Next up in our profiles of the wonderful stockists that carry our yarns in the UK is Purlescence, an online shop located in Oxfordshire. Known for it’s high-quality knitting yarns and accessories Purlescence was originally founded in 2005. The shop was purchased in 2011 by Sarah Lewis and her husband Jonathan who have been running it ever since.
Tell us about Purlescence. How did you decide to open a yarn shop?
I’ve been wanting to open a yarn shop ever since my Gran taught me to know when I was small. I feel as though I’m following in her footsteps as she had a yarn shop back in the 1940’s. When Purlescence came up for sale it was the perfect fit. High quality products and a great reputation, giving us a fabulous base on which to build and develop the shop further.
Jonathan, my husband, it the not-so-visible half of Purlescence and does plenty of the technical stuff behind the scenes and is definitely an invaluable part of things. He may not be a knitter, but is currecntly working on becoming the Purlescence crochet expert.
What is your favourite thing about your shop or about being the owner of an online yarn shop?
Without a doubt, it’s the people. Knitters and crocheters are a great bunch of people and I never tire of meeting so many friendly faces at shows and events.
Going to work each day is a real pleasure. It’s lovely to sit at my desk and be surrounded by gorgeous yarn and other goodies. On the other side of the coin, the downside is too much choice and wanting to cast on with everything the second it comes through the door.
What sets Purlescence apart from other online yarn shops?
Although Purlescence is mainly an online shop, sending orders around the world, we also thoroughly enjoy throwing our showroom doors open at regular open days where people can browse our stock and meet special guests.
As well as open days we have a calendar of knitting and crochet workshops held through the year at our HQ in rural Oxfordshire. These events are a great way to meet our customers and put faces to email addresses, making the whole thing feel much more personal.
What are some of your most popular products?
Well SweetGeorgia yarns of course. We currently stock the Tough Love Sock and Superwash DK yarns, and have some fibre arriving shortly too. As well as that we stock other yarns from around the world including Hand Maiden, Vinni’s Colours and Fyberspates.
Aside from the yarn our extensive range of ChiaGoo needles is always popular, as are the stunning bags from Offhand Designs and Namaste. We also stock the full range of Soak Wash to take care of those handknits and delicates.
Any special offers or news to share?
We’re very excited to have just announced our first ever Purlescence Knit-a-Long. To celebrate the arrival of the Superwash DK yarn at Purlescence we’ve teamed up with SweetGeorgia and Tin Can Knits to run a KAL to knit the pretty Lush cardigan. It should be great run and culminates in July with a VIP completion event with Amy Singer from Knitty.
We’re looking forward to our Spring Open Day on the 8th March, when SweetGeorgia Yarns will be our special guest of the day. Also on the 8th March we’re running a basic sock knitting workshop with Rachel Coopey. Just the think to put that Tough Love Sock yarn to good use.
How can folks find you?
Our showroom is based in Wantage in leafy Oxfordshire. Although we don’t have regular opening hours, you’re welcome to pay us a visit. Just get in touch first to make sure we’ll be there.
You can find Purlescence on Ravelry in the Glamorous Knitters group. They’re also on Facebook and Twitter, so there’s plenty of opportunities to keep in touch. Thank you to Sarah for taking the time to be interviewed!