It's probably the smallest wool shop in the world and is filled with the most beautiful yarns to tempt the most ardent knitter.

The Farmhouse Wool Studio in Follet St in Marton's owner Linda Hale said her tiny shop is never empty.

"It's become a meeting place for women who love to create soft, woollen garments from cosy jerseys to sweet and lovable knitted toys.''

The tiny studio, set behind Peggy and Lils Cafe - also owned by Hale, has all but become an institution, she laughs.

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Hale spins wool as she chats with small groups of women who pop in and sit on the comfy sofa and talk about their latest project.

One local woman has even designed patterns for knitted rabbits.

"They're not just any old toy rabbits. They have personality and are very appealing.''

And hand knitted socks have also become big business, she said.

Fine spun, glowing, multi-coloured wools from small South Island outlets - mostly in
Canterbury - have become a huge hit.

"Hand knitted socks are big business. One woman has even devised a pattern of how to knit socks on just two needles instead of the usual four.''

In front of the small studio Peggy and Lils Cafe, named after Hale's grandmothers, is also doing brisk business.

"We've become a very popular hub in Marton.

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Hale leases the small cafe and the aroma of delicious cooking and baking permeates the air, along with the hard-to-resist smell of hot coffee.

The little cafe has become a popular foodie place in Marton, with locals constantly in and out grabbing a coffee and food.

The little wool studio is also a treasure trove for women after something a little different, Hale said.

Tucked away on shelves and set in small boxes are cards of artistic, colourful ceramic, porcelain and plastic buttons.

"They are works of art and very popular.''

There are even a few bespoke leather bags from the South Island which have been very popular, she said.

"Women love bags and these are gorgeous."

Hale wonders because so much of her original stock comes from the Canterbury region if the earthquakes had prompted many of the women to turn their hands to creativity rather than heading back to work in an office again.

It was during a road trip through the South Island where she had made many of her discoveries.

"It was wonderful stopping in small towns and discovering these beautiful yarns women were creating from their homes. It was a trip never to be forgotten.''