Saturday was Yarn Shop Day here in the UK. Knitters and hookers everywhere showed their love for yarn shops, whilst in return, the yarn shops showed their love for knitters and hookers. What’s not to like?
A crack team of Stylecraft Blogstars was despatched to various events around the country. In my case, I landed at Masons in Abingdon (Oxfordshire), which happens to be my favourite yarn shop. Eek, what’s this outside?!
Well it was a good thing that the sign said ‘about 2pm’ for the “”blogger””, because I was slightly late, due to forgetting – of all things – my knitting, and having to dash back home for it. This never happens. Checking that I’ve got at least one WIP with me features only one rank below checking that I am actually wearing clothes when I leave the house. But I was a bit nervous. So I forgot my knitting. But hey, at least I was wearing clothes. One out of two ain’t so bad.
Before we go inside, look! A blue plaque! I love blue plaques. The building was once a pub, run by John Alder, whose picture is here. One fine day in 1767, he sneaked off with money his wife had given him for paying bills, and he bought a lottery ticket. Oops. But the thing was, he won the lottery, although he didn’t immediately believe the messenger who arrived on horseback in the middle of the night to yell the news up at his bedroom window. And having won, he was very generous to his customers and to the town in general, hence the blue plaque. I guess he had to be generous after the messenger had woken up half the street with the news.
Anyway, let’s go inside. What looks small from the outside is actually an awesome cave of yarn, stretching w-a-a-a-y back, and packed full of everything from budget acrylic to very-best alpaca.
It’s been a yarn shop for 77 years, which got me wondering whether this puts it amongst the oldest yarn shops around. Any idea? Is your local yarn shop older than this?
Look, it sells buttons, too!
It’s everything that a yarn shop should be. And if this sounds as though I’ve been paid to write it, I can promise you that’s not the case (although they did give me a biscuit and a lovely mug of green tea whilst I was there, which might have corrupted my opinion a tiny bit). Nobody minds in the slightest if you squish the yarn, or sniff it, or ask complicated questions about its use. The staff are lovely: I mostly chatted to Ruth, who has worked there for 34 years.
And in the far back corner is something that saved my sanity on many occasions when the twinnage were tiny (because let’s face it, visits to yarn shops are rarely brief, and toddlers struggle to understand why Mummy has been staring at the same ball of sage-green cashmere for the past ten minutes whilst drooling slightly):-
Anyway, Masons has crochet classes run by a wonderful woman called Nicky, and as they were having a special meeting in honour of Yarn Shop Day, they very kindly invited me to come and join them… even though I’d only brought knitting. Nicky provides the group with chocolate and a great deal of crochet wisdom. She’s second-from-right in this picture, wearing glasses and a dark grey cardigan:-
You know when you just take to a bunch of people? Well these women were so welcoming, and their crochet was perfect and colourful. They’d all been hooking for less than a year, and yet they were creating wonders. The current hook-in-progress, that you can see there on the table, was a blanket as a gift of love to one of the managers at Masons, who has been seriously ill. It’s going to be stunning. And hopefully very comforting for the recipient.
I chatted to lots of people whilst I was there; staff, customers, the crochet group. And I got to meet a couple of other thoroughly lovely yarny bloggers: Rachel (thelittleroomofrachell.com), and her friend Anne-Marie who is just starting up a blog. (I was going to link to it but I think it’s down for maintenance right now.) Needless to say, we weren’t short of things to talk about. 🙂
So that was my Yarn Shop Day. I hope yours was good too?
Thank you so much to the staff, crocheters, and customers of Abingdon for generously tolerating me ALL AFTERNOON!