Jenny Wren’s Yarns was opened by Lois Mickleburgh and her mum Sue Emmerson in March 2012. The ladies were inspired by other shops that they had visited both in the UK and the US and decided to open a yarn shop in their home town, stocking the beautiful yarns that they both liked to use.
We wanted our shop to be different to traditional wool shops and we’ve worked to create a bright, welcoming space for all knitters, crocheters and yarn enthusiasts, whatever their skill level. Initially we approached Cathy Frost at Loveone to see if she had any space in her shop, which we could rent to see if our idea would work. We stayed in our first home with Cathy for just over a year before we were ready to take the step to independence and taking on our own premises.
The Saints is an ideal location for us because it is only a short walk from both the Waterfront and the town centre and the mix of independent shops meant we fitted in very well. We chose our current shop at number 14 St Peters Street because of the floor to ceiling windows which let natural light flood in; meaning all of our lovely, colourful yarns look their best! It also has plenty of space for us to run groups and classes, with room for a large table - around which you’ll often find a group of knitters chatting away while drinking tea and eating cake!
Jenny Wren’s often gets described as being like a sweet shop for yarn lovers! We stock a wide variety of yarn for all budgets; from basic acrylics and cottons, to luxury silk and merino blends. We also have a strong emphasis on British yarns; stocking brands like Baa Ram Ewe and West Yorkshire Spinners - who use rare breed British fleece in their yarns to try and preserve our native sheep. Other brands we stock include those not normally found on the high street, including Katia, Rico, Adriafil and Fyberspates - as well as more established brands such as Debbie Bliss and Wendy.
We hold a social knit group twice a week, Wednesdays 2-4pm and Fridays 12-2pm. The groups are very popular and a great way to meet people with similar interests and to get inspiration and new ideas for projects to cast on. Everyone is welcome and there is no need to book, just turn up with your current project. We also run a varied programme of knitting and crochet classes. Our tutors are highly experienced in their craft and very patient! We keep our class sizes small - especially in the beginners sessions - to make sure attendees get as much attention as they need. So, whether you want to learn to crochet or to knit a pair of socks, we’ll have the class for you. Our classes for spring and summer 2017 are now available to book and can be found on our website jennywrensyarns.co.uk/classes
Jenny Wren’s has gone from strength to strength in the 5 years since we opened, culminating in our winning a British Knitting Award for ‘Best Independent Yarn Shop in the South East’ in 2016. We hope to be shortlisted again this year and are awaiting the results of the nominations which closed in mid-April.