On the last couple of days of the tour we managed to visit 3 different places and met lots of great knitters and shops. We drove from Bristol along misty, windy roads, made a stop for lunch and scones, and finally arrived in the charming village of Knighton, home of First 4 Yarns. They've just moved into this wonderful new space and I had the honour of cutting the yarn to open it, accompanied by the local mayor. It's such a fun, colourful, welcoming shop and the area looks like it would be lovely to spend some time in. We stayed at the George and Dragon Inn, which was just as cosy and friendly, even if they did mock my lack of a Scottish accent. The food looked great, although we only had room, after all of the cake the knitters plied us with, to try the soup.
During the tour I realised that Sarah knits an awful lot more than I do, especially when we were both working on the same project, hers grew much faster than mine even though she doesn't seem to knit faster. These photos clearly illustrate some of the reasons for this. Firstly, I talk with my hands, and I do it while knitting, which means putting the knitting down. Secondly, Sarah's always knitting.
We left bright and early, well early at least, and drove to Nottingham. We visited a teeny little yarn store, really a market stall, but we were delightfully surprised by what a great job the owner Liz is doing with limited resources and how many knitters she managed to get together on a weekday lunchtime. As soon as we were done in Nottingham we left for Leeds, where we arrived at our final stop, Baa Ram Ewe more or less when we said we would. I got to cut the Icord this time, to open their new workshop space. So many knitters crowded in that I couldn't fit them all in this shot! Books were signed, samples were tried on and I even managed to squeeze in a little knitting. We also had fun browsing the great selection of yarns, Verity's worked hard to combine well known brands alongside more unusual, local yarns that showcase the vibrancy and rich heritage of Yorkshire's wool producers. One thing that we loved about all three of these shops is how welcoming they seemed to be to all of the knitters in their community. I love luxury yarns and workhorse natural fibres, but also appreciate that knitters have all sorts of perfectly valid reasons for choosing different yarns and different price points, so it was nice to see shops catering both to different knitters and the varying tastes of individual knitters (because sometimes acrylic is the right yarn and sometimes cashmere is) and making an effort to reach out to their communities and make everyone feel welcome.