Our history and vibes:
Kim has been blogging and selling handmade goods (under the name Art Equals Happy and @kimsmithhappy) since 2008, and during her illustration degree at Camberwell College Of The Arts London (UAL), she became intensely interested in where things came from. It wasn’t enough to just make beautiful hand-knitted artworks- she needed to know that they weren’t killing our environment or hurting humans on the other side of the planet. She did a short apprenticeship at Prick Your Finger where she learnt how to spin on a wheel and that it was possible to create a space that wasn’t filled with plastic yarns.
Knitting was something she was doing everyday (as her CFS kept her in bed 4 days a week) and she thought her dreams of opening a little shop somewhere would never come true.
In 2014 however her dream did come true, she opened Alterknit Universe just outside of Bristol. It was only open 3 days a week, but it was open, and the community that flocked to it was just as supportive, friendly, fun and kind as she could ever have hoped for. Named because she wanted to create an alternative to big box yarn shops. Since then quite a few of the local yarn shops around Bristol have closed down, and as one of the few remaining, Kim is determined to keep it open and let as many people know we’re here as possible. We can't do it without your help, please let your friends know and support us when you can. It's so wonderful to bring this space to you, thank you for making it possible!
We stand out because we care about where our products are made, what they are made from, who makes them and where they will end up. We’ve created a friendly and fun shopping environment, with comfy chairs and a smile, ready to chat about your project. (Friday-Sunday our ‘Soda Shop’ is open, serving hot and cold drinks).
“Everything in the shop is Natural, Recycled, Local or Ethical.” We strive to make the shop as inclusive as possible and welcome people of every race, gender, sexuality, culture and ability. Knitting and crafts in general has a long history of being 'political'. We do our best to continue this tradition by highlighting injustice in our society, and generally dedicate one of our two window displays to this. Kim is striving to diversify the products in store as well. We are always open to having conversations about this, how we can do better and better serve you.
It’s still a one-woman run business with volunteers lending their time and energy to making it work. The shop and Kim’s personal social media (instagram and youtube mostly) attract many other crafty people with hidden disabilities and illnesses. It’s a place to feel safe, hold something that been created with love, and remind yourself that we are all striving to be positive and productive members of society.