When we decided that we would go to the Isle of Skye for our holidays my sister went immediately to her Lonely Planet guides to find all the places we should visit, while I went to Google and typed “yarn shops isle of skye”. In my search the only shop I found was Shilasdair, which I had seen at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival this year with their beautiful naturally dyed yarn. Once we got to the island however, I was shocked to find a thriving crafts and arts community with little shops spread all around Skye, each one more hidden and remote than the last. All I could think of was: “I need to write a post about this!” So here I am, finally sharing my tips for those of you who may be interested in exploring a different side to the island that does not include hiking! (in case you may not have guessed by now, I am not exactly the “hiking type”…).
The following list includes a wide range of shops for those of you interested in crafts and local products, and also a few recommendations for places to eat while you are there. If you decide to go to the island YOU MUST RENT A CAR. There is no other way I’m afraid, and a GPS is also very useful if you can get one. Please be careful in the roads which some are hellish single-track roads with passing places and very little visibility, we witnessed a horrible car accident while we were there so I urge you to be cautious and drive slowly. That way you will also be able to enjoy the most amazing scenery you have ever seen, it is really breathtaking.
The list is in no particular order, I tried to group the shops that are close to each other though. There are much more shops in Skye but these are all the ones I visited and can recommend. You can also check out www.art-skye.co.uk for a great craft and arts trail.
I was not smart enough at the time to think of taking any pictures of the shops, my apologies… I guess you will just have to go and see them for yourselves!
- Skye Quilt Studio (5A Upper Milovaig, Glendale, IV55 8WY): This shop is on the way to Neist Point, a very popular spot in Skye. Here you will find beautiful fabrics and notions along with very attentive service, my sister bought there this gorgeous multicoloured thread that even I fell in love with and I don’t do patchwork! A must stop for those who love patchwork and quilts.
- Red Roof Café Gallery (Holmisdale, Glendale, IV55 8WS): We stopped at this little cafe for lunch one day, I recommend it if you are looking for something a bit different using fresh and local ingredients, but probably not if you have any children since I didn’t see any child-friendly food on the menu. They had lovely cakes, scones and my sister had a very nice salmon and cheese.
- Wheatear Textiles (19 Fasach, Glendale, IV55 8WP): If you like Harris Tweed then this is your shop! Lovely handcrafted accessories, garments and homeware. I got some pretty Harris Tweed buttons from here.
- Skye Weavers (18 Fasach, Glendale, IV55 8WP): This shop is run by a lovely couple who create the most stunning woollen products with their pedal-powered loom. I loved their designs and use of colour, it is quite unique. Also, you can give the loom a try yourself! What could be better? You can find them on Instagram by @skyeweavers.
- Raven Press Gallery (Colbost, Dunvegan, IV55 8ZS): This shop has some incredible prints made with wood engravings, the detail on them is astounding! Really worth a visit.
- Dragonfly Studio (Brunigill Farm, 3 Skinidin, Dunvegan, IV55 8ZS): I must admit this was my favourite shop of the trip, I actually had to go there twice! We met Ann at this lovely studio who sells a huge range of textile crafts and artwork, including handspun yarn from their own flock. The yarn is labelled with the name of the sheep it came from (I almost cried!), and it is so beautifully soft and squishy, I just can’t get over it. To top it all, Ann was so nice and welcoming to us both times we were there, you just can’t get any better than that. I will do a separate post of the project I am doing with this yarn, it deserves its own post!
- Skyeskins (17 Loch Bay, Waternish, IV55 8GD): Another one of my favourites was this awesome tannery located in Waternish. If you love sheep… you will love this shop. First, you get a free tour where a member of the staff takes you through the entire tanning process, here they explain that they only use sheepskin from sheep which are used for meat, that they are one of two commercial tanneries in the UK, and that the process is mostly by hand. They are also very conscious about sourcing locally. Next you get taken to their shop where you can buy rugs, throws, garments and other leather products. I bought a pair of sheepskin slippers and they are OH-SO-WARM, and to top it even the sole is made in the UK. Needless to say, I really wanted to get myself a rug… hopefully one day. Oh, if you can’t wait until you visit you’ll be happy to know you can buy online at www.skyeskyns.co.uk.
- Shilasdair Yarns (10 Carnach, Waternish, IV55 8GL): Of course, if you are in Waternish you must stop by Shilasdair. Beautiful yarns dyed with natural dyes in the most amazing setting. They have quite a big selection of colours and also quite a few of patterns and books.
- Sam Peare Textiles (Loch View, Endinbane, IV51 9PW): This shop may be tiny, but what lacks in space it compensates on beauty. Sam creates unique embroidered pieces with a vintage feeling, and they are all stunning. She didn’t have much stock on her shop when I visited but it is definitely worth to stop by. You can visit her website at www.samanthapeare.co.uk.
- Glenview Gallery at The Skye Pie Cafe (Culnacnoc, Staffin, IV51 9JH): I loved this gallery and cafe and it is near the very famous Old Man of Storr. The whole space is decorated with beautiful details all around, the cafe has a really good menu, delicious pies and soups, and they also do takeaway. In the gallery you can find unique pieces including some local yarn and vintage finds. My sister left with the most beautiful set of vintage tea cups, and I am still so jealous she saw them first. A definite must if you are in the area.
- Handspinner Having Fun (Old Pier Road, Broadford, IV49 9AE): If you are a yarn addict then you will LOVE this shop. Filled with lovely hand spun and hand dyed yarns, as well as some rare breeds and beautiful notions, I was running around in circles like a chicken trying to decide what to get. It is also next to the best bakery in the world… make sure you stop for some bread to take on your journey, you won’t regret it! If you are heading over to Yarndale this year (you lucky people!) then you will be glad to hear the shop will have a stall there, or you can also check the website at handspinnerhavingfun.com.
- Love from Skye (Main Street, Broadford, IV49 9AE): Just across the road you will find this jewellery shop filled with beautiful pieces created at their own workshop or by other Scottish artists. There is something for every budget, worth a stop.
We were only there for three days and there was still so much more to see, including more talented people selling their creations. It was so inspiring to see this community of artists and what they bring to the Isle of Skye, it makes it even more magical and I can’t wait to be back there. Hope this guide is useful for those of you planning a trip there, given that I didn’t find much information until I got there.
As you can imagine, I came back with quite a lot of things from my road trip around Scotland, including a vintage 1930 Singer sewing machine I bought at a car boot sale in a small town near Aberdeen (yes… I am that kind of people, I can’t stop myself). I will share my yarn purchases and Lydia (and yes, I name things as well) on a separate post as soon as I can.
Hope you all have a great weekend!