Barnyarns Company History

All About Barnyarns

Barnyarns was established when a City & Guilds student of creative embroidery was infuriated at having to search high and low for materials. Finding that other students had the same problems, Adele Bates founded Barnyarns in 1986 and over the years it has become an invaluable asset to embroiderers, quilters and sewers worldwide, whether experimental or traditional. Why Barnyarns? We started selling our yarns in a Barn!

In 1979 Ian Macpherson, the sales director of MacPhersons, based in Nottingham regularly travelled the world and was attending a huge textile exhibition in Hanover in Germany demonstrating new multihead industrial embroidery machines. Two young German men introduced themselves as embroidery thread manufactures and asked if they could test their thread on the new high speed machines.  The thread, now known as Madeira Classic Rayon 40 ran unbreaking for the duration of the show, producing a high sheen and beautiful lustre and the new modern thread for the new modern embroidery machines was found.

This was the start of a great friendship & business relationship between the Schmidt Brothers of Madeira Threads & the Macpherson family.  Ian & Sara together established Madeira UK in 1983 at home in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire.  It was very much a family affair with boxes of stock forming corridors within the house and the children, Alastair, Jonathan & Karen often helping unload wagons, pack orders and carry bags of mail to the post office.  In time, the company moved to larger premises in Boroughbridge and then finally to a huge purpose built warehouse in Thirsk where the company Madeira Threads UK LTD was run and operated until the retirement of Ian & Sara in 2002.

Barnyarns became part of Madeira Threads in 1992 when the embroidery market was again changing to incorporate many more, single head multi-colour industrial machines.  These machines with only one embroidery head, as opposed to the larger twelve head or twenty four head machines only needed single cones of thread, not full boxes of ten.  Barnyarns was able to support this rapidly growing market by selling individual cones and became an important supplier to this rapidly growing market.

Jonathan MacPherson, was responsible for the growth of Barnyarns as well as introducing Madeira Threads in to the home market, and worked on building the company until buying Barnyarns from Madeira in 2002.  The company expanded further into the retail market and continued to introduce new and exciting threads for hand and machine use from all over the world.  

Today, Barnyarns is still family run and owned.  Jonathan is supported in all things by his wife Charlotte, who has been a guiding inspiration over the years. Their son Callum will soon take over the company and will continue to build and grow the business.  We will continue to be the prime retailer of Madeira Threads and enjoy a close relationship with Madeira and many other top thread manufacturers. Thirty five years on, we are so proud to serve over 27,000 Quilters, sewers & Embroiderers annually, and continue to welcome new customers to the family! With over 34,000 products in our store, we stock the largest range of market leading thread brands, supported by Haberdashery and much, much more!

Whether you are local enough to visit us at our premises in Yorkshire, or want to shop with us online - we are dedicated to providing you with excellent customer service and providing you with invaluable support! Hope to hear from you soon.