Spinning Weal, Clevedon (near Bristol)

Mr Floraspatch and I took the opportunity of a Sisters of Mercy concert in Bristol to take a couple of days off in the area and we ended up in the beautiful Walton Park Hotel in Clevedon. Of course I googled “wool shops in Bristol” and started jumping up and down the corridor when I found out there was one in Clevedon, within walking distance of the hotel. Walking distance, my favourite…


The hotel was great, with a view of the sea from the bed, dreamy. Clevedon is actually really lovely. I had never heard of Clevedon before, but that’s the beauty of these little random trips. The pier is apparently the only grade I listed pier in England. And dogs wear fairisle jumpers, what more can you ask for?

Let’s get to the wool shop, after a walk in the bracing end of November sea air. I had to search my dictionary for “weal” because I couldn’t quite relate it to the spinning part… It has two main meanings: prosperity/happiness, or a nasty swollen mark on your skin. I expect the shop is named after the first one.



I love the knitted sign


The shop is on 2 floors, the ground floor being dedicated to wool and haberdashery and the first floor to fabrics and workshop space. There is definitely enough there to keep both knitters and sewers happy. The range of fabrics, patchwork and sewing notions is excellent and the fabric is sold both by the metre and in fat quarters. The workshop area is spacious and the second floor is more like a large open gallery, so there is no getting claustrophobic during the classes. spinningwealyarnsDownstairs, there is a well-stocked haberdashery and the range of yarns available is good too, for all budgets and all tastes. I quite liked the uncommon, interesting yarns such as a couple of yak skeins by the till. It is a shame neither colour would have been useful to me (a grass green and nice lilac, but I wouldn’t wear either). spinningwealfeltHad there been a charcoal or blue-grey, I would have bought one for my next crochet wrap. There is also row after row of felting wool, in candy jars aligned by colour. I had never seen so many.


Verdict: well stocked for textile and yarns, friendly owner and staff, beautiful setting. Clevedon itself is worth a day trip so good excuse to visit the shop too.

What did I buy: 3 Erika Knight linen skeins and a crochet pattern.

Will I go back: yes (To the same hotel too)

Internet link: http://www.spinningweal.co.uk (The web shop is sparse; a visit in person is the only way)




How I started sewing

My paternal grandmother, Mémé, had a sewing machine with a treadle, a great big thing in cast iron and wooden table. She would tread away and I would sit on the floor watching the wheel go round. By the time I was 3 years old, I was “helping” with the sewing. I was far too small to reach the treadle, so I would sit on Mémé’s lap and she would operate the machinery while I was guiding the fabric and do the proper sewing bit. When Mémé died, my aunt remembered the endless sewing sessions and gave me the sewing machine. It lives in the bay window in my bedroom and still looks as impressive today, even if I can reach the treadle on my own. I don’t use it anymore but it still works and will come in very handy when we get a zombie apocalypse and we’ll have to make all our own clothes but we’ll have no electricity to operate the newer machines.

How I started crochet

It was a very long time ago… I was a toddler and my maternal grandmother, Mamie, was a keen crochetteuse. Nothing particularly fancy: she would unpick old jumpers and make granny squares blankets. Like me, she had trouble finishing anything so there were lots of bright squares laying around in the work basket. A single square was enough for a whole blanket for my teddy dog Patapouf. I was allowed to swap blanket on each visit until one day my grandmother taught me how to crochet my own granny square. I took to it straight away and have been crocheting ever since. (Unlike knitting, which my mum taught me but never really took on). I have always liked the laciness of crochet. It also appeared to me to build up more quickly than knitting, or perhaps it was just the illusion created by the fact that I could make a scarf out of small squares, so I had a feeling of “finished!” after each square rather than at the end of a long, long knitting marathon.

I still have the last of Mamie’s squares. The wool is scratchy compared to the yarns we use today. The colours are also completely different. Nothing soft and muted. It’s all garish and flat colours. Pretty awful yarn really. But Patapouf still likes them…