We are so proud of our new shop, Convent & Chapel Wool Shop, and excited to boot. Everything is very new and we’re sure to make mistakes but it’s great to be learning so much and still having new experiences.
Now the shop is open, we’re starting to promote ourselves more widely both locally with the tourist market as well as through knitting circles, particularly given we have a good online shop as well.
Part of organising marketing for the shop was getting some professional photos taken, rather than just us with our iPhones. The immensely talented local photographer, Karon Grant, has stepped in to help us and we are just over the moon with our photos which we think do our shop much more justice than our own handiwork.
I thought I’d share a few shots with you so for the non-locals you might get a better idea of how the business looks. We’re still adding some more shelving and furniture (not to mention stock) but are nearly there.
After 30 years of corporate life, I’ve seen so much change in the last few years. Moving to a small rural town (into a Convent!) was so much more than I have ever dreamt of. It’s been great just having time to build and enjoy the garden (especially the veggies), spending time with the dogs, indulging my knitting passion and getting to know and join the local community… but I guess I always knew that I’d look for a little more. Work has always been a big part of my life and I enjoy a little pressure on me, just not the stress. I found it hard to imagine working for someone else but my next steps again are serendipitous.
Knitting has always been an important part of my life so it seems fitting that it’s driving my next steps (or rather, leaps). I’m opening a yarn store in Rylstone in the heritage Bridge View Inn. The shop will cater to the discerning knitter with luxury imported and local yarns. My main knitting love is lace and my intention is to have a special focus on lace yarns.
The building is perfect – a lovely old place that has been well restored. I have two rooms, both with working fireplaces, as well as a front verandah and back landing. My neighbours include the lovely Na Lan with 29 Nine 99, a popular meeting place with magical Yum Cha. I also have the Museum next door and a community garden where knitters can enjoy sitting in the fresh air.
I’m hoping it will be yet another reason for people to come to this amazing area, as I know knitters enjoy a trip for yarn. My good friend G, who also bravely took the step of changing to a rural lifestyle from Sydney, will be joining me and we should be a formidable partnership.
This time last year I could hardly catch my breath, finishing up work, putting Wahroonga on the market, tradies fixing the Convent, the garden open for the local Garden Fair and the relocation in full swing. Same time this year is still busy – the Kandos Museum is opening after a long hiatus, the Convent is open to the public for the Centenary weekend and I’ve leased the shop with business planning in full swing. But so much more fun…
I’ll focus on the shop opening (which I think will be early November) after the long weekend and there are sure to be many more posts keeping you up to date with developments.
In moving out to the country, it means there is no local wool shop within cooee. Very literally. I’m used to accessing great bricks and mortar yarn shops – either locally, CBD or within reasonable driving distance. Here, it’s a bit different and the internet is your friend – fortunately I’m highly familiar with online purchasing.
That being said, I still love a visit to a yarn shop or purchasing directly and after a little exploration, I’m delighted at what I’m finding. It appears I’ve landed in the centre of The Alpaca Universe, with many wonderful alpaca breeders who provide fibre and yarn as well. Apparently this is a great alpaca area and I’ve found the breeders here to be highly organised and professional.
One of the Alpaca producers, Marlyn Alpacas, breeds, mills and sells their own yarn which is quite stunning and available in a range of plys and colours. They obviously know and love their flock well and can name the alpacas by the colour of the yarn. It’s such a treasure to have this producer as a neighbour that breeds, shears and then mills and distributes such high quality yarn. Many other breeders also offer their fibre for sale which is highly valued in an area well populated by experienced spinners.
Whilst for Sydney-siders it may seem a considerable distance, once in the country you get used to country driving. Blackheath is a nice trip to take for the day considering other attractions such as a great nursery, the antiques centre, coffee shops and a great butcher … let alone an extra drive into Leura for chocolates at Josophans. But the big attraction has to be The House of Wool at Blackheath which stocks indie yarns that are beautifully dyed. I know all too well how easy (and often cheaper) it is to buy standard commercial brands online, but to see, feel and purchase direct such lovely yarns always will be exciting for a dedicated knitter.
Needless to say, I’m not suffering too much from access to good yarn in the country. Nor am I buffered from temptation.