How to support your local yarn stores, indie dyers and designers from home
As Corona Virus (Covid-19) has led to many of us staying at home, it's now more important than ever to support your favourite yarn businesses!
2020 proved to be a tough time in particular for the small craft businesses that we love so much, and with a third lockdown in the UK in January 2021 the struggles look to continue! The yarn community is already seeing many initiatives and efforts being put in place to help raise support. The one benefit of being a knitter or crocheter is that we can comfortably craft from home, but with many yarn shops having to close and yarn shows being cancelled, it's important for us to do everything we can to help our fellow yarny folk through this crisis. It can be a little overwhelming knowing what to do to help, so here's out suggestions for how you can support your community.
Buy local and support independent yarn shops
Although many yarn shops are having to close, at present there is no restriction on our postal system - so you can still order in your yarn to keep you busy during self-isolation. Of course, the larger online yarn retailers are great and provide a brilliant service, but it's the smaller and independent companies that are going to be hit hardest by these current events.
UKHKA (UK Hand Knitting Association) launched a campaign to try and help our local yarn stores during these tricky times. They're encouraging crocheters and knitters to pick up the phone (or get on social media or send an email) to your local yarn store. Although most stores will now be closed, many are running local delivery services, advice lines, virtual knitting groups and more. The UKHKA has a huge directory of UK yarn stores and knitting groups, so head on over to their website to find one in your area.
Most local yarn stores are still offering online orders or local delivery or collection services to help you get your yarny fix throughout the lockdown, so why not take a look at our list of the 30 best local yarn stores and support your local yarn store. We've also seen some fab initiatives that have developed out of the lockdown, so here's just a few for you to check out!
Please note - developments are happening on a daily basis and we will try to update this post as often as we can.
Brooklyn Tweed have started a fantastic initiative to help both you and your local yarn store! With their #ApartTogether campaign, when you buy their yarn (either direct from your local stockist or from the Brooklyn Tweed website), you can choose from 4 different discount options, then Brooklyn Tweed will then credit your selected amount back to the yarn stockist of your choice. You can find out more about the campaign here.
One of the reasons why we love heading to yarn stores so much is the chance to actually see all of the different yarns on offer and the fab advice that you can get from the staff. Well, if you're missing that personal touch, then Tribe yarns have come up with a brilliant idea - a virtual personal shopping experience! For £15 (which is fully redeemable against your purchases), you'll get to have a special 20 minute one-on-one video tour with shop owner Milli who will be bale to help offer you advice and help you pick the perfect yarn for your next project! They've also got lots of special free delivery options, as well as offering kerbside collection. You can find out more on the Tribe Yarns website!
Back when the 2020 Yorkshire Yarnfest was cancelled due to the Coronavirus situation, the organisers came up with a genius idea - a virtual yarn festival! The first virtual yarn fest was such a success, that they're now hosting a monthly yarn fest. Throughout the day indie yarn producers will be live on the Yorkshire Yarnfest Instagram stories showing off their products and some will even be offering special discounts. It's a great initiative and a fabulous way to support the small business that are rely so much on yarn shows for their income, so head on over to the Yorkshire Yarnfest Instagram page for all the latest info and make sure you tune in!
Support independent dyers and yarn producers
With many big yarn shows being cancelled and local yarn stores closing their doors, it's now more important than ever to support independent dyers and spinners. We're already seeing lots of fab initiatives and offers popping up, as well as special yarns and colour packs being created to keep us making during these difficult times. Here's just a few fab finds, but if you've got a favourite yarn producer make sure you visit them online and show your support.
Jillian from Mothy and the Squid is still able to post out her lovely hand-dyed yarns. We've also seen her posting some fab offers recently, including a special charity yarn raising money for the Trussel trust which sold out super-fast, so keep updated by following Mothy and the Squid on social media.
As much as we all want to support our local yarn stores and indie dyers at this time, money is understandably a concern. The Wool Kitchen is giving you a helping hand to het your hooks into some of her beautiful hand-dyed skeins by now offering a free second class delivery option on her website.
Hedgehog fibres are still shipping to most countries, so check out their online store for the latest updates. You can also join one of their yarn clubs where you get a monthly shipment of lovely hand-dyed yarns, the next round of clubs goes live in February 2021 so make sure you keep checking in so you don't miss out!
If you're all about ethically produced and fully traceable yarns, then Crafternoon treats is definitely a producer you should check out. Check out her etsy store and grab yourself some lovely yarn!
Free lockdown patterns
If you're looking for some knitting and crochet projects to make during the lockdown, here's a few fabulous patterns that will put a smile on your face. And if you're looking for more crafty projects, check out our 100 free daily craft projects or our 50 fun craft ideas for kids to make at home.
Free Crochet Patterns
Natalie is helping to spread a bit of love with these cute little hearts. You can find her free pattern in the highlights section on her instagram page here.
Martine De Regt who regularly designs for Simply Crochet magazine has shared this cute free rainbow pattern for you to hook up during lockdown! Find the free pattern here.
Back in the first lockdown, Simply Crochet designer Kate Alinari designed this brilliant 'Stay Strong' corner 2 corner crochet square for us. It's a great way of sharing a bit of positivity during tough times. Find the free pattern here.
Free Knitting Patterns
We love this smily happy giant rainbow by Sincerely Louise, perfect for spreading a bit of joy in these tough times. Find the free pattern here!
Continuing with the rainbow theme, if you're wanting to make a quick knitted rainbow project to hang in your window, then these knitted rainbow decorations by Sarah Dennis are a simple make that even new knitters can have a go at! Find the free pattern here!
We're so grateful to all our frontline heroes in the NHS, so if you want to celebrate our brave doctors and nurses you can knit up your own tribute with this free pattern by Sam Pratt. Find the free frontline teddy bear knitting pattern here!
Matt Spiers is a crochet artist and designer who has been overseeing Gathered's crochet articles for over 2 years. He previously worked as Digital Assistant for Simply Crochet magazine and is our in house video editing pro. What started as a hobby a decade ago led to Matt developing a passion (and then a career) with crochet. As well as still regularly writing and designing for Simply Crochet magazine, Matt is a crochet artist in his own right, having displayed and created crochet installations at festivals and fibre events across the UK. You can keep up to date with Matt at @onemancrochet on Instagram.