My name is Helen and my husband’s name is Peter and together we live near Holmfirth, in the heart of wool country at Swallows Nest Farm, the home of Poppy’s our online wool and gift shop.
Five years ago we bought a converted barn, located between Holmfirth and Slaithwaite in Yorkshire, looking out onto some of the most amazing scenery on the edge of the Peak District.
We share our small holding with a number of furry friends, including a small flock of herdy sheep, our horse Joe, two naughty mini Shetland ponies, Warrier and Xavier, an AGA loving cat William and a bouncy sprollie dog called Poppy after whom our business is named.
All of my life I have dreamt of owning a wool shop after being taught to knit by my little Gran as a small child. Growing up, as a teenager, I would knit around the campfire at Scout Camp.
I lived in Germany for a while on a British Army camp and the highlight of my week would be to go to the NAAFI and buy wool that I would knit into jumpers and cardigans.
Like many of you, yarn makes me smile and my heart sing, I love colour, and the tactile feel and touch of wool. I could never pass a wool shop without adding something to my stash.
However, life takes over and my job involves a lot of travelling both in the UK and across Europe.
I often find myself living out of a suitcase, with little time to relax and unwind and knitting started to drift out of my life, when I tried to knit at weekends I would get frustrated as I was too tired to concentrate on the pattern.
But the love of wool and my dream of buying a wool shop remained, and I knew one day I would be able to return once more to the hobby I had loved since being a child. Pete loved me to knit as it reminded him of his mum who always used to have a knitting project on the go.
Then just over two years ago, I met up with an old friend who introduced me to crocheting and showed me some of her lovely work. She encouraged me to take up crochet because unlike conventional knitting needles which were difficult to travel with on planes, trains and automobiles, (excuse the pun), I could easily take a small project bag and a crochet hook with me anywhere.
I shared with her my dream to open a Wool Shop when I retired and she asked me why I didn’t do it straightaway, and that got me thinking. The planner in me started to work out the art of the possible, could I actually set up a business now?
I returned home, bought a crochet hook, grabbed some wool out of my stash and logged onto YouTube to learn more. Within weeks I was making granny squares and baby blankets. My suitcase was re-arranged to accommodate a crochet bag, and I don’t think there has been a day since that I have not picked up a hook. Crocheting blankets and presents for others is now my relaxation, I am less stressed than I have been in years and feel more connected to the world out there. I then started to discover our very talented bloggers and designers, my passion for wool was reinvigorated and the business ideas flourished.
After exploring a number of options, it was eventually decided that the small stone barn attached to our house would be an ideal location for the new business and with it’s fantastic views over the moors it would also be a great place to hold courses or workshops. We converted the barn into a studio to display all of our wool and gifts and added a new kitchen, complete with an Aga to create a lovely warm and cosy setting for our visitors to enjoy. Big comfy sofas in the main room along with a traditional log burning stove and amazing views over the hills and garden help create a luxury spa like feel for our knitting and crocheting retreats.
Beaded Collar Workshop with Jem Weston
We will be offering a range of courses from basic to advanced, with several talented designers, knitting and crochet experts and bloggers.
We have now launched our website and you will see the love of our home, surroundings and collection of animals all incorporated into the design. We have taken great care with the photography of all of the yarns and products featured on the website and used industry standard camera calibration software to ensure accurate colours have been captured.
Our business is built on offering a range of good value yarn and gifts with great customer service.
We look forward to sharing our journey with you all.
Helen and Peter
Please follow our social channels to keep up to date with our offers and events.