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Permanent Resident

United Kingdom
1227 Posts

Posted - 02/16/2005 :  08:15:23 AM  Show Profile  Visit probablyjane's Homepage Send probablyjane a Private Message
Our North American friends can think themselves lucky. Yarn tend to be confined to old fashioned department stores in England. I visited one such establishment in Enfield yesterday. Wall to wall acryllic and novelty yarn. I asked if they had ordinary run of the mill wool double knitting. "Oh no, madam, we don't sell wool".

With a crackle of static electricity I retreated


Permanent Resident

2611 Posts

Posted - 02/16/2005 :  1:02:20 PM  Show Profile Send anderknit a Private Message
Yikes! That's horrifying! Between Debbis Bliss and Rowan, you'd think good yarn (wool even!) would be on every street corner. You'll just have to save up for the ultimate in yarn road trips, and come on over!

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow.' "
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Seriously Hooked

845 Posts

Posted - 02/16/2005 :  1:33:02 PM  Show Profile Send kekokat a Private Message
Isn't it funny. I think a lot of us N. Americans think of England and thereabouts as woolsville.
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carpe diem
Permanent Resident

1158 Posts

Posted - 02/16/2005 :  3:41:23 PM  Show Profile Send carpe diem a Private Message
Ouch! I'm in agreement with anderknit & kekokat - how can this be?

~ Lisa, Seattle
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Sabrina Fair
Seriously Hooked

United Kingdom
640 Posts

Posted - 02/17/2005 :  05:26:16 AM  Show Profile Send Sabrina Fair a Private Message
You N. Americans are half right England should be woolsville. Think Rowan, Starmore, Fair Isle, Guernseys. The truth is that you can make an effort to go to some specialist palces but otherwise it just isn't.

I blame PAttons, Sirdar etc for not all but some pretty un-imaginative designs and yarn that just failed to insprie my generation so killed the interest

I feel like I am beign robbed of my heritage


Sabrina fair,
Listen where thou art sitting
Under the glassy, cool, translucent wave,
In twisted braids of lilies knitting
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Permanent Resident

15375 Posts

Posted - 02/17/2005 :  05:55:02 AM  Show Profile Send mokey a Private Message
BUt that's like most Michaels and Walmart with scarcely a natural fibre to be found. I asked the same thing at a Michaels in San Diego and they thought I was nuts.

"I firmly believe the Bible is the misinterpreted word of God." Mokey
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Permanent Resident

1198 Posts

Posted - 02/17/2005 :  07:28:32 AM  Show Profile  Visit pjkite's Homepage  Send pjkite a Yahoo! Message Send pjkite a Private Message
And I was in a local Wal-mart yesterday afternoon looking for any yarn that had even a little wool in it. No luck. The only alternatives were basic cotton crochet threads, Red Heart acrylic yarn and some Fun Fur, also acrylic of some sort - polymid or rayon? No wool to be found.

I've seen at least Wool-Ease here before, and had a little time, so I asked. This Wal-mart doesn't stock wool yarns because the one time they did (that Wool-Ease a couple of years ago) they got a major moth problem in their storage area. The prohibitive (?) cost of wool yarns was also given as a reason.

Gee, all I wanted was a skein of wool yarn to divide, dye and use for a practice Fair Isle project! I'll just have to make time to spin a bobbin-full this evening or over the weekend. It's not as if I don't have other projects to work on ;)

The really interesting thing to me was that three other women and one man who were nearby had some comments to make about the cost and availability issues, as well. They all said that they would love to have a local source for basic wool yarns, and would prefer to buy them locally instead of having to drive for 20-30 miles to the nearest large city. We continued talking for a few minutes - of the approximately dozen people in the department at that time, all but two are knitters, and all of those prefer wool yarns. All knit sweaters, most knit socks, hats and mittens. All knit multiple projects each year, all have yarn budgets of more than $500 per year. And we all use various preventive measures for moths, none of which are very expensive.

The "clerk" at the time happened to be the department manager. She at least listened thoughtfully. Maybe it will percolate and they will begin to stock some basic wools - and use appropriate moth control procedures in the storage area!

Pamela Kite
East Tennessee

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Gabber Extraordinaire

503 Posts

Posted - 02/17/2005 :  09:20:01 AM  Show Profile Send cats a Private Message
I can sort of see the San Diego Michael's not carrying any wool yarn since who in their right mind would wear a wool sweater, mittens, etc. in that part of the country. It would be nice to be able to make something to felt though. The Michael's in Little Rock does carry Paton's yarn that's 100% wool and is kind of bulky as well as Wool Ease in various gauges. You can get Bernat's cotton in Wal-Mart and some other cottons in Michaels as well. It's a lot better selection at least than when I first started knitting and that was only a couple of years ago.
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Permanent Resident

3244 Posts

Posted - 02/17/2005 :  3:09:32 PM  Show Profile  Visit Wen's Homepage Send Wen a Private Message
Lincraft and Spotlight here are basically the same; aisles and aisles of novelty yarn and acrylic with the odd ball of Patons/Cleckheaton baby wool.

The specialist shops tend to specialise in Rowan Debbie Bliss Noro etc so they are very expensive, you can save about 30% by buying English yarns online from english shops.

There are some shops around that sell other Aussie brands like Jo Sharp, Heirloom and Hawthorne Cottages but they are few and far between.


2005 stats: 3 FO, 8 WIP, 0 frogpond.
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Knittin Kitten
Chatty Knitter

134 Posts

Posted - 02/17/2005 :  4:39:12 PM  Show Profile  Visit Knittin Kitten's Homepage Send Knittin Kitten a Private Message
My two local Michaels also do not sell any wool yarns. When I asked at my third visit to one of them, and I finally found someone familiar with the department, she said "oh, no... we don't/won't carry wool anymore." I asked her why not, since felting wool is so popular here now, and she replied that she had no idea about that, and she couldn't help me. Too bad, since I can't afford to buy at the LYS just now. I've been buying Patons at A.C. Moore, but our shops do not have all the colors and I really don't like the ones they do have.

[IMG][/IMG] Lynne
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truly violet
Permanent Resident

6399 Posts

Posted - 02/17/2005 :  4:55:35 PM  Show Profile  Visit truly violet's Homepage Send truly violet a Private Message
gees even my AC Moore sells wool
and a couple other brands that I forget off hand
( hey I failed that annual senior dementia test....what do you want from me)
maybe move to america?
if you can.....
get a couple sheep

none of this will matter in 100 years.......except I will finally be at my goal
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New Pal

1 Posts

Posted - 02/25/2005 :  2:13:03 PM  Show Profile Send KateK8 a Private Message
Originally posted by mokey

BUt that's like most Michaels and Walmart with scarcely a natural fibre to be found. I asked the same thing at a Michaels in San Diego and they thought I was nuts.

"I firmly believe the Bible is the misinterpreted word of God." Mokey

I just started working as a knitting instructor at the Clairemont Michaels in San Diego, and they asked me to teach a class on felting. Yet I'm only allowed to use Michael's yarns for my classes. I talked to the manager about getting more wool in the store (yes, even San Diego needs wool) and she's trying to get some Fisherman's wool and Landscapes. Since we carry other Patons yarn like Divine and Grace, I'll also see if we can get some Classic Merino. Also, I'm trying to get them to stock more notions like 16" circular needles and double pointed needles. Some of the stock in the store really doesn't make sense, and I don't think that the person who stocks the yarn is a knitter. But I'm working on getting wool and needles at Michaels.
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Permanent Resident

4859 Posts

Posted - 02/25/2005 :  2:57:49 PM  Show Profile  Visit Momma78239's Homepage  Send Momma78239 a Yahoo! Message Send Momma78239 a Private Message
It's sad that you can't easily find wool in London. After all, isn't "wool" the generic British word for all knitting yarn? At least it is in all the Miss Marple books I've read.

Here in Texas, "wool" is where ya' git yer watirrr - ya' know - outta the gra-oond.

... __ ____ ____
, o`,/__/ _/\_ //____/\
```)( | | | | | | | || |l
,.- ,.-~~-., `-. :

"But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."

-Joshua 24:15b
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Permanent Resident

1127 Posts

Posted - 03/04/2005 :  08:38:22 AM  Show Profile  Visit fillyjonk's Homepage Send fillyjonk a Private Message
It is true that the "general" craft or department stores here in the US VERY SELDOM carry wool yarns (In my experience).

There's wall to wall novelties, and there's almost every color in the Red Heart Super Saver spectrum, but wool is rare.

I will say the Hobby Lobby nearest me does carry Wool-Ease, which has SOME wool. (And I noticed the last time I was there, they had a few skeins - in a very few colors, none of which I thought were attractive) of a yarn called "La Lana" which was a 100% wool for felting. I felt some of it and wasn't very impressed.

Here in the US, you do have to go to the specialty yarn shops for the "classic" wools, in my experience.

What I'd love? To see places like Hobby Lobby start carrying the Brown Sheep line, or other "affordable" wool lines. Part of the reason so many people use synthetics may be that they've never had the chance to experience anything else...(I know, that's the natural-fiber-snob in me talking, and there ARE nice synthetics, but I love my wool.)
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Ruby Plaid
Seriously Hooked

661 Posts

Posted - 03/08/2005 :  11:51:56 AM  Show Profile  Visit Ruby Plaid's Homepage Send Ruby Plaid a Private Message
Wow! I've been to Britain several times and the first thing that comes to mind when I picture the U.K. are the rolling green hills and all the sheep! With so many sheep running around everywhere, I'm a little disappointed to hear about your wool problem.

My local A.C. Moore carries a good basic, if not extensive, selection of wool blends, like Wool Ease, and the natural Fishermans wool. As a matter of fact, when I went in yesterday to pick up some Wool-Ease, I noticed that A.C. Moore's prices on all the Lion Brand yarns were significantly less than the prices in Lion Brand's own mail order catalog.
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Permanent Resident

3291 Posts

Posted - 03/15/2005 :  6:45:09 PM  Show Profile Send ozknitter a Private Message
Hi Wen,

What do call a specialist shop? A wool shop?

I think we are incredibly lucky to live in Australia with the abundance of wool that we have.

I wouldn't call Knitters of Australia a specialist shop, maybe Sunspun but not really and as I've said before I think the Spotlights don't all carry the same wool.

As the one I go to in Box Hill always has heaps of wool, granted they don't keep Rowan or other imported wool very much, but they always have heaps of good old Aussie wool at reasonable prices.

Also I think it was Tam who pointed out once, that's why we don't have to do tension squares as our wool is such a standard guage.

I love all the speciality wools but they are really out of my price range, although I have bought them when my DH took me to Sunspun and gave me $300 to spend for my birthday.

But then again each to his own.

Knit in peace and harmony.

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Permanent Resident

3244 Posts

Posted - 03/15/2005 :  6:59:29 PM  Show Profile  Visit Wen's Homepage Send Wen a Private Message
Hi Rose, spotlight only carried Australian country spinners last time I was there (Panda, cleckheaton and Patons) no other brands. Lincraft has their own brand, ACS, and imports.

There is a lot of Australian wool production (Heirloom, Rare Yarns are both in Victoria) but few places stock their products (Knitters of Australia and Wool Baa do). Rare yarns is more expensive but heirloom is comparable to ACS product when it comes to wool. Also all ACS is treated to make it machine washable; they no longer make any wool that will felt.


2005 stats: 4 FO, 8 WIP, 0 frogpond.
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