How to open a wool shop: Part II

After all these weeks of wondering if this funny little mis-shapen shop will ever be fit for wool, the thrill of finishing the fitting on Sunday was ecstatic. Now it turns out that ecstasy is not the best head state for considered population of new shop with wool.

So when I got in on Monday morning I faced an arrangement  of colours and weights that held little hope of guiding any knitters (baffled or otherwise) along the rows. I stood back and began to wonder whether there’s a link between alphabet orientation and thin-to-thick yarn sequencing. Then decided that it has to be about optimum positioning for the customer profile. Think, think, think!  And then it  dawned on me that if you’re a new knitter you don’t only want to grow your knitting fast, you want to find the yarn quickly. Knitting fundies on the other hand will be more likely to take the extra steps needed to explore the far end.  Newbies like the thick stuff, yarnies will go for the finer skeins. The balls came down (tumbling in some cases) and got carefully and calmly re-stashed into sensibly located cubes – from super chunky shmunky  at the front down to a whispy lace at the far end. I reconsidered the colour combinations,  gradually and sensibly migrating balls and skeins to better places.

Unlike Sunday, the clock was ticking though. I only had until 5.30 – there was to be no late night stashing on Monday.  Why was Monday different from all other nights? I had a date with my in-laws, some hard boiled eggs and unleavened bread that I had to keep. It seems that Moses didn’t check when I’d be opening the wool shop when he decided which day he wanted to lead the Jews out of slavery into freedom. No worries. Calm headed local business woman can finish her work on time, don a clean frock and make it to Passover meal in north west London even though she’s on the threshold of life changing and earth shattering endeavors. So we ate the bread of affliction, lent to the left, found the Afikomen and got back to Hackney in time for just enough sleep to power me through the getting-everything-ready marathon on Tuesday.

Tuesday began with wool more or less organised, but displays needed arranging, needles needed sorting and everything needed pricing. Thankfully turbo-charged Maya stepped in armed with a calculator, pricing gun and to-do lists with checkboxes. Six o’clock came and went and by eight, Felix was on the phone checking whether we’d be home to eat supper. No chance. Then  suddenly there he was like a super-hero jogging down the street with a pressure cooker full of the most delicious pasta. So we gobbled and carried on and on until by ten we could do no more. It was ready – or ready(ish).

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And that’s how I came to find myself sitting in a beautiful wool shop on Wednesday morning, sunlight pouring in by the knitting table, wool sensibly stacked (now also priced) along the cubes, needles arranged in size order, and till all in working order on the counter.  A couple of knitters were browsing the wools, asking about suitability for different patterns. We discussed and concluded. And I smiled a smile inside that was even bigger than the one on the outside. I’d come home and there’s nowhere in the world I’d have rather been.

  10 comments for “How to open a wool shop: Part II

  1. dd
    April 20, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    See you at the shop
    Kniittty split to lift some needles in celebration ….

  2. April 21, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    I can’t wait to see your shop! I bet it’s amazing. It’s so exciting to read about everything that goes in to it.

  3. admin
    April 21, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    Really looking forward to seeing you at the shop on Saturday Larissa!

  4. April 22, 2014 at 7:14 pm


  5. Jessica Dove
    April 22, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    What a lovely piece of writing.I am sure it will bring swelling crowds of well wishers and customers.Its a joy to see you so happy .Love Jessica x

    • admin
      April 23, 2014 at 5:03 am

      Thanks for the lovely comment Jessica, and for helping to keep me on track!

  6. Howard Lane
    April 29, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    I will stop by soon but I’ll have to try to get there before 6. Normally I’m in Biddle Bros around 8pm. There is a blog that might resonate with you – someone following their dream – in this case building and running a mud hotel in Djenne. I don’t know how many visitors they get these days but Sophie also sells beautiful fabrics from

    Her blog is at

  7. admin
    April 29, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Wow what an amazing story she has! Following your dream to Mali is very inspiring indeed 🙂
    Do pop by if you get to Biddles earlier – I’m often here till a while past 6.00.
    Hope all is well in Leonardland..

  8. May 8, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    How lovely! I’ll definitely visit on my next London trip 🙂 Congrats on opening!

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