Baa Baa Brighouse is a brand new online knitwear and yarn store which opened its virtual woolly doors to the public this week.
The shop, which specialises in unique hand knitted accessories and Yorkshire yarns has been set up by former Halifax Courier journalist, Elaine Jinks-Turner, 36.
Elaine, a mother-of-three, was taught to knit as a child but rediscovered her passion for the craft following a lengthy bout of post-natal depression following the birth of her daughter, Florence, aged three.
She has since turned her “therapy” into a business and has sourced beautiful knitting yarns from across Yorkshire, the home of the woollen industry, in order to showcase the very best the county has to offer.
Elaine said: “I knit a range of accessories from the finest yarns available including scarves, shawls, wraps, hats, gloves and bags – each one a little different from the last, with a definite vintage feel.
“The majority of the yarn I use is sourced, spun and dyed locally, allowing me to create beautiful one-off pieces and in turn, support Yorkshire sheep farming and the many independent businesses, from spinners and weavers, to people who dye yarn at home in their kitchen sink, that thrive as a result.”
Baa Baa Brighouse stocks yarn from the popular West Yorkshire Spinners and well-known knitwear designer, Erika Knight. Again, all of the yarn produced has strong connections to Yorkshire.
It is committed to using wool in at least 75% of the knitted products it sells and as a result has joined the Campaign for Wool, whose patron is HRH the Prince of Wales.
Knitting needles, patterns, books, buttons, brooches and knit kids for both children and adults can also be found in the store.
Elaine said the next step for Baa Baa Brighouse is to exhibit at local artisan craft fairs and markets in and around Calderdale and Kirklees, making it a truly local business with a physical presence.
Baa Baa Brighouse will also be hosting learn to knit workshops in Brighouse, details of which will be posted on the website – www.baabaabrighouse.co.uk
Participants will receive all of the materials they will need – needles, yarn, instructions as well as a slice of homemade cake during the three hour sessions and will be taught how to cast on, knit, purl, garter stitch, stocking stitch, how to cast off and how to weave in ends.
“Many people feel there has been a revival in knitting of late but just because we now see the likes of supermodel, Kate Moss, or the Duchess of Cambridge knitting, does not mean it has become more popular,” said Elaine.
“Knitting has always been a popular craft and people come to it at different times in their lives for all sorts of reasons.
“Personally, I found it relaxing as well as rewarding. It really helped me to manage my post-natal depression in a positive way.
“When it felt as though everything else was falling apart, I found that knitting allowed me to be constructive. It helped me concentrate and allowed me to focus – for me it has been a great coping mechanism.”
Recent studies have shown that knitting, along with other craft activities, have many long term health benefits. The UK Hand Knitting Association accepts there are therapeutic aspects to knitting and Carrie Barron, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Colombia University in New York claimed earlier this week that the rhythmic movements of knitting offer many of the same kind of benefits as meditation.
Occupational therapists are now turning to knitting to alleviate symptoms of depression and stress related illnesses. In the long term, it has also been found that engaging in craft activities slows cognitive decline.