Grand Opening at YAK

Looking for a local yarn store to find yarn and supplies can be tricky and one that inspires you enough to travel for needs to be extra special. 

Last weekend, I took an indulgent train ride to YAK, Brighton's newest yarn shop and it was all the things a yarn store should be: inspiring, beautifully presented and packed with the kind of yarns and supplies crafters want to work with. There's plenty of variety from high end treat to good work horse basics and I have a feeling that Kate, the owner, will be keeping a regular flow of enticing new products as has already become her norm while selling online for the last couple of years. She's launched knit nights and classes already so this is destined to be quite the hub for urban knitters and crocheters in need of a location to gather around!

So what makes YAK so special?

First, there's the yarns.

Local, British wools such as Bessie May and The Uncommon Thread nestle amongst overseas friends Dye for Wool and Malabrigo, to name but a few. There's everything from sock basics to unusual blends such as the Bessie May Nettle (which really intrigued me). 

yarn on display at YAK
Bessie May Nettle

High quality craft supplies.

I think this might be the first time I've seen Inspinknity Wires in the wild and they nestle amongst well loved brand names such as Fringe Association, Hiya Hiya and Yellow Bear Wares. Everywhere I looked I could think of something I NEEDED for my crafting life: wool wash, needles, scissors.....

notions on display
Yellow Bear Wares

Beautiful Presentation:

This is the part that really impressed me about YAK. Kate displays things with such a clever eye for pleasing details that you just want to create the minute you walk through the door. Notions are tucked into old suitcases and top hat boxes retrieved from her family's loft and everywhere you look there's little reminders of sheepy goodness like some rather intimidating sheers.

Sirka stitch counter displayed in top hat box
Sheers and swift on display at YAK

Inspirational displays:

Kate's window currently displays Pebble Beach by Curious Handmade, the winner from the Unwind Brighton Design Competition. It's worked up in local dyer The Uncommon Thread's yarns with more tempting goodies underneath. The shop is full of knitted goodies you want to make too and plenty of information about YAKs...

information about YAKs
Pebble Beach in TUT
YAK display details

Excellent Location:

YAK is 10 minutes walk (downhill!) from the main train station and just past the noise and crowds of the much famed North Laine area of Brighton. You can shop, thrift, eat and drink in between petting yarn and casting on. It's always worth a day trip to Brighton and now there's even more reasons to go!

textiles for sale in the Laines
vegan food at the Laines
leather bags for sale on the Laines

I hope you'll manage a trip to YAK to see this wonderfully curated shop of treasures. If you do manage a visit, don't forget to check out the little detail on the restored clock in the top picture. A wee YAK logo tickled me pink. Such attention to detail!

Meet the Sponsor: Kate and YAK

One of the things I love about deciding to host sponsors for the blog and podcast isn't just the fabulous giveaways (huzzah!) but also sharing an insight into their personality and businesses. I asked Kate, the owner of YAK to help us get to know her and discovered that she takes her ice cream and lolly decision making very seriously. She might be my new favourite person as a result. 

Over to Kate....

Hello, my name is Kate, I am the owner of YAK, an independent yarn shop based in Brighton. I moved to Brighton about two years ago and straight away felt the lack of anywhere decent to buy good quality yarns. Like me, everyone - knitters and non-knitters alike - are astonished that there isn’t an independent yarn shop already in Brighton. And so, after a lot of dithering and a lot more planning I decided to open up a shop to solve the problem. We currently sell online but will be opening a physical bricks and mortar shop in central Brighton later in the year. 

Kate, owner of YAK and ice cream maven

Kate, owner of YAK and ice cream maven

And YAK?

YAK specialises in luxury yarns made with natural fibres. We have really tried to focus on getting our stock from British independent yarn companies and hand dyers but we also have some really special yarns from further afield. We also have a great selection of knitting needles, tools, notions and accessories. We really do have something for everyone. 

The Sirka Counter, one of many notions you can find at YAK

The Sirka Counter, one of many notions you can find at YAK

If you had a magic wand to create your bricks and mortar store, what impossible feature would you add?

I would have a live band, playing at all times. They would be able to do amazing covers of any song imaginable but their best feature would be that they would always just know exactly what I wanted to listen to so I would never have to go through the agonising pain of trying to decide. How is it when you have thousands and thousands of songs to choose from you just cannot do it?! Maybe they could be up on a mezzanine floor, like they’re serenading the shop from on high. But now I think I’m getting carried away...

What's your favourite thing about being an LYS owner?

I think it is probably the social aspect. I’ve met so many nice and passionate people through setting this thing up, it’s been really great. I had no friends who knit before, and now I do! It’s also the reason I am so excited that it’s going to be an actual physical shop as well; I am going to get so meet so many more. Also, as wonderful and amazing as the internet is there is something still to be said for being able to sit around with some likeminded people, beverage of choice in one hand, knitting in the other and having a chat about what is on your needles face to face. Similarly, a computer screen will never be able to capture the true fuzziness of angora or the subtle colours of a hand dyed semi-solid skein. For that we need to get hands on and I can’t wait to be the person to provide that space in Brighton.

Dye for Yarn exquisiteness- one of YAK's lovely yarns 

Dye for Yarn exquisiteness- one of YAK's lovely yarns 

Ice cream or ice lollies? Discuss 

I think both have their place. I love real gelato ice-cream but the sophistication stops there. I am a child when it comes to flavours; I always just want one ball of chocolate, one ball of strawberry, no fuss. But sometimes it’s just too hot and all that wafer does more harm than good or you’ve only got an ice-cream van. For those times I always go for a Twister, the best combination lolly, little bit ice-cream, little bit lolly.