A Visit to Petlins Weaving Supply Shop in Sydney

This post will be of greatest interest to Australian weavers. If you’re a quilter you might want to come back in a few weeks when I hope to have my latest log cabin quilt bound and ready to show off. It’s back from the long arm quilter but I under-estimated how much binding I would need so have had a temporary interruption. It doesn’t help progress that I’ve been crazy busy at work.

table loom on display at PetlinsI have been busy preparing for customer visits in Sydney that happened last week. The trip gave me the opportunity to visit Petlins, one of a handful of suppliers of weaving yarns and looms in Australia. They are located in the Sydney suburb of Rhodes, near the former Olympic village, easily reached by train.

If you visit the Petlins web site you may make the observation that it’s not super easy to use and that it’s a little dated in terms of page design and usability. They have a wide product range and I can testify that the ordering process works well and your goods arrive quickly. Delivery costs are reasonable, fixed at $10 per order, with delivery within Australia only. I wouldn’t pay by credit card on the Petlins site as I wouldn’t have confidence about the security of my details. Working in IT makes you paranoid about these things.

After visiting the bricks and mortar shop (open Thursdays and Saturdays) I stand by that call. The owners (Peter and Linda, I believe) were polite though busy. Linda was happy to help me select a suitable warp for my rug-making while Peter busied himself with preparing some orders for despatch. I’m not such a princess that I need two people to assist me shopping so that was fine. It’s been a long time since I last signed one of those credit card slips with multiple layers and carbon paper, though, the kind where they put your card in the machine and draw the bar across your card to get the number to imprint on all three layers.

The store was little more than a storage area and the displays were …. hmm….let’s say functional. The cottolin was displayed on ‘shelves’ comprised of polystyrene boxes – quite a contrast to the mouth-watering display of the same product at a specialist yarn supply in a regional town in Sweden. Demand for weaving products would be much higher in Sweden and the shop I’m thinking of was in the main shopping area in town, so the comparison is unfair.
Both Peter and Linda are weavers and there was a lovely krokbragt rug on the floor. Linda told me she had once done a course with Peter Collingwood, the famous maker who literally wrote the book on rug weaving.

A visit to Petlins is worth it if you want some advice or want to see their products in real life, otherwise, their mail order service is an excellent alternative.

I came away with a couple of reels of Canadian linen rug warp (the Swedish was too expensive) and another 500g of 8/2 cotton. Linda was quick to point me in the direction of a more reasonably priced warp yarn after I gasped at the price of the Swedish yarn and she was generous with encouragement and suggestions on how to use it. I also accomplished what I set out to – I visited the bricks and mortar store and can report back. The photos were taken with permission.

3 responses to “A Visit to Petlins Weaving Supply Shop in Sydney

  1. This was an interesting observation of the world of spinners and weavers. I have been using Petlins postal services for years and I can get everything I need in the way of fibre and spare parts. The spinners world is so small and scattered in Australia that we are grateful for those suppliers who endure despite the small profit margins. I live in a remote area with no shops, so polystyrene displays would be a step up.

    • Thanks for your comment. You are right, we are certainly not spoiled for suppliers of weaving supplies here in Australia, though I hope Ashford are doing good business just across the Tasman. I have only used the Petlins mail order service once and I was very happy with my goods. I hope they will stay in business for many years to come.

  2. After reading this post, I feel the need to offer some more detail to your representation of Petlins. I love this shop and Linda and Pete are amazing – real fibre people. If you want fast impersonal service and fancy displays then this isn’t for you… this is personal, considered, and knowledgeable service with a massive dose of heart. The community that has collected around this store over the 40yrs that it has been open is deep and generous. I think that these are the things that count.

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