Monday, 31 October 2011


I've been going on a bit I know, about this BIG SUPRISE and thinking about it, it's probably not that exciting to you lot. But it still is to me! We've finally replaced the circle cabinet:

with something entirely more suitable for a shop:

It's taken a while folks, a month or so, to save up enough money to buy it, get the old one taken away and to get more than one of us free on a day when the shop was closed. Logistics - blurgh.

I'm dead proud! I think it makes us look more like a shop, more professional and it's funny, we look like we've got two times more yarn than we had before, not just in the amounts of each yarn that we have but in the lines of different yarn. Weird. We've managed to fit 11 (yes, that's ELEVEN) different lines in our new cabinet. Eleven! Everything else has been spread out a bit better too. So we've more or less got the DK's in the new one. Then we've got the scarf yarns and superchunkies across the top of this one:

The chunkies in the right hand there and the 4plies and arans in the left hand one. Not perfect but it's got to be better!

And the patterns are no longer on the table!

Doesn't it look pretty!?!?

June and I worked a good ten hour day yesterday and I'm aching all over (June's fitter than me so she isn't - hmph). I'm telling you this so you'll be gentle with me when I get back into work tomorrow.

Anyway, there it is. The shop looks a million times better, bigger and tidier so come and say hi and if you're lucky I'll let you stroke my cabinet.

Love Eleanor. :)

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Ghosties and Ghoulies

Oh no!

I've come in this morning and some terrible things have happened! I believe we've been haunted a few days too early - apparently Mansfield Road's ghosties and ghoulies can't keep time.

Firstly, I was haunted in my sleep last night and the ghosties plot was to make me forget my camera! A cunning and vicious plan to make me look like a tit dragging the laptop round and holding it in various positions in front of the frame provided by our front window. Scary!

The next thing I noticed - the cupboards were bare!

You can see in my face, I was a little panicked but I tried to remain calm. Where could the stock be!? I headed to the stairs, sure that it must be in the cave which I've always believed to be a den of eerie and unnatural goings on but on the way, something caught my eye.

In the toilet was all the stock! Why would a ghostie take my neatly stored stock and shove it in a toilet!? I'm frightened, dear readers, frightened for my life (and that of my yarn).

A customer came in at this point and I had to keep a clear head and a smile on my face despite the carnage and devastation all around. It was at this point that I noticed they'd left a whole load of new artisan products for me to sort:

As if I didn't have enough on my plate. These ghouls have obviously got a sense of humour...

Folding up these bits and bobs, I realised that actually, I'd been being haunted for sometime because despite the fact that I adore lace and can knit it - I've gone totally, utterly and depressingly wrong on my latest finished project:

It had obviously been made to look like a spider's web rather than lovely pretty leaves. Oh these devilish buggers!

It crossed my mind at this point to flee the shop - get out of here while I still could but as I stepped toward the front door a flash of bright colour caught my eye:

Can you see it? Something like the tooth fairy, but for door stops, had crochet a cover for the hideous doorstop and turned it from this:

to this:

It was time to settle my demons, to accept the weird and to learn to live with what Mansfield Road had thrown at us. For every cupboard emptying, toilet filling, artisan item towering demon there was a ghost waiting to make me a crochet cover to brighten up the shop.

A haunting tale, I'm sure you'll agree.

Love Eleanor.

P.s. For those who don't believe in this bunkum, the cupboard emptying and loo filling is relating to the BIG SURPRISE which is happening tomorrow and has been a long time coming! The new artisan items are going to be sorted, tidied and placed tomorrow when the BIG SURPRISE has happened. My inability to knit lace is my own fault - booze and lemsip induced I'm sure. And I crocheted that bloody doorstop - isn't it adorable!?!?

Friday, 21 October 2011

Welcome to the Ju...

Hello All!

I'm glad to see the last post went down so well! I think I'll talk more about myself in future - it'll mean we get to do more posts and that I really make an effort not to just sit around and craft all day on my days off. Maybe I'll make more of an effort with my grammar, spelling and typos though. I think I was just too excited! Also, you probably don't want to know but, all this effort hasn't staved off the colds that I wanted to avoid. I'm on my second so far. Blurgh.

This post is really a follow up to this post which I wrote in a fit of excitement about my nephew's Christmas present. Did you work out the title?

... . -... / .. -. / - .... . / .--- ..- -. --. .-.. .

Translates to:

Seb in the jungle

At the time I was wondering whether I'd have enough space to write ', having fun' or ', the cheeky monkey' but it turns out I don't as it's already over 40" long and I haven't got past the 'u' of jungle yet. Which is where the title to this post comes from... 

I'm falling more and more in love with it every day. Look!

However, it turns out I didn't have all the Zig Zag yarn I needed. I either used it, lost it or hid it because I very definitely bought it... Ahh well, at least we stock it! 

I'm on my third ball of the Zig Zag so far and I'm hoping that'll be all I need but if I do need to buy a new ball then it'll be easy enough to incorporate it into the edging. I think I've decided on a stripy edging, something like doubles all around with other stitches to fill in the scallops in cream for the first edging, one round of doubles, one round of half trebles in a contrast colour, one round of doubles worked in between the half trebles in cream, one round of half trebles in another contrast colour etc. etc. until I've worked three contrast colours and two final rounds of cream doubles. Or something.

The mother has requested brown in the edging to make it match his the room. The yarn I'll be using, in stripes with the rest of the cream 4ply, is the Cygnet Truly Wool Rich and I think I'll go for the 'mink' colourway but there's also the 'chocolate' colourway which apparently hasn't made it's way onto the internet site... onto the list of things to do for later... I think the chocolate is a bit dark but then the mink is almost a pastel sort of brown which puts me off a bit. 

The other contrasts are probably a bit easier, the 'yellow' is a definite and then either the 'rust' which might be a bit... rusty or the 'baby blue' which appears almost exactly in the Zig Zag yarn but apparently disappears when the green and orange have pooled together. Hmm. I thought perhaps the 'geranium' as the only other colour of the right tone and saturation but that's going to get seriously clashy. Alright, alright, maybe the other contrast aren't going to be as easy as first though. 

Anyway, look here: 

What do you think? I'm hoping I haven't repeated any colours here, that was bloody hard work! I guess the brown that I use depends on the other contrast colours which again depends on whether I have to buy and therefore use up another ball of Zig Zag. I'm not that happy with any of the combinations here, so let me show you this little curveball: 

This post, honestly, genuinely, hand-on-heartedly wasn't all going to be about me and my projects. It was just going to be a little thing to let you know that two thirds of my active projects involve jungles:

and the other third looks like it comes straight out of South America which has it's fair share of jungles, no?

That's all folks. See you soon!

Actually, that's not all. We have a surprise arriving in the shop on Sunday the 30th. You don't want to know how excited I am!

Love Eleanor. :)

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Blog Envy.

Sometimes I feel a little stilted writing this blog. It's a blog for the shop obviously, so we've got to talk about the shop and our lovely yarns and what's going on here. I don't mind, and I know that you lot like hearing about it but I've been trying to make a conscious effort to have a life outside the shop recently too. This time last year I had a series of about five colds that I just couldn't shake off - I think that's what happens in retail when you meet so many people, and I was rushed off my feet working every single day with no breaks. I'm determined for it not to happen this year so I'm taking vitamins, eating well and trying to take at least one day completely off the shop a week. Sometimes it doesn't work like that but June is trying her utmost to make it so and I love her for that! So this weekend, I had Sunday off because there was no lessons scheduled and I had my usual Monday off but a few days ago the sister decided she was going to pop down from Yorkshire where she lived with the baby and I thought it might be nice to take Saturday off too. June obliged and I started making plans. Which is where the blog envy comes into it...

You'll know by know that I absolutely adore Attic 24. I think she has a lovely attitude, fantastic colour sensibilities and I like how she appreciates the little things like cake and vases and shopping at markets. Jealous? Me? Never!

Her post about the ripple blanket contained a link to Little Tin Bird and I've become a bit addicted to her too. Similar sorts of reasons but she's younger than Lucy at Attic 24 so I guess I sort of 'connect' with her more - if it's possible to 'connect' with somebody through reading her blog.

I read other blogs too but these two are based in England (Heather at Little Tin Bird even had a post which mentioned Huddersfield where my Dad's from, Barnsley where I'm from and Nottingham where we both are now - weird ey!?) and I that means more to me I guess than blogs from America and Canada I guess. Anyway, they have lovely lives. I'm sure it's not all like that, you put your best foot forward in a blog, but they do lovely things and appreciate nature and go and do things on their days off. So I planned to have three days like that over my three days off. Cue Attic 24/Little Tin Bird style post...

I made sure to wake up early on Saturday to take advantage of the light and the fact that little man wakes up early too. I fed him, washed him, clothed him and wrestled with his pushchair and we were off for a little trip to Wollaton Hall. For those who don't live near us, Wollaton Hall is an Elizabethan house built in the baroque style and filled with dead things. Haha. There's a brilliant museum attached which has steam engines and knitting machines and the like too but it seems to be usually closed and I didn't think little thing would like the noise so we avoided it and spent our time in the natural history part in the main house.

We were both wrapped up warm because, blimey, it's getting cold around these parts! Between us we had six hand knitted things! Didn't we do well!?

We only live five minutes away from the hall so soon enough we had our first peek over the wall and into the park. Doesn't it look lovely?!

I got him out at this point but he wasn't happy that I wouldn't let him crawl over the sodden leaves and up the crumbling wall so I quickly stuffed him back in the pram and we zig zagged across the grounds making our way up to the hall.

The big main doors were closed though, so we veered off course and headed towards the courtyard cafe. Along the way we saw loads of dogs ('docdocdoc' in little person's language). I didn't take photos of that because I felt a bit weird asking... But the courtyard was lovely, we had some tea and some milk and found out that the hall would be open in about half an hour.

We admired the architecture.

Got excited about a pigeon on the roof.

And had a little 'hooky time' in the words of Lucy.

At 11 o'clock we headed off to the hall. I made a big mistake by forgetting that prams are not as mobile as feet and trying to get up a steep hill with lots of tree branches was probably not a good idea. But we did get to see a squirrel. Can you see him?

Getting up the front steps of the hill was a bit of a minefield. The lift was broken and I was on my own so out of the pram he came and with him on my hip and all the bags of stuff (how much stuff do you have to carry when you've got a kiddliwink!?) on my shoulders, I dragged the pram backwards up the steps. Phew. A nice lady helped me up the last few steps, only after watching me struggle up three quarters of it though!

Anyway, it was worth it. We saw cockroaches:

Notice his gorgeous hand knitted trousers. Well done Caroline!


Beautiful crystals:

Some warthogs, who didn't seem too impressed with our version of 'Hakuna Matata':

And THE gorilla!

Every now and then we got a bit lost but it was usually then that we saw some lovely views out of hidden windows.

And we were both definitely impressed by the magnificent ceiling in the main hall:

But I think the bit that was most enjoyable was finding some food shaped toys and two nice little girls to play with:

But all of that playing was thirsty work so we headed back home with a little stop on the way to play with the new tambourine. Just so happens that the bottle shaped cool bag was more interesting though...

It does feel good to drag yourself up with a hungry caterpillar though:

So, we said goodbye to the hall:

and hello to the walk home:

And in the end it was all a bit too much.

Later in the day Seb went to visit his great Grandmother and for a bit of retail therapy. I spent the rest of the day baking:

lovely lovely parkin:

and doing my hair, which more or less means brushing it but that effort doesn't extend as far as getting out of my pyjamjams:

in readiness for Saturday night when I went out with good friends, got a bit tipsy and had a dance. And Sunday afternoon when I spent time with other good friends knitting, crocheting and sewing whilst eating cake. Lots and lots of cake.

As I write this on Sunday evening, Monday hasn't happened. But the plan is figures for the shop and finishing a commission knit that will be detailed on the blog asap. Then making a big, tasty dinner.

Isn't that a wonderful weekend? I feel rested.

Love Eleanor. :)

P.S. As I post this on Tuesday afternoon, I now know that Monday didn't go as planned but I did get about half the work I should have got done done and I'm onto the 'J' on my blanket. More on that later.

P.P.S. The winner of last weeks 'proof-reading' competition was Kate from Carlton. We've been in contact and she'll be on a lovely night out soon!! Thank you everybody for helping us, it's amazing how much stuff I missed but I feel confident that it's all coming together. Now, if only I could scrabble together some time to put more stuff up...

Sunday, 16 October 2011

The weaving bug claims another victim !!

OK, first a little update om the inkle loom, I have now warped it up with some yarn from the shop and I am busy practising following pattern charts so watch this space !!
In the meantime fellow Knit Nottingham spinner Wikkidknitter called round for coffee at the weekend and raided my toy loom collection! Now when I say toy loom, I mean circa 1970 spears weaving loom, rigid heddle 16inch wide supposedly designed to weave several feet if you can work out how to store the excess warp. Anyway after also raiding my yarn stash ( Eleanor, I need some more yellow please ) he started an experiment in making a checked scarf.
Later I dug out a smaller loom and made myself a narrow scarf from some hand spun that's been lying around for a while.

So if you've been wanting to learn how to spin but are not really sure about knitting weaving maybe the thing for you and is you can't wait to spin I know a shop full of yarn :-)

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

... . -... / .. -. / - .... . / .--- ..- -. --. .-.. .

Can you guess what it is yet!?!


I've been writing a series of posts about designing for you over the last few days but it's coming slowly - photo heavy and it requires me to really think and maybe do some swatches so it could be a little while... But it's certainly keeping me on my toes and that, along with this lovely cold(ish) weather is getting my creatie juices flowing (hate the phrase). So here are my thoughts.

Christmas presents still aren't finished from last year. I'm convinced to be ready before the 24th of December for this year.

Mum's present is done.

Dad's present is my 'Big Brother' knittting and is getting done - about 10 rows off being half way done (I only know that because it's socks...).

Sister's present has been decided on.

Brother-in-law's present has been decided.

Only one other person is getting a present out of me seeing as everybody I know who should have remembered and therefore was close enough to be on the present list, forgot my birthday. Pfft.

Maybe you can tell that I only give handmade Christmas presents.

Sooooo, the one other person who's getting a present out of me is a little thing. A sort of pudgy, squidgy blob of a thing. But maybe the most important person! Let me introduce my nephew:

His name is Sebastian. A.k.a The Wool Botherer:

We've taught him well!!!

So, he loves wool, he's a bit podgy, deffo very cute and he's a spoilt little thing with a jungle themed bedroom. My sister, his mother, has some funny taste in clothing... sorry Caroline... which means that any sort of clothing or accessory for him is out. And I think he has everything else in the world. Including toys, which apparently are also known as 'Mummy's stash'. 

Then I read this little stunner of a post, purely as research for the shop mind you. And then I got too inspired and excited and full of thoughts and energy and the frenzy sort of culminated in 200 crochet chains that I knew just what to do with! 


Mega-stripes! In what I consider to be the most icky-in-an-omg-I-can't-get-enough-of-you kind of way in the whole shop! Let me introduce you to the Zig Zag 4ply in the 'cornucopia' colourway. A veritable Smörgåsbord of oranges, limes, yellows, creams, aquas and, oddly enough, charcoal grey. Weird. Sort of clown barfy but I love it. I'll admit here. I have at least 10 balls in stash, bought a long long time ago, at Knitty Gritty, just about every time I went in there I chucked a ball in my basket. I was so very excited when I was able stock this myself but I really don't have a need for anymore. Yet. 

I think that Zig Zag is pretty jungly looking - no?

But even for me this might be a bit bright, and it needs to be stripey so I've matched it with some cream that was also in my stash. 

So, blanket, stripey, Zig Zag with cream. And then the question is what kind of stripes? I couldn't have boring stripes. Oh no. I was going to fall back on my pi formation but I'll admit I'm a bit bored with that - socks, mitts, hats, jumpers... I'm over it. 

So I mulled it over for all of five minutes and I decided that I'm going to do MORSE bloody CODE!!!!! I'm going to do two rows for a dot and four or six for a dash - haven't got to that bit yet though... 

Oh yes, write a little message to Seb, not tell him what it is and maybe when he grows up to be a geek he can work it out!



Ignore the hair... there's the start!!

Love Eleanor. :)

P.s. The title is the message - can you read what it says?