Oxford Yarn Store opened in December 2012 and is a thriving hub for knitters and crocheters of all abilities and backgrounds. It offers a welcoming environment and support from its staff with projects and in creative decision-making. Its ethos is to promote the pleasure and creativity of knitting, crochet and other fibre crafts in an atmosphere of shared skills and knowledge. A regular e-newsletter allows ideas and achievements to be shared and celebrated.
OYS stocks a very wide range of yarns which are, with few exceptions, natural fibres. It also stocks a wide selection of patterns books and pamphlets as well as loose-leaf patterns, some of which are free. The range of needles and notions provides choices to suit all projects and preferences.
Wednesday morning and Thursday evening Knit Clubs provide a forum for the sociability that characterises the Store. They and the workshop programme offer lots of opportunity for camaraderie and the sharing of skills.
I was taught to knit at around the age of 6 in the late 1950’s by my Mother. This is a familiar story for those times, I know, since in the aftermath of World War 2, that was how much clothing was still produced. I vividly remember knitting lacy baby clothes for my youngest brother who born in 1963.
I progressed to other needle crafts and loved our regular visits to Oxford from West Oxfordshire. We used to visit the wool shop on Ship Street run by a German gentleman. It was stuffed to the gills and I would be allowed to select tapestry yarns from drawers tantalizingly filled with jewel colours. I always felt giddy with delight as I clutched the precious package on the way home to Stonesfield by bus.
We moved to Oxford in 1966. I knitted under the desk at school and would have my knitting confiscated by an exasperated English teacher who saw it as detrimental to my gaining an understanding of Chaucer et al (a view that I still contest). I knitted into the seventies, when crafts came back into fashion and took up patchwork under the influence of Laura Ashley. I then knitted my way though drama school and during my years of working in the theatre it was a great way to spend time sitting around in rehearsals and criss-crossing Britain and Canada in travelling theatre tour buses.
Whilst living in Canada my interest in natural fibres and sheep breeds grew when I learnt to spin and to dye fleece and yarn. When I moved back to England I took quilt-making lessons and became very excited about the use of pattern and colour combinations, especially as it was revolutionised by Kaffe Fassett.
In 1997, when when my son Tim was five years old, we moved back to Oxford where I continued to work with arts organisations and for 10 years ran an international children’s theatre festival. However last year I found myself completely drawn to the idea of a complete change of career and decided to turn a passion which I had always had into something I could immerse myself in daily.
Having found the perfect shop on one of Oxford’s prettiest little streets I was able to turn my daydream into a reality and love my new life in the Store!