We put Lighthouse Yarns in the spotlight.
Tell us a little bit about your shop – where are you based, what are your opening hours and how long has the shop been opened?
Lighthouse Yarns is based in the seaside town of Whitehead in County Antrim. I opened four years ago after having a successful market stall in St. Georges Market in Belfast. I wanted to open a shop so I could meet ever-increasing demands for something different and expand my range of yarns and accessories.
We are open 10 am – 5 pm Monday – Saturday.
What brands of yarn do you stock?
Our most popular yarns are Sublime, Stolen Stiches, Sheejes, Erica Knight, Studio Donegal, Fyberspates, Skein Queen and Sirdar. We also stock spinning and felting supplies.
We will have more Indie Dyers in the New Year! Our suppliers are always being added to, to meet current trends and demands.
What are your top selling yarns?
The top-selling yarns change with the seasons. Sheepjes is cotton based all year rounder for lovely shawls and scarves. Studio Donegal is lovely to snuggle up to in the winter and very popular with visitors touring the stunning Causeway coastal route.
What’s the most popular knitting pattern(s) you sell?
Patterns by Fay Dashper-Hughes are proving very popular as they’re designed for both the knitter and those who like to crochet (crocheting seems to be increasingly popular and it’s great to see all the modern patterns that are being produced).
Fay has just finished Aloft Along which is proving popular with my customers. Fay and Albina from LBhandknits are both working on some fabulous designs for Yarnfolk next year.
Do you have a knitting/crochet/crafting group in your shop?
Lighthouse Yarns have two crafting groups which meet on a Friday and Saturday morning. Both are very popular with all types of crafters and its great to a have a forum where they can discuss tips and ideas, have a laugh, and of course plenty of tea and cake!
Who’s your typical customer?
We don’t really have a typical customer. Our customers could be a young textile student looking for inspiration to a new granny wanting to create something special for their first grandchild. We also have the passionate knitter/crocheter who can’t resist a new project or to check out this season’s new colours. One customer described coming into my shop as a sweetshop for the keen crafter!
Whitehead is on the popular and scenic Glens of Antrim, so we would have many visitors from all over the world and as the love of yarn is so popular worldwide I often would get customers from other countries who come in for their ‘fix’ of new yarn.
Do you get involved with any charity knitting/crafting projects?
Lighthouse Yarns was the inspiration behind a project called ‘Woollen Woods’. Every year we work alongside Mid and East Antrim Council to encourage schools, libraries and the local community to Yarn Bomb Jubilee Woods in Whitehead.
They create lots of fun items based on a theme and then dress all the trees, benches etc in Jubilee Woods. This is launched with a fun day for all the family and left dressed until the end of the summer for locals and visitors to enjoy.
This year we are working with Peace and Reconciliation groups to yarn bomb the woods in June.
I would like to thank all those who have been involved to help to create some lovely and much admired woolly creations that are an inspiration to many.
Do you stock any local designers, yarn producers or independent dyers?
I stock Studio Donegal, Carol Fellers fabulous Nua Yarns and books, Secret Stash, Skein Queen and Fyberspates. I hope to stock more local dyers next year. Watch this space for some exciting news in the spring !!!
You’re the woman behind the Yarnfolk Festival of Wool. What made you decide to hold a yarn festival?
I wanted to showcase local indie dyers, makers and talented knitwear designers. I am also passionate about passing on wonderful textile history and give people the opportunity to work closely with our local guilds and workshop tutors.
Yarnfolk gives people the opportunity to see (and buy) from some great crafters and suppliers which they wouldn’t normally see in our shops.
Are you able to let us in on any plans for Yarnfolk 2019?
At Yarnfolk we like to encourage those who are just starting out in their new career and next year will be no different as we have had some amazing new crafters apply to come to Yarnfolk – we can’t wait!!
We haven’t got a definitive list yet but we can tell you we are happy to welcome back John Arbon Textiles, Skein Queen, Bear in Sheep’s Clothing, Woolly Mammoth and to also welcome new talent to Yarnfolk such as Riverknits and many more.
We are also excited to introduce a brand new design from Fay Dasher Hughes designed especially for Yarnfolk Festival of Wool 2019.
It’s going to be a great day!!!
Are you on social media?
Lighthouse Yarns is on Facebook, Twitter and soon to be on Instagram.
Yarnfolk Festival of Wool is on Facebook, Instagram and at Yarnfolkfestivalofwoolni.org.uk