A trip to Norwich began with a peppermint tea in Biddy's tearoom, in the Norwich Lanes: http://www.biddystearoom.com/
This tea room is vintage heaven: tea sets, tea pots and cosy old furniture. Even though this was a busy, busy shopping day, the tea room was warm and quiet, and I had a great catch-up with a lovely friend there. I noticed that, had I been there on a Tuesday, I could have knitted, too! Mind you, my Inner Pedant was really tempted to add the other 't' in 'Stitch' with my lippy...but I managed to restrain myself!
Then, an exploratory trip to Norwich's new, independent wool shop, Crafty Ewe, which opened this summer:
Norwich is quite well served for wool already, with selections in Jarrolds and John Lewis, but despite this, Crafty Ewe really does seem to offer something different. The sales assistant told me they'd decided not to stock Debbie Bliss or Rowan, because these are well stocked elsewhere. Instead, they wanted to offer something 'a bit different.' I wondered what else there could be - but then I started rootling around the shop. For a start, they had a range of wools I'd never seen before, by Australian designer Jo Sharp: http://www.josharp.com/ These wools were lovely and luxurious - a bit like Rowan, in fact - and in gorgeous, autumnal shades. Some good patterns, too. However, I am trying to buy British wool - and when I mentioned this, the assistant showed me some *lovely* yarns by John Arbon Textiles, based in Devon: http://www.jarbon.com/ Yippee: these were *gorgeous*. Beautiful colours and a rich, true-wool texture. The shop had a very good range of tempting colours (though my photo didn't do them justice at all - so haven't included it!) and they can order in more shades. If I needed more (more!?) wool, this is exactly what I'd buy. John Arbon are responsible for the Excelana range of yarns as well as Knit By Numbers. Crafty Ewe told me that the Knit By Numbers yarns come in a skein bcause it's cheaper for the customer this way - it's cheaper not to have the yarn balled. Brilliant: making a ball from a skein takes me back to sitting with my Grandma (a great knitter) with my arms out, holding a skein of wool she had steamed loose after unpicking it from something else ... A pleasure.
Looking at this picture, there is definitely a 2012 LYS look - the white shelves, the flat patties of expensive yarn ... but, hey, it works! I really need a new project so that I can go back here and buy some lovely British wool. Now, I'm sure I've got time for a quick Ravelry pattern-search before Skyfall....