When Mr. N got offered his job here in Lancaster last fall, one of the first things I did was scope out the local yarn scene. I was sad to see there didn’t seem to be a ton in the area we’d be living in, but figured I’d do plenty of yarn-related travel here. Then, I heard tell of a woman who sold local wool at the twice weekly farmer’s market. Promising! And, not long before the move, I heard that the very same woman was soon going to be opening a yarn shop! Brilliant! I hadn’t been in Lancaster too long before I passed the shop, with the windows papered over and a note that it would be open soon.
I was away in Portsmouth the weekend the shop opened, but the very next week, tootled down as soon as I could to see what the shop was all about.
The first thing I noticed when I walked into 74 Penny Street was the glorious smell of real, proper wool. Kate, who owns Northern Yarn (and shares the shop with her friend, who runs Penny Street Collectibles), has created a beautiful space that’s chockablock full of breed specific, British wool — the majority of which comes, as the name suggests, from this immediate area!
In addition to stocking a variety of British yarns (including the new West Yorkshire Spinners Croft yarn, which you can see hanging on the top two rows, above), Kate has her very own line of Northern Yarn.
Kate’s new yarn, Lonk, available in lace weight and 4ply, is made from the wool of Lonk sheep, a hill breed that live in Lancashire. It’s crisp, but soft enough for next to skin wear, and has a nice sproingy feel.
Kate’s very first yarn was a blend of 75% Poll Dorset wool, from sheep that live on a farm just down the road from where we now live (!) and 25% BFL. The 2016 clip has all been sold, except for some of the beautifully hand dyed skeins, but I hear that more is in the works!
And her third yarn of line is from Yealand Manor Mules — a cross between BFL and Swaledale — available in laceweight, 4 ply, and DK. Each yarn is gorgeous, and it’s amazing to get to squish yarn that’s all from local sheep.
Of course, I couldn’t resist a few skeins — two skeins of laceweight Lonk, in this gorgeous yellow dyed by Thorndolly:
The yellow is a bit deeper and more nuanced than I’ve been able to capture here. I’m so in love with the yarn and can’t wait to tell you about the special project I’m starting to plan for it.
I can’t wait to dig into my Lonk, and I’m eager to give each of the Northern Yarns! Kate’s come up with such a lovely bunch of wools, and you can read more about them all over on her website, which includes a great blog — I definitely encourage you to check it out!
I’ve written here before about wanting to knit more with breed specific wool, and Northern Yarn is going to make it a whole lot easier to do that. In addition to wanting some of each of the Northern Yarn line, this Dodgson Wood wool caught my eye — maybe for another day.
If you find yourself in Lancaster, I highly recommend a visit — aside from having put together a lovely shop, Kate is incredibly kind and knowledgeable. I’m so glad I’ll be able to become a regular there.
And, extra bonus, the Penny Collectibles side of the shop is also enchanting:
And if you’re going to Yarndale, you can see Kate’s excellent yarns in person — go check them out!
I’m so excited for my first Yarndale trip — even more so as I get to meet some Ravelry friends for the first time! Mr. N and I are making a weekend of it, doing some exploring in the Yorkshire Dales and heading to Yarndale on Sunday, squee! I’ll of course share lots of pictures here once we’re back — in the mean time, hope you’re having a great week. Happy Wednesday!