Your LYS (Local Yarn Shop) is without doubt the best place to choose, squish and buy yarn. Whether that's a big chain store like Hobbycraft or Hobby Lobby in the US or the independent shop that's just around the corner buying near where you live supports so much more than the yarn companies. Big chain stores support local by employing local, whilst the sales money isn't going directly into the local economy it is paying for locals to have jobs, that's how I think anyway. I would however always try and buy in an independent and actively seek them out when we are away on holiday.
I am very very lucky to have a fabulous independent yarn shop 10 minutes walk away from home. Fudges Wool and Haberdashery was the yarn shop of Cullompton for years and taken over by Cara and Tori in 2014 (I think, although I stand to be corrected). The previous owner had run the shop for as long as I could remember but sadly age was not on their side and Cara and Tori decided it was their time to completely upend their lives and buy a wool shop. Its been, from the outside looking in, thriving ever since. So much so that Fudges expanded to Dorchester and now there is two shops.
I always feel like I am cheating on Fudges if I can't buy the yarn I want from them. It's silly really because if they don't stock it there's not a great deal they can do, all the same it never feels quite right. I think that's why I tend to stick to brands they do have, Stylecraft, West Yorkshire Spinners and James Brett are my go to.
Cullompton Town Council have a history of organising various fairs and celebrations throughout the year with the shops joining in with themed window displays. Needless to say Fudges was not going to be outdone. I have made some weird and wonderful things to help out with the display. From unicorn heads to Gonk characters from A Christmas Carol to Ratty and Toad from Wind in the Willows to the Webb Ellis Trophy for the Rugby World Cup. I think the shop has covered most of the random window displays you could have. This year being the Queen's Platinum Jubilee there is talk of crochet and knitted bollard post covers in the shape of crowns and I will be dusting off the State Crown I made for a display a few years ago so it can sit on top of a knitted Queen (obviously!).
And then there is the annual poppy making for Remembrance Day each year. Strings of knitted and crocheted poppies adorn the trees and street furniture around the War Memorial each year which means there is a replace and renew session every October to make sure they look good.
I think the most important thing that comes from the makes that happen at Fudges is the sense of community and coming together. The Knit and Natter’s which happen a good few times a week brings together people of all ages, even some men, join in. Some come to knit and crochet others come for the cup of tea and catch up on town gossip or have a giggle at times past. It’s somewhere that no matter your ability you are welcomed and people are always interested in what you’re making. All of this would not happen if it was not for the owners.
You can find them here:
So my message from this post is if you don't already, find out where your LYS is, whether it's independent or a big chain and go and squish some yarn and talk to the people there.