Yarn store has a fuzzy and ‘feel good’ factor

Jess James-Thomson owner of Ginger Twist Studio on London Road. Photo: Greg Macvean
Jess James-Thomson owner of Ginger Twist Studio on London Road. Photo: Greg Macvean
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It’s the kind of shop that makes customers feel warm and fuzzy, giving new meaning to retail therapy.

A visit to Jess James-Thomson at Ginger Twist Studio is like entering her own walk-in wool closet - and everyone’s invited to squish.

Her tiny store in London Road is crammed with colourful yarns for different budgets, including Ginger’s hand-dyed range which she produces herself.

Brought up in Oregon, USA, Jess was performing in musical theatre in New York City before making the move to Edinburgh eight years ago. As a passionate knitter, she found herself fascinated by Scottish sheep and the diversity of wool available.

“I’d always wanted to open my own business but didn’t know if it would happen. There were so many kinds of wool here and yet a shortage of good yarn shops,” she says. “My Nana taught me to knit as a youngster and I have loved it ever since. I’m very fortunate to have been able to turn it into a career. “

Small as it may be, Jess believes the bricks and mortar operation is very important in supporting her online business.

“Shopping for yarn is a very personal experience and it can be difficult to buy it without seeing and feeling it. Colour is so important too and it’s not easy to show different shades accurately on a computer screen. ”

Through her knitting club and workshops, Jess, 34, is encouraged to see more young women trying their hand at knitting, crochet and spinning. By visiting the shop they often find inspiration for their next project.

“It’s definitely on-trend at the moment, with lots of young people choosing to sew their own clothes and knit their own jumpers. There is growing demand for a handmade aesthetic and an alternative to mass produced clothes,” she adds.

Ginger Twist Studio, 11 London Road, 07599 479445.