A Woollen Gem

Yesterday was an unexpected day. It began very early when I was awoken by my partner complaining about my snoring! I don’t blame him for complaining because I’m well aware that there are more than two or three decibels in the air when I start [!] – but I do blame him for waking me so early!

We were expecting a visit from his mother, Christina, to collect her dog from us. Christina had driven home from Scotland on Wednesday in the appalling weather: towing her Eriba caravan [her pride and, definitely, her joy]. Peter and I were discussing the visit and agreed that his mother would probably be exhausted after the drive so we decided to help her by taking Lucy to her.

When we arrived, although indeed exhausted, Christina had plans for she and I to go to Diggle! Excitement began to build as she had previously told me about a wonderful place in Diggle selling lots of British wool.

Woolyknit did not disappoint! What a paradise for anyone who loves working with wool – whether knitting, crocheting, spinning, felting or any other crafts involving wool! It completely took my breath away when we walked into the main shop. I have to admit that some of the items on display in the entrance gave a slightly uninspiring first impression, but it took only three or four steps to reach the wonder that is Woolyknit. And, what a wonder it is! They have their own range of natural and dyed tops for felting and spinning and their own ranges of Yorkshire-spun British wool yarns.

One wall of the main part of the shop is virtually full of myriad plain and blended colours of wool tops to which I was immediately drawn. It was a stunning display. The opposite wall displayed their own ranges of British wool in various thicknesses. The centre of the store was where their machine-knitted garments were on show, together with a selection of other, more commonplace, yarns. Woolyknit also sell knitting patterns and accessories.

The two women working in the shop were very welcoming – friendly and helpful without being overbearing. There is an area where you can sit with your knitting, which is extremely well-stocked with books on knitting, crochet and probably much more [I didn’t have time to look closely]. My favourite part of the store was the tables where you are invited to have a go at felting – oooooh, goody – and it’s free if you use the wool from the baskets by the tables! After a brief look at what was for sale I headed straight to the felting table to play.

I used a Clover felting tool mainly with the Clover felting brush but I did also try it using a foam block. There was one of the Clover felting moulds on the table so I had a quick try using that with a felting pen – it wasn’t for me as it’s far too fiddly for my liking. I’m too lazy and too impatient to do ‘fiddly’. I made a couple of small felt balls and one section of the mould but the item I most enjoyed making was this:

Felted Star Flower

I used three different blended colourways of tops with a plain golden yellow in the centre. It’s rather too big to wear as a brooch as it is but one of the women suggested wet felting it to reduce its size.

Whilst I was playing, Christina was seeking help with finding some wool for a project she has in mind. Not only did they suggest a yarn, but one of them also sat and knitted a tension square to ensure it would work. All of this, and they gave us a brew as well!

At the moment Woolyknit is having an extension built so that they can open a cafe. Can this place get any better? Yes, it can! They offer workshops and, when they heard about the knitting and craft groups that I run, they offered to open on a Sunday for us, if we wanted.

I’m so pleased that Christina took me – thank you, Christina – and I can’t wait to return.

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