The Yarn Tree (or Yarn Store by Proxy)

During the few hours that we were able to do some sightseeing in South Africa, we did attempt to visit a couple of yarn stores. Unfortunately, we struck out because either the store was closed or non-existent or we simply did not have the correct address, and we had very little time. Knowing how disappointed I was, my husband decided to try again and found this gem in Houghton. So I give you The Yarn Tree, a yarn store by proxy.

The Yarn Tree - partial view

The Yarn Tree started off as a calligraphy studio and is located in a beautiful residential suburb of Johannesburg. The Yarn Tree is a labour of love for a British ex-pat and two South African women who met volunteering for 67 Blankets for Mandela.

I was interested to learn about 67 Blankets for Mandela and looked them up online. It turns out that in April of this year, volunteer knitters, crocheters and quilters covered 3133 square meters with handmade blankets and broke a Guinness World Record for the largest area covered by a blanket. The meaning behind the number is a call to devote 67 minutes to community service in honor of Nelson Mandela’s 67 years of service to South Africa. (Source)


As the story unfolded, I became even more excited to learn about The Yarn Tree. The selection of yarn is carefully curated by Adrienne, Kelly and Anne-Marie with an eye toward eco-friendly materials sourced in South Africa. With Kelly’s help, my husband brought me some yarn called Eco-Fusion, a 50% cotton, 50% bamboo blend by Nurturing FibresNurturing Fibres is an eco-friendly yarn brand, hand dyed near Cape Town.

Eco-Fusion Yarn 1

Nurturing fibres strives to conserve as much energy and water during their production process. They make use of borehole water which is heated by solar power for the dye baths. After dyeing, the PH levels in the dye-baths are neutralized and the water is then used to irrigate an olive grove near the dye studio. (Source: Placard at The Yarn Tree)

Eco-Fusion Yarn 2

The next gift was also specially curated for women who have had mastectomies. With the Knitted Knockers kit, you can knit a prosthetic breast for mastectomy patients. The kit contains a 50 gram ball of organically grown cotton yarn by ColourSpun and 25 grams of pure merino for the filling. Each skein is hand wound and hand dyed.

Knitted Knockers

Even though I was unable to visit in person, I learned a tremendous amount about these mission-driven ladies and their beautiful shop. You can follow The Yarn Tree on Facebook or contact them at theyarntree (@) yahoo (dot) com. The Yarn Tree hosts Charity Afternoons on Mondays and a Coffee Club on Friday mornings. They also have various workshops including a Knitting for Knockers Charity Day. Look them up if you are in Johannesburg. I know I will!

10 thoughts on “The Yarn Tree (or Yarn Store by Proxy)

    1. The color is truly lovely. Somewhere between peach and pink. I thought it was sweet that he got me the Knitted Knockers kit! I had never heard of this and think it’s a wonderful way to help other women.

  1. I have loved reading your posts about South Africa, made me very nostalgic. Carle, the dyer and owner of Nurturing Fibres is a lovely person and her yarns are always beautiful (my stash increased considerably due to her when we lived in South Africa).

    1. I would love to visit Cape Town and Nurturing Fibres! That must have been a wonderful experience living in South Africa. It’s a beautiful country. Even though it has its challenges, there is so much potential.

      1. It was an amazing experience.I think a piece of my heart will always be there. There is a lot of wonderful things that go on in South Africa that never make the news, so the perception outside of the country is a bit skewed I think. Nurturing Fibres sells online and is also wholesaleing to some stores in the UK and the USA I think.

  2. Hi Veronica! What a stunning write-up of our new venture, The Yarn Tree! We were so sorry that work kept you away from us but Ramon was a very enthusiastic proxy on your behalf and I’m so pleased that you approved of our choices of yarn! We’d only just opened the shop when he visited & have since increased our range – still all locally sourced, beautiful yarns. The three of us are so enjoying discovering the wonderful range of yarn South Africa has and it’s been an enormous pleasure to become involved with all our suppliers who are hugely talented & very generous people! The Yarn Tree seems to be growing into a place where fellow knitters/crocheters feel comfortable popping in to visit & staying to chat, knit/crochet – exactly how we wanted our space to be! Our charity time is very special & we will send you pictures of our first Knitted Knockers handover which will be at the Helen Joseph Hospital here in Johannesburg. We hope work brings you back here soon & that we can welcome you to The Yarn Tree in person! Warmest regards, Kelly, Adrienne & Anne-Marie x

  3. Glad you found The Yarn Tree. Think they had not long been in business when your husband went there. The wools are great , and the ‘knitted knockers’ a great idea – helping those who either cannot afford prosthetics or whose wound is too tender to cope with silicon etc. Glad Kelly was able to be of assistance.

  4. What a lovely shop! Delighted to know the Yarn Tree is so committed to doing some good in the world. And that picture of the Nelson Mandela statue — incredible! Thanks for sharing.

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