The Great London Yarn Crawl is back and better than ever! Now in it’s third year, this tour of London’s finest knitting and haberdashery shops has now expanded to include a pop-up market.
We managed to catch founders Rachel and Allison in a spare moment between planning routes to find out more.
(Be sure to read to the end of the post to find out how you can win tickets for the Yarn Crawl in September!)
PPQ: Hi Guys! The Great London Yarn Crawl is a relatively new event, having only started in 2013 – what was the original inspiration for the crawl, and secondly what was the inspiration for the new addition of the marketplace?
GLYC: Originally, Allison was doing research into London yarn shops as a sales rep for a yarn company. Rachel tagged along on many of the visits and after about three or four shop visits in as many weeks, made the comment that it was “like doing a yarn crawl on the tube”. Allison told Rachel about the TTC Knitalong in Toronto, and Rachel’s response was “we could do that here”. The rest is history!
We’ve tried every year to have something new and different for our yarn crawlers to keep things fresh. One of the best things about the GLYC is how it celebrates the London shops, but as it’s grown we’ve also come to celebrate the many indie dyers and makers here in the UK. We thought the pop-up marketplace would be a fun way to add them to the mix. It also gives more people a chance to participate on the day, even briefly, without having to make the full day commitment to yarn crawling.
We imagine you are pretty familiar with the shops and routes. Do you have any favourites?
We can’t answer that! What we love about the London shops is that they’re all so different. Of course, some crossover of products is inevitable but the shops all have very unique viewpoints that make visiting them truly different and special.
What advice would you give for a first time yarn-crawler?
Wear comfy shoes!! Pace yourselves. Bring snacks and/or a bottle of water with you as you’re often on the move. Do your research too! Have a quick look at each shop’s website to see what their specialty is or what they might have that you haven’t seen before. And if you’re shopping for yarn or notions for a specific project, make sure you have a list of what you need with you because it can be easy to get overwhelmed when faced with everything the shops have to offer!
The Great London Yarn Crawl raises money for the UK Charity Refuge, can you tell us a bit more about the charity and why you chose them?
Part of our goal with the GLYC is to give back to the community. We do that in a couple of ways: bringing together yarn and fibre lovers and providing an opportunity for them to explore new shops and make new friends while celebrating the knitting community we have here in London.
The other way is by donating to a local charity. We chose Refuge because it is devoted to helping women and children. We’re both women with children so supporting organisations that help those in need is an important thing for us. Refuge originally began in London and now provides support to women and children across the UK who are escaping domestic violence; in fact they’re the country’s largest single provider of specialist domestic violence services.
We’re really honoured to be able to support Refuge and that the yarn crawlers care about the charity as much as we do. We will be collecting winter accessories for women and children again this year at the GLYC and passing those on to Refuge to be distributed to their network
You have taken the GLYC on the road to other crafty cities like Brighton and Bath. Tell us more about the events you have planned.
We’re super excited to host designer and tech editor extraordinaire, Kate Atherley, for two workshops the day after the yarn crawl and pop-up marketplace. Kate will be teaching Introduction to Knitwear Design, as well as her Pattern Writing Skills which is based on her book Pattern Writing for Knit Designers.
Then after a short break we’ve got another special event in October – which we’re totally spilling the beans by telling you (it’s not even on our website yet!)! Heather Ordover from CraftLit will be speaking to us about “What Knitting Does To Your Brain: the many benefits of knitting (and crocheting) – this time backed by 95% more SCIENCE!” That event will be on Sunday, 18th October and tickets will go on sale 1st August on our website.
And finishing off the year we’ve been chatting with the shops in Bath already about a return to that gorgeous city for another pre-Christmas romp. It will be different from last year in that we won’t be taking a coach from London but the rest of the details are still be sorted out and we’ll be ready to announce that event after the GLYC and marketplace!
Who can we expect to see in the pop-up marketplace?
We’re super excited about the mix of indie dyers, designers and makers from across the UK who will be joining us for the pop-up marketplace! Some of the London yarn shops are taking part, such as Loop and Knit With Attitude. We’ve also added an Indie Designer Spotlight to the marketplace that will be kind of like a rotating trunk show over the course of the day as the designers show off samples and have their patterns available for purchase. The participating designers include Kate Atherley, Louise Zass-Bangham, Renée Callahan, Helen Stewart and Boo Knits.
Are there any newcomers to the knitting show circuit we can look forward to seeing for the first time?
Absolutely! London-based indie-dyer Travelknitter will be taking part, as well as Ginger Twist Studio from Edinburgh. We’re also welcoming contemporary tapestry designer Hannah Bass, and looking forward to seeing the vintage glass buttons from Nichols Buttons. Our Yarn in the City logo illustrator Kaylene Alder will also be taking part and is creating some new knit-themed drawings. And after a reduced show schedule this year, we’re delighted that Eden Cottage Yarns will be joining us too. And we can’t forget to mention Leeleetea – designer Natalie Selles was one of our yarn guides on the crawl last year!
After hosting last year’s after party we are so pleased to be back as a Media Partner for the 2015 event. Are there any other special collaborations planned that will make this year different?
We’re thrilled to have Pom Pom back as our Media Partner and delighted to welcome Loop as the sponsor for this year’s new GLYC Kick-Off Party. We’re also really pleased to be able to showcase some of the great indie designers in our community through the Indie Designer Spotlight and are looking forward to seeing all of their samples! The fact that we’re also able to round out the weekend by learning something new and think Kate Atherley’s workshops will be hot tickets is fantastic, and tickets are already selling well!
Is there anything else that you are excited about for this year that we should know about?
It’s been a busy year for Yarn in the City – not just because of the GLYC and pop-up marketplace but because we’ve also been working on a book! It grew out of work on the GLYC and is a guidebook to London’s yarn shops, and fabric and haberdashery shops too. We don’t have the exact timing just yet, but you can expect it out in September, either at the pop-up marketplace or available for pre-sale.
Where can we go to keep in touch with news and announcements?
You can find out info about all of our events on our website at www.yarninthecity.com. Or join our newsletter so that you always find out about news first! We’re also on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and have a group on Ravelry. Right now we’ve got a KAL on the go knitting a specific project with the goal of wearing it to the GLYC and pop-up marketplace.
Why not join us?
Why not indeed!
Rachel and Allison have kindly offered two pairs of tickets to the marketplace for a couple of lucky Pom Pom readers. Simply leave a comment on this post to let us know who you are looking forward to seeing in the marketplace for your chance to win. Check out the vendors here! Comment by midnight on Sunday 12 July and as ever there are extra points if you tweet, share on Facebook or Instragram this! Just let us know that you did in a separate comment. Goooood luck!