It started a couple of months ago when, out of the blue, I got an e-mail from Charlotte at Clumber Park asking if teaching knitting lessons outside of the shop would be something I might do. I stayed cool - you know me - 'yeah...maybe...'. Not really, I let rip a bit about how exciting it would be to work with the National Trust (I've explained that a bit more in this post). Anyway, we agreed a price and a time and days, she sent me the poster through to print out and all was well! Apart from (come on, this is my life, there has to be a 'but'), Clumber Park's phoneline was down for around a week which meant that loads of people who were wanting to book couldn't get through and when they were contacting me, I couldn't get through. Argh! Frustrating! But this is life and I'm trying to be a bit more zen.
Anyway - I spent the few days running up to the lessons frantically trying to design little sheep to knit and crochet that were easy but taught everything that I believe should be taught in a £35 lesson (that's not cheap!). I thought - cast on, cast off, knit, purl, increase, decrease and sewing up/in for the knitting and chain, double crochet, half treble, treble, increase, decrease and sewing up/in for the crochet. I knew it would be tough but I timed myself making the things and they were each less than an hour for me to make so I crossed my fingers.
On the day before the first lesson, Saturday, I printed off the leaflets and packed my little bag full of all the bits I needed (I even wrote a list I was that organised!). As I was about to leave I noticed how lovely the bags of stuffing looked:
Oooh, lovely bright colours. Colours that attracted my nephew's attention quite a lot when they were hanging about in the hall way...
I also, took a photo of my bag of bits. Everything that I needed was in there - I'm surprised how light I can travel when I really try!
Right, so I cornered my mum and dad into taking me there, I'm not sure I would have been able to go had I not been able to persuade them but don't worry, I'm paying them. They decided that since the weather was going to be lovely, they'd take the nephew for his first day out at a National Trust property. So here he is all tucked up in the car seat:
Naturally, ducky had to come too.
This was out first glance of the wonderful park. A quick shot over the bridge towards the river. I'm dead proud of this photo considering it was in a moving car and I was keeping the little one from stealing my camera. Doesn't look sunny though, does it? It was.
We were a bit late, stuck behind a red lorry (cue lots of 'red lorry, yellow lorry') and when we got there it was a bit disorganised and rushed - entirely my own fault. We were in a back room - in the annals of the main buildings and it was lovely! Because it was so rushed the only thing I could use to remember how to get back was this hideous thing:
Urgh! I'm sure some people would find it beautiful but I certainly didn't...
From there you had to find the forest doors:
They were something truly spectacular! Photos from the actual grounds made into doors!
After that it was fairly straight forward:
You went past the beautiful range,
with the cute mushroom mosaic on top and you were there. Apparently I didn't get any photos of the actual room - I promise it was lovely.
On the first day I had two students (we suffered from the phones being down... disappointing ey). They were a lovely couple (I assume) but it turned out that they actually wanted to crochet rather than knit so I got our of my knitting state of mind and hopped over the my crochet one. I'd psyched myself up and everything but I probably love both crafts equally now so it's not problem. On an unrelated note, the lad told me that he was a disposable lighter repair man and I believed him...
It was a strong start, we came apart a bit working double crochets into the first chain, but I did a few rows here and there to sort out the stitch count and this is where we were at the half way point - I always love it when students are as messy as me!
And this was the end result:
For the very first time either of them had crocheted I was pretty impressed - even if the middle sheep looks more like a sheep dog... :)
I was a bit flustered at lunch time and afterwards, the baby being there and all so I didn't do much else. Just ate my lunch quickly and got back to where I needed to be. I took a lot of pictures of birds, or I tried to - I won't bore you with the (non)results. I spent some more time the next day farting about and getting to know the place.
This is the back entrance to where we were:
At lunch time on the second day I went to see the spinners. Sue had told me that there was a burger bar there which was my main reason but she'd also taken this fantastic picture of two of the lambs that were born and I thought I might see this little man:
Isn't that beautiful??
I didn't - with my terrible phone camera I got this:
Can you spot him?
I did however catch these little cuties!!!
Aren't they adorable!? They belong to one of our fabulous customers who has been very kind to me this week. Thank you Steve!
I saw spinners and spinning too:
Apparently, there was a rain drop on my camera that's blurred some photos beautifully, how I didn't realise at the time is a mystery to me...
But there wasn't a bloody burger van so I had to make my way to the cafe to buy some crispies. On the way back I saw this puddle:
And resisted the urge to jump in it because I am a grown up now and I am working for the National Trust.
This is the produce from the second day - the day I was supposed to be doing crochet so I was in the mindset. I had three lovely ladies on the lesson - one was expecting, so I wish her good luck. The other two was an aunty/niece combination and it was great to see the good relationship they had, maybe one day I'll have that with stinkbag.
Apart from that I have a very miserable looking but beautiful mosaic because this is killing somebody's bandwidth (I'm not geeky enough to know whether it's your or mine - maybe it's both!).
And with that, I'm going to go home. I was here until at least half eight last night sorting out our new chip and pin. I'm hoping that it will make things a bit cheaper for everybody but I'm going to work that out when I get my first invoice from them. I do not know how I will get through flipping over the internet site onto the new payment system. No idea. I also have a-whole-nother commission to do that I want done by tomorrow... Only another 20 inches in 4ply and then two sleeves...
I'm going to keep looking back at this blog post to remind me that sometimes it really is fantastic owning your own company and doing what you love. A big thank you to Clumber Park for having me and for the students who were all wonderful.
Love Eleanor. :)