We’ve had some great yarn reviews on the blog over the last year but then it always results in in the question, “But where does one find all these great yarns Louise?”. To help answer that, I thought it would be fun to profile some of the amazing shops that I’ve come to know online or in person (or that I know so well online that it feels like I’ve been there in person!).
Happily, Jessica James of Ginger Twist Studio opened her door and agreed to answer some questions – and also sent along these amazing photographs!
Tell us a bit about Ginger Twist Studio? How long have you had your wonderful shop and how did you get started with it? How did you come up with the name?
I’ve been a yarn shop lady for about 1.5 years. GTS opened in June 2013 and I swear there is never a dull day. My wee shop is located at 11 London Road in Edinburgh, Scotland. It is a nice walk from the city centre AND there is a lovely bakery just round the corner. Or if you fancy hopping on the bus, there are loads that run along London Road. The shop is quite small, but is jam packed with goodies. It is a sweetie shop for knitters, crocheters and spinners.
The name for the shop was a gradual development. From the beginning I wanted ‘Ginger’ to be present in the name. Next came the word ‘Studio’. I needed something else to fit between these two words, and make it zing. While looking through some vintage Aran knitting books (with tea) and a pal, I happened upon the term ‘Twist’. Then my amazing friend Sean Casey made my logo, which is me as a ginger kitty. Best logo ever.
Most yarn shops these days seem to have some kind of specialty – what is Ginger Twist Studio’s?
The shop reflects my fondness for a bit of vintage flare. I have also developed an extensive range of hand dyed yarns that have been deemed Ginger’s Hand Dyed. I have a wide variety of bases available from lace weight on up to chunky. It is so much fun to make the colours!!
I have just teamed up with Clare Devine to release our first yarn club. Her patterns and my dyeing. It is really exciting, and gives me the opportunity for using bases that I wouldn’t necessarily be able to use for my regular stock. I love it!
What is the best (or your favourite) thing about being a yarn shop owner? Do you have a favourite yarn or product that you carry?
First of all, I’m so grateful to have a job that I feel so passionate about. I love that I can utilize my creativity and business sense within one job.
I love being collaborative, whether it is with a designer or fellow local business.
I also love days when I can sit in my shop with a cuppa, knit, and have chats with nice folks with Radio 4 playing in the background. Excellent day in my humble opinion.
My favourite yarn is currently my hand dyed Luscious Worsted. I’m plotting a jumper for the Edinburgh Yarn Festival in it…just to choose colours. And I just love my Hiya Hiya Sharp Stainless Interchangeable Set. I honestly don’t know how I lived before. Och, and pom pom makers!! Clover pom pom makers have changed my life. I am in no way being overly dramatic.
If you weren’t running Ginger Twist Studios, what would you be doing?
I’ve always wanted to have a yarn shop, so I am super pleased to have achieved this goal. I used to be a singer/musical theatre gal before I moved to Edinburgh and have also fancied having a small performance/community space. There might be a way to combine these dreams in my lifetime. If not, a yarn shop is pretty amazing.
Occupational hazard: do you just want to knit EVERYTHING? How do you find new yarns and treats to keep things fresh? What’s your approach?
I want to knit ALL THE THINGS!!!! I get so excited sometimes, I can just stress myself out. This can happen when I get in a new publication, new yarn, colourway, or just see something cool on Ravelry. I tend to have quite a few projects on the go at once.
Most of the things I knit are shop related, but I just make sure to knit and crochet things that I like too. Therefore I am really always knitting for myself. If a project is for a specific workshop, event or whatnot, I do need to pay attention to the deadline. I run a Designer of the Month and Wool of the Month feature in the shop. This helps to keep things fresh, as there is always something new and inspiring coming in. Every now and again I throw in a project that uses my personal stash and has nothing to do with the shop. That keeps things a bit fresh too.
As makers we’re part of a very collaborative community – what is the Edinburgh knit-scene like?
The Edinburgh maker scene is great. There are so many knitting, crochet and spinning groups meeting on different days in different areas of town. I run a weekly stitch ‘n’ bitch in a pub just down the road from the shop. This is were I’ve met some of my really good pals. These crafts are cross-generational and provide grounds to make a real connection with someone. Its amazing.
Are you multi-craftual or do you stick exclusively to knitting? Tell us about your other crafty vices.
I was sewing fluorescent hair scrunchies long before I learned the way of the knit stitch. Last year I finally invested in another Singer sewing machine (I had to leave my old one behind in the States). She has been named Ginger Singer. I do a bit of crochet as well, but am no expert! Knitting always seems to be the easiest for me to pick up and do a couple rounds.
What do you knit while on holiday? Or do you have a favourite kind of project to knit?
While on holiday I like to have a minimum of two projects going. Something like a large shawl or jumper with loads of stocking or garter stitch, and a smaller item with a more complicated pattern…maybe a hat or pair of socks.
Do you have a favourite time of year (either for you, your crafting, or the shop)?
Autumn rocks! The air gets that crispness to it and I know it is time to get out all the serious woollies. It also tends to be a busy time in the shops, which is defo a good thing. And it suddenly becomes socially acceptable to sit inside all evening knitting. My kind of season.
I’m super excited to be a stall holder at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival. Yay! So I’m busy getting prepared for that. Then it will be time to start seriously planning and promoting the next Indie Burgh Yarn Crawl. And then Claire and I are also currently plotting another yarn club for later this year. It is going to be another fab and busy bee of a year.
Thank you so much to Jess for taking the time to chat about her wonderful shop! And if you’d like to visit the Edinburgh Yarn Festival, it’s happening on 14-15 March 2015.It’s always a little nerve-wracking trying something new on the blog, so if you liked the shop profile feature, please let me know by sending me a note or leaving a comment, maybe with a suggestion for a shop you’d like to see profiled next! xx, Louise