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Sunday, 22 November 2015

Book signing at The Wool Stop, Thornbury

I've travelled some miles this week!  Firstly up to Skipton on Tuesday for a walk and knit n natter and yesterday I went to Thornbury near Bristol to The Wool Stop for a book signing and sock clinic.  

I decided to travel by train - it's a long way from Winwick to Thornbury and whilst not impossible to drive, there's no opportunity to knit on the journey!  I settled myself into my seat with my cup of tea and my bacon butty and got on with small daughter's socks (yes, yes, I know that I still have other WIPs to finish but socks are easy train knitting!).



Thornbury is a picturesque little place, with a long High Street full of interesting shops and already decorated for Christmas.  


This is where I was headed ...


this shop here with the attractive bow window which was dressed to take part in the Thornbury Christmas shop window competition.  The tiny panes made it difficult to take a picture to show you, but it was full of knitted Christmas decorations and snowflakes - very pretty and it definitely got my vote!


Would you like to have a look around?  It's a bit like the TARDIS, the preferred mode of transport of a TV character called Dr Who, in that it seems bigger on the inside than the outside.  First impressions are that it is indeed a small shop, but when you start to look at the shelves crammed with all kinds of yarns, you realise just what a huge stock there is.  


Naturally, I made a beeline to check out the sock yarns and I wasn't disappointed.  There's a large selection in different brands ...


and in different sizes!


There's even tiny sock bunting made by Jennifer's Mum, Linda.  Jennifer is the shop owner and I'm going to introduce you to her a little later.  In the meantime, let's continue our tour!


It's difficult to see in one go just how much there is in the shop, and yet it doesn't feel cluttered at all.  Even spending the day there, I kept spotting something else that I hadn't noticed.  


Plenty of yarn in all kinds of weights and brands, from economical acrylic blends to more well-known brands such as Stylecraft, Sirdar, James C Brett, Regia, Wendy, Nora, Rowan - too many to list here - and then even more yarns such as silk yarns, sparkly yarns, softest alpaca yarns ...  


pattern books and sheets galore (over 2,000 apparently!) ...


and all kinds of accessories and notions for almost every possible occasion.  


In fact, in every available space there is something that catches your eye.  It's just how you want a local yarn shop to be. 


And here's the reason that I considered making such a long journey to get here.  This is Jennifer. She's lovely.  She's 22 and she has her own yarn shop!  Isn't that something that you wish you'd done at that age?


Yes, of course I hoped that I would sign and sell a few books, and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting everyone who came in to see me - thank you very much! - but after having "met" Jennifer through the Sockalong Facebook group and hearing about how she was buying a yarn shop (she only took over in September this year), I also wanted to help her out if I could by being around to talk to some of her sock-knitting customers.

I passionately believe that we should support our local shops whenever we can; I'm not disputing at all the place that the internet has - after all, where would I be without the internet, or those people who don't have a local yarn shop, or a social group to visit with like-minded friends? - but I am always impressed with people who have a dream and follow it.  

We set up my books and socks on the counter and tried not to eat all the biscuits.


Yes, that is hand-dyed sock yarn that you can see in the basket and yes, it is very gorgeous! Jennifer had bought it in specially for the day but had to hide it during the week as it was leaving the shop much faster than she had expected!  I spent the day admiring it and trying to decide which skein should come home with me.  It was really hard, I kept changing my mind and at one point was tempted to buy them all, so I had to be very firm with myself!

I always take my sock samples with me to sock clinics as it gives people a chance to try out different types of needles.  You never really know until you have the needles in your hands whether they're going to suit you or not and I would always recommend you trying them out before you buy if you can.  It was lovely to sit in this sunny window and talk socks and techniques - definitely the best way to spend a Saturday!



The day flew by, as time always does when you're enjoying yourself.  I loved watching the customers come and go, and chatting to them about what they were making (even if it wasn't socks!).  I was impressed with the time and care that Jennifer took to make sure that all of her customers got just the information and yarn that they needed.  That definitely is one advantage of a bricks and mortar shop over internet shopping - emails just can't take the place of a friendly and knowledgeable shop owner.



The Wool Stop is a proper family business in that although it's Jennifer's shop, she has lots of support from her Mum and Dad (her Dad was even kind enough to taxi me to and from the station!) and you know that with that kind of support and with the obvious love and dedication that Jennifer has for her business, it is going to be a huge success.  I certainly hope so!

Back on the train, it was time for the journey back to Winwick.  I expect you're wondering which of the yarns that I brought with me - it's this one!  Cuddlebums merino sock yarn in shade Melted Crayons - how nice does that sound?  I'm looking forward to seeing how it knits up.


Another lovely day out - it's been a great week and it's made me very happy to be able to have so much "yarn time".  Remember that list of things to be grateful for that I said I'd been writing?  It's getting longer!












28 comments:

  1. It's my dream to own a wool shop and this is EXACTLY how I picture it. What a gorgeous place X thanks for showing us

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    1. It is gorgeous, Rachel! It's perhaps just as well that I don't live closer or they'd be falling over me in there all the time! :-) xx

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  2. There are so many lovely yarn shops in the UK. I am jealous ... *sigh* ....

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    1. We are very lucky with the number of yarn shops that we have, but there's still an alarming number that get closed down - that's why I think we always need to buy local when we can! xx

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  3. What a lovely shop & inspiring young woman. Good luck to Jennifer and her family on their exciting venture. I really enjoyed your post :-)

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    1. Well said, they are a lovely family xx

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  4. Thanks for sharing your day and the stop at The Wool Stop with us Christine! I may never get to travel to the UK to see all for myself but with your help I 've gotten to see a part of it and it looks so very lovely! Wish my town had a local wool/yarn store! I have to travel to Fort Worth, Texas about 26 miles away just to get to the nearest Yarn shop devoted totally to knitting and crochet yarns! We have a Michael's craft store with yarn and of course Walmart but no shops exclusively for us knitters and crocheters! Jennifer's shop looks so inviting and I'd love to squish some of those sock yarns! :D !~ Joan Daniel in Weatherford, Texas USA

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    1. I'm really glad you enjoyed reading about it, Joan! I think the world could do with a few more shops like Jennifer's, but we have to make the most of what we have! xx

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  5. Oh, I wish that was MY local shop!! I could lose myself there for HOURS, if not days!

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    1. I am quite sure that there were plenty of things that I'd missed, but Jennifer knew exactly where everything was which was really impressive! xx

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  6. What a gorgeous shop with so much in it. Lucky you having another great day out - good luck with your shop Jennifer xx Joy xx

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    1. I know, Joy, I've been very spoilt this week! :-) xx

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  7. I am luck enough to have this shop as my local wool shop and to have met Christine yesterday. Thank you so much for your advice on my first sock. You are spot on with this post. Jen is so helpful and always takes the time to talk through yarn choice and , as a new knitter, she is the font of knitting (and crochet) knowledge. We need to support local shops like this one. I couldn't agree more about the advantages of being able to feel the yarn, look at it in different lights and comparing yarns side by side. Use it or lose it x

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    1. I was lucky enough to meet you too, and to find out about your blog so that I could go and have a read - I thoroughly enjoyed both! It's a real treat to have a store like The Wool Stop within easy reach and I do hope that lots of local knitters make the most of it xx

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  8. Oh such a wonderful post. I am closing my eyes and calling out for The Doctor to swing by and pick me up and carry me to that lovely shop. I wish her great success. So awesome that she is following her dreams. Thank you so much for all the lovely photos. It's always nice to see other places in this big ole world and The Wool Stop and the town its in is lovely. :) I am looking forward to seeing how your yarn knits up, too. :)

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    1. Wouldn't it be great if we could all hitch a lift in the TARDIS from time to time? :-) xx

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    2. It would be smashing! I am dreaming of blue tardis socks right now.....hmmmm.

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    3. I have seen a pattern for TARDIS socks somewhere .. :-) xx

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  9. What a lovely shop; and all those beautiful yarns etc; certainly a lot bigger shop than it looked from the outside! Love the yarn you bought.

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    1. There was certainly a great deal packed into the space! xx

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  10. It looks and sounds as though you did have a wonderful day! What a lovely shop ! You are definitely inspiring me to 'have a go' at socks ! One day.....
    Love reading your blog, thanks for sharing your days.

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    1. Ooh yes, do have a go, Janey! I bet you've already made far more complicated projects - and there's nothing nicer than hand-knits on your feet! xx

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  11. ohhh what a gorgeous shop!
    thanx so much for showing us around, thoroughly enjoyed it!
    i don't have a local yarn shop but i do buy my wool here, it's a few states to the south :)) i like to support local where ever possible
    thanx for sharing

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    1. It is a gorgeous shop, Selina, I had such a lovely time there - and managed not to buy all the yarn! :-) xx

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  12. I'm so happy for Jennifer!!! I'm sure her shop will be a success, just by looking at the photos we can see how much love she puts into it. :D

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    1. You're absolutely right, Betina, and you can feel it when you walk into the shop as well. It's a happy place, full of creative energy :-) xx

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  13. I have just found your blog after having been directed to it by the lovely Lucy at Attic24. I love your wonderful photos and am inspired to learn to knit socks. I feel this winter will be my time to jump in and face my fears. I have been knitting for many years, but never tried socks. Thank you for making it sound fairly simple and I will give it a go after the holidays.
    I would love to visit Jennifer's shop, but will settle for our local yarn shop which is actually very nice here in central Indiana.
    Mickie, USA

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    1. Hello, it's lovely to see you! Socks are great little projects and you'll probably have knitted far more complicated projects already so you'll sail through them. I agree that Jennifer's shop might be a little bit too far away from you, but at least you have a lovely shop near to where you are - that's a result! xx

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