Thursday, October 20, 2011

My creative space...pretty things..

Today in my creative space, I have finally found a use for some lovely bright cotton I bought while we were on holiday.

These little doily things are pretty and cute and are in one of my Japanese crochet books, I have been meaning to give them a go for while, and got around to it last night.

I have no idea what the book is called, I haver seen it in Blogland quite a lot, but you can see the cover, I bought it from etsy, so if you google  Japanese Crochet books you will probably find it pretty easily.
I'm thinking that lots of these in different colour combos sewn together would make a pretty funky tablecloth for summer...hmmm, I'll see how many I make before I get sick of them.

Joining in over here today, at Our Creative Spaces, lots of other creative stuff happening there!

I also wanted to chat about something else that I am thinking about, and ask a couple of questions.
Feel free not to read on here, but I would love to hear your opinions.

Recently I have been thinking a lot about the direction of my life, my children are getting older, although they are not grown up yet, and I feel that things are changing, they are more involved in their own lives and plans, and don't need me hovering around them all the time like they did when they were little . This is good. This is a natural progression, and is one that I feel is the result of the strong, secure family environment that we still have, they are making (some) decisions about their lives without too much input from us, and seem to be making good ones. 

All this leads me to the point where I feel I have time to do something else with my own life.  My family is still my first priority, but they are happy for me to do something that will make me happy, and they are even interested in what I'm planning!
Plus there is the practical side that we have been predominately a one income family, and our budget could do with some extra income.

With all this in mind I have been thinking about combining things I love, crafting, yarns, colour, and setting up a shop.  An empty shop has come up for lease in our town, and I am seriously trying to work out how I can open a wool and haberdashery, crafty supplies type shop.  There used to be one in town when I first moved here, but the woman retired and it shut. 
It is in a bit of a quiet part of town though, so I am wondering if people will make the effort to seek me out, or if the LYS is a thing of the past? Should I sell online as well?

Also I hope to offer classes and spread the yarny love with lots of inspiring gorgeous yarns and examples of what you can do with crochet and knitting.  I am not trying to make a fortune, (but a little income would be nice), I really think that being creative is so good for your soul and mental health, and I want to try and create somewhere people can indulge their creative passions.  There are so many gorgeous materials out there, and our closest yarn shop is 30 minutes away, so I think (hope) it could be viable.

One reason I thought this could work is the amazing community of crafters that I have found since starting this blog, I never thought there would be so much interest in yarny type things until I started blogging, I thought I was a bit weird with my creative endeavours, but then I found i was not alone!!

So, a couple of questions
Do you buy yarn from your LYS or mostly online?
Do you buy luxury yarns for a special treat?
Do you think there is still a place for a traditional haberdashery and yarn shop in todays world?
Do you think people have time/want to learn new skills like crochet nowadays?

Sorry to bombard you, and for rambling, if you stopped reading ages ago, I can understand!

So, I am off to my ponderings, and I hope you have a great creative day!


  1. I wish there were more LYS. My closest is 1 hour away. It is always nice to see and feel the yarn "in person". But having said that I think you would need to combine it with an online shop.
    GO for it I say. Only wish it was in my neighbourhood.

  2. Hi Jules, lovely crochet as always.

    Regarding the possibility of opening a shop in your town, let me first say I am not a businesswoman and so can only speak from the point of view of being a customer.

    I am more of a quilter although I do knit and crochet, and I do purchase quite a bit of fabric online and occasionally yarn, but I also do frequent our local quilt shops regularly both for purchases and classes (and in fact, I am now employed part time at one of them.) If the nearest LYS is half an hour drive away then I think your shop could be viable - the nearest yarn shop to where I live (also in Victoria BTW!) is also half an hour's drive away and I would love one in my town. Also, I think offering classes is important - I have recently taught myself to crochet (inspired by Lucy at Attic 24!) and would loved to have had a class to go to here where I live. I think a night or weekend class once or twice a week is important too, as any crochet classes I could find were in the daytime when I work.

    Sorry to ramble on a bit but I hope these comments are of use to you, and I look forward to hearing what you decide your future plans will be. With warmest regards Tania

  3. hi there! i love your japanese crocheting. stunnning..i'd love that book too!
    i buy all of my yarn online, no shops anywhere here except by plane. :(( i do buy luxury yarns, i never ever use anything but good stuff. x

  4. HOOORAY, fab idea, Jules........go for it.

    I have loved playing shops since I was a kid, hence the market stall.

    Classes absolutely necessary and maybe classes for children during the school hols. Not everyone has a mum or Gran who can teach them how to crochet.
    I'm not a big crochet/knitty type person, so Spotlight is where I buy any wool I need, but I'm sure if there was a LYS in my little town I would be haunting it regularly.
    We do have an old style haberdashery shop here and it's choc full of all sorts and I regularly pop in for buttons, thread, ribbon etc. When I'm there I'm always dreaming about what the owner could do with it but she's at a stage in her life where she wants to slow down.

    If your family are behind your plan then I'm sure it would be a goer.........
    I can almost picture how gorgeous it would be.
    An online shop and website would also add to it's success.

    Maybe pop in a coffee machine and a comfy corner where local ladies can pop in for a 'knit and natter' session, Ooh, I'm getting a little bit excited here, shame I live so far away......

    Claire :}

  5. Hope you don't mind, Tania here again, just to add to Claire's comments, the fabric shop where I work has a coffee machine and a small cafe area, and this has been a great success, and I also think an online shop is an extra way to make sales too. Good luck!

  6. I find that I use mainly Spotlight to purchase my yarn. The next closest yarn shop is in Chelsea, you may or may not be familiar with the traffic in Chelsea, but finding parking is a bit of a bugger, especially if you have to get two toddler's out of the car too! If I had an accessible LYS I would go there frequently. In fact a lot of the time I wait until I visit my mother because the yarn store where I grew up is easier for me to handle than the ones locally.

    I have never purchased yarn online. I like to see and feel them before I purchase. But if I was already familiar with a yarn, then I would not hesitate to buy it online.

    I think there is definitely a place for a yarn store in today's society. People are going back to crafting in droves at the moment. And if I knew of a store that did classes for crochet I would have made use of them. As it is I ended up having to borrow and buy several books and teach myself from books. I didn't have anyone to go to when I made a mistake and couldn't work out what I had done.

    Hope this information helps!

    xXx Helen

  7. Love the crochet, the colours look great with each other.

    And I buy alot of my yarns etc online... but thats only because the nearest store is 1 and 1/2 hours away. If we had a LYS, they wouldn't be able to keep me away. I think buying things locally is really making a resurgence now, go for it especially with your family growing up and they're support :)

  8. Unnfortunately I don't have a LYS close to me. I used to and I LOVED it! I much prefer to buy yarn in a LYS than online. I sometimes buy luxury yarns for a treat :) I say go for it but I do think the economy is something to take into consideration too. Times are tough for small businesses.


  9. I think your idea of a shop selling yarn, habby, crafty bits and teaching classes is a great idea. I would buy from a local yarn shop if there was one in my community. I love the idea of a coffee machine and somewhere to craft and chat. I think it would be a big drawcard.
    I have never bought luxary yarn, not saying I wouldn't, I'm just too new to crochet and knitting to stuff something up and feel I've wasted my money.
    Good luck with your planning.
    Anne xx

  10. Love your new projects - they look lovely! Coincidently a group of us here in Auckland are going to have our first crochet lesson tomorrow night! So to answer one of your questions - yes people are keen. Check her out she does classes, sells goods, all sorts. Good luck though in your endeavours - it will be exciting to see how it turns out!

  11. Firstly your latest crochet is beautiful!
    I have just started crocheting and I find that there are no special wool shops in my area, and spotlight and lincraft do not stock the beautiful colour ranges I am after. So I have been buying online from England. You absolutely need an online shop. Have you also thought about a little cafe in the shop too?

  12. What a lovely idea! I was just talking to a crafty friend about something similar yesterday.
    I tend to head for Spotlight as there is really no alternative, but also as they are so big they can charge less, which unfortunately is an issue for some.
    Having said that, chuck in some squashy sofas, a coffee machine, a wee bit of home baking and regularly Knit 'n' Natters surely you'd be onto a winner. Do you know anyone who would make a great partner to take some of the pressure off you?

    Good luck with it all, very exciting!
    Sandra x

  13. Oh my... what a big decision! I am a single mum and as the only income earner in my family, I work. I am a school teacher. I do love teaching BUT if I had family support to do what you are dreaming of doing I would do it (yesterday)!!!!! I buy yarn online but only from Bendigo Woollen Mills because it is cheap. However, as the colours are limited I do travel 20-30mins to the 'local' yarn store for colour. On this trip I bypass spotlight. I like 'pure' wool or cotton so that's what I buy (Is that what you mean by luxury yarn?). You clearly have a knack for styling so your store would look fab. I agree that these days you'd need that something extra ie the coffee machine and classes. Also think of other things you could maybe combine with the yarn. Something to do with gardening perhaps. Anyway... good luck- whatever you decide. I'd buy online from you as I think you'd stock colours I like! I wish my local 'village' had a groovy yarn shop! I would shop there. Ask around your town for opinions.

  14. I used to have a business in England, before I moved over to Australia. I found from my experience, and that of other small businesses, that in order to be successful you need to provide things that the big guys can't. Yarn that can't be easily found elsewhere, the beautiful Japanese books, classes etc. There's always space for businesses who do things differently. And definitely sell online, but make sure you get a good site set up. A lot of people who set up online over here have terrible sites, it pays to make sure your image is a good one.
    And good luck if you do!

  15. Hi
    I'm new to the yarny world having only taught myself to crochet late last year. At this point I like to use the el cheapo wool because I don't want to spend a fortune only to find I have stuffed it up....having said that I am now starting to look at the more expensive yarns to get a better quality outcome.

    I would love to be able to find a small crafty group, not necessarily just crochet but a group that does all kinds of crafts where you can learn different things.

    So to cut a long story short lol, I really do believe that what you are wanting to do would do well. I think there are many of us that are learning new skills and want to learn more. I'd say it would be worthwhile to at least put your feelers out in the area and see what the locals think, you may be pleasantly surprised.

  16. Do you buy yarn from your LYS or mostly online?
    I used to buy yarn mostly online hunting for bargains. However, after several experiences with colors not being what I expected, wools being too scratchy, etc., and with the cost of postage as it is, I have mostly been buying from my LYS in the past few years. The only exception would be hand dyed yarns through small sellers which I buy online. (I also buy yarn at other in person locations.)

    I like being able to touch the yarn, to compare the color with a swatch or fabric, and I also like the community of activities I can participate in at my LYS.

    Do you buy luxury yarns for a special treat?
    I don't usually buy luxury fibers like silk, but I do buy more expensive yarns for a treat to myself.

    Do you think there is still a place for a traditional haberdashery and yarn shop in todays world?
    I do. I live in NYC, which is a very modern place, and yet we have many yarn shops remaining open even with the economic trouble, and looking busy whenever I'm shopping.

    Do you think people have time/want to learn new skills like crochet nowadays?
    Yes. I'm a crochet teacher (again, in NYC), and I have taught about 125 new crocheters in the last 4 years (and I have a full-time job and other part-time jobs, so that is basically on weekends). My students always ask me for tips on where to buy yarn, so you should definitely connect your shop to some good teachers!

    Good luck with your venture.

  17. I'm a student and I love LYS, but because of my financial circumstances, I'm more likely to go to Spotlight for wool. I recently went into a LYS and the prices of wool were just too much for my poor little Centrelink budget. That said, I actually did purchase a ball that was about $18 because it was gorgeous and I hadn't seen anything like it at Spotlight. So, speaking for those of us on a budget, I think you'd be better off being a niche shop that offers something that Spotlight and Lincraft doesn't. That said, seeing as your nearest yarn store is half an hour away, you'd also do well even with regular brands, because often people will buy something on a whim, or when they can't be bothered going for a long drive.

    I would definitely consider having many types of classes, because even on my meagre income, I love doing classes at my local quilting shop. While I'm there, I'll often buy the materials I need and other bits and bobs because I do believe in supporting independents.

    I agree with the others about having a coffee machine. You want your store to offer something that the big stores don't, and the easiest way to do that would be to make it a place where people like to go. Selling coffee and cake and having a little area where people would enjoy crafting would attract more people to your store. Whilst there, they might be more likely to purchase something else, and if not, you've at least made money from the coffee.

    I also think you do need an online component to supplement the income - plus it opens your potential clientel up from just those that live in your area.

    Maybe try surveying some people? See if your local library or community centre has knit/craft groups and guage their interest.

    Good luck!

  18. I love this book it is by Kazuko Ryokai a very popular Japanese crafty designer. I have quite a few of her books and they are all so inspiring. If you have a chance please add your project on ravelry the book link is here:

  19. Yes I buy from my LYS... and I prefer it that way actually. I like to feel the yarn, to see the colours without the interferrance of a LCD monitor. I realise that there are lot who do buy online, but honestly, it always makes me just a little hesitant. Is the colour right? The weight, the feel, the drape, etc. It takes courage, time and money to start a business, but if you are able to put in the hard work - it could be a LOT of fun too :)
    Blessings on your possible new endeavor.

  20. A friend of mine and I were just discussing this idea recently in our own wee town in NZ. I think it's a fantastic idea but you have to do it in a way that it's a real destination shop (ie couches to sit and crochet/knit on) - make sure you have yarns that you can't get elsewhere but also a wide variety of priced and style yarns (acrylic as well as wool etc), books, hooks, needles and classes. I tend to go to spotlight as our only LYS did close down (it was very how do I say politely - granny style - not chic). I prefer to see and feel the yarn instead of buying online. I will buy online though if I already know the yarn and if it's a reasonable cost. Good luck. Go for it I say!!!

  21. What an exciting plan! Check out the 9 videos on YouTube by The Makery, in Bath - could give you some inspiration, even though they are not a wool shop!
    Cheers, Trudy
    p.s. Adore your Blanket!!

  22. Very exciting to think of opening your own shop and if you can do then go for it!

    Personally speaking I like to go into shops to stroke the merchandise (sounds a bit dodgy lol) and have a natter with the owner and whoever is in at the time. There is nothing nicer than knitting or crochet while chatting. However sometimes I find yarns on the net are cheaper because the person hasn't had to set up bricks and mortar and all the costs that goes with that. I suppose the happy medium is have a shop but also and online presence too for folks who can't come see you in person.

    Wishing you lots of success which ever you choose.


  23. I buy from a few local shops in RSA, online - haven't really tried it and should investigate, don't know about the availability.

    Luxury yarns - the shiny fluffy ones or more pure wool? I've bought a few types of pure wool and loved it, and was suprised that it wasn't that mega expensive, as I thought it would be. Still, much more than acrylic.

    I long for more tradional habby shops, the few we have are also stocked with piles of shiny nasty plastics...not nice.

    I try to crochet in public, and people are quite interested. Two friends have since took it up, which I'm happy about! In RSA it's quite fashionable now, nice crocheted articles for the house and in terms of accessories, but people tend to buy it. Larger items are just to expensive.
    Best of luck, hope it goes well!

  24. Wow, I thought you might be heading in that direction, and I can only say, what a great idea, and go for it!! I truly believe that any thing in the retail enviroment should be backed up with an online shop, that way you are giiving your customers and easy way to be repeat customers, and you are also opening yourself up to sales from everywhere, 24 hours a day. That of course, comes with a fair commitment, especially if it goes well for you, but if it's what you want to do, then this is what tends to make us happy!
    All the very best, I think you are on a winner, you only have to look, the trend is going back to small specialised shops, back to basics etc. Keep us all posted. I am a big fan of your work, you have a real individual touch, and i think you will be great!

  25. Oh you are (almost) living my dream, I live in the Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne and it is a dream that I run a yarn shop, with the squishy sofas for knit and natter and crochet cosy nights. I had to teach myself to crochet and have no where to go to crochet/knit along and have a cuppa and a natter with like minded people. I buy yarn on line and in LYS, but local is 20 mins away.
    x Sandi

  26. I think this is a fantastic idea. I am quite new to this crochet thing but did recently do some classes to learn how. The classes ran over 3 Saturday mornings for 3 hours each and the total cost including 4 balls of lovely pure wool and a crochet hook was $120 which I was happy to pay. They also had times during the week when you could just drop in and join a group and get advice from a more experienced crocheter. I would have preferred classes at night once a week and would also paid a small amount to be able to come back and get specific advice. They had a cafe within the shop which is also a great idea. I think the most important thing is to create a friendly creative hub that people want to come to for inspiration, company and to buy more yarns etc. I have bought most of my wool since from Spotlight as they are closer and cheaper and also as I am a very new beginner but as I get more confident I would spend more for lovely colours/pure wool etc. Hope this helps. melx

  27. i love your crochet! I like to touch the yarn & fabric, do a thorough business plan and have a great accountant and that should give you an answer too.

  28. You have wonderful plans, but I will answer your questions first: I am buying most of my yarn online, but this is just because I don´t have a real LYS here. Only a shop which sells acrylic and sock yarns, but when I need something else I always have to do it online. And luxury yarns I love to use for presents or even sometimes for myself. I really think that there is a place for a haberdashery and yarn shop, the crafting community is growing fast and it is 'in style' now again to learn or do knitting and sewing and crochet. So, I really think that a shop like you are planning to open will surely be a success, maybe not right from the start, words have to be spread, but then, yes it will surely be a haven for all the crafting people in your surrounding.
    But having had a shop of my own some years ago (no, not a yarn shop) and having talked with many shop owner I also have to tell you that it takes a lot of time to be there every day from monday till saturday, from 9am till 6pm. there is no much time left for a real private life, for your family, and there are still the housework things you will have to do at the evenings, like ironing and cooking and cleaning. Of course, your family could give a helping hand but still most of this things are done by the woman of the family. And having the shop opened only just a few hours or a few days per week is also not so good, your customers will be disappointed when they stand before a closed door and maybe they will come back later, but maybe not. Even on your evenings or on your weekends you have to work for your shop, do the office work or visit fairs. The crochet classes you intend to give will be best at evenings, too, because if you held them during your shop hours they may disturb your regular shop hours when customers come and want to buy yarn and need your advice and full service.
    I have talked to some yarn shop owners here, too, and it was very intersting for me to hear that they all now have no time to make things for themselves, everything they crochet or knit now is for the shop to show or customer orders, and that there is a big difference to knit or crochet for only your own pleasure than 'having' to do it. During the first time, maybe during the first years, you also will need all the money you make for the shop itself, to order new yarns, to pile up the stock you want to offer, to invest in advertising, to pay the rent, electricity, heat and above all the taxes.
    I am sorry for having written now also kind of negativ points, but I have seen too many women here openings little shops with big enthusiasm (be it children clothes or natural cosmetics or small yarn shops) only to see this shops being closed again soon after. It is a serious business and only a success if you really plan the rest of your life around your shop, in any case and especially during the first years. You really need the help and understanding of your whole family, but if I had understood you right then your family is already on your side and that´s fantastic.
    I am, speaking for myself, more than glad now, and my family loves it, too, that I am staying at home now, that I have all the time I want or need for my family and my home and garden, as much as I loved my shop for more than 20 years, I feel so very 'free' now, although, of course, I miss having my very own self earned and good money.
    Oh my, I can understand how difficulty this decision may be for you, but I am also sure that if you have your plan for it already, that you will make it with all your power and enthusiasm and with your great and gorgeous sense for colours and style and patterns and designs it will be a success, yes, I am really sure.
    With all my best wishes,

  29. Whow, thay look so nice. I actually have that book and had not even thought of making them, now I will have to give one a go. Would look great as a table cloth.
    As to the yarn shop idea, well it is some thing that I have been thinking of for.... years. Originaly it was a craft shop, now more yarn and cloth doll suplies. Unfortunatly I still think I'm years of having enough time to commit to the idea/ plan, yet, or the finances needed.
    Over here on the west coast we only have a limited few yarn shop (we lost one in the last year). I try to suport them and love being able to work out my colours in real life (much to my boy's bordom) but they rearly seem to have what I'm looking for. A shop is also good, as I have got them to hold yarn for me, so that it could be picked up as I could afford it and needed it.
    Have heaps more to say but boys need me, give us a call if you want and we can exchange ideas, email me and I'll give you my phone numbers
    Hugs Audra

  30. Knitting and crochet are big business in the UK. What I think would be fabulous is to have a venue where you can buy yarn etc. and sit and have a coffee and crochet with other like-minded souls. I know they do this is larger towns and cities here. It would be hard work but there is certainly a market for all things crafty.

  31. Hi Jules,
    I've just dropped in via the Creative Space post, but having been close to some people who've done something similar, I thought some of their experiences could be useful. You probably know most of this, so apologies - it's just stuff I've really noticed recently.

    Suzi's spot on about time to make things yourself - at first, there's no time for it, but over time, as you settle in and get everything under control, there's a chance to snatch some hours here and there.

    The things I've noticed about my friends who are successful are that they really, really know their local market, and that they have a very strong, clear identity for their shop. I'd suggest looking around at the other shops on the street and seeing what's thriving and what's not. If 'luxury' or non-essential products are doing well, then that could be a good market to go for. If they're more basic shops, then cheaper products could sell well.

    Tapping into the local crafters for teachers can work, but it can also leave you with someone unsuitable for teaching - not everyone can pass their skills on clearly and patiently, so be sure about people before taking them on. I'd known the owner for months before she asked me to teach a crochet class, and that was because the teacher she had wasn't working out.

    Personally, I buy from my LYS and LYSs wherever I go, mostly on principle that I think it's important to support them. Similarly with fabric. There is definitely a place for haberdasheries nowadays, if you're distinctive and modern. The more old-fashioned ones around my way aren't doing so well, but my local charity shop can't buy in enough reasonably priced (not stupid-cheap, but not luxury) yarn to keep their shelves stocked!

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do :) I'm now following your blog, both for the gorgeous crochet (what amazing colours!) and look forward to hearing how you're doing xx

  32. I like your ideas funny as I've been thinking some of the same thoughts. My father in law owns and rents out a village shop which has just come empty. I can't take it on as my family are younger than yours, but I would love to be part of a community thing. My idea was to set up a craft space for people to learn and make that they could then hav a place to sell. The idea being that they can sell their works and work on a volunteer basis. I did read an excellent article in a magazine about some women had got together to make a cooperative as they all brought different skills to the table, making their customer base wider appealing.

    I reckon you should run an online shop alongside, but hopefully in time your reputation would build to be able to get more income from your real shop. I probably sound pushy, sorry, but I find the idea so appealing as I've thought it thru myself.

    Your crocheted things are so lovely, you have a great eye for colour and go girl! I'm sure with the right marketing and products it could be really successful!

  33. Sounds like a great idea to me! Some weeks ago, I discovered that there's a little LYS in a village just 10 minutes away from me, the owner is a lovely elderly lady and the shop looks more like a chaotic craft room than a shop :) I've become a frequent visitor now, and the pleasure to simply go there, talk to the old lady and browse through the different yarns - it's just something you don't have when you're buying online. Go for it, Jules! :)

  34. Firstly, love the doily's they are awesome!

    Secondly, yes I love LYS.. but there aren't any near me. The great thing about the LYS's is the support they give - and if you host 'learn to' groups and maybe start a couple of clubs "beginners crochet club, advanced crochet club" etc then more people might join as it won't be so daunting!
    Good luck, can't wait to see what you decide!

  35. Well I don't have a LYS( which stands for?), but I can't really buy "luxury" yarn, because I don't have the mula:), but if I did I so would! I think opening a shop would be great, but I also think opening an online shop is wise...I'm thinking both open a shop in your town and do an online shop. Let's face it this time and generation is all about internet and I think you would have a great success in an online shop. If the prices were good I would buy from you:) Good luck with everything. I love your color choices very pretty.

  36. What a fabulous idea, why not start with an online shop first, then maybe a stall. but if you have the time maybe a shop is the best thing for you, you certainly have the talent. I like the idea of a coffee area, it would make me stay longer in my LYS

  37. I think it's a fabulous idea! Of course, I have no business experience at all, but I'll answer your questions: I definitely prefer to buy from a LYS, but since there are no real yarn shops in Brussels where I live, and the LYS in my hometown is so expensive, I end up buying a lot of yarn online (at Deramores). I love the service, but I can't touch the yarn and pictures aren't always representative of the true colours (Stylecraft DK colours looking nice online, but then appear to be bright neon when delivered - ouch!) There is definitely a place, if not a need, for traditional yarn shops! I think the cozy-factor is very important too, a couch (with crochet blanket on top :-)), a coffee machine... I wish you the best of luck in making your decision! x

  38. What a lovely coloury "things" you are making from your japanese books!

    If you've got some money to spare, take a change on your own shop! It's great fun (i have a little fabric webshop and I just love it)!

  39. I tend to buy in person rather than online as I like to see, feel and ponder what I am about to buy. I invariably end up in the dept store John Lewis where I buy Rowan yarn but I am very fortunate to live quite close to a lovely inde shop ( which was started by two sisters about two years ago. They also sell online now, run lessons in the shop, have visits from authors (Jane Brockett recently) and have a more varied stock to J Lewis. Beautiful layout, a bit quirky, with props such as an old toy pram. It appears to be doing very well. I always much prefer spending my money in a one-off, well thought-out shop than the big boys, much more rewarding. Good luck!

  40. Can you seek out the woman who used to have the shop to get some feedback from her? Have you looked into other stores (worldwide) who perhaps operate in the way you envisage? I think this endeavour sounds lovely, and I certainly think you should complement it with an online shop. Personally, I love to crochet, but am such a poor purchaser of yarn (I’m just never quite that happy). I would love to turn to a shop like yours and gather the advice and product I would need. One online shop that I like that seems to have a lot going for it is Calico and Ivy in Sydney Australia. They are at Keep us posted on your progress! (BTW love the colourful doilies)

  41. Hi, I have worked for many years in a LYS which has a full cafe attatched, and so i say the coffee machine is a great idea (keeps them in the shop longer)! But one bit of advice i would give you is specialise in good quality yarn and dont go the haberdashery, crafty supplies way. Just concentrate on yarn and buttons to match, when you start adding all the extras it gets $$$ and there is not as much profit, invest it in yarn instead.. feel free to contact me to chat about what works for us and what hasn't, im happy to share

  42. Go for it !! You might not get chance to open your own wool/craft shop again. You might as well get paid to do something you really enjoy, and the possibilites are endless x

  43. Hello! I love going to the LYS where the people are welcoming and happy. The other LYS, closer to me, always feels like I am crashing a private party when I enter. I've stopped going there. I buy sock yarn locally so that I can touch it, but some other yarns online. I like to shop locally for the instant gratification :)

  44. I have no yarn shop anywhere near me so all yarn shopping is done online. It's a bit hit and miss but there is a huge range and the prices are good. I would be unlikely to give that up. I would definitely frequent a shop, to get instant gratification and to see, touch and feel the yarns. But the prices need to be good because otherwise I would check out the yarn and buy cheaper on line (if there was a big mark up). The other concern is that no matter what you stocked, it would be unlikely that you would have a full colour range or a wide range of brands because of space. I like different ranges all the time so I would not keep going back if I had exhausted the ranges.

    I like the idea of knit and natter type things. I'm not interested in 'lessons' as I don't see the point. I got the information from books and learnt while following patterns. How much time will there be anyway for individual attention? Cost would also be prohibitive - I would rather get yarn. Not interested in workshops either. A pattern tells you what to do - so just do it! I'm not one for sharing the process of yarn arts, it doesn't interest me at all.

    Yarn snobbery is vile but many people exhibit it. No one starting out needs top range stuff and no one needs to be made to feel bad for their choices. We can't all have what we want, money is in short supply. I'm not going to pay hundred of pounds for a blanket for goodness sake the way some do. It's a blanket for goodness sake, it has a purpose, it's not a luxory item. Some people like to make people feel bad about their choices. That's not nice. I have used stuff from the pound shop and stuff that cost $50 for one 100g ball (it was a present)from the USA. I get pleasure from it all. If you only cater for the high end market you will scare people and frighten them away. Likewise if you don't provide across the board, other people will see the shop as for 'cheap' only and they won't come either. Be kind to people who buy acrylic, it's not a crime. Most purchased stuff is made from it and it's fine. Do we want knitting and crochet to belong only to the wealthy? Skill is skill.

    Please let people alone as they make their choices. Much dithering is involved by necessity. Please don't keep your wool behind the counter, I don't know what I want until I see it. I can't ask for what I don't know about! I find it unhelpful and condescending for the shop owner to only show me what they want to show me. It is unhelpful and time wasting. I will never go there again. (The last shop I found was like this, I have moved since in any case).

    So all in all yes, there is room for a shop, most of us would love one but it needs to be packed with wool, preferably we can order from you what you haven't got and it will be a laid back and happy experience.

    I would sell on line. It will be time consuming but you will reach customers who are miles away and you could probably store yarn in a garage or something packed tight and not on display, meaning you could offer more of a range. Customers are tricky people though and you may have to deal with returns and grumpy people who don't like what they saw on their computer monitor when compared to the real thing.

    The location worries me though, noone is just going to meander into your shop while passing by if it is off the beaten track. I've seen many a lovely crafty type shop disappear because of this.

  45. Hello Jules,

    what a wonderful idea to open up a shop. With your taste for colors, yarns and patterns it would be the LYS of my dreams. BUT.... please keep in mind, that you will need a lot of money, to compensate the losses of the first year. There will be losses even if the shop is a success. You have to buy new yarns and pay the rent wihout having made any profit yet. And please keep in mind, that you will spend really a lot of time there. When the shop is open, you have to be there, and if there are enough custumers, you won`t have the time to do all the other works like ordering, shipping, keeping the books(sorry,i do not know the suitable expression).
    I do not want to be a spoilsport, but perhaps it would be a good idea to surch for one or two women, who would like to join you. You could be ceative together and share the time, the work the risk and the fun.

    Good luck and have a nice day

  46. YOU GO GIRL!

    (sorry, trying to contain the excitement).

    I do buy yarn online but only when I can no longer resist the colours of (eg) Madlinetosh and the like. I would infinitely prefer to buy all yarn in person. I love to see the colour in natural light, test for squishability and perform the all important Does It Tickle My Neck? Test.

    The other fabulous thing about a LYS is the on-hand advice and top tips. Priceless!

    The only concern, how do you get around the 'quiet' of the town?

    (All the very best of luck with your decisions)...

  47. Do you buy yarn from your LYS or mostly online? I buy from Hobby Lobby, which is close, or from my LYS, which is far. Almost never online, because I like to feel the texture and see the colors accurately (I work in a company that does graphic design and know colors can distort on a computer screen or when printing).

    Do you buy luxury yarns for a special treat? Yes, yes, yes. My "treats" for myself are the expensive luxurious yarns from the LYS, books on my kindle, a movie in the theatre, or a dinner out. Note that yarn is #1.

    Do you think there is still a place for a traditional haberdashery and yarn shop in todays world? Yes, yes, yes. I am poor, but still try to shop local small businesses. My parents are small business owners. I prefer the service and the quality. Hobby Lobby is a great source for cheap cotton yarn (my fav) when I'm doing a project that I don't want to spend a fortune on, but they don't have the color variety or the quality of yarn at an LYS. My LYS has the most delicious organic cotton yarn in the widest variety of colors.

    Do you think people have time/want to learn new skills like crochet nowadays? I think people are always looking for something creative to do with their hands. Every time someone sees me crocheting in public, they ask me about it and if they know me, ask me to teach them. Yarn crafts are so portable, that they are perfect for even the busiest person. I crochet a project until it gets too large to travel, then relegate that one to work on at home and choose a new one to start for "out". Crazy note, I have taught myself to crochet in the dark by feel (if it a pattern that is very repetitive like a ripple blanket) so I crochet at the movies every time I go.

    I hope you do it! If you were near me, I'd definitely shop there.


Thank you for taking the time to add your comment, I love to receive comments and read them all, even if I don't get around to responding to you, I am just not that organised!