An American in an English Yarn Shop

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Are you an American traveling to the UK and want to visit an English Yarn Shop? Or maybe you’re English and you’re curious about what an American thinks about yarn shops in Great Britain? You’ll find all that information and more!

We’ve just returned home from the most glorious vacation to England and truth be told, I’m knackered. (For all the Americans, “knackered” is an English word that means to be tired.)

I’ve come home feeling inspired and excited about yarn and all the things you can do with it.

But the number one thing I wanted to do while we were in the United Kingdom was to visit at least one yarn shop. I’ve known for quite a while that the English were into their wool crafts, but there were things that surprised me as an American (and I will be sharing my thoughts about it in this post).

Why We Went to England

In January 2022, my husband, son and I decided it was time to take a trip abroad.

Our son had experienced a very difficult 2021 and was much better health-wise and we wanted to celebrate that.

You can read more about that difficult time here: Crochet & Knitting Therapy: Crafting in the Hospital

Our son had always wanted to go to the United Kingdom and my husband had some work he needed to do there, so it was a perfect time to go.

Our itinerary included stops in Silverstone, York, Manchester, Bournemouth and London.

We traveled quite a bit around the country in our eight days and packed as much as we could into each and every day.

But the whole time I was there, I longed to visit an English yarn shop. It wasn’t until day six of our trip that my dream came true.

Size of England Compared to the USA

Many Americans, including myself, don’t realize how small England is in comparison to the United States. The whole country is approximately the size of our state of Alabama in terms of square miles.

The entire United Kingdom, which includes England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, is close in area to our state of Oregon.

The population of England is almost 56 million people (the US is almost 330 million). Compare that to the population of Alabama, which is close in size, is almost 5 million.

Sheep Are Everywhere

We did a lot of driving in all over England and the first few times we came upon a beautiful hill dotted with sheep, I gasped in delight.

I quickly stopped doing that because there were sheep everywhere. I had never seen so many wooly creatures in my entire life.

(Side note: We drove during most of our trip and it took some getting used to driving on the opposite side of the road. The country roads were quite narrow and check out the video if you would like to see me almost have a heart attack while we were driving through a little village. I had multiple episodes like that one, lol.)

According to the National Sheep Association, the United Kingdom has 30 million sheep and lambs.

Compare that the United States, which has only 5.2 million sheep.

I couldn’t get over how beautiful the countryside was with the rolling hills and leaping lambs. It was quite picturesque and I enjoyed exploring the smaller villages and towns.

Knitting Is More Popular in England Than the US

Whilst (a British term, Americans say “while”) on our trip, we made a stop in York.

Oh my goodness, I wish we could have stayed in York for at least a week. It was the most charming city, complete with a medieval wall and cobblestone streets.

During out trip to York, my husband met up with a colleague named Dave. Thankfully his partner, Fiona, joined him so I wasn’t completely left out, lol. The men spent their time talking business, while Fiona and I chatted away happily.

We talked about lots of things, but one that really interested me was about crafting.

Fiona is an avid sewer. She makes quilts and loves to collect fabric. Swoon.

I mentioned that it seemed that crafting in general seems to be more popular in the UK than back in America. Fiona said that crafting, sewing, crocheting and knitting were indeed very popular pursuits that many people enjoyed.

That peaked my interest and I did a little online research.

According to Interweave Magazine, the United Kingdom is in the top five countries with the most knitters. It actually lands right at number three.

To compare, the United States is in the eighth position.

There Are So Many Yarn Shops in England

The popularity is backed up with how many yarn shops were in the towns we visited.

Each time we went to a new village or city, I looked up how many yarn shops were in our area.

I was always surprised with the amount of yarn shops that popped up every time. Most of the towns we were in had multiple yarns.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have time for me to go to them, I was intrigued that there were so many. I concluded that yarn crafts had to be more popular in England than it is in the United States.

Take for example my own area. I live in a suburb of a large southern US city, Charlotte, NC. In my city there is one yarn shop (and it’s only been open a few months).

We have about a dozen yarn shops scatted throughout the Charlotte metro area, which has a population of 2.6 million people. I didn’t include large craft stores like Michael’s, JOANN, or Hobby Lobby, which also carry yarn.

Loop London Yarn Shop

Finally, we made our way to London for a few days and the first thing I wanted to do was go to one shop.

During my investigating of London yarn destinations, I found Loop London.

I was charmed by the yarns as well as the cottage style decor. I couldn’t wait to go.

Loop London was voted the Best Independent Knitting Shop in London for 2020 and I can see why they won.

While not a big shop by any means, it was utterly charming and the staff was not only friendly but very knowledgeable. There were multiple people working in the shop on the morning I visited.

From the moment I saw the outside of Loop London, I felt at home.

When you walk into the most adorable double pink doors, you are transported into a dreamland full of wool and notions.

They carry yarns from all over the world as well as local yarns from indie dyers and English sheep.

Everything is organized and well displayed, making it easy to find what you’re looking for.

The other thing I loved was the display of different projects. You’ll find hand knit shawls hanging on the walls and crocheted granny square blankets draping over chairs.

It was such a glorious experience.

My husband and son stood outside, while I poked through each and every nook and cranny. I asked questions and chatted with the women working that day.

The upstairs also has worsted, aran and bulky weight yarns lining the shelves.

I was delighted to find quite a few knitted and crocheted amigurumi toys on the shelves as well.

The other thing I loved were the kits they had for sale. They were in every price point and each one was a gorgeous temptation.

What Did I Buy from an English Yarn Shop?

I know what you’re all wanting to know…. what did I buy from this English yarn shop?

Thankfully I saved a little room in my luggage to bring home some English yarn.

Loop London {English Yarn Shop}

First, I chose the Loop Pinwheel Mitts Kit. It includes the pattern for the Pinwheel mitts as well as two skeins of Isager Highland Wool in the colors Sand and Denim. And at £17.50 (which is about $21.90 at the current exchange rate), I thought that was a very fair price.

Photo courtesy of Loop London

Worsted Weight Yarns

I also chose three scrumptious yarns to be able to crochet and knit more critters from my very own patterns.

Check Out the Le Petit Saint Crochet Shop for All My Patterns

First I bought a skein of Quince & Co Lark, in the color Petal. It’s a worsted weight yarn and although I can buy this at home, the color was perfect for making my Three Little Pigs pattern.

Photo courtesy of Loop London

Next, I found a second worsted weight yarn called CaMaRose Snefnug Natur. I’m not even going to try to pronounce those words.

This is a yarn from Denmark and the word Snefnug means Snowflake. The website states that this is one of their most popular yarns and I can totally see why. It comes in forty of the most gorgeous colors you’ve ever seen.

Photo courtesy of Loop London

It’s 55% Alpaca, 35% Cotton and 10% Merino Wool and feels as soft as it sounds. I cannot wait to start working with it. I bought the colors Nougat and Hvid for a very special new toy I’m designing and I cannot wait to share more about it!

Sport Weight Yarn

The next yarn I purchased is a sport weight called BC Garn Semilla.

This brand is from Argentina and comes in thirty delicious colors. I chose the colors Curry, Natural and Willow. I will use these yarns to knit the clothing for my new design.

Photo courtesy of Loop London

Fingering Weight Yarn

Finally, I purchased a gorgeous fingering weight, hand dyed yarn from Lichen and Lace.

I’ve been enjoying knitting socks and this will make the most gorgeous pair.

The color I chose was I See Seashells.

Lichen and Lace is an independent dyer based in Canada and the yarns are just beautiful.

Photo courtesy of Loop London

Needle Gauge and Swatch Measure

While checking out I saw a gorgeous needle gauge and swatch measure that I had to have.

What I loved about it is that is has a large swatch area all the way to 4 inches. The more I learn about gauge, the more important it is. And having a large area to measure stitches is a must.

Also with any purchase of £25 or more (which I easily did) you get a Loop London fabric tote bag. I was so incredibly excited about that as well! It also made it very easy to carry for the rest of the day as we traveled all around London.

Photo courtesy of Loop London

English Yarn Shop

If you have the chance to go to Loop London, I highly recommend it. But if you don’t get to that particular shop, you’ll find so many more all around the country.

England is full of wooly treasures and I wish I could have gone to more… but that will be for another trip.

There’s never enough time to do everything on one vacation.

Please let me know about your favorite English yarn shop!

Photo courtesy of Loop London

Pin for Later – English Yarn Shop!

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