Wednesday, 22 June 2011
Well, the Lang Jawoll socks are washed, dry, and hot to trot. I’m generally pleased with them but, as mentioned yesterday, the yarn is a bit fluffier than I would ideally like. Also, I’ve got to get over my laziness when it comes to toes and start grafting again as I’m only entirely happy with a grafted toe. I think in a way the last couple of pairs of socks haven’t really inspired me to get out a needle to do the grafted finish. The colourway is super and I think even some men would like it, albeit the more adventurous ones!
Today I’m going to do a quick report on the yarn shop in Ely where I bought this wool. It’s slightly out of order because it was the third of the Local Yarn Shops which I visited this spring, but it makes sense to me to do this report today.
The shop is in the main market square at Ely, Cambridgeshire. Ely is an ancient city, well worth a visit or two or three. Easily accessible by train (about an hour on the train from Norwich), it has several historic buildings to visit including the cathedral with the stained glass museum, and the house where Oliver Cromwell (Lord Protector of England after the Civil War) lived for 10 years. There’s also a really good walk along by the river. Shopping is particularly good with two yarn shops, a brilliant bookshop (where I bought the Coleridge and Miss Pym books), lovely chocolate shop and a stationery shop which combined very boring office equipment with really sumptuous gift wrapping and high-end notebooks.
However, I’m reporting on a wool shop today. Yarn on the Square, to be precise. As mentioned, this is in the main market square and very easy to find. It’s a modern building with full-width window looking out on to the square which makes it nice and bright inside and allows a good window display which on the day I visited (the day before the Prince William’s wedding) included some items from “Knit your own Royal Wedding” book.
The shop was spacious with a wall of tall yarn storage plus a lower unit at the other side of the shop filled with books. At that side of the shop the floor was heaped with baskets and decorative containers full of yarn. In the window was a sofa, with a table in front, and at the back of the shop there were tables and chairs.
The yarn selection was quite varied with Rowan, Debbie Bliss, Louisa Harding, Noro, Bergere de France and going right down to Sirdar. If Les Trictoteuses in Holt would hit my point of “accessible luxury” then I’d rank the selection at Yarn on the Square as “the usual suspects” by which I mean aimed at the more price-conscious knitters. There were some interesting yarns to look at, but the only item I bought was the ball of Lang Jawoll for the socks, and that was a modest purchase.
The selection of knitting needles and accessories here did not inspire me, but then I was on the lookout for more 12” KnitPro Nova metal needles and there were none.
Ultimately, I found this shop a bit of a disappointment but can’t quite put my finger on why. The selection of products was wide and I’m sure catered for the vast majority of knitting tastes, and was certainly wide enough to encourage knitters to venture out of their comfort zones. I think, as a visitor, it lacked anything extra-special to tempt me. But more than that, I found it a little unwelcoming. The ladies serving in the shop were chatty enough, but I just felt a bit out of place there. That can sometimes just be a case of not being part of the regular clientele. Perhaps the shop would have seemed more welcoming if there had been more people shopping in it?
I think a lot of my disappointment may have stemmed from the fact I’d visited the other wool shop in Ely that morning and Yarn on the Square suffered in comparison. More on that tomorrow.
To sum up, I’d recommend a visit to Yarn on the Square if you’re in Ely or the surrounding area as my slight misgivings are outweighed by the wide selection of yarn and the light and airy feel of the shop.