Tuesday, 20 June 2017

A very awarding post

That title really makes no sense but bugger it, too hot to think of anything more interesting.

We are up once again for the British Knitting and Crochet awards run by Let's Knit. Hey! GO VOTE!!!!!!! We're up for four awards but our most important is the Best Yarn Shop in the Midlands which we've won for four years running. Here's a little photo of me from a couple of years ago, last year I hated every single photo and was pissed off through most of the day so no photos there...

But in that one I look pretty happy. In truth, I've been super mega silly happy every year and would be again if we won. That would be quite something!!! I'd really have to update our window stickers then, haha. As always, I have people asking me what to vote for in the other categories so I'm going to give some suggestions and they really are just that. Please feel free to vote for whoever you want to, apart from when Knit Nottingham comes up... Natch. The suggestions I give you will be the ones that most help the shop - our lovely suppliers who deserve as much credit for how wonderful this little shop is. :)

1.) Best Baby Yarn Brand - King Cole.
2.) Best Indie Yarn Brand - Truly Hooked (AHHHHHHHH).
3.) Best Value Yarn Brand - King Cole.
4.) Best Luxury Yarn Brand - Sirdar.
5.) Best Sock Yarn Brand - Opal.
6.) Best Overall Yarn Brand - King Cole.
7.) Best British Yarn Brand - Jamieson and Smith (actually nothing to do with us but I have a soft spot).
8.) Best Pattern House - King Cole.
9.) Favourite Knitting Designer - Kate Davies (again, it's just a soft spot thing).
10.) Best Chain/Multiple - UGH. Abakhan. They're the closest to indie that I can see. UGH UGH UGH.
11.) Best Online Shop - KNIT NOTTINGHAM!!!!!!!
12.) 13.) 14.) 15.) 16.) I really can't comment. All lovely shops and many are friends so vote with your conscience. 

17.) Best Yarn Shop in the Midlands - KNIT NOTTINGHAM!!!!!!!
18.) Conscience again.
19.) Best Knitting Needle Range - Addi. 

20.) Best Knitting Accessories Range - Addi. 
21.) Best Ready to Use Knitting Kits - The Little Knitting Company (the most indie as far as I can see). 
22.) Favourite Knitting Blog - KNIT NOTTINGHAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
23.) Best Website - Ravelry. Obvs. No question. 

24.) Favourite Book - The Sock Draw by Verity Castledine (featuring socks named after meeeeeee). 
25.) Best Knitting Show/Event - Yarndale. 
26.) Favourite Charity Campaign - God, anything but the bloody Innocent Smoothie Hats. 
27.) Best Yarn Shop Day Experience - Knit Nottingham!!!!!!!!!!!!!
28.) Best Yarn for Crochet - King Cole. 

29.) Favourite Crochet Designer - Verity Castledine.
30.) Best Crochet Store - KNIT NOTTINGHAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

31.) Favourite Crochet Blog - I'm going to say Sue Pinner. Everybody else seems to work against the LYS but I can't see any evidence of her doing so. :)
32.) Favourite Crocher Book - Bugger it, let's go Sue Pinner too. 

33.) Best Crochet Accessories Range - Fleabubs by Lala! So proud of her getting a nom against the big boys!!!!!

That's it. They're only my suggestions but I hope it helps if you're not necessarily a knitter/crocheter but still a Knit Nottinghamer and I know there are many of you. ;)

If there are two of you who want to vote in the same household then you'll need to open a private browser which works differently on different browsers so do a little google. To prevent fraud they've put a stop on voting more than once from different IP addresses but I know there are lots of fans who live in the same house so I think it's only fair. Please use fairly though!!

I think that's it. Once again. Vote vote vote! It really means that world to tiny businesses like mine. Ahhhhhhhhh!

Love Eleanor. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

P.s. Welcome to anybody who's found us through the Let's Knit promotion, as always we're super grateful to them! The blog isn't a real priority for us right this sec, I tend to update when I have very important news (like voting for us!) but you can also find us on Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and our newsletter where I talk a lot more so go like, follow, sign up and enjoy! :)

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Yarndale!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm really not sure who reads this that isn't on the Facebook, Twitter, Insta or Youtube but if that's you then GREAT! Yarndale is up on sale again! We're doing it a bit different this year. You have to fill out a form so I have contact details in case anything goes wrong and then I'll contact you in the way you ask for payment. You can still pay in the shop if it suits, or over the the phone or in paypal. Anyway, the details can be found by clicking here.

I don't want to say too much because I want to keep it all in one place - the FAQ which I linked to up there.

As we have for the last two years we're making a Yarndale Uniform. There's not much too this and it's not as exciting as it might sound. We choose a pattern on Yarn Shop Day and then we make it. Anybody can make it, in any yarn bought from the shop and wear it on the day. It's not an exclusive pattern to us but I can think of at least eight people who are giving it a go for the Yarndale coach so you'll be one of a tribe. If you've got an inkling to do it, do it!!!!!! Doing things with us is what makes you part of Knit Nottingham, no special hand shakes or anything, just being a bit of a dork with yarny friends.


I think it's a really good choice. And trust me, I stopped them choosing a fully lacework 4ply number (which is fit but deffo not inclusive). I'm considering an evening of Yarndale Uniforming where I can help with issues. Thoughts?

You can find the pattern with all the details by clicking here - Sirdar 7977. It's a fab size range and doable in an awful lot of yarns - many people have chosen Bamboo Cotton DK, but some have chosen the Rico Cottonsoft and of course, the Toscana which is the original yarn.

I think that's all I need to say on the matter. Any questions about Yarndale itself - check here before you ask - any questions about the uniform, ask away!

Love Eleanor! xxxxx

Friday, 12 May 2017

Yarn Shop Day!!!! A rant.

I've done a vlog about how bloody brill Yarn Shop Day but now something a bit more serious really. I must admit, I'm still basking in the glory that was our Yarn Shop Day. And it was bloody glorious!


You can't tell me that's not glorious!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ahhh!!!!!!!!!!! It was busy all day, we took a lot of money but more importantly we cemented more friendships and had more laughs and shared more knowledge (off the top of my head somebody learned magic loop and somebody else learned basic crochet to make the lovely April Towriess crochet cushion) than ever before! We chose our Yarndale uniform. We had a bit of a drink. Cassia got in a basket.

Yarn Shop Day was thought up by the editor of Let's Knit magazine as our very own version of Record Store Day. A day to celebrate bricks and mortar shop. And by celebrate, in reality we mean spend. It might not be pretty but our indie shops, including yarn shops, are businesses and to keep them going we need to spend. They're not just there for the hell of it because, quite frankly, a lot of the time it's not that fun (Yarn Shop Day absolutely excluded - that was fun fun fun!!!!!!!). I don't know about other people's businesses but I need to be making enough money to keep the shop afloat with no input from me and then on top of that to support me. I'm not a lavish person, you all know that, but it was thrilling when last year I was able to buy some actual shoes from an actual shoe shop that have the potential to last longer than a few months. That's where I want to be, I want to be able to buy quality shoes. If I wasn't there by now - after seven years - then I might as well get a proper job.

Quite frankly, I work an average 10 hour day but mostly longer and mostly on my Monday 'day off' too. I answer emails on the tram home from work, ring suppliers/insurers/the council/magazines/printers/whoever on the tram into work and knit samples in the evening. When I'm in the shop I'm in the shop, often editing photos for the website at the same time as chatting to and helping customers all whilst thinking about how I'm going to organise the next event or promotion or what to order next. I put my order in to King Cole at 8am every Thursday and seeing as I've already started the working day I usually ring a few other suppliers then too. There's not a moment of my day that I'm not working in some capacity for the shop. And I'm not complaining really, though I do... a lot... Haha. I'm especially not complaining now that all of my chickens have come home to roost and we've got a sustainable and stable business (crossed fingers).

Bricks and mortar shops are a different beast to internet shops. We do the same stuff that they do - marketing, social media, buying in stock (though we have to have more because people expect to walk out with the products here and there's no way to sneak in an extra day or two of delivery time), answering e-mails/phone calls, paperwork, accounting etc. But we have all of that on top of cleaning, tidying, visual merchandising, and being at customers' beck and call. Emotional labour I called it in a vlog post once and it's true. You are on call. When the shop's open (and often when it's not) you are on call. Something that no internet business has to deal with.

Yarn Shop Day is the day when we celebrate that! Every bloody industry that has indie bricks and mortars should have one! Every industry! But we have one and it's thanks to Let's Knit. Without them there is no Yarn Shop Day. There's no day to celebrate your bricks and mortar shops, the work that they do and the special place that they hold in our industry.

To be part of that - the celebration AND the (hopefully) big glob of money that comes from this event - we have to pay. Like you lot have to pay to be part of Knit Nottingham (i.e. buy stuff from us...) we have to pay Let's Knit to be part of Yarn Shop Say. The amount isn't important, and I don't feel at liberty to share, more for other shops' benefit than mine, but it's a small amount over three months. And in that amount is included advertising in their magazine (the cost of which is usually double so we've smashed it there before all the other stuff) for three months, advertising on their website, a live link on their virtual map, social media promotion of Yarn Shop Day (on a much bigger platform than any of us have), free and exclusive patterns to download and promote, marketing materials like stickers etc., a wealth of advice from the gorgeous Sam who works tirelessly for them and for the first few who sign up some freebies to give away or sell from big yarn companies. West Yorkshire Spinners even went right out of their way to produce an exclusive colourway for bricks and mortar yarn shops to sell to their customers (I ain't got much positive to say about them but they did do that!). Apart from this, you can do whatever you want! WHATEVER YOU WANT! You can get designers in, you can have workshops, spinning demos, charity drives or even - like us - just get tipsy in your favourite shop. IT IS WONDERFUL AND SO VERY WORTH IT!

And now, just days after the triumph that was Yarn Shop Day I find that there's been a backlash. A backlash about having to pay?! That's literally the point! That's the point of the whole day! We are celebrating and supporting businesses who do us good! And by celebrate and support I literally mean spending money! There's no way to put a nicer spin on it than that. These shops are businesses and they need supporting with your money.

But on the flip side, from my point of view, and not feeling able to share the amount it's a difficult argument to win, but if you're not making enough money that you can spare the tiny amount that this costs then you really aren't in business. In olden times (like ten years ago, before instagram haha) marketing should have taken about 10% of your budget. Nowadays you can get away with less than that I think, and even make some money off things like Youtube, but it should be a part of the budget of the shop and it's important. I'm going to go all out and sound like an arsehole now, I take a dim view of hobby shops. This isn't a hobby. The knitting and crochet is, and it's absolutely fabulous that that forms a tiny part of my day every day, that's all excellent but the shop most certainly isn't a hobby. It's a business. And people hobbying around make business difficult for the businesses that are businessing. Sometimes, they drive down prices so that in order to stay competitive we can't make a profit (I say fuck it, price properly and explain - my ideal customers understands and my unideal customer heads elsewhere) but that's mainly a problem with internet sellers (big boys and back room traders alike). But more often than not, they're unreliable which gives us business businesses a bad name. A business business will pay Let's Knit to be part of this wonderful event, a hobby shop would not. Don't take me the wrong way, I had to stretch myself early on to afford this, but stretch myself I did because of the value that this adds - for me, for other businesses and for the industry. This is, and was, part of my marketing budget even when I didn't have any money (and I mean literally taking home less than I would have done on benefits). 

I also need to point out, as if I haven't before, that Yarn Shop Day is about bricks and mortar yarn shops and celebrating the particular (sometimes peculiar) position that they hold in the market. That's why the event and the promotion surrounding it focuses on bricks and mortar yarn shops. As if that's even a thing to question?!

So. Rant over. I, as always want to give a massive shout out to Let's Knit (especially Sam who is bloody wonderful all the time, I don't know how she does it!) and to other wonderful yarn shops that took the plunge and invested in this event, financially and emotionally. I also want to give a HUGE shoutout to every one of you that came to our event to make it so bloody special - especially the ones that travelled loooooong distances and paid for child care and doggie care! You're all brilliant and you're all adding to the world. Well, my little world at least. I felt like the buzz this year was BIG! Here, on the internet and all over. It really feels special to be part of this. Thank you all!!!!!!

Love Eleanor. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Zoe's Beautiful Necklace Pattern

This is the blog to accompany Zoe's vlog for Vlog a Day April. She was inspired by the gorgeous new Rico Fashion Jersey to make some lovely necklaces, so here's the pattern and if you follow through onto the vlog then there's a how-to video (the first instructional video we've made, so be gentle).


Materials:

About a third of a ball of Rico Fashion Jersey or Fashion Jersey Prints

6mm double pointed needles (or a size you have, down to about a 5mm, up to about a 7mm).
Some beads with big holes (we suggest heading to the Bead Shop Nottingham because they're wonderful!)

Gauge: 


Matters very little. Get on with it. 



Pattern: 

Cast on 3 sts and knit an icord until it was about 120cm. (Maybe a little less if you fancy. Maybe longer!)


Make a slip knot about 16cm from one end. Using your fingers chain for about 16 chains then knot leaving about 16cm from the other end. 


I then threaded beads, with a big hole, on each end.  

Tie the yarn ends together to wear or sew together and sew in ends. 

Bish, bash bosh!!

How simple is that!? Boom!

Love Eleanor (and more importantly, Zoe).

Friday, 23 December 2016

2016

I can't be the only one who is glad to see the back of 2016. In fact, I know I'm not. What a year. The hippies on the street tell me that mercury has been in retrograde for the entire year and to be fair it's felt like society has been for a lot of it. I look back at Christmas last year and cannot for the life of me think that I knew what was going to happen (even after the shit storm that last Christmas was...). I've spent much of the year wallowing - amazed that humanity can stoop as low as it has, fearing where we go from here, wondering whether what we thought was our community was ever our community, knowing that my privilege has shielded me from the worst of it for the longest time, wishing some people would just shut up. The overwhelming feeling for me has been bleakness, blackness - but that makes the best backdrop for the shining, twinkly moments. It's truly been the year where I've appreciated the few good bits viscerally and that's what I'll share with you here.

There's really only one true story for Knit Nottingham this year. The move. The big bloody move. It was needed. It had been on my mind for years. The old shop was overwhelmingly small. I sometimes felt like I couldn't breathe and I can't pretend that I was happy towards the end. I actually applied for a masters degree. I needed to get out of there somehow. How lucky am I that I didn't get accepted??? It was a long shot anyway but for the first time in a long time I now feel like I have a hold of my future and I certainly didn't then. I couldn't even sort out the orders that came in - they mainly sat outside the shop as I sorted through them. If they didn't the shop looked like this:


Hellish.

It was only a few days ago when Facebook memories popped up with this beaut:

The responses were mixed but positive enough that I followed them up. I couldn't believe my luck! I'd already offered on two other shops and been turned down or let down and this one seemed too good to be true. The landlord is a dream, the downstairs is big and nice enough to work from, the upstairs a manageable size but FOUR TIMES bigger (!!!) with interesting little nooks and crannies in a beautiful street.

 Can we all take a moment to understand how much I've come to love this little street? Seriously. I feel at home here now. I miss Mansfield Road and I often find myself wandering up there to see my lovely friends. Mansfield Road is rough and colourful and vibrant and full of different cultures - the people are grafters, mainly immigrants working hard for their families, living a life full of dullness, fullness, excitement, every day problems just like you or I. This street is more mundane, more British, and I found it difficult to adjust at first - everybody was lovely (mainly) - I found I had to live up to something (and when I find myself feeling like that I realise in the end it's only ever me that's making myself do it but still, it's a feeling). But I have a real fondness for it. There's a history here. Little windows in the buildings across used in the lace industry, a chunk taken out of my shop that nobody knows who it belongs to, a pipe in the loo that occasionally leaks because it relates to a drainage system built 300 years ago.We went on to a Christmas breakfast the other day at the Hilton (because we're all too knackered at the end of the day...) and it was wonderful! The people here are inspiring and funny. 


Running the crowdfunder was a shock to me. I'd had it suggested many times before and I'd dismissed the idea. I'm a business, I'm not a multi-national corporation here to rake in all I can get but I am here to make money and the idea of turning that somehow into a charity felt alien to me. But the more people that sent me dribs and drabs of money through PayPal or just in the shop because they were excited about the new shop and wanted to help made me realise that they're not paying me because I'm a charity but because I, and every person that is a part of this community, has built something quite special here. Sometimes when the right people are in the shop at the right time with the right amount of wool and chocolate, it feels magical. That's what they were paying for. I thought long and hard and spent weeks putting together the material that I needed and low and behold we BLOODY SMASHED IT! If ever I've been feeling down this year I just think back to that evening when I was on the bus home from work and my phone was ping ping ping ping ping ping pinging with all the donations and messages of support. Incredible. It still makes my eyes water, though I've gotten over the sobbing.... ;)


That money was incredibly useful. It took a strain out of moving that I'm not sure I even knew was there. My plan was to use my savings, borrow a bit, build the shop up bit by bit but that money meant that moving was plain sailing. Sure there were a few problems, but when you have cashflow in business most problems can be solved. Run out of storage? Instead of chucking it in bags down the cellar we bought the most beautiful baskets. Need a shelf in a specific place to keep the paperwork? Quick, Chris, nip down to BnQ. I can't actually put into words how that money helped. It was a security blanket that I didn't know I needed and I'm 100% convinced that it was that that stopped me having a breakdown through the move (and I'm not even exaggerating). The fact that we doubled the target and were able to buy a new till system may have caused some hassle in the setting up - especially the bloody loyalty cards (remember that!?!?) - but now we're VAT registered (because you lot have been spending so much!) it's an actual life saver.




The first few weeks here were a whirlwind.


 An actual whirlwind. The shop was SO busy. I can't even begin to describe! It was so lovely to see some faces that I didn't see very often, so lovely to share everybody's joy and have them share mine. It helped that the shop looked so snazzy because so many of my beautiful customer friends had helped. Moving was hard work. Long days and stress, a vomiting bug on the day I'd set aside for resting, a family health crisis, beautiful Versace got run over and we had to put her down. It all came at once. But the thing that kept me going was how quickly and unreservedly people offered help and then followed through. I hope I'm able to do the same for these wonderful people one day. I hope that no matter how stressful running this little shop is I remember the gratitude I felt then and now and pass it forward as easily and happily as they did.


It was good fun, as hard work usually is (even if it takes a few weeks to realise). I kept on top of everything for a long while. Stuff was getting on the internet, hoovering was done, pots were washed, lessons were taught, orders were sent, vlogs were made. But come June, with the result of the referendum, I gave up. I realised recently that the constitutional legal talk took me right back to my degree during which I was incredibly depressed. I'm still amazed and still reeling - this year has been about hard work in my business, confidence that we could pull it off, hope for the future - the referendum puts that in peril. Have no doubt about it. I believe we're in a good position to weather the storm and I'm doing all I can to put plans into place. I worry about other indie businesses that I speak to and admire. But all I can do is keep plodding on. There's some fight in me now, like there wasn't towards the end of the old shop, and I'll use that to the best of my ability but it's a dangerous place right now for businesses so I implore you, as I always do - shop small, we need you more than ever.

A sparkling twinkly moment was getting Zoe in!


This woman is a marvel. I put off getting anybody in for a long time because I was so scared about VAT (still am to be frank) but I couldn't put it off any longer. There were a few candidates but I can't tell you how grateful I am for this woman's steady, good-natured, hard work. Customers adore her and I trust her and I couldn't ask for more.

Of course, there's been new yarn. I've got rid of some suppliers who were hanging round my neck and got new ones in who have been a joy to work with. It's interesting the contrast between some suppliers and others - ones that can't do enough and appreciate the money, others that apparently can do without it. I've worked hard over the last two years in putting boundaries into place in all aspects of my life and that extends to suppliers. We're a big shop now, with a big turnover, I have some power over my shop and I vote with my money. King Cole as always, get a huge shout out. A joy to work with and constantly providing beautiful yarns at fantastic prices, with a rep who feels like a friend but is professional when called for and the women (and gent) in the office who know who I am as soon as I say 'hello' and go out of their way to make my life easy and are happy to share a joke (ladybirds with std's anybody???). Viridian are new to me and an absolute pleasure to work with too. They're the ones that give us the Opal wool, but something that you lot won't know about, they put a little packet of Haribo in every order and it's just the ticket after you've unpacked and put on the till and hung up hundreds of needles.

I'm going to avoid going into detail about all the yarn because I'm hoping over the next few weeks that I might get back to new yarn blog posts on here and given that I'm about four/five months behind getting stuff on the internet, there's a lot to talk about! But I am getting there with Zoe's help in the shop.

One more shout out needs to go to the Association of Independent Yarn Shop Owners. For me it mainly takes place around a facebook group for yarn shop owners but it's more than that - there's a newsletter, they organise meetings with suppliers, man a facebook group for yarn shops across the country - you can find that here. Many of these business people have become friends and it's my main port of call for a moan or to share a funny story or for advice or for moral support.

And finally, I ought to end with a massive shout out to Chris. My lovely Dr Christopher. It's been three and a half years now and I'm not sure how I'd have got through this year without him. In fact, I'm not sure that this would have happened at all without him. It's a strange feeling when you've found 'the one' (or at least 'one of the many potential humans to share a life with in this world') - people call it 'love' but actually I think it's just a form of confidence - not the only form mind - but the confidence that somebody's on your side, in your corner, or maybe in the corner that you created together. Chris has been more than in our corner this year, he's been in the shop, at the Post Office, at the hardware store, in the kitchen, doing the washing and most importantly sat next to me on the sofa whilst I'm knitting in the evening watching a history documentary with me. He's a good'un and I can't wait to start planning the #cabbagewedding with him properly next year. Look at him all dressed up when he became a doctor. That doctor face ey!?


Every year I say it's been a rollercoaster but it's never been more true than this year. It wasn't a write off was it? There were excellent bits in between. And examples of how kind humanity can be for me personally but also in the wider world. Next year we must get ready for a fight, we must be present and political, we must hold people to account and monitor their actions, but most importantly (and something that I've actually discovered this year instead of just paying lip service) we must find the time to nurture ourselves and our dreams because I'm the proof that hard work and a fantastic community around you gets you somewhere.


Thank you for all your support this year, in many ways, thank you for being kind and generous and understanding and thank you for your creativity.
Love Eleanor. xxxxx

P.s. here are some photos that didn't make it into the blog story but deffo needed to be on here:


THE BLANKET! I underestimated how hard this was going to be to sew together but I did and now every day it sits in the corner of the shop reminding us (and proving to the unbelievers) how much Knit Nottingham means to us all. Love it.  



She survived.



Elizabeth and Zimmerman came to live with us. The little characters. Ahhhh.


The shop on the opening day. I still look at it and can't believe it's mine. It looks so damn snazzy!





The beloved old shop. 



The beloved new shop. Quite a difference ey? :)

Thursday, 2 June 2016

The Update

22nd of March!? That's when I last spoke to you! That was two days before the big move and 9/10 ish weeks ago and I feel like my entire life has changed!

If you'd have said to me three months ago that I would be happily skipping into work at 8.30am every day to do admin and tidy I would have called you a a big fat liar. But here I am! And here I am in our beautiful new shop!

I'm sure most of you have seen this photos now or been in to visit us but here's one any way:


And that's only half the shop - compared to this!


Truly, it's been a wonderful and daunting, exciting and tiring journey. So far. Everybody else seems to have moved on to the next stage of what I can do in my quest for world domination but I'm happy to potter around here, tidying and sorting and enjoying the space (tidying is so much more fun when you can lay things out and not have to smoosh it back into a pile again every time a customer comes in). It looks like we're going to have to register for VAT - this means that we are a. serious. business. It means more scrutiny from HMRC and getting my accounts in every three months (which is laughable given the state of what mine look like right now...). To this end I spoke yesterday with a lovely and friendly accountant (who made me not want to die at the very thought of it) and in our chat I had the sudden realisation that actually, I've turned over in the eight weeks we've been open here, a third of what we did in the whole of last year. That is, in two months, I've taken what we did in four months last year. And suddenly, I got a whole lot gentler on myself. This has been tough. Amazing but tough.

I keep hinting on the other social media platforms that some stuff has gone wrong at home - there's a significant amount of serious illness involving family members all over the place and little Versace died, and technology has really let me down in very stressful ways and I'm so tired when I get home every night that I'm living in even more of a shit hole than I'm used to but the shop has been a haven. And the wonderful support coming from all over the place has been more than I could have ever imagined or hoped for.

And just as I was at one of my lowest ebbs - I found out that I'd been nominated for not one, not two, not three or four, but FIVE nominations in the British Knitting Awards. That was a heart stopping moment! Now I see who we're up against and I'm less sure that we can win in any category but the Best Yarn Shop in the Midlands (which is such a special category to win that I'm not sure it matters to me if I only ever win that one anyway) but I'm taking a leaf out of Verity's book who is gobsmacked and in awe of who she's been put up against and thrilled to just be part of it (she's up for three!). Voting isn't live yet but it will be here when it is.

But I have to be realistic. I can only do so much, and at the minute it has to be whatever's easiest and quickest to market the shop which means that my focus will be very much on the facebook group, the instagram, and youtube. I will get back to blogging but it isn't as instant as everything else and it isn't something I can do on my phone whilst I'm out having a fag or on the bus or in between customers.

Once again - thank you all for your lovely support - especially the people that come in just to sort wool and bring food (although, I pretty much won't need any more food for like three months). You are, each and every one of you, a massive and important part of Knit Nottingham and I do not undervalue that.

Thank you.

Love Eleanor. xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Info Info Info

Info all over the place! I'm being as open as I can about this because answering the same questions is driving me batty (I love you all but google!!). This is going to be bullet points so that nobody has any excuse.... ;)

  • Knit Nottingham is moving! 
  • The last day in the shop on Mansfield Road is Thursday the 24th of March
  • On Thursday the 24th of March we'll be shutting at 4pm.
  • We're re-opening on Friday 1st of April at the new address! 
  • Our new address is 9, Trinity Walk, Nottingham, NG1 2AN
  • You will know this if you're from Nottingham - it's the one with the pet shop on it, it's not the one with Long Tall Sally on it.
  • If you're not from Nottingham, this can be googled! I've done it for you here!
  • Yes it's much more central! Yes, it's lots more money! Yes I think it'll work! Yes I've heard about the vintage shop and her leaks! No I'm not worried! (Well, actually, I'm really bloody worried but sometimes you just gotta jump in ey?).
  • The most important point  - THERE WILL BE A PARTY ON THE 2nd OF APRIL! BOOM!
  • I think that's everything.

Love love love love love Eleanor. xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Thursday, 10 March 2016

A Return to Pattern of the Week!

I am going to stop apologising for the lack of blogs. I promise. Not every blog will start with an apology because this one will just have to do for the whole of the next few months.

The shop is getting on top of me. There's a vlog uploading as we speak (it's uploaded!) about my horrific day yesterday and I've got to admit that I'm struggling a bit. There's a lot to think about and I'm waiting on so many other people to do stuff and I hate that. I like to be in charge of my own destiny but I'm not at the minute. I also can't start packing up because the yarn/needles/patterns need to be on the shelves until we finish here and there's not enough space to store the other stuff. It's all going to have to happen on the day as it were. I started knitting some samples up but one of them went badly wrong and I can't bring myself to do it. And the doctor told me not to knit for a few days (although I'm ignoring that, I think I'd implode if I didn't knit at the minute). Anyway, there are lots of problems, nothing that I can do and nothing that you lot can do to help though I know you'll be offering. It's just a case of working through it.

But, something that has really cheered me up and kept me going today is this new(ish) cardigan: 



I actually finished it the day before I went to Stitches which was either the 22nd of 29th of February - I forget... I wore it on the day and it was still a little wet from blocking! It was also mostly too hot to actually wear it but I do like wearing a new thing to things like that - I believe it makes me look like a and actual knitter/crocheter (always shocked when yso's don't wear their bits/can't actually make them (!!!)) and it gives me a bit of confidence which I need with things like that. After that I wore it just like a normal everyday cardigan, including to give the talk to Nottingham Uni. Just after I finished with that I was meeting up with a customer who'd forgotten to pick up a ball of wool and before I met her I went for a coffee whereupon I just forgot to pick up my cardigan because I'm a tit.

I rang them up straight away and they found it and I was going to pick it up but, readers, there's been no time to do anything recently and it didn't get did. So, a week after I lost it, I sent Chris over to get it and then I got a text message saying something like 'I got your cardigan. I met a customer of yours. She's mad and she loves you'. Haha. Turns out it was only bloody Sarah! Sarah was working there that day (I think!?) and when she realised who he was went a bit mad! Or rather, stayed as mad as she usually is... ;) How wonderful is that??!?!

So this cardigan already has a story attached to it. The crocheting of it was too quick for it to have a story, it didn't go anywhere interesting just here and my house and Chris' house and the buses in between. But now it has a story.

Anyway.... Let's get down to business.

This is a crochet cardigan. It's King Cole pattern 3900 which I've finally put up on t'internet here. It's a DK pattern and originally worked in the Bamboo Cotton DK but, I think because it's still bloody cold out there, that wasn't even in contention. It was only ever going to be in the snotty green of the Panache DK (aka Pasture. I think King Cole missed a trick there...).


Nice big fuzzy photo for you. I did the short version, sans pockets (I know! Not like me to leave out pockets. I really am not in my right mind at the moment...). I also, as I usually do, did a size down from what I 'should' be doing. I like things smaller than King Cole usually write them.

You can just about make out, better on the long version, that there's a little rippling at the bottom there. I missed that completely. It's too fussy for my liking so I just started with trebles straight into a chain. I didn't actually count the chain, I made one long enough roughly, added some more, worked my trebles back into them, counted the trebles and then stopped and turned when I was ready. It's an awful lot easier counting trebles than it is chains, it's also easier to keep your chains a more even tension when you're not stopping and counting every ten stitches. And any extra chains you have at the end can just be chopped off about an inch from the work, slowly undone and then that end sewn in like normal. Makes it like a hundred million times easier. And I'm all for an easy life.

Notice too that there's only two lines of zig zags running up each front. I don't hate that but I'm a big old human and two little lines would look just like two tiny weeny lines on me I think, so I decided to make it an all over pattern. It wasn't hard to do. I think the stitch repeat was something like *5tr, ch1, miss a stitch*. Once you've set that up at the bottom, the rest comes together. And it was a surprisingly easy pattern to keep straight once you get to the shaping at the top.

The shaping at the top is unusual. Naturally, I'm thinking it would be do a decrease at the armhole edge in every row because it's a raglan. No. I ain't going into what it is, it's unusual is what it is but I really like the ratio that they've created there. I think I'll use it again.

Now, if this goes over your head, allow it to, you don't need this. But I've started doing my decreases differently! It started when I made Jeremy Corbyn just before Christmas. I don't often to amigurumi but when I do I'm always disappointed with the decreases but the one good thing I did get out of this pattern was a different way to do them. The standard way is to do all but the last stage of one stitch, all but the last stage of the next stitch, and then yarn over and pull it through both stitches together. This works nicely and, once you've got your head around it, it's very easy but it can look a little clunky. The 'join' of the two stitches happens at the top of the stitch meaning that most of both stitches are there and only pulled together at the top. The woman that design Jeremy Corbyn does it a different way. She inserts into the front leg only of the first stitch and then the front leg only of the next stitch, yo and pulls through, then finishes off the stitch. So I used that but because it's tr's rather than dc's I yo first, insert into front leg of first and then second stitch, yo and pull through and then you have the three loops of the treble to finish off. All of the bringing together of the stitch happens right in the base of the stitch and only in the front bit of it anyway so it somehow looks less bulky. Anybody else got any clue as to why it's better!?!?!?

So. They're the changes that I made. I did make sure that the zig zags all started off leaning one way  so they look reasonable but then when I got to do the fronts which I did last (and in one evening! Ugh! Don't do that) I made them zig and zag respectively. If I'd have thought about it I'd have done a zig front and sleeve, a zag front and sleeve and the back zig on one side and zag on the other. But. Meh. Who's got time for that?

In other news, with this cardigan, lovely Davina was inspired and did the pattern in the Dusk colour of the Panache DK but she likes the ripples at the bottom and doesn't like the zig zag. So guess what she did! She only went and did the ripples at the bottom and none of the blady zig zags! AIN'T CROCHET GREAT!? I haven't got a photo of that yet, I'm not sure it's totally finished. But when it is there will be a photo and we will look like twins. Fact.

I think that's all,

Thanks for listening to the ramble.

Love Eleanor.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

A Picture-y One

I've had a busy couple of days. A lesson on Sunday (lovely ladies, lots of good crochet done). The Stitches trade show on Monday and a lecture on Tuesday. As I was walking down (in a rush because I was late) yesterday to the bus to get to the lecture I realised that this is me. As much as I complain about how much there is to do (and there is a lot to do) I only really work when there's a lot to do. I'm a procrastinator and I'm energised by doing a lot of little things hither and thither. Oooooooh. So here's lots of photos about all the little bits I've been doing, in no order, let's let the computer take the lead.


And what a photo to start with! This was one of the yarns I saw on Monday and fell in love with. The eagle eyed will see who it's from but you're getting no more out of me. ;)


This is my blanket for the shop as of Saturday - it's a different one to the community blanket - I'm having two in the shop! One to match the table cloth that Zoe Halstead bought and one that you lot have made and I've sewn together (no doubt I'll be knitting a few squares myself too). I'm excited about this one, I chose every colour of the Merino DK and then took out the ones I didn't like like the beiges and then had at it. It's actually quite hard to be random isn't it??! So I'm doing squares that I like mainly and when I'm feeling a bit more organised I'm setting them out in piles according to the outer edge colour. Then I see which colours have the least in their piles and make more of those. And then I get bored of that and go back to doing the ones that catch my eye. I'm taking some cream home tonight so hopefully I'll get some crocheted together and then it'll feel a bit less like a pile and more like a blanket. Well over 150 made already!


Hot cross buns for breakfast yesterday. I think these might be my favourite seasonal foods (apart from pigs in blankets obvs). I've tried making my own but they're never as light and fluffy. Help with that always welcome!


The entrance to Stitches. Somewhat daunting. Beautiful day.


Some woven wire bracelets at  Stitches. Definitely not my 'thing' but the technique was fascinating. I'll have to wait and see if the Bead Shop get them in. I only buy beads from them because the girls (and Robin) are so ridiculously helpful.

On the way to Stitches. Jem Weston was driving anyway so me and Steph tagged along. It was nice and lots of crochet was done. Jem wants me to point out that these are her driving gloves and her hands don't always look this weird.

The lecture hall yesterday at Uni of Nottingham before the rest of them turned up. I think there were about 15/20 students - all engineers in their fourth year. I really enjoyed it actually. Last year I planned really carefully what I had to say and had too much to say but this year I was so busy I just winged it and luckily they had loads of questions - as in, most of the lecture was questions which is unusual I think! My favourite bit was when somebody asked me whether school/college/uni had helped in the business and I said 'kinda yes, kinda no' but I said something like 'I don't think uni makes you any more clever than anybody else, in fact I know it doesn't'... I think they liked that after spending £10000 a year for four years. Ha. Hopefully I was of some use or at least not boring.


Cygnet's beautiful stand at Stitches. So lovely to finally put faces to names! Although I'll forget names again I know....


Damon from King Cole. He really is a lovely man who sells me too much stuff and understands when I won't take fluffy baby stuff. Spoke to the CEO again who was absolutley incredulous (and maybe a bit pissed off) that I told him what I actually thought about one of the yarns they've brought out... Ha. I love King Cole but I don't love everything that they do. It's like family, you know? Anyway, I made two orders, one to come any day now and one to come in the new shop. There's a couple of verrrrrrrrrry lovely new yarns coming and shades of old favourites as well as some fabulous patterns. Can't wait to get my greasy mitts on them all!


My face at six in the morning. Ugh.


Haha. This is the Trent building at Uni of Nottingham. It always makes me laugh how their main showstopper building is called 'Trent' as in the Trent Uni. I'm sure there's some person (*cough*bloke*cough*) that's involved with it all but I think it's weird. Anyway, lovely campus, lovely walk apart from I already had blisters from walking around Stitches for so long and that only made it worse. By the time I got back to Chris's I was hobbling...


King Cole are now on Instagram and their opening shot? That bloody hedgehog. Haha.

And finally! PLANTS! I know it's early. Veeeeeery early. I'd be happier doing it in March but I'm going to have so much to do in March that I just though, bugger it, let's plant. We'll see what happens. It can't go that badly wrong can it? And most of my seeds are leftovers from my mum anyway so nobody loses out if they don't grown and I think the cats will enjoy trying to shit in these tiny little garden pots....

And that's it. Bits and bobs. Good few days. I'm offski.

Love Eleanor. xxxxxxxx

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Community Blanket


So, in the new shop we have space for a sofa. On this sofa we have space for blankets. I have a blanket in me that's getting going but when I mentioned it on facebook customers got really excited about making their own so I'm opening this up! I did do a vlog about it nearly a week ago - you can find that by clicking here but there have been many questions since so I thought a good faq would go down well. So here goes:

Can I can only knit/crochet - is that okay?
Yes! We are a knit and crochet friendly shop and this ought to be reflected in the blanket. Both please, and lots of them!

What size do they need to be?

I've chosen 10cm by 10cm which, coincidentally, is 4" by 4" so everybody's covered. I'm happy for them to be made up of smaller pieces say, four squares of 2.5cm (1") as long as they're sewn together. In fact, I think that'd be pretty cute.

What colour?
Green! All shades of green! Teal-y green, spring green, yellow-y green, forest green, mint green etc etc etc. I'm happy for there to be a little bit of other colours - have you seen lovely Phyllis's squares?


Love them! They're definitely green but they've got a good smack of an obnoxious colour - it's like all my favourite things together!

Charlotte made this:

 And I love it's simplicity. We need a mix of colours and textures and patterns.

Before I even launched the blanket quest I started a Pinterest board of all the influences I could think of - mainly colours but also textures etc. (I'm falling a little bit in love with pinterest but I'm finding I don't go back to it, I just like pinning, maybe that'll change when I've been on a bit longer, it's certainly not Ravelry...)


What pattern can I use?

Any! So far I have a lot of granny squares which I knew I would - they're easy and quick to make and the size is easy to mess around with. By all means, if this is what you can do then this is what you should do. But if you're able and interested I'd also love some more exciting and varied squares to mix it up a bit. I'm going to do a little bit of lace and some cables I think but moss stitch and variations of, basketweave, colour work, slip stitch knitting, the start of a sophie's universe? Hmmmmm!!!! Anything!!!!

You can by all means search ravelry for 4" squares (I've done that for you if you click here) but remember you can do the maths! Choose the right needles/hook to go with your yarn, work out your gauge per inch, times that by 4 so you get 4" and have at it! Some stitch patterns will affect your gauge - i.e. lace tends to make things looser, cable tends to make things tighter so you need to adjust your stitch count accordingly. 

Don't worry if you're a cm over or under - there's a bit of room for manoeuvre because whilst you're over somebody else will be under but they're fairly small squares so an inch will make a difference....

What yarn can I use?
Any! I'd avoid laceweight or super duper chunky but anything around 4ply to chunky should work out well enough and again they can be put together next to squares made out of something exactly opposite so balance it out.

Let's make it washable! You never know what will happen in a shop - all sorts of people, all sorts of kids. Who'd bloody have them?

When do they need to be done?
I've set the time limit as the 30th of April for squares to get to me. That's plenty of time and it makes sense because that's when Yarn Shop Day is happening (yes! it's happening!). You can drop them into the shop or pop them in the post any time until the 30th.

What will happen in you have too many squares?
 
One of two things - we'll either sew them together into a blanket/blankets for charity (maybe Framework) or, did the you see the thing at Liverpool Hopsital about 4" squares needed to help with breastfeeding? I'll get in contact with the Nottingham Hospitals (QMC and City) and see if they need it. I guess Liverpool will have been overwhelmed so I won't bother with them unless nobody else wants it. Yes?


I think that's everything - do let me know if you need to know anything and I'll update this faq.

Love Eleanor. xxxxxx