THE resurgence in interest in knitting, sewing and crafting has persuaded an occupational therapist to turn her hobby into a business and open her own wool shop.
Keen knitter and crafter Pauline Edwards opened Ready Steady Knit in Prudhoe 20 years after the town’s last wool shop closed its doors.
She said: “I’m a knitter, sewer and crafter in general. I’m very interested in reviving traditional crafts and passing on the skills our mothers taught us.”
The shop stocks Sirdar yarns plus wool, patterns, books, knitting needles, sewing needles, thread, buttons and small haberdashery items.
Pauline says many people threw out their old needles and patterns when they gave up but are now keen to start again.
“That’s been very much the feeling of people coming into the shop, particularly older ladies who used to knit, who want to get back into it,” she said.
“Older ladies are coming back into it and also ladies in middle age who are now expecting their first grandchild. Baby knitting is getting people interested because it’s something small, and then they’re coming back and saying, now I want to knit something for myself.
“Certainly there’s a resurgence from people who have done it before but also there has been increased media interest in ‘yarn bombing’ – where the knitter puts a colourful piece of knitting up in a public place. It’s been done in places like Saltburn – people from knitting groups have done it for publicity. Also with the internet, a lot of women have craft blogs.”
She is continuing to work part-time in what she calls her ‘day job’ but is aiming to give it up to concentrate fully on the shop.
“I have been an occupational therapist for 30 years and I still do that part-time. It has been a worthwhile and fulfilling career,” said Pauline.
“I ultimately want to give it up but at 51, retirement is still a long way off. I was looking for something I could do instead.”
She received advice on setting up the business from NBSL in Hexham, but has funded the start-up herself.
“I had no financial help. I was told this was the worst time in the last 20 years to be setting up a business because of the lack of financial support available,” she said.
“I’ve funded it myself and it has been very much set up on a shoestring. The shop will be demolished when Prudhoe is redeveloped so I’ve got it on a short lease for four years. Hopefully, I’ll be able to move into bigger and better premises afterwards.”
Ready Steady Knit has one part-time member of staff and Pauline’s daughter Jenny, a fashion student, is also helping out during the holidays.