These are strange and interesting times. Uncertain ones too. Especially if you own or work for an independent small business in the arts, fibre, or crafting world.
Now, more than ever, small businesses need your help and support, whether by sharing or purchasing their work.
As a crafter – knitting, crochet, and sewing mainly – I try to buy local and small as often as possible. This past year of 2020 I basically used up all my wool stash, so I didn’t really buy much new yarn. In the future, I will be trying to buy hand-spun and hand-dyed as much as possible. Of course, this can get quite expensive (and why should it not? You are after all paying a premium for time and experience and creativity), so, where I couldn’t buy handmade, I bought local, whether in my local town or in the UK.
I have bought fabric from UK Etsy sellers and even flour from Kat Goldin – knitters and crocheters will know that name! (See Gartur Stitch Farm on Instagram for more details). I have shopped from local independent chocolate shops on the high street for presents and bought handmade, one-of-a-kind pottery pieces from UK potters – Sam Throws Pots on Etsy and Instagram does some beautiful oil burners and trinket dishes.
I try to support artists I like by buying something small (for example an enamel pin) if I can’t afford/ don’t have room for a big piece such as an art print or original.
Some businesses like Shetland Wool Adventures will have had to pivot completely to how they used to work as a result of the pandemic. Instead of offering guided tours around Shetland, this small business instead opted to write, design and have published their own beautiful journal.
I bought the journal pictured above a few months ago, it has a few knitting projects, recipes, articles about Shetland, walks, information about wool. All sorts. I really want to visit now! And by the way, the apple cake recipe was NOM NOMMY NOM!! 🙂 See Shetland Wool Adventures on instagram for more details – I can’t wait for volume 2.
So here are a few independent shops I like. All of them I have purchased from in the past and can heartily recommend.
FusedGlassCornwall – Etsy
This shop sells a variety of fused glass objects such as jewellery, light catchers, hanging decorations, Christmas decorations, cards, art pieces. All in a chunky, bright style that I love. Her penguins and snowmen are particularly adorable.
FabricJungleUK – Etsy
This shop sells fat quarter fabrics in really cool patterns – think Marvel superhero fabric, Harry Potter, Star Wars and much more. I bought fabric to make my Dad and little brother sewn zipper bags for Christmas.
AllSewnUpBySophia – Etsy
Again fat quarters, but the ones I got from this Etsy shop were slightly more traditional (I bought sewing themed fat quarters from here) but still pretty – the Christmas striped fabric was my favourite.
thelittlestfalcon – Etsy
I bought some of my Christmas cards from this shop this year – robins, whacky penguins! Pretty cards with prints of hand painted animals on. And since I am in Yorkshire, I think they are relatively local to me too if I remember rightly.
EarthKindCreations – Etsy
A shop selling natural, eco-friendly products and kits. I bought my mum a beeswax wrap kit. They sell kitchen items, re-usable cloth sponges and towels, sanitary products, all in beautiful fabrics.
CottonandTwigg – Etsy
I bought a few hand sewn gingerbread men from this shop. They had facemarks and were holding a roll of toilet paper with the year 2020 sewn on!!! 🙂
WonderWeaverDesign – Etsy
Willow basket weaving shop which sells beautiful handmade baskets (the orange pumpkin and black cat baskets would have been perfect for kids if I had any!!) as well as kits. I bought my mum a pot holder kit for her birthday last year – all these kits I buy my mother and she hasn’t even started one of them yet!!
These are just some of the shops I have bought from last year. Definitely have a look at them the next time you are browsing Etsy looking for something to give as gifts or to try yourself.
The smaller shops need your custom and support much more than Amazon or Wish or Ali Express or whatever, so support them now and hopefully help keep skills, local heritage crafts and traditions continuing well into the future!