Wool on wheels rolls in

February 4, 2021 BY

Warm: Carolyn Cusack from Lethbridge popped to the Yarning Bus at Meredith on Monday. Photos: ALISTAIR FINLAY

AFTER nearly twelve months off the road, the Yarning Bus returned to the Meredith Community Center on Monday.

Run by a husband and wife team, the service is all about getting high-quality knitting, crocheting and macrame supplies to communities that might otherwise struggle to access them.

“There’s plenty of cheap yarn out there, so we aim for a market of the purest project knitter or crochet maker that are looking to make a quality heirloom to hand down,” said Lance Briggs, co-owner of the Yarning Bus.

After 38 years as a sheep farmer, Mr Briggs and his wife moved off the land and into the city, however their love of high-quality wool didn’t end there.

After setting up a shop the couple purchased a 32-seat bus for the purposes of conversion into a camper, yet requests from small regional and rural communities for access to their products led to their current venture.

“My wife asked that while I was driving around, could I show some wool,” Mr Briggs said.

“We put on our website for people to contact us and people from Port Fairy asked can we come and visit. From that we stopped in at other community centres and ended up building a run.”

While the Yarning Bus is run out of Melbourne’s western suburbs, Meredith Community Centre manager Leah Phillips said having the resource visit the town had many benefits.

“It’s more about shopping local,” she said. “Even though the bus is coming from Melbourne, people don’t have to leave the town.

“If we can get more services to Meredith, then people don’t need to leave and will utilise our community centre. It’s about offering another service and there’s so many crafter’s in the area.

“The first time the bus came was just before the COVID lockdowns, Lance had a really successful day and was wanting to come back as soon as possible.”

However, the Yarning Bus is more than just helping people access quality knitting, crocheting and macrame supplies.

Mr Briggs has a keen interest in the stories of the people who visit and he’s collating them.

“I’m trying to write a book of anecdotes called Yarning Victoria,” he said. “I ask a series of questions of people who use yarn.

“You can probably break yarn stories into about 18 different categories, and I find one person will highlight three, four, five of those headings, and highlight one beautifully.

“There’s also the talent out there of what people can do, as well as the heritage and cultural aspect of it.”

With about a fifth of the bricks and mortar store carried on the bus at any one time, you can contact the business and have them bring stock on their visits with no obligation to buy.

The Yarning Bus is set to return to Meredith in March, where Mr Briggs will also run a macrame class in the community centre.

“I believe I can take you from a raw beginner to intermediate in just two lessons,” he said. “By the end of the second lesson you may not have finished your project, but you will definitely be confident.”

The Yarning Bus returns to Meredith in March and also has a scheduled stop in Haddon late in the same month.

Contact the Yarning Bus on 9399 4213 or visit yarningplace.com.au for more info.