Archive for the ‘York’ Category


Regular readers of this blog may have noticed that I often mention my favourite shop in York, the lovely Grace and Jacob. Long time readers may even remember that I’ve posted about the shop a couple of times before, the last time being in August 2010, but things have come a long way since then! For a start, Fiona’s moved the shop into a space twice as big, next door to the old shop, but fronting onto Walmgate – this is the front of the shop, the door is still on the passage into Barleycorn Yard.


And the stock range has increased dramatically – the inside is like a tardis, but with beautiful things wherever you look!



This is in the first room you go into, with lots of gorgeous fabrics, patterns, feltmaking kits and yarn.


Then you go into the front room, which is just amazing.


This is my favourite feature of the shop – the building used to be a pub, and this was the original dresser with the holes intact where the beer was pumped. Or something.


Next to it is the window where off-sales took place – locals used to come with a jug which was filled with ale for a small fee. Now it has much prettier things, including Knitpros. And the dresser has a large selection of coloured merino fibre, as well as a huge range of crafty tools and notions, which make me want to start many new hobbies, it’s very hard to restrain myself!



Fiona is also a very talented hand-dyer, producing beautiful yarn and fibre (including the fibre I used for the socks I finished a couple of weeks ago).



And there is a great range of fabrics, with more arriving all the time – I took these photos a week or so ago, then when I went in this morning, more loveliness had arrived –


If you’re planning a visit to York this summer, I’d definitely recommend a visit to Grace and Jacob – it’s down Walmgate, so a little off the beaten track, but it’s less than five minutes walk from the main shopping street, just go down Fossgate, over the bridge over the River Foss, and keep going – you pass a couple of interesting bookshops on your way too, if you fancy a browse, as well as other slightly more quirky shops than you find in the city centre.

There’s also a popular spinning group twice a month, on the first and third Thursdays of the month, from 6-9pm – details are in the Grace and Jacob Ravelry group (which also has opening times and contact details). All are welcome, and Fiona’s happy to teach people to use a spindle.


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Ramshambles is one!

You may remember that a year ago today I wrote about the reopening of the yarn shop in The Shambles in York, as Ramshambles. I’m pleased to report that Katey has taken the shop from strength to strength, and yesterday was the shop’s first birthday. As such it had to be celebrated, and what better way for a yarn shop to celebrate than with sheep?


That’s right, yesterday there were six Shetland sheep in the Shambles. To say that they went down well would be an understatement, the passers-by all loved them. And you could hear them from the other end of the street…


And of course we couldn’t celebrate without champagne! That’s Katey and Clare, her glamorous assistant ;)


The shop’s looking great these days, Katey’s got loads more stock in now than she had when she opened.



The natural coloured yarn in the middle of this photo (to the right of the books) comes from the sheep who were visiting – Highfield Textiles.


And no party would be complete without balloons!



ETA – Katey made the front page of the York Press!

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I’ve spent the weekend with the lovely people from the Ravelry Yarn Yard group, who very conveniently decided to have their annual get-together at the Bar Convent here in York, about two miles from my house. I missed last year’s because I didn’t find out about it until afterwards, but this year I got my name down in plenty of time. My friend Lucy came up to stay with me on Thursday night, and on Friday lunchtime we wandered into town to find a lovely scene in the cafe at the convent.


A few of us wandered into town in the afternoon, and we met up with Whitehart, who I’ve known online for about six years but haven’t managed to meet in person before now, so that was lovely.

We visited yarn shops, and Lakeland, but then I had to leave them as I was double-booked with a work night out. Sadly I drank far more wine than was good for me, and I was suffering a little on Saturday, but it didn’t stop me spending the day with the knitters (I think there were about 50 of us on the Saturday). We’d booked the conference room at the convent for the afternoon, which also included the yarn swap.



Lots of fun was had. I may have come home with a little of this lot. Just possibly. But I resisted the magazine which had this gem in it. Surely a strong contender for the most useless knitted item ever.


Saturday night and Sunday were spent upstairs in the recreation room, knitting and chatting.


There was spinning too, but I was too lazy to take my wheel in, so I just had a go on a couple of the wheels there. The Ashford Joy was nice to use, but it looks too functional for my tastes, and the bobbins are too small. But I completely fell in love with the Majacraft Little Gem. It looks lovely, and is a pleasure to use. And has enormous bobbins. I’m very tempted, but it’s £525, so I think I’d better start saving up!

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There was some lovely colourwork being shown off – AnnaT’s modular squares I could cope with, but just looking at the intarsia tumbling blocks made my head hurt when I thought about all those balls. And seeing Terri trying to untangle them was just scary. Lovely blanket though!

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And Natalie set up her yarn shop on the pool table.

So – my spoils.


I bought this gorgeous skein of Yarn Yard Leith (merino and silk, with a lovely shine, although you can’t see it in the photo) from Natalie on Saturday.


And scored this little lot in the yarn swap. There’s a couple of balls of what I think is RYC Natural Silk Aran, six balls of 4ply soft in dark navy, a Duet sock yarn set, a skein of Yarn Yard sock yarn, 50g of KnitPicks baby alpaca laceweight, two balls of kidsilk spray, 100 of Yarn Yarn merino and tencel fibre (this was my first choice, it’s so hard to find a merino tencel blend that’s properly blended, not just with streaks of tencel in it, and this one’s lovely), two batts of fibre, and a cone of cotton cashmere. A suitable donation to p/hop has been made.

Some people were still around yesterday, but Lucy wanted to go to Whitby, so we drove across the moors.


We ate fish and chips at the Magpie (and there wasn’t a queue, possibly the first time I’ve ever seen it that way!)

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Then wandered round a bit.


Before collapsing at Sanders Yard for tea and cake. And impressively good cake it was too. I couldn’t decide between the various ones on offer, so the man said I could have two half slices.

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White chocolate cheesecake, and raspberry torte, both absolutely delicious. They have comfy sofas, and large pots of tea, I’d highly recommend it!

So all in all, a lovely four days with old friends and new, but I’m exhausted now – I keep forgetting how recently I’ve had flu, and how much energy it takes out of you. So we’re having a lazy day today, before I take L to the station later this afternoon. Then I’ll catch up on Dancing on Ice from the weekend, as for some reason L doesn’t seem to want to watch it…

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Snow joke

Sorry, couldn’t resist a bad pun. I’ve not done the obligatory snow post yet, so I thought it was probably my turn.

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I did mention that it had snowed the day we went to the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate, a week and a half ago now, so we got the train instead of driving. I can’t remember whether I mentioned that the day after a friend of mine took five hours to drive back from Harrogate to York, that was the beginning of the weather disaster that’s still going on.

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By Monday we had this much snow, and it was still coming down.

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It did make the world very picturesque though, when the sun came out.

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All views of or from my garden – I didn’t get out of the house until Thursday.

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I should have gone to work on Wednesday afternoon, but by lunchtime it was so bad the buses had stopped working, and they phoned and told me not to come in, on the grounds that they had enough people to worry about. It’s ironic really, any other day I would have been overjoyed to be told not to go to work, but that was the day after Nan died, and I could have done with the distraction. Hey ho, it couldn’t be helped.

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This was the bush immediately outside my dining room window.

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Of course, as soon as they’d told me not to go to work, the buses decided that it wasn’t that bad after all and went back on on the main routes, and the sun came out.

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Min was very fed up. I think she thinks I did it on purpose.

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This was bizarre – snow against a blue sky, so you could see each flake coming down.

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An indication of how deep it was. Note Min hiding under the chair whilst Moll wonders how she’s supposed to sit on it as she does in summer.

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When I finally made it into town it looked lovely in the sunshine. Just so long as you ignored the three inches of slush underfoot.

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Icicles on a street lamp in front of the Minster.


And some home-grown ones, on my bathroom window.

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This is my neighbours’ ivy, as seen from my kitchen window. It was very dramatic.


And the ones on my conservatory. No, I don’t know why one of them’s swooping inwards.

All the icicles are gone now, and we’ve not had any actual snow for a few days (there was a rumour that we might get some this evening, but it doesn’t seem to have come to anything, thank goodness), but it’s been colder than I ever remember it being, apparently it was –15 degrees yesterday morning, so my iphone told me.

This has been causing problems of a boring nature – my new condensing boiler doesn’t like cold weather, the pipe that drains the condensate fluid away (I know what it’s called because I googled it, not because I know about boilers) routinely freezes when it’s cold, and the boiler cuts out. I may be being picky, but I’d call that a design fault. It’s not just mine, there are forum threads all over the internet with similar problems. The solution seems to be a bigger pipe, but in the meantime I’ve lagged it with as much bubble wrap as I can physically get round it. And built a little protective house for it at the bottom with breezeblocks. Stuffed with bubble wrap. Slightly Heath Robinson, but hopefully it’ll work.

Then this afternoon I heard gushing water outside, and realised that the pipe to the outside tap had frozen and burst on thawing – it’s been there for ten years and it’s the first time it’s done that, which just goes to show how cold it’s been. Luckily I can isolate it, unluckily it also means cutting off the water to the downstairs loo (not essential) and the washing machine (more essential, although I did do a load this morning, thank goodness). My Dad can fix it, but I’m not sure when he’ll be able to get over. And a plumber may be expensive at this time of year. Looks like I may be looking to borrow washing machines from friendly people…

So overall, the snow and ice may look pretty, but I’ve done my photos for this year, so can it go away now please? Pretty please?

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A Round Dozen

When I was making my York Craft Map a few weeks ago, I found eleven shops to add but couldn’t quite manage to make it up to a nice round dozen, but I managed it yesterday whilst wandering round town on my lunch break when I stumbled across Bespoke Country in Castlegate. I’d been in before, and knew that they sold pretty things, but hadn’t spotted that they also sell lovely fat quarters of vintage style fabrics, along with ribbons and buttons. The fabric is also available by the metre to order (it’s kept at their Scarborough shop).


There’s also a lovely range of hand-crafted goodies from local makers and further afield, including America, Norway and Denmark.


I’m thinking that once the conservatory is finished (it’s waiting for some last bits of work by the builder and my Dad, who’s going to replace some floor tiles in the doorways that no longer fit, then for me to paint it and buy furniture) there should be a place for a couple of pretty things from the shop in there. I’m particularly taken with the braided rugs from New England, I might get one for the doorway.


They also do a craft evening once a month, with chance to try something new and meet people, my friend Jo mentioned it to me a couple of weeks ago, so we might go along to the next one.


There are also shops in Scarborough (Bar Street) and Whitby (Flower Street), next time I’m in that direction I’ll have a nose round.

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Yesterday I spent a very pleasant couple of hours chatting to Fiona, the owner of Grace and Jacob, which I first visited a couple of months ago.


The shop’s looking even better, there are new things coming in – slowly, as she wants to source really lovely things, and get to know her suppliers – including these gorgeous ribbons and ric rac from East of India. And spot the carded fibre lurking behind too – there are plans afoot for more spinning supplies, including two makes of beautiful spindles.


A beautiful jar of felted beads.


And a bowl of hand-dyed Wensleydale curls that look like fire.


There are Amy Butler fat quarters as well as the fabric by the metre, and the Gutermann pure cotton threads are new in. There will be new and different ranges of fabrics soon too.


Fiona’s hoping to sell her own hand-dyed fibre too – if this gorgeous BFL is anything to go by, it’s going to be fabulous.


While I was there I helped her set up a Grace and Jacob Ravelry group – do join if you’re in the area or are just interested. The shop website is still under construction, and isn’t co-operating as it should, so news will be shared there for the time being.

We’re hoping to set up a spinning group too, from September, probably on Thursday evenings – news will be on the Rav group and I’m sure I’ll mention it here too!

Oh, and if I’m inspiring anyone to visit York, I’ve made a quick Google Map of crafty shops in York – you can find it here, and I’ve put a link in the sidebar to the right too.

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Grace and Jacob

I’ve had a very pleasant afternoon. I pootled into town on my bike after lunch, and popped in to see Katey at Ramshambles – it’s looking better every time I visit, with lovely new things arriving. She’s got KnitPro needles in now, sadly too late for me as I’ve got full sets of wooden and metal ones, but it’s what we’ve been needing in York.


After that I went to visit my friend Fiona, who opened a feltmaking studio and shop in Barleycorn Yard off Walmgate a few weeks ago. She’s only open at weekends at the moment, and I’m not often in town then, but I finally caught up with her today.


The shop next door also sells handcrafted bits and bobs, and there’s a convenient bench opposite, it was all very pleasant in the sunshine.


There’s a small but choice selection of crafty books, and lots of lovely fabric, buttons and ribbons, with the promise of more to come.There’s also handmade cards and felt-making kits.



The fabric is by Amy Butler, and there’s a selection of her patterns as well. I bought a metre of the green spotty one at the very top to make a knee length skirt, that could be tomorrow’s project.


It’s a lovely old building, with beams and a fireplace, and the furnishings are a nice mix of old, new and quirky – the fibre is in an old suitcase.

The studio is downstairs, and Fiona’s going to be running workshops down there – she’s also going to be selling gift vouchers for workshops, which sounds like a great idea. P6120796

It’s early days in the shop as yet, and Fiona has loads of ideas for the future, but it’s all looking great so far. I’m really pleased that she’s opened about the same time as Ramshambles, together with our other crafty shops (Duttons for Buttons, Viking Loom and Craft Basics) they’re starting to make York a destination for crafty-minded people, long may it last.

Oh, and there are Facebook page for Ramshambles and Grace and Jacob – do like them to get the latest news!

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