It’s been a while since we’ve had a shop profile on the blog and I was missing them. I thought it might be nice to profile an online shop again, especially as THAT time of year is quickly approaching! Tangled Yarn is a fantastically well-rounded online yarn store in the UK – although they ship internationally too – and have a reputation for excellent customer service. Read on for my interview with owner Rachel Owen who tells us more about her shop, her customers, and her yarns!
Tell us all about you and Tangled Yarn. Are you quite “entwined” with your business as the name suggests?
I set up Tangled Yarn in 2011 because I was frustrated about not being able to get my hands on the yarns I wanted to knit with. I was also looking to go back to work and wanted something that would fit in with my family so it made absolute sense to run my business from home. So you could say that I’m very much entwined with Tangled Yarn. I start work as soon as everyone’s left for the day at 7.30 and I’m here when my son comes home from school, but I often work evenings once I’ve helped him with his homework. For me it’s the perfect fit!
It must be very different to work in your shop and not have customers popping in to visit. But Tangled Yarn has very loyal customers. How have you built that community of knitters and crocheters around your shop?
I’m consciously aware that buying online can be faceless (or impersonal) which is why I make every effort to get to know my customers. I have lots of loyal customers that come back time and time again. I like nothing more than chatting over the telephone, helping to decide on which colours to put together for their next project or just giving advice when needed for a pattern.
Tangled Yarn also has a very active Ravelry group, where we meet up to knit and chat together. We’ve usually got a KAL going on and these are always fun and a get way to get to know my customers.
And I do have a few local customers who call in from time to time for a cuppa and chat!
What are some of your favourite products in the shop and how do you choose what you’ll carry?
Oh there are so many and for different reasons. I love Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran for everyday knits, especially if you’re knitting for babies. But if I were knitting something special then Malabrigo Mechita is rather wonderful, it’s a single plied fingering weight and comes in the most amazing rich saturated colours. I’m looking forward to casting on a shawl very soon in a couple of skeins of this.
One of the things I’m really excited about at Tangled Yarn is your in-house brand of yarn called Mabel & Ivy (and I’m designing something new with it too!). Can you tell me how you came to have your own yarn?
Yes I’m excited about Mabel & Ivy too! The opportunity came up for me to source two great yarn bases from a Yorkshire mill just across the Pennines from where I live. We have Supersoft, which is a light fingering weight in 100% wool; it comes in 80 colours making it a great chose for colourwork. And for summer knits there’s Coast which is 55% wool and 45% cotton.
The name Mabel & Ivy comes from my grandmothers, I saw this as a way I could honour their memory. They were both remarkable women, Mabel was an extraordinary business woman and mother to nine children. And Ivy was the one who taught me to knit.
Do you have a favourite thing you like to knit or crochet? Or recommendation for personal knitting suited to the upcoming holidays?
I do love knitting shawls and cowls, they make great gifts! I’m working my way through your wonderful book, Knit Play Colour. So far I’ve finished three projects which are all for friends so I am planning to knit myself Flight of Colour in Cumbria from The Fibre Co. I think the garter stitch stripes would be wonderful in this base which is a blend of masham wool, merino and mohair. (LZB: Sounds amazing! I can’t wait to see it!)
Any exciting news about Tangled Yarn for 2016 that you’d like to share?
I’ve lots of wonderful new yarns arriving for spring / summer which I’m really excited about.
I’ve also a few different design collaborations coming up for Mabel & Ivy. The patterns will be released later in the year and I can’t wait to share those!
Tell us how people can find you online (web/ravelry/twitter/instagram/etc).
Many thanks to Rachel for taking the time to answer my questions. Stay tuned for those design collaborations coming up in 2016 too!