A personal list of hints and tips for any knitting/fibre enthusiast wanting to visit Scotland.
In Glasgow, The Queen of Purls has a big selection of Jamieson’s of Shetland, yarn from small-holders and she dyes/spins as well. It’s such a nice shop. About an hour’s drive from Glasgow, there’s New Lanark which is a stunning UNESCO heritage site with its on-site spinning mill, the Falls of Clyde and a fantastic roof garden. I love their yarns (they are rustic but come in fantastic colours and at a great pricepoint). Also an hour away but in the other direction, there’s West Kilbride (also known as Craftstown Scotland) which hosts the Weftblown and Old Maiden Aunt studios as well as silversmiths etc. It’s a lovely wee Scottish town and you have great views across to the isle of Arran.
Heading north, Skye is home to the unmissable Shilasdair Yarns. Heading even further north, you find Helen of Ripples Crafts – as Highland as you can get. I’d drop her a line if you intend on stopping by in case she is at a show.
Over on the East Coast you have a nice selection of places. Aberdeen has a good Art Gallery (currently under refurbishment) where you can see some lovely knitted lace. Wool 4 Ewe has always been my yarn shop of choice in Aberdeen: they greet you like a long-lost friend every time you step through the door. Heading south, Fluph in Dundee is one of my favourite places to visit: Leona, the shop’s owner, is vibrant and wildly enthusiastic about yarn. Look out for local yarns as well as exclusive hand-dyed yarns – but whatever you do, don’t miss the knit nights!
Make sure you check ahead to see if your travels coincide with the Edinburgh Yarn Festival – it is an absolute highlight of the knitting calendar no matter where you are! In Edinburgh you have a big selection of yarn shops. Kathy’s Knits specialises in British yarns from Blacker Yarns & Rennie (such an underrated Scottish yarn); Ginger Twist Studio is a small vintage-inspired shop that sells her own hand-dyed yarns as well as British yarns like West Yorkshire spinners and Brigantia; Be Inspired Fibres has a huge selection of yarns from Shilasdair, North Ronaldsay from a small-holder to Habu steel yarns, Lopi yarn etc. There’s also the National Museum of Scotland which has a small, exquisite textiles section – however, many exhibitions are currently closed for renovation, so if you are interested in going, do drop them an email. Also in Edinburgh: The Treasure Trove is a well-kept secret. They sell fine hand-knitted knitwear – including Shetland lace shawls – in aid of the Self Help Society. It is such a worthy course and the selection is often astounding.
McAree Brothers has an Edinburgh shop stuffed with yarn – they have a great selection of hard-to-find Rowan and Debbie Bliss yarns, so if you are a couple of balls short, McAree is the place to look. Well worth a visit.
Other than that: bring rain-proofs (not an umbrella) and make sure to sample shortbread, tablet and fudge :) Have a great trip!
All recommendations based upon my own travels. Have a lovely yarn shop in Scotland or run a fibre event? Get in touch, so I can visit you! No money, cake or other forms of bribes have informed my selection – but if you are from the Shetland Tourist Board, I wouldn’t say no to a sheep.