand-dyed yarns as well as stocking other brands like West Yorkshire Spinners, Brigantia and Cascade. The colours are absolutely edible when you walk into this gorgeous shop with a vintage feel. I would have been rude not to buy any of Jess’s own yarn, so I treated myself to two skeins of the merino.

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My photo doesn’t really do the colours justice. The photo I took of the skeins hanging up has become my new screen saver!

I’m not sure what I will make with this purchase. Jess and I agreed that it can sometimes take a while for yarn to decide what it wants to be. Only knitters and crocheters would know what that means! And that’s why the stash exists of course.

It seems like Edinburgh might soon be able to stake a claim to being the yarn capital of the UK. There are other shops I didn’t visit (next time hopefully), they have an Indie Yarn Crawl in June and an Edinburgh Yarn Festival in March. There was even an amazing knitting cabaret act at the Fringe!

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Yarnfinding #2 When in London...

IMG_0749No trip to London can be complete without tracking down one of the capital’s many yarn stores. Loop London has been on my list for quite some time. How lucky that I found myself in the general environs one Saturday in February. The small, cheerful shop is crammed with yarny goodness. Hand dyed and high quality knitting yarns and notions a specialty. There are two floors of generously stocked shelves to boggle over. There was a sock knitting day in full swing on the day I visited but sadly I had other obligations.

I selected three balls of Zauberball sock yarn as I have an urge to learn entrelac tunisian crochet. *Update* here is the FO!

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The area (Camden Passage, Islington) is filled with quirky and interesting shops and cafes so it would be quite possible to while away a very pleasant day.

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As we all know, you can never visit too many yarn shops. I had heard that the yarn section of Liberty’s had undergone a complete re-fit and re-location. The new layout is much better. It is light and airy and the yarn is beautifully displayed. They have a comprehensive stock of all things Rowan and delightful knitting ladies to chat to. Enough said!

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