Sunday, June 22, 2014

Scotland: Yarn Stores : I went to Scotland and I brought back....


It's been a while hasn't it? The past few weeks have been ridiculous at university. I seriously never had such a busy period in my life. The worst is behind me now, so I have good hopes that things will improve in the next few weeks. I had hoped to have finished the Scotland blog series by now, but because I was so busy things went slower than I had anticipated. In this blog post, we're talking yarn in in Scotland!

Before I went to Scotland I did some research as to where the wooly goodness was to be found. To my utter delight there are a lot of yarn stores in Scotland. Not only in the bigger cities, like Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling, but the smaller places as well. A big change from what I'm used to, here in the Netherlands. I visited some stores in Edinburgh, because that was were we stayed, and one in Stirling. I had lot's of opportunities to quickly whip into a store when I was in the area anyway. 

Knitting in the Highlands

Kathy's Knits

This was the first yarn store I visited. It was a bit of a hassle to find her (advise to other tourists: the store is located on Broughton Street, but not on street level. You have to go down the stairs, so when in doubt: you probably are going in the right direction, you're just looking at street level instead of down). Broughton is at the edge of the New Town, a small area with lot's of bars and small shops. I really liked this yarn store. Kathy's Knits stocks  a wide range of British yarns, some notable brands are Jamieson and Smiths, Blacker yarns, Hebridean, Titus, Yarnpony and New Lanark. She had a large amount of patterns and books on display as well. I was quite impressed with the amount of yarn Kathy was able to fit into her relatively tiny store. There were a lot of patterns, books and sample knits from Scottish designers on display (lots of familiar faces there). Kathy was very kind and helpful and we spend quite a lot of time just chatting about places we had visited and still planned to visit in Scotland. Ultimately this was my favourite yarn store of all the once we visited.

K1 Yarns

Beforehand this was the yarn store I was most looking forward to. They seemed to have a decent range of yarns and offered some yarn brands I had never heard of before. However, when I visited them in person I was a bit underwhelmed. Instead of the promised range of yarns they really only had their own yarn brand, and even in that brand, they had very little actual stock in store. It was a bit surreal to walk into an almost empty shop. I was just looking up their website to link to for this post and have found out the reason as to why the shop was so empty, which explains a lot. They'll quit their brick and mortar shop in June to focus on their online shop. In hindsight it is logical explanation,  but I would've expected a sign or something. I was not super impressed with their own brand, called Old Town Yarns. K1 Yarns was however located in a very great location, on the W Bow right at the foot of the castle. They're actually closing down this very day, so I wish Katherine lots of luck with her new focus!



Other Edinburg Yarn Stores:

There are more yarn store in Edinburgh, but I only gave them a brief visit so have less to say about them. There's big warehouses that stock some yarns, like Jenners and John Lewis Edinburgh. Be Inspired Fibres, a short walk south from the Old Town, offers a wide range of exciting yarn brands. They stock some of the big yarn brands such as Malabrigo, Istex, Artesano, Cascade, Lang Yarns, Host and Shoppelwolle, but the shop also stocks quite a number of independent and/or less well known yarn brands, such as Shilasdair, Lotus Yarns, Yarnpony, Fyberspates and ITO. Located on London Street, the Ginger Twist Studio has a logo that features a ginger cat with glasses playing with a ball of yarn...need I say more? You probably want to know the details about the yarn brands. The store sells, amongst others, Exelana, New Lanark, Cascade, West Yorkshire Spinners, Brigantia Luxury Yarn and their own Ginger's Hand Dyed Yarn,

I visited one other yarn store in Scotland: McAree Brothers in Stirling (and the yarn fairy knows I would have hopped into that store in North Berick  as well, had we not visited it on a Sunday). McAree Brothers is a huge yarn store which sells a lot of Rowan (I suspect all of their varieties), Sublime, Patons, Sirdar and Artesano. We had a friendly discussion with the shop lady on the size of pennies. Can someone explain to me why the 50 and 20 pence are smaller than the 10p? It makes no sense! 

Now you're probably wondering whether I brought something back... Which I should probably note is quite a self-explanatory question. The actual question ought to be what I brought back.

First up is some Jamieson and Smith Shetland Surpreme Jumperweight in sweater quantity. This is yarn is made up out of hand sorted Shetland fleeces. It comes in nine sheepy colours and is completely dye free. They all have fabulous names in Shetland dialect representing the traditional Shetland sheep colours. I wanted to try this yarn since forever and was really happy when I spied it on the shelves at Kathy's Knits.  I got three different colours and want to use it for a yoke sweater, with yuglet (the darkest colour) for the main colour.


Next up is yarn from the Hebrides; Shilasdair from the Isle of Skye. The yarn is a mix  of 10% cashmere, 10% baby camel, 40% angora, and 40% lambswool, which makes it the most diverse fibre mix I own. What makes this yarn special is that it is naturally dyed with locally sourced dye materials. I heard about this yarn before and was very excited to find it there. I brought back yarn for a shawl as well as some yarn as a present for my mum.

Shilasdair in colourway blackberry.

Finally I brought back some more Hebridean yarn skeins, which I plan to use for one of Kate Davies' stranded colourwork hat. I have not yet decided on which hat it's going to be, but for now I'm happy to just stare at these gorgeous little skeins, and occasionally pet them.


Well that rounds up my Scottish yarn post, looks like I got my work cut out for me for the summer.
 I hope you enjoyed it and perhaps find it useful when you visit Edinburgh yourself. As you can see I only brought back Scottish yarn. Both because they are difficult to come by in my own country and because I've been meaning to try these yarn brands for a while. It is a welcome added bonus that they are sourced locally...from the same country that is, because while Shetland is a Scottish island it it still a 12 hour boat trip away ;) Do you look out for yarn stores when your on a  holiday?

xxx

6 comments:

Lori ann said...

oh thank you for sharing this information! i'm interested in finding those same yarns next month when i'll be in edinburgh and then shetland. there really is so much to choose from isn't there?

Anonymous said...

Mooi natriurlijke kleuren en de wol heeft een fijne zachte uitstraling!
Mooi verslag!
Gr Margot

Anonymous said...

Haa Nelson, wat een mooie foto's van je, schotland en van het wol. Leuk dat je dingen die je (mee)maakt deelt. Dank je wel :) Bijna vakantie! Groetjes Kim

Nisse said...

@Lori Ann

There is, isn't there? Will you be visiting the J&S Mill while you're on Shetland? Where on Shetland will you stay?

I hope to visit Shetland in the future, I didn't get the chance this time.

I do hope you enjoy your adventures in Scotland, looking forward to reading about it!


@Kim & Margot: Dank jullie :) Die natuurlijke kleuren vind ik er ook mooi aan. Past helemaal bij het land!

Anonymous said...

Hello,
Thank you for this post ! I'm going to Scotland in a few weeks and I was planning to go back to K1 yarns (I went there last summer)...so it's usefull to know that the shop has just closed, and to have some other shopping ideas.

Nisse said...


You're welcome! I hope you'll have a great time in Edinburgh!