international yarn stores
The following stores are all tried and true… I’ve shopped at them all during my travels.
Persones Llanes (Placa de la Llana 7, Barcelona)
Easily my favourite yarn store in Barcelona (and I think I went to them all!). Very friendly and inviting; cute shop with a nice range of yarns. The store also hosts regular knitting groups and events.
Amimono (corner of Kongen’s Have)
This is the home of Isager yarns and patterns. It’s possibly the smallest yarn store I’ve ever seen, tucked in to the corner of the King’s Garden, but it’s very clearly focused. Inside you’ll find the whole range of Isager yarns and pattern books (which are surprisingly hard to find across Europe due to some quirk of distribution). The staff are incredibly helpful, and it’s the perfect opportunity to try on the pattern samples so you’ll know exactly which size to knit for yourself.
Sommerfuglen (3 Vandkunsten)
I imagine this is the go-to yarn store in Copenhagen. A good range of yarns, including high-end brands such as Hand Maiden and Shibui. The staff didn’t seem particularly keen to help me out on my visit, but then I didn’t ask for assistance either. Definitely worth checking out.
Wilferts (102 Gammel Kongevej, Frederiksberg)
A nice little yarn store in Frederiksberg; worth stopping in if you’re in the area. Sadly I was all shopped out when I went there, but they seemed to have a really good range of their own brand yarns.
K1 Yarns (89 West Bow)
Aiming at the higher end of the knitting market, this is a very cute little shop right in the heart of the tourist district. There is an emphasis on small scale luxury yarns and exclusive colourways (perfect for souvenir yarn shopping). They also stock a good range of teas, so sit down with a cuppa and a biscuit and make yourself comfy.
McAree Brothers (19 Howe St)
A great store for all your basic knitting needs – solid selection of yarns including Rowan, plus a massive wall of knitting notions. If you’re outside Edinburgh, they offer great customer service and amazingly fast shipping from their website.
All the Fun of the Fair (Unit 2.8 Kingly Court, just off Carnaby St)
All sorts of quirky haberdashery, buttony, and yarny goodness. Great for a rummage. Knitted food is a specialty.
The Button Queen (19 Marylebone Lane, London W1. Nearest tube: Bond St)
If you like vintage buttons, you have to go here. No excuses. Take any projects with you, and find the perfect matching buttons, I promise. This store always has something gorgeous. They moved to new, larger premises in 2009, so they’re now able to put lots of buttons up on display around the store.
Fabrications (Broadway Market, London Fields, E8 4PH. Nearest rail: London Fields.)
Styles itself as more of a “gallery/outlet” than a yarn shop, but has some interesting yarny and crafty bits. Well worth a look if you’re visiting the fantastic Broadway Market on a Saturday.
Handweavers’ Studio and Gallery (140 Seven Sisters Rd, N7 7NS. Nearest tube: Finsbury Park).
The Handweavers’ studio moved to shiny new premises in autumn 2009, and it’s a great place to visit. The store is packed to the rafters with row after row of gorgeous yarns (apparently in over 500 colours!), mostly finer gauge yarns wound onto cones suitable for weaving. They stock all sorts of supplies and equipment for spinning and weaving, and seems to be the go-to place for these crafts. There are also yarns suitable for knitting, and their yarn dyeing workshops are great fun.
I Knit London (106 Lower Marsh, Waterloo, SE1 7AB. Nearest tube: Waterloo)
I Knit is a London knitting destination. Gerard and Craig moved their shop to larger premises to cope with the expanding knitting nights! Great range of UK and imported yarns, and the best range of knitting books in town. It’s the first yarn store I’ve been to that has a licensed bar. The store gets really busy during knit nights, so if you’re looking for the chance for a nice quiet browse, then that’s not the best time! I Knit London is probably the best store for UK sourced yarn from a range of local breeds.
Loop (41 Cross St, Islington, London N1 2BB. Nearest tube: Angel or Highbury & Islington.)
Loop wins the prize for the cutest yarn store in London; it’s not massive but there’s an awful lot to see in there. They have a great range of yarn, needles, and all sorts of doodads, including lots that you won’t find anywhere else in London. They stock a variety of UK yarns such as Rowan, but tend to specialise in imported yarns; everything from Cascade to HandMaiden, Madelinetosh, and Malabrigo. Also seems to be the only UK stockist of Berroco, including the fabulous Norah Gaughan pattern books. Definitely worth checking out if you’re north of the river; easily accessible from any of the bus routes along Essex Rd or Upper St.
Prick Your Finger (260 Globe Rd, Bethnal Green E2 0JD. Nearest tube: Bethnal Green.)
Less of a traditional yarn shop, and more of a whimsical haberdashery project by arty/crafty types. Stop by if you’re in the area and have a poke about in their natural and recycled yarns, crafty kits, and various bits and bobs.
Buttonmania (Floor 2, Nicholas Building, 35-37 Swanston St, Melbourne 3000).
The best place in Melbs for buttons, stashed away in my favourite-ever building, the Nicholas Building. Keep an eye out for the buttonmania sales, where you just grab a tray, load up on buttons by the handful, and pay by weight. Make sure you take a trip in the staff operated lift up to the 2nd floor – it’s an experience in itself.
Clegs (60 Elizabeth St, Melbourne 3000)
The place to go in central Melbs for your yarn stash. Primarily a haberdashery store, their yarn supplies tend to wax and wane with the seasons. Have recently started stocking Rowan, so yarn is having an ever-increasing presence in the store. They also have great sales, so keep an eye out.
Sunspun (185 Canterbury Road, Canterbury VIC 3126. Nearest train: Canterbury)
Sue stocks the best range of yarn in Melbourne, with comprehensive supplies of Rowan, Jo Sharp, Debbie Bliss et al. If you’re looking for jumper-size quantities in a particular colourway, this is the place to go. However, it’s mostly the Eki Riva Baby Supreme 4ply that keeps calling me back. It’s my dream yarn.
Wool Baa (124 Bridport St, Albert Park)
Very popular LYS in the swish suburb Albert Park, just a quick tram/ light rail ride away from central Melbourne – definitely worth a 10 minute trip. Don’t be put off by the slightly rubbish website – the store is much better! They’re friendly and helpful, and stock a good range of yarns. The knitting groups are apparently very popular, although I haven’t been myself.
Brooklyn General Store (128 Union St, Brooklyn)
I arrived not long before closing time so it was only a quick visit, but I really liked this store. The layout is beautiful, with yarns displayed in gorgeous dark wooden cabinets. Nice range of yarn including the likes of Malabrigo and Elsebeth Lavold and a beautiful assortment of gorgeously styled notions and accessories. To my surprise they also stock fabrics, particularly my favourite Japanese kokka prints. If I ever move to NYC, I think this place would quickly become my home.
Habu Textiles (135 West 29th St, Suite 804)
I’m a massive fan of Habu’s yarns, and their sparse, Japanese aesthetic. Even though I’d already been to their Tokyo counterpart, Avril, I had to make a beeline for the New York store. This is one of those New York stores that is tucked away upstairs in a nondescript office block. The concierge took one look at the three of us and knew instantly that we were headed to Habu and pointed us in the right direction with a chuckle. I find that Habu is one of those places where you need to do your research beforehand; being faced with such an assortment of tiny skeins, balls, and cones of yarns spread out in baskets on the floor might be a bit intimidating for the uninitiated!
Knitty City (208 West 79th st, between Broadway and Amsterdam)
This store has a real mix of yarns, with lots of highly sought after goodies (the Malabrigos and Madelinetoshes of the world) but the layout didn’t really work for me – lots of yarns nicely displayed on shelves but lots that were also in mixed boxes on the floor. It took me a few laps around the store before I was confident that I had fondled all the was to fondle. Nevertheless, this is a very popular NYC store, and has a large range of yarn in one place. I spoke with the owner who was really very helpful, but it was unfortunate that I needed her help to find a pattern booklet, as I just couldn’t figure out how they were organised.
Purl Soho (137 Sullivan St, between Prince and W Houston St)
This is probably the most famous of the NYC yarn stores, so of course I had to pay it a visit. It’s tiny but perfectly formed. There was a knitting group meeting when I visited, so although the store was a bit pokey, the member of staff managed to be friendly and helpful whilst simultaneously looking after the group and winding skeins of yarn. This is more of a high-end store, with yarns all beautifully laid out. Definitely worth a visit, and of course their blog is just as beautiful.
Entree Des Fournisseurs (in the courtyard off 8 rue des Francs Bourgeois, 3rd arr)
This is a really lovely yarn store, but with a focus on baby items. Their selection of buttons is second to none, and is definitely worth seeking out. I went back twice and even though I didn’t buy anything, I was quite happy just whiling away the hours flicking through cards of buttons!
La Droguerie (9 rue du Jour, 1st arr)
The French yarn institution that must be visited by any knitter who travels to Paris. Stroke the yarns hanging up on the wall in the painters’ array of colours, peruse over the button collection for ages, but also be prepared for the queue to be served.
All Buttons Great and Small (419a King St, Newtown, 2042)
Quite possibly my favourite button shop of all time. I can’t go to Sydney without making a trip there. And since it’s in the heart of wonderful Newtown, it’s not a chore at all. They have such a beautiful selection of buttons, I’m always guaranteed to find something unique.