Celebrating the Best British Yarns
As the UK celebrates the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and an extra special long bank holiday weekend, we here at Loop have been thinking about what makes the British Isles such a wonderful place to be. No surprise: for us it’s of course the amazing creators who make some of our favourite wools.
Our shop in Camden Passage will be closed today, Friday, in observance of the bank holiday, but we’ll be open as usual on Saturday from 11:30 to 5:30 and and Sunday from noon to 5 pm. We hope to see many of your relaxed, jubilant faces in the shop. Until then, here are some of our favourite woolly wonders of Britain.
Former Loopette Rachel Atkinson has done something really special for British wool. After seeing the fleeces from the estate where her father is a shepherd going under-valued and often to waste, she was inspired to launch a yarn business. The resulting Daughter of a Shepherd yarns are a gorgeous use of British wool that maintain a real connection with the land.
Daughter of a Shepherd Heritage 4-ply forms the base of one of Susan’s very favourite knits, the steeked Twigs Sweater knit with colourwork in Twirl Ditto (because what Brit would turn down a bit of support from California’s Napa Valley?) Rachel has also designed some of our very favourite Loop originals over the years, such as the Cecilia Cowl, Hawick Cowl, and Spring Bloom Mitts. You can learn more about Rachel and her wool in our Meet the Maker film series.
Uncommon Thread founder Ce started dying yarn after a few years of knitting, and we are so glad she did. Now running a small operation out of Brighton, Uncommon Thread makes some truly beautiful yarns, including the four bases we stock: BFL Singles, Tough Sock, BFL Light DK, and Lush Worsted. Whether you’re looking for a neon, a pastel, or a neutral, Uncommon Thread has the yarn for you.
Another of our treasured British yarns is a true London original. Layla Qing hand-dyes her gorgeous Qing Fibres yarns right here in this beautiful city. Her incredible combinations of the most vibrant tones and the richest dark hues are so unique and evocative. Plus, these fibres are seriously soft, plush, and squishy. The range of bases is super wide, from the fluffy Melted Baby Suri, Veranita and Kid Mohair Silk to the bold, tactile Big Merino Chunky plus gorgeous 100% Merino Singles and Super Soft DK. These yarns celebrate everything we love about being in a global city.
We are the only shop in the UK to stock this gorgeous yarn from Hampshire and we couldn’t be more proud. Grey Sheep Co. yarns are produced on a family farm that dates back to Tudor times nestled in the rolling hills of the English countryside. Traditional production practices and conservation are top of mind here, and the just-so colours inspired by English and Welsh country scenes give this yarn a real sense of place.
We were so excited to start stocking John Arbon Textiles Yarnadelic last year and can’t wait to start stocking the Knit by Numbers DK in almost 100 colours in a couple of months! The mill uses all vintage machinery to produce their rich, dyed-in-the-wool hues, and the colours of this base are all inspired by John’s eclectic record collection. This 4-ply/sport yarn is super versatile, but two of our favourite pieces to make with it are the Florence Shawl, which we collaborated with designer Florence Spurling to create, and the Soundwave Static Cowl, which was designed by Loopette Fabienne Gassman. We’ve just made more Soundwave Static Cowl Kits and the Florence Shawl Kit is available in two colourways. The Florence Shawl pattern is also available on its own if you’d rather pick your own colours. The pattern for the Soundwave Static Cowl can be purchased through Fabienne’s Ravelry.
We’ve also collaborated with Dee Hardwicke to create the Anemone Shawl using John Arbon Textiles Appledore. Dee is a designer whose inspiration is very much drawn from her Welsh surroundings. This shawl was inspired by the joy of the anemone flower and brought to fruition with the earthy, vintage feel of Appledore. This is not a yarn we normally stock, so the Anemone Shawl Kit (which we’re expecting more stock of in June) is a super special opportunity to buy yarns in this range from Loop.
Yorkshire is a county that inspires fierce loyalty in the people who are lucky enough to live there, and with yarns as beautiful as those from Eden Cottage Yarns hailing from the same region, we’re in no position to argue with that sentiment. The distinct hand-dyed palette of Theseus Lace, Hayton 4-ply, Milburn DK, and Bowland DK surely provokes a sense of pride.
Eden Cottage yarns also knit up beautifully, as seen in our shop knits of Rachel Atkinson’s Pop! Baby Cardigan (yes, the founder of Daughter of a Shepherd!) and Loop’s own Mabel’s Sister Cardigan, designed for us by Fiona Alice. The Pop! cardigan above was knit in Eden Cottage Milburn DK and the Mabel’s Sister Cardigan was designed using Eden Cottage Bowland DK.
Moving further north, The Border Mill is based in the Scottish Borders. They produce Alpaca yarns that are all grown in Britain and several of the colours we carry are bespoke for Loop. In addition to their 50 gram balls and stand-alone skeins, they also offer exclusively to Loop a stunning 50-Colour North Coast Tweed Set, perfect for fair isle knits or any colourwork—and a stash booster to boot! We also have made more Crepe Myrtle Kits using North Coast Tweed. This gorgeous textured wrap designed for us by Olga Buraya-Kefelian can be worn as a scarf or a shawl. It’s just divine.
What’s not to love about a yarn that comes in over 175 colours? And those are just the colours Loop stocks! We can almost guarantee you’ll find the colour or combo you’re looking for in this incredible Scottish yarn. Jamieson’s of Shetland Spindrift is a five-generation British tradition that we are so happy to help carry on here at Loop. From the 1890s to now, this yarn has never not been relevant.
This yarn, dyed in the Orkney Islands of Scotland, shows all the best things about angora. Soft, cozy, and lustrous yet durable, it’s perfect for toys and accessories. Eight of the 31 colours of the St Magnus base at Loop are exclusive for us, including super fun and bright Ghosts on Pointe, Magical Goose, and Squashed Clementine. This yarn makes gorgeous gloves and socks you’ll want to wear every day.
Like John Arbon Textiles, Lilith of Old Maiden Aunt takes inspiration from music when designing her colours. She says her hues are “based around songs that I love and that I think everyone else should know about,” and oh boy are we happy to know about them. Hand-painted in Scotland, these yarns make for gorgeous garments and the Alpaca Silk Sportweight/Light DK base that Loop carries is made just for us. Old Maiden Aunt yarns were used as the base for the Isokon Mitts in our book Loop’s 10 as well as the Crow Waltz Shawl designed by Juju Vail.
Beyond the wonderful wool producers and dyers, our shores are blessed with a bounty of makers whose arts and crafts we are honoured to host in our shop.
The sweet houses made by Amanda Banham and Anne Kelly are such a beautiful illustration of the many ways wool, textiles, and stitching crafts can be used as well as how differently two artists can represent the same concept or object. Amanda Banham’s ceramic houses are inspired by the community spirit on a street in her hometown of Saffron Walden in Essex. Anne Kelly’s work is rooted in folk traditions and inspired by her desire to let no scrap of material go to waste.
Lesley McCormick’s Wire Words and Birdcages are so lovely and original. They really bring an air of creativity to the room, whether they’re hanging in a window or displayed on a mantle or shelf. Lesley, who is originally from Northern Ireland, is equally at home working in wool, as her lovely Wee Bears, Bunnies, and Dogs will attest.
These sweet little figures are hand-stitched in mohair and dressed in vintage fabrics. These collectables are perfect for a dollhouse or just to decorate the home, and they would also make fast friends with Julie Arkell‘s beautiful creatures. These poetic figures made of papier mache, knitted and vintage fabrics, and embroidery bring a lovely bit of whimsy into the world.
We are always looking for wonderful ways to store all our knitting bits and pieces, and on this front Poppy Treffry and Miesje Chafer are go-to British makers. Poppy Treffry’s Embroidered Sheep Haberdashery Pouches are perfect for darning needles, scissors, or small buttons, plus the hand-embroidered sheep adorning the front pays sweet homage to the origins of our favourite crafts. More of these are being made for us right now and will be back in stock very soon! Miesje Chafer’s brightly coloured Handmade Haberdashery Pouches are slightly larger, accommodating heftier bits of haberdashery like ribbons, tins of stitch markers and the like. Miesje’s latest contribution to the shop is her incredible line of Project Bags. These bright beauties have a super convenient drawstring closure and funky colours that will look fabulous whether your bag is resting on the living room floor or on your arm while you knit out on the town.
Well there you have it. From the furthest reaches of the Orkney Islands to the south coast metropolis of Brighton, Great Britain has some of the best yarn producers and loveliest makers around, and we are honoured to share their wonderful goods with you.
Have a happy, relaxing long weekend!