Woolfull Magazine Issue 26 - 3 June 2018 - How we choose our yarns

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Long before the birth of Woolfull, the three of us would have conversations about how our wool shop would look should we ever have one. So when we decided to go for it and start Woolfull we already knew we wanted a yarn shop that was unique, that offered a whole new shopping experience to yarn lovers everywhere, and we had a fair idea of the types of yarn we wanted to offer. We never set out to be just another traditional 'knitting shop' selling the usual yarns and patterns available in every high street yarn shop.

As passionate 'woollies' who have spent ages seeking out and using a huge array of brands and types of yarn ourselves it's really important to us  that we offer you the best range of yarns, for all types of woolly crafts, and to suit all budgets. We're very particular about what we stock, opting for the best quality for our price ranges, and only selling yarns we trust. As we can all knit and crochet, and have a wide range of things we like to make, we have a pretty good handle on what works best for what. We can also always consult with my mum Margaret, who has been knitting for many years and has used most types of yarn. Basically, if we haven't used or wouldn't want to use some yarns then we won't stock them in the shop.
That's not to say we're yarn snobs, in fact the opposite is true. Our lowest-priced yarn in £ to grams is Stylecraft Special DK, at £1.95 for 100g, and it's also the yarn you'll see us use most, especially for crochet blankets.
 
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So where did we start with selecting the brands we stock? It was pretty straightforward really, we opted for our all-time favourite brands in the first instance. We have a teeny tiny shop, but we've managed to make the most of it's TARDIS-like proportions and fit a LOT of yarn in there.

Our ranges include:
- the versatility and huge colour range of Stylecraft
- the luxury of Yarn Stories, Wool and the Gang and Sublime
- the best and brightest cotton from Adriafil and Yarn and Colors
- some classic sock yarn made with British wool from West Yorkshire Spinners
- lots of great value yarns from Rico
- fun and bright yarn cakes which are great for crochet from Caron and Bernat  
- a touch of something special with hand-dyed yarn from Truly Hooked
 
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The process of choosing which new yarns to stock is always a fun one. From researching new suppliers and the first visit from the Sales Rep, to the thrill of opening up our first shipment and getting the products on the shelf and online can take a couple of months. The Rep's visit is one our favourite parts of the process as we get to play with and squidge such a wide assortment of yarns, most of which are amazing. Generally all three of us agree on the yarns we should buy in, but when we do have a slight difference of opinion we go with the majority vote.
 
Then comes pattern selection. Cute babies and ultra modern designs for teens and the more fashion-conscious adult play a large part in the selection process for us. We do tend to get a little carried away with the amount we order though, which is great for the customer but rather time-consuming for Mand who spends a huge amount of time getting each one on the website, but only because she very helpfully makes complete size and yarn quantity charts for each pattern to make it easier for you to figure out how much you need.
 
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By the time our first order with a new supplier has arrived in store we have already worked out where the new yarns will go, how we'll be displaying them and which particular ones will become our new featured yarns in larger display areas. I know this may not seem like a particularly tricky task, but for those of you who have visited Woolfull I'm sure you'll agree that a) it's tiny and b) it's pretty full already!

Sometimes though, even we're surprised by how much we ordered and wonder if our plan will work. Somehow, no matter how much new woolly stuff we get in we always manage to rejig the shop enough to fit it all in without it looking cramped.
 
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Whilst it's one thing finding available shelf space in the right zones, it's quite another to find larger display space for our more unique and exciting products. Since we opened last year we've created around 10 different large featured yarn areas. Each time we do one of our shop rejigs the look of the whole shop changes and seems to develop a new vibe and identity. It's very exciting!
 
Introducing people to new products is good fun too, although it does require a bit of a memory test for me in remembering yarn names, weights, fibre composition, price, etc. But because we only stock things we would use ourselves, we have a natural enthusiasm for all our ranges which we hope comes across to you all.
 
Debbie