2011 - 2021
It's hard to believe that The Woolly Brew is 10 years old.
Karen and I started the business in 2010 with craft kits but our goal was always to have a yarn shop. We got the keys to 39 High Street on 31st October 2011, opening the doors to customers on 1st December.
The month in between was packed with some modest demolition, trades, plaster boarding, decorating, cleaning, unflat-packing and displaying... we even loaded a pricing gun and learned to use the till (although that wasn't obvious for many months after we opened 🤣).
The transformation was amazing... the shop was filled with light and brightness.
Although looking back at photos there really wasn't that much yarn.
jam packed now
We started with 14 shades of Jamieson's Spindrift.
There was no Opal 4ply sock yarn and only a handful of shop samples, and they were mostly loaned to us from yarn companies.
In the past 10 years the range of Spindrift shades has increased 9 fold. There are now over 120 shades in the shop (and listed online).
There's been over 45 different collections of Opal 4ply sock yarn - 8 ranges available right now.
And the shop now has over 75 samples to show off the yarns and patterns - many of them listed in our Gallery online.
Looking through the 'archives' of shop samples there are a few that I want to knit again in our current yarns (do you remember any of these?).
Color Affection by Veera Välimäki on Ravelry
This 2012 sample spawned a lot of Color Affections. A gentle pattern of garter stitch stripes it uses short rows to create a long crescent shape. This one uses Debbie Bliss Rialto Lace (no longer sold in independent shops) but we had a 4ply one too for a while. Lots more photos on the Ravelry project page.
From 2015 Dewberry is a cross between a cowl and a shawl. The designer has lots of other designs like this and we're even got a bundle of patterns on Ravelry too called Pointy Cowls. With this style you start flat, knitting back and forth, and then join in the round. This one was knitted in Louisa Harding Amitola Grande. We don't have a self-striping aran at the moment*... think I'll have a look at getting one in so I can knit Dewberry again. 😆 You can see more photos on our Ravelry project page.
(*I think it could work with Rico Melange Chunky).
In 2014 I knitted Imagine When in Louisa Harding Amitola (which we stopped selling when it got too expensive and complicated to stock). This would look amazing in a Zauberball or a Zauberball Flower. I remember the pattern being great fun to knit and the finished project has a real wow effect. See more photos on our Ravelry project page.
From 2016 Solace was originally knitted in Socks Yeah 4ply and Debbie Bliss Rialto Lace (now no longer available in independent yarn shops). Solace has a long asymmetrical shape knitted all in garter stitch. You can see more photos on our Ravelry project page.
One trend that I don't want to revisit is 'scarf yarn'. Easy to do but more fiddly than just knitting, 'scarf yarns', or ribbon yarns, introduced a lot of people to knitting and also enticed ex-knitters back to the hobby.
In the early days of the shop Karen and I spent a lot of time teaching people how to knit these scarves which meant we could whip up a shop sample in less than 2 hours, usually at knit group which met once a week in the shop.
In fact, the knit group started before we had the shop, back then we met in the Harbour Howff café in St Monans. Called Stitches there were lots of different crafts including patchwork and cross stitch. Over the years there's been different venues but now we meet in the shop weekly. Or rather we did! Obviously with the ongoing COVID situation there hasn't been a knit group in a while. Hopefully we'll get back to having groups in the shop again.
Groups include workshops as well as get togethers for the Pittenweem Community Craft project. All with tea and cake. There used to be a lot more baking on our Instagram! Sadly not so much this past year.
Obviously the biggest change over the past 10 years is Karen leaving in 2017, returning to her island home. Although it was daunting carrying on by myself, I am incredibly fortunate to have the support of such lovely customers and wonderful suppliers. Some of you have been here since the beginning and some of you have just found the shop, but I'm grateful to you all for helping to make The Woolly Brew.