I love it when someone visits the shop for the first time and, after glancing around, is giddy with excitement - often exclaiming 'this is like a sweet shop'! Our goal is to pack every square inch of our space with quality colourful fibre and other beautiful things in the hopes that it will both delight and surprise you when you visit.
Occasionally we're also faced with the disappointment of not having what someone is looking for and that always makes me question if we could - or should - reconsider what we've stocked on our shelves.
So, in this blog post, I'd like to share with you a little bit about the approach to stock and our thinking behind the yarn and accessories you'll find at WOTE.
At the root of all we do is the fact that we're a social enterprise. That is, a business that puts people first with 'profits' going back to the community. Secondly, we seek to support British businesses and the British yarn industry - the more local the better. Lastly, we seek to serve a diverse customer base. We want to have something for just about every budget and, at the same time, ensure that it's a quality product at a competitive price.
So when we were introduced to the BC Garn family of yarns we had to think a bit about how these fit with our approach to stock. After learning more about the company and their commitment to ethical and environmental standards, we decided to make an investment in four of their organic yarns.
What appealed to us? First off, their commitment to transparency and sustainability. We were impressed with the range of fibre that is GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified. You can see a short video here to learn more about how the wool is produced. But in a nutshell, GOTS ensures that the environment and sustainability are at the centre of all stages of the manufacturing process. From farm to spinning and dyeing, everything is monitored to ensure best practices - including the social and work related aspects of the manufacturing process. In the end, the yarn is inspected to ensure it meets their quality standards.
As you'll see in the video, the farms are in Argentina, and that's a mighty long way from Britain! So we had to keep an open mind and also consider the other unique properties of the fibre and the value for money this yarn provides. We love that the yarn enriches the lives of the farmers and their families in Argentina and that they are leading the way in establishing a global standard for ethical and sustainable yarn production. And we also love that the lines we stock have exceptional meterage for the weight of yarn. This means that you may need to purchase less than expected for a particular project!
Here is a brief description of each of the BC Garn yarns we've decided to stock.
Bio Balance is a sport weight yarn that is 55% wool and 45% cotton. It comes in 50 gram skeins and has a whopping 225 metres per skein. Folks who have knit or crocheted with this yarn have told us how much they like it. The retail price is £4.95 and you can see the 16 shades we stock here.
Next up is Semilla. This is an organic 100% wool that is deliciously soft and perfect for just about any project. It’s a DK weight yarn with 160 metres in each 50 gram ball. It retails for £5.50 . We will be expanding the colour range of this yarn over the next few months. You can see the 9 we’ve got right now here.
Northern Lights is an Aran weight yarn that is 80% organic wool and 20% silk. It’s a dream to work with and the resulting garments are lightweight and not scratchy at all! We’ve got 16 shades of this yarn in stock and already have rave reviews from our customers. It retails for £13.25 for 100 grams with 200 metres to a skein.
Lastly, Loch Lomond is my personal favourite! It’s a worsted weight yarn. So it’s right in between DK and Aran weights. So versatile and incredibly soft. Every shade has a bit of a fleck/nepp in it to give it a real rustic look. It comes in 50 gram skeins with each skein having 150 metres and retails for £5.95. We’ve got 15 shades of Loch Lomond in stock and you can see them here.
We know some of our customers are opposed to using animal products and I can respect that, but for those of you who love wool, we hope this introduction to how we select the yarns to stock, and particularly why we decided that BC Garn was worthy of your consideration, was useful information.
If there is a yarn you’d like us to consider, please get in touch and let us know. We know we can’t please everyone all the time, but we sure do like it when folks leave happy with the choices we’ve provided for them.