For the love of yarn
By Susan Prior
Knitting is cool!
It seems odd to be writing about a wool shop on a site about ‘secret’ Brisbane, but in truth yarn shops are becoming so scarce that any ones that are left are definitely worthy of a mention. I have to confess to being a knitter myself. Most evenings, in fact. So, really, I have a vested interest in making sure these scarce gems remain in business so that I can buy decent yarn!
Knitting is therapy
If you think knitting is for the older sedentary person, then think again. It is seriously cool, it can be a little subversive (yarn bombing), and there is an element of Zen-like meditation to the process. Having concentrated hard all day at work, it can be just the thing to allow your mind to change gears. Much has been written about its therapeutic benefits, inducing, as it does, a state of calm mindfulness. Both relaxing and creative, the end product can be quite beautiful and useful, too.
Knitting is art
Consider this: take two pointy sticks and some pretty string and you can produce something that can be deceptively simple or highly complex, in gorgeous colours, and which feels great to the touch.
I popped into Susan Wheeler’s shop – Yarn Glorious Yarn – to buy some additional wool for a project and, on a whim, asked if she would mind me quickly interviewing her. She very graciously agreed to my request. I normally carry a notepad, pen and voice recorder with me at the very least, and often I will have my SLRD camera with me, too. Not so this morning.
But nothing ventured! With the recorder on my phone I managed a quick interview, and with the phone’s camera I managed a couple of shots.
As we chatted, we tried to think of any yarn shops still in existence in Brisbane. There are a couple of online outfits, but we both thought that maybe she is it, apart from Lincraft and Spotlight. They are great, but you don’t get some of the high-quality, artisan yarns stocked by a specialist shop.
Susan believes that keeping overheads as low as possible is the key. ‘I pay myself in yarn,’ she says. ‘I don’t take a wage.’ Clearly, Susan adores her yarn! Such is the trading environment these days that running a shop like this can be a real labour of love.
Being able to quickly pick up on the popular trends is vital to a successful business. At the moment, for example, Hedgehog Fibres, an Irish hand-dyed yarn and fibre studio based in Cork, is the yarn of choice. And she stocks it. (Yay!) Susan also stocks Schoppel-Wolle, Madelinetosh, Cascade, The Fibre Company, Cleckheaton, Katia, Holst, and Zen, to name a few. And, of course, she carries hooks, needles, patterns and some of the cutest accessories. (Vintage Stitch Marker Tins, please!)
Susan offers crochet classes every Wednesday from 10 am until 12 pm, as well as some classes on Thursday evenings and sometimes Saturday mornings. There are sock classes, for example, which cost $65 for three sessions, and for $25 Susan will give you an hour-long, one-on-one class, which seems excellent value to me. It is best to check out the website for the most up-to-date information.
Yarn Glorious Yarn has been going for six years: two as an online shop, and then, bucking the trend, four years as a physical retail outlet.
If you want to see these small indie shops survive in your neighbourhood, then support them. They offer so much more than just the fabulous and different stock on the shelves. In the case of Yarn Glorious Yarn, you are engaging with a whole community of creatives as well.
Yarn Glorious Yarn is open Tuesday to Friday 10 am to 4 pm, and Saturday 10 am to
3 pm. There is free car parking directly beneath the building. You just have to press the buzzer at the gate to gain entry.