Once Upon A Yarn Story...
The story of the shop starts in Ireland where owner Carmen Schmidt lived for just over a year. During the rainy autumn months, she decided to pick up her knitting again for the first time in years and soon found herself falling back in love with the craft. As well as the rhythmic clicks and beautiful colours, she also discovered the craft happily came with a welcoming community of like-minded souls.
Even though Carmen had known how to knit since she was a child, it wasn't until now that she really got it. Her love (or, perhaps, obsession) for wool quickly grew and when she moved again in 2013, this time to the United Kingdom, she knew that she just had to do something with it. So, in November 2014, Carmen opened A Yarn Story in the small village of Bathford. But, after six short months, she found she had outgrown her sweet little shop. This is when she decided to move to Walcot Street in the heart of Bath's Artisan Quarter.
The shelves at A Yarn Story are brimming with all the yarns, patterns and knick-knacks that Carmen loves. Every single thing in the shop has a tale to tell that can be passed on so others can make it a part of their story too. She is passionate about choosing her favourite fibres and colours, as well as supporting designers and makers far and wide.
More than a shop, A Yarn Story is also a place for yarn-lovers to meet, create and feel at home, whether they are just starting out or have been lovingly knitting or crocheting for decades. With regular knit-nights online and in-store, and plenty of workshops with expert tutors, there is always something new to learn and share.
Meet the Team
Long-time knitter Michelle moved to the UK when she was 17, having grown up in Sicily and the US. She has always loved travelling and seeing new places, which means her yarn stash is full of intriguing skeins from all around the world. She describes knitting as ‘yoga for the mind’ and likes to experiment with different fibres and textured stitches to see what material they produce. Slow fashion and making things to be kept, worn and loved is important to Michelle, and to share the value of knitting, she set up a lunchtime knit club at her sons’ school and taught the craft as part of the curriculum for pupils aged 7-11. Another of Michelle’s passions is cooking old family recipes and perfecting homemade dough for her garden pizza-oven.
Knitter and crocheter extraordinaire Amanda has been designing garments and accessories since the 80s, with her designs featured in many magazines, including Good Housekeeping and Simply Knitting. More recently she has designed for The Fibre Co., Walcot Yarns andThe Knitter. Inspired by the beauty and complexity of Japanese knitting, Amanda says life is never dull if you have a skein of yarn and a pair of needles in your hands. She reckons she could even knit if stranded on a desert island (providing it had sheep, alpaca or banana plants on it – banana fibre makes for excellent yarn…). As well as working in the shop, Amanda holds regular sessions at A Yarn Story to help fellow yarn-lovers with their knitting and crochet quandaries.
Susan's love of yarncraft started at the age of seven when her mother taught her how to knit mittens – useful for the chilly winters growing up in Canada! Her skill for cold-weather creativity continued and, by the time she was in her early teens, she learned how to knit Icelandic sweaters on circular needles. These days, her favourite things to knit include shawls (there isn’t any fitting requirement) and she also enjoys colourwork. Her current yarn faves include mYak and Walcot Yarns Opus for softness and, never one to shy away from luxury, she likes pairing mohair with other yarns. When Susan isn't knitting you'll find her spending time by the sea in Cornwall or walking her dog in her local park in Bath. A lady of many useful talents, Susan also has a degree in Physiotherapy and qualifications in Art & Design.
Carmen is the owner and founder of A Yarn Story. Born and raised in Eugene, Oregon, Carmen went to uni in California before leaping across the pond to Europe where she first made Germany her home. She then headed to Ireland where she found her love of knitting, before eventually settling in Bath.
Her earliest memory of yarn involved creating endless i-cords with her French knitting dolly, as well as weaving rugs for her doll’s house, and winding and re-winding yarn on her Mom's ball-winder. To this day, Carmen is still a ‘product knitter’, and loves creating everything from socks and shawls to mitts, hats and sweaters – as long as it is beautiful, useful and full of colour.
Armed with an MBA from Goethe Business School and heavily influenced by her parents who ran a successful restaurant, Carmen combined her business brain with her passion for yarn to launch A Yarn Story in 2014… and has never looked back!
She says of her love of knitting, “With yarn you can take that string you love and turn it into whatever you want – absolutely whatever you heart desires.”
Customer Relationship Manager
Peaches joined the AYS team in May 2015 when the shop moved to Walcot Street in Bath (and she was allowed in the building…) She can be found working in the shop a couple times a week – her enthusiasm while on duty is subtle, but can always be noted with the occasional squeak.
Peaches is an expert cuddler, tail thwapper and adorable-eyes giver. She is also a huge fan of making sure everyone knows how to share food, and she is partial to fish, dried meats and cheese. When she’s not at work she enjoys long walks, even longer naps, squirrel hunting, visiting her favourite local shops and occupying most, if not all, of the sofa.
Born and raised in the US, Kayleigh now lives in Bath, where her passion for knitting is stronger than ever. She learned how to knit a scarf at the age of seven (after being taught by her mom), and she now loves to knit sweaters, shawls and everything in-between. When Kayleigh is not in the shop or knitting, she can be found working on her PhD in Philosophy or getting creative in the kitchen inventing new recipes. She also loves to get out and about the countryside.
Sandra is A Yarn Story’s super-organised and multi-talented ecommerce fulfillment assistant. When she isn’t busy in the shop, she loves to cook (she has a Swiss qualification in gastronomy), practise yoga and knit beautiful garments for herself, family and friends. She also prides herself on being her local pub-quiz team’s history expert. Sandra has been knitting since she was a child, after being taught by her grandmother. She loves the rhythmic click of the needles and the endless possibilities offered by all the colours of her favourite yarns, which include Julie Asselin Fino and Walcot Yarns.
Originally from the Northeast of the US, Marissa has lived in the UK since 2012. She was taught how to knit by her maternal grandmother and continued to enjoy knitting at uni (but never quite managed to finish a project…). She recently came back to knitting a couple of years ago, and has reclaimed it as her passion once more – in fact, she couldn’t imagine buying a shop-bought jumper ever again. Marissa is a big fan of Nordic and Japanese knitwear design, and Japan is at the top of her list of places to visit around the world. In addition to knitting, Marissa loves to host dinner parties for friends and take weekend trips around Europe.
Whether she’s illustrating, designing garments or knitting up colourwork accessories, Aleks can always be found creating something gorgeous and unique. She fondly remembers choosing soft chenille yarn for her first project – a simple scarf in Gryffindor colours (it was the height of Harry Potter mania) – when she was in primary school, and to this day she continues to be influenced by colour. She also takes plenty of inspiration from her Estonian heritage, as well as all the knitters and artists she has met on her travels. Aleks has recently published a book - Traditions Revisited: Modern Estonian Knits and designed patterns for Laine magazine and Walcot Yarns, and in addition to working at A Yarn Story, she also teaches workshops. www.aleks-byrd.com
Anna has been knitting and crocheting since she was in her teens. She has always been inspired by colour and geometry, forever falling under the spell of colour combinations (and trying to find a pattern to suit them). A scarf knitter first and foremost, garments have become her thing more recently. Her eye for color means she's always creating unique and beautiful color combos. She also loves reading, Yorkshire tea and adding to her impressive collection of nail varnishes. When Anna's not in the shop you can find her creating floral master pieces in her own business: www.pipfloralstudio.com