A while ago, I was chatting with my lovely crochet group about doing a yarn shop crawl in our local area, and because yesterday was 'Yarn Shop Day' it seemed a perfect opportunity to organise the little jolly.
We have a fair few choices in Bedford and the surrounding area of places to buy yarn - and for some strange reason I seem to know about all of them, and have visited all of them... So it was a pleasure to be able to take a small group of my yarny friends out for a yarny trip.
Our first stop was Manfield Crafts in Rushden. This is just over the border into Northamptonshire, but only really about 12 miles from the centre of Bedford. My sister introduced me to this lovely shop as she is local and when she said she knew of a shop I would like to visit, she was spot on!
Full of gorgeous, quality yarns and accessories it is such a delight to mooch around. Emma kindly laid on tea, coffee and biscuits for us and also had some super needles and hooks and yarn out for us to try. I had a go with some Knit-pro Karbonz knitting needles which were sublime to use and are now on my birthday list, and we all showed how we knitted in different ways. For me knitting in front of other knitters is very nerve-wracking as I think I might hold the needles and yarn in a funny way, but Emma made me feel better by saying there was no right or wrong way to do it.
There are lots of fantastic kits for sale and there is always lots of workshops and knitty meet ups going on. It obviously is a lovely community because on display was yards and yards of beautiful knitted and crocheted bunting that was made for Emma's birthday by her knitting group. Such a wonderful display of affection by her friends - and I didn't think to take a photo of it :0I
We then headed over to Wilstead, which is a village south of the town centre, to All Stitches where Helen was there to greet us (well, we found her in her Stylecraft Special corner tidying up as 2 customers had been in and brought 27 balls between them!)
Once again this shop is full of yarny and fabric delights, and has lots to offer. Helen has many samples around to show how certain yarns make up, which is particularly good for variegated and colour changing yarn I think.
She also has some wool from local sheep which I thought was fantastic, and wished I had bought, but I was too tempted by the 'all yarn in the baskets on the floor are £2 a ball' section. Helen's own spinning wheel was on display too, so I was very happy to chat with her about spinning and how she finds it therapeutic.
Visiting these local independant stores is great because both Emma and Helen are happy to give out advice and help, offer free patterns for particular yarns you might be interested in and generally share their wealth of yarny knowledge and experience. Thank you to both for such a lovely morning :o)
And then back to Bedford, to Fancy coffee shop that is owned by my friend Saffron and where I hold my crochet workshops. We had a delicious lunch (I had humous, rocket and avocado on flat bread - yum) (followed by some Guinness chocolate cake, yum yum) and we chatted about our new stash of yarns and what we were going to do with them. Ravelry was consulted, and I think we were all eager to get started - with 3 of us having the same sock yarn in different colour ways, Emma had shown us the pair she was in the process of knitting and we were sold!
Thank you to Penny, Sylvia and Gemma for joining me and for making this a wonderful, happy and positive day. Sylvia has posted about the day on her blog too - read all about it here. I had such a super time, and yes I did spend a bit of cash but having had a fun day, having got the lovely yarn and knowing I will enjoy the making process, I think my money was very well spent :o)
Here's what I treated myself to:
'till next time...