We put Cork yarn shop Bantry Yarns in the spotlight. This lovely yarn shop is based in Bantry in West Cork. We chatted to proprietor Mary Sharkey to find out more.
Tell us a little bit about your shop
We’re located in The Anchor Building on New Street in Bantry. We’ve been at this location for four years; we started upstairs but moved to the downstairs premises recently.
Since we moved downstairs we added a tea room, which has proven very popular. It’s decorated in a vintage style and appeals to young and old.
I open Tuesday-Saturday from 10am to 5pm during the summer months and Monday-Saturday from 10am-5pm during the winter. Our store is somewhat of a tourist attraction in Bantry; a lot of tour buses stop into us during the year.
What brands of yarn do you stock?
We have a wide range of yarn including King Cole, Adrafil, Cushendale and Sonas, a new yarn from Donegal, which we’ve only been stocking for the past 12 months. We’re also the only yarn shop in West Cork that stocks Bergere de France.
What are your top selling yarns?
King Cole DK and Chunky are consistently top sellers, and King Cole fashion yarn Opium is also a popular choice because you can knit a scarf or shawl with one ball using 12 mm needles. Bergere de France’s Recyclaine is proving to be very popular with our younger customers and Cushendale’s mohair is extremely popular with visitors from abroad who absolutely love it.
What’s the most popular pattern(s) you sell?
It’s difficult to say. Right now, coming up to Christmas, people tend to buy books rather than individual patterns. I would say that Jean Greenhowe’s designs are always popular this time of year.
Do you have a knitting group in your shop?
We don’t have an official knitting group in the shop but we do encourage people to pop in for a spot of knitting and a cup of tea.
We also have knitting and crochet lessons in the shop, but again, these are ad hoc, rather than organised.
Who’s your typical customer?
It’s hard to define our typical customer. Mainly though I’d say it’s local people from around the West Cork area with a growing number of younger knitters. We also get customers from all over the world who are here on holidays or tours. We get large groups from Germany who pop into the shop every year.
Do you stock any local designers, yarn producers or independent dyers?
We do try to help local crafters where we can. We stock buttons from a lady who’s based in Kinsale – her business is called Wild Expressions. We also recently started stocking Sonas from Donegal. It’s 100% pure Irish wool aran.
What trends are you seeing among your customers?
We’re noticing that our younger customers are going right back to traditional items – I think they call it ‘granny chic’. A lot of crochet granny squares in bright colours. Also, these younger knitters are making their own designs, coming up with ideas and creating their own garments or items rather than following particular patterns.
Are you on social media?
Yes, we have a Facebook Page, which we update regularly.
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