Saturday, 30 June 2012

Didn't mean to see the torch!!!

Hi, as many of you know I work in the centre of Nottingham so events like the Olympic torch relay are often more of an inconvenience that anything else. I wasn't really that bothered about seeing the torch but was staying on into the evening to watch my hubby play with the Nottingham Ukulele orchestra. So after he met me at work we tried walking up to St Mary’s Church in the lace market only to be turned away due to the Torch Relay. I hadn't even looked at the route that it was taking, I knew it was going to the Old Market Square and that was already closed and packed with people waving flags and blowing weird little horns.

We backtracked and eventually found ourselves in the graveyard of St Mary’s and joined a select few to watch the Torch as it went through the lace market. I say select few as majority of the people with us were also carrying the small black cases the ukuleles come in. We cheered; we cheered the random pushbike, the photographer walking up the road, the kids picking up the mementos from the procession buses. The bells tolled, the bells stopped, the crowd were now cheering anything that moved. Eventually a person in a white tracksuit suddenly appeared by the side of the road holding a torch, non-fiery torch so we guessed that he was part of the relay.

Then there were MOTORBIKES!!! well that was me happy for a few mins :-)

Then the torch bearer appeared and we got to see them hand the flame over.

Other torch bearers passed by in a coach with big grins on their faces.

Having cheered the bit of fire and waved it on its way, we entered the Church for the concert, a beautiful building and the guys sounded really good.

we ended the night in the pub.....all in all not a bad evening.

Have a great weekend, Suexx

Wednesday, 27 June 2012


I must have talked about steeking here at some point. It's one of those odd things about being an internet knitter, you feel like everybody knows but actually there's a massive swathe of people who do just pick a printed pattern and knit it in whatever yarn (and even colourway) is on the pattern - I'm sure you lot have heard of steeking so maybe I'm preaching to the converted but I'm going to proceed as if you haven't because maybe you haven't and then I can be helpful!

So steeking. Essentially it means cutting your knitting. Mainly, it'll be to make a jumper, knitted in the round, into a cardigan but you can also steek necklines, armholes or pockets (and I'm sure a fair few other things too).

You can make any pattern into a steeked pattern. If you were to make a cardigan into a steeked pattern you'd cast on the full number of stitches for the fronts and the back plus five or five or six extra stitches at the centre front and then knit happily along in the round (you'll have to do something for the sleeves, we'll talk about that in a minute). When you get to the end, you'll secure the steek (we'll talk about that too), chop, pick up stitches for a button band and bish, bash, bosh, you've made a cardigan. Dead easy!

Maybe a little bit more conceptually difficult, but not actually any more difficult, is a neckline. Imagine a v neck, something like this:

You've knitted happily in the round up to the v neck (let's ignore the armholes for now, I promise we will get back to them...). What do you do know?

Well, you'll knit to the point of the V:

Cast on five or six stitches using something like a cable or backwards loop cast on and carry on with your life until you're back to the beginning of the round. 

Then you'll knit to four stitches before the V, do a k2tog, k2, knit across the steek stitches, k2, ssk (or something like). You'll carry on in this manner, according to the pattern or from your brain, until you've decreased as you need to for the v neck. Then you'll carry on straight until it's as long as you need it to be, essentially, knitting the steek stitches as if they're not important. 

If you cast off, you cast off the steek stitches like normal. If you put stitches on hold, then put the stitches on hold but cast off the steek stitches. 

It'll look very odd. Don't worry. 
The red box is the steek stitches, the green line is your k2tog's and the blue line is your ssk's. 

Make sense?

You do the same thing for a round neckline but you'll have to cast off (or put on hold) some stitches before you cast on for the steek. 

The purple bit is the cast off, the red is the steek, the green the k2tog's and the blue the ssk's. 

And, funnily enough, the same thing again for an armhole:

Or even a pocket (I won't traumatise you with any more of my paint drawings...).

So, you can do all sorts of shaping around a steek, not just straight up the middle of a jumper. 

Then what do you do? Well, you reinforce it and then you cut it!

How to do you reinforce? Well, first thing, some yarns don't need it (apparently...). Sticky yarns, like a good old fashioned Shetland yarn, that felt as you look at them. I also suspect that the Lopi wouldn't need it, but I never got round to testing that. I tried no reinforcements with this Rowan yarn (can't remember which one and it's been discontinued anyway so it doesn't really matter) back in the day and I can tell you for free that it bloody did need reinforcing!

I should have thought harder about it. 

You can crochet the reinforcement. I found this blog post about that. It's the first and only website that really explained crochet steeking in a way in which I understood so I hope that helps. I was going to do it with my Oranje but I couldn't find a feltable yarn that would work on that project. So I ended up using a: 

Hand Sewn Steek Reinforcement: 

Please bear in mind here that I'm no expert on steeking or sewing, I've just been asked a number of time in the shop if I could explain what I did so I am. I'll answer any questions I can though, if you have them. 

  • I attached the thread at the bottom of the steek with a couple of tiny stitches. I made sure that my thread was at the back of the work. 
  • I came up to the top through the left leg of the stitch that I'd chosen, and down to the back through the right leg of that stitch but I didn't pull it taut so there was a little loop of thread on the top of the fabric. 
  • I moved to the next stitch, coming up through the left leg of it, I made sure that the loop from the last stitch was caught in this motion, then I tugged that tight. I moved my needle down through the right leg of the current stitch and didn't pull taut leaving me a little loop of thread at the top of the fabric again which I used in the next stitch when I repeated this bullet point from the top. 
  • (Can you tell I really dislike sewing?)
  • It is important that all of the stitches have been sewn through - no cheating. It is also important that you sew through the legs of the stitches rather than around them, you want to be splitting the plies for the best 'grabby' effect. 
  • I did the same thing again on the other side of the steek.
  • It looked like this: 

Neat, ey?

Once you've got that far you can chop with wild abandon! There's not much to it - I suggest you use sharp scissors and go slowish that you make sure you're always going up the same ladder of the stitches (either in the middle of two legs of a stitch or between two stitches and either way, right in the centre of the steek stitches). But that's easy, see?

Snip, snip!

You can also reinforce your steeks using a machine. You need to set the stitch to as small a straight stitch as it will go and do the same thing as we did there. Again, you need to make sure that all of the stitches are caught so by the sounds of it a lot of people run it through a machine twice. For me, it would also be useful to make sure not to sew the back and front together... I'll try it and some point and see. 

Reinforcing the steeks means that you can just about steek anything, including acrylic! I can't say I'd recommend something shiny and sleek like silk, rayon or the Patons Cotton but it's only time and yarn - why not try it yourself?

Once you've reinforced and cut, you'll most likely need to pick up stitches and knit something like a button band, or a neckband or maybe a pocket. Do it. All you need to do is fold the steek under and pick up stitches along the side. Dead easy. 

Once you've done that, it's just a case of folding under the steek and doing something like blanket stitch over the top of it to keep it in place. I guess that's another kind of reinforcement. Reading through the projects for Oranje, a lot of people are sewing a ribbon over the top of the steek stitches to keep them in place and make them look lovely. I'll do it at some point, when I get a day off and I'm not galavanting around the country or writing 20 million blog posts...

I think my little steek adventure turned out wonderfully: 

The top left is when it was still a jumper and I love it! I do believe I'll make another one at some point and keep it as a jumper. I saw a fair few beautiful 4plies yesterday in Bristol so we'll just have to see!

Lily certainly appreciated it: 

Always where she shouldn't be...

Love Eleanor. :)

Monday, 25 June 2012


Oh me oh my - What a day I had yesterday. For those of you who don't know, I went to the Knit Show in Bristol. It's a trade fair which means that most of you couldn't go (sad ey!) but I got to and that made me feel immensely special! Originally, I wasn't going but Jemma, my lovely rep from Coats, said that she'd give me a lift back and it all sort of slotted into place. But then it turned out that her boss had forgotten to add her to the list so she wasn't working it and went for a booze on Saturday night instead - terrible. So I booked a return ticket and went on a fabulous one day holiday. :)

Somehow, most of my photos are of train stations (I did spend longer on trains that I did at the show...). I can confirm that we have a much nicer train station than Derby; too modern, full of glass, plastic and metal, and Birmingham; seriously, just urgh.

The first bit of Nottingham Train Station.

On the way there I swapped trains at Derby and saw a lovely 'massage parlour' just outside of the station. I went for a quick coffee before the train to Bristol and managed to finish a top secret project (more on that later in the week hopefully) and started on sewing the ends on this monster: 

It's my Pansies and, to put it politely, it's taking the mick but I feel like I might actually be somewhere nearing 'there'. At least I only have one and a half repeats of the intarsia pattern to go...

Nearing Bristol, my desktop looked something like this - which I feel is a little triumph. 

And Bristol looked something like this: 

ALWAYS sunny when I'm travelling! Always. Never sunny when I'm there though... 

Bristol Train Station is lovely. Built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, it looks like a bloody castle. A castle for a train station!? Lucky Bristolians. 

I hopped into a taxi and made my way to the football stadium (happily, the only time I've ever been in one). And look where we were: 

The Dolman Stand. Haha! I wonder if they chose it specifically!? On a related note, when I went to sign in I was stood behind a young lad and his dad who both looked genuinely scared and intrigued about all of this wool. Bless. 

Aaaaaaaaand then, I pretty much forgot that I had a camera... To be fair, I wasn't sure if I was allowed to take photos of much of the stuff and I can't say I was made to feel that comfortable at most of the stands. The Coats stand was fantastic but I think that was only because Jem had told them to be nice to the young, fat one with green hair (seriously, they all knew who I was!). And the King Cole stand was bloody marvellous! I love my rep! I think he thinks I don't realise that he talks about all of his customers like that when he's talking me up to people but it still makes me smile and I was made to feel at home there. I love King Cole!

I had a bit of a rep meeting with Mark, my rep. And he showed me this: 

Apparently a super super chunky... I bought it. But it's not due in for a while. So prepare the 15mm needles - this is going to be a good one!

And this: 

Which I will only by when hell freezes over. Seriously? Honestly? This has got to be some sort of joke? I wouldn't mind the odd ball for a joke but I'd have to buy a bloody bag of 12 - ohohohohohoh no.

AND THEN HE SHOWED ME THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes! It's the Galaxy in blue and green (and black and white with gold sequins). I can't remember when he said it would be out but it will be and it will be in my shop as soon as humanly possible! I have SUCH an idea for the green that has been in my head for years!!!!!!!!!! 

I also bought another yarn from King Cole that, if I remember rightly, had some wool, acrylic and rayon in it. I wasn't sure about the colours at the time (or the patterns...) but it's growing on me - it might have made an appearance in my dreams last night (I really am that sad). It felt divine, quite heavy and silky. I got a couple of bags free because I ordered at the show so it seemed like an appropriate thing to do. Again, we've got a little while for that to actually be in but I'm quite excited. 

I ordered another secret surprise too but I've got to keep some tricks up my sleeve haven't I? Treat you mean, keep you keen!

In terms of other companies, I made moves on two of them. One of them I had already been in contact with at the beginning but the rep was a bit awful (kept turning up an hour early on my day off and catching my in my pj's. At one point she said to me 'Are you going to be buying today because my time is expensive?' and I said, 'well, I don't know, I haven't seen what you have to offer' and she said 'okay, well I'll come back another day'. I rang her back later and told her not to bother. Jesus.). Anyway, I spoke to the sales manager at that company and he was lovely and not too pushy (especially when I told him about the rep) but I've got their shade cards and I'm in love with two patterns and one yarn specifically so we'll have to see. And another company, that I'm not as sure about but I think they'd sit nicely with the yarns we've got at the minute - about the same price point but just a bit different, know what I mean? We'll see how it goes - somehow I've got to fill the Woolcraft void. :(

And then, right at the very end of the day I made contact with UK Hand Knitting. I spoke to two lovely ladies, I think one was called Geraldine but I couldn't be sure (still terrible with names...). I signed up to do some advertising with them because it's incredibly cheap and I like what they're doing and I want to support them. She was lovely and she remembered me from when I made a tit of myself in front of her in the early days AND she said she'd had some good feedback about us so she knew or name! Are we getting out there or what!? Dead good. 

And then I headed off back home. 

I saw this at the beautiful Bristol Train Station: 

I love it! It's just my style! When we first opened and we were looking at replacing the sign I tried to explain to a designer that I wanted it to look like a golden syrup tin: 

She didn't get it and I couldn't justify paying at much money as it was for something that I didn't love (and now I can't justify getting any sign because we're still looking for the perfect place to move to and shop signs aren't standard so we probably couldn't take it with us. On the other hand, if I just shell out for one then we'd definitely find the perfect place the next day...). What would you call that style? Like Victorian, wrought iron-y? I don't know. 

Anyway, on the way back I managed to finish sewing the ends in on one of the arms of the pansy thing (and when I got home, I finished sewing the ends in on the other arm) you'll be pleased to know. I got home at about nine which means that I had been travelling for 12 bloody hours! It was worth it though. 

So, about the title. One of the biggest trends that I saw was fluffy (not fun-furry. Apparently only King Cole think that's a good idea...). Mohair-y and brushed effects. I'm a BIG fan! BIIIIIIIIIIIG! And I'm desperate to introduce it into the shop - I tried with the Haze DK and it is popular enough but I've been thwarted by it's discontinuation. There are two yarns I have in mind. One is a definite when I get some space because I know it'll go mental. The other is this: King Cole's Luxury Mohair which retails for around £3.50. There's a gorgeous patten for it in King Cole's Catwalk fashion book (which I really must get on the webshop at some point, along with all of the beautiful baby books). What do you think? Would you buy? Is it worth it? Shall I just give it a go so that I can knit it in? Oh - I have ideas coming out of my ears!

Right, I'm off. I haven't had breakfast yet and I've told myself that I MUST write that blog on steeking. I've started it but I can't seem to finish it. Today will be the day! 

Love Eleanor. :)

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Flag the (Quarter) Final - Flying the Flag

I don't really watch football anymore, although there was a time when I did watch major international tournaments. But, England are through to the quarter-finals of Euro 2012, and as it might be the team's last match, I thought I might Fly the Flag as it were.

Like this

After all, if you are going to support your national team, you may as well do it in style, and there are few garments more stylish than a waterfall-type cardigan like this.

I've mentioned the pattern before, the lovely Flag, and the tangles that ensue when you are carrying 13 balls of yarn across your knitting, never mind the endless ends to sew in at the end. But, as I'm sure you will agree, the end result is worth it.

So, at 7.45 tonight, as the match starts, think of Agnese as she Flys the Flag for England.

June x

Thursday, 21 June 2012

off the wheel

recent spinning from fleece.........polled Dorest gray, Jacob gray, polled Dorset brown, Jacob brown, Mystery Black.

Dorest Horn white, Jacob white.

 This is the jacob before washing and seperating the colours.
and this is the mystery black before washing
amd this Cotswold followed me home just yesterday!!

methinks I'm going to be busy!!

Monday, 18 June 2012

Sale Time

I'll get straight into it shall I?

Heritage DK - Was £3.50 now £2.50.

I think this might be the saddest thing to see go. It's been here since nearly the beginning and it was a bit of an accident. A yarn rep just turned up out of the blue and I liked him so I bought five bags in brown, purple, lime green, teal and black. They sold like a dream so I started building my colours up until I had a full range and it's been one of our best sellers, but alas, because of atrocious customer service it has to go. I've found an alternative that I like just as much and I know you lot will too but we've got to make space.

Sweet Briar Chunky - Was £2.50 now £1.50.

A bit of an odd one this, it's pretty much the same as the Cygnet Grousemoore Aran in composition, price and wear/washability but I just loved the colours and it sold well so I kept it. Alas, it leaves for the same reason as the Heritage DK.

Jarol Pure British Wool Aran - Was £6.00 now £4.00.

Again, super sad to see this one go, especially since I haven't knitted the thing I was going to knit in it! But it's the curse of that company again...

Fortissima 4ply - Was £8.00 now £5.50.

You know how much I like this one but I feel it's not the end for our relationship with Schoeller und Stahl. I had a visit from a very nice rep last Monday and we talked through some options. Options that need space and money - hence the sale. I know I'll be grabbing a few balls of the green - literally no doubt about it...

Alafoss Lopi Chunky - Was £5.00 now £3.50.

Another really sad one because it's unlike a lot of what we have in the shop but I have been introduced to a yarn that I think will substitute nicely as a felter and also has the options of a DK-ish and an Aran-ish weight and a bloody super pattern for some slippers which is making our winter look truly scrumtptious!

There'll be some patterns on sale with this because there's no point keeping them but they never made it onto the internet so it'll be a shop only thing unless you trust me to describe them accurately over the phone...

King Cole Moods Duet DK - Was £3.00 now £2.00.

A stunning yarn, really seriously stunning. I love love love it! But they've discontinued a couple of colours that make the range what it is and apparently there's no real prospect of any new ones but I'm not entirely discounting getting it back in if they decide to concentrate on it again (my tip to King Cole: nice patterns...). But to be fair on them it's been in the range for nearly five years so maybe it is time to replace it with something exciting. I'll be grabbing a few cheeky balls of the teal.

King Cole Haze DK - Was £2.50 now £1.50.

This is being discontinued at their end and I'm a bit made because it has a bloody fantastic yardage! I don't think they really thought it through offering 100g balls. Because 488m is about two thirds more than you get in most DK's so most people take two, three or four balls for a jumper rather than five, six or seven. At that rate of course they're going to sell less quantity. If it was perhaps offered in 50g balls they'd have done better (I've also never been that keen on most of the colours. The black, red, purple, grey and denim blue smashed it but the peach? Really?).

And finally:

King Cole Fashion Aran - Was £3.75 now £2.50.

I was quite honest that we only got this for the Jubilee and the Olympics. I know the Olympics hasn't been yet but we'll be doing our next sale in January time so it seemed like an appropriate time. It's sold well, but only a few balls at a time so I'm left with a fair bit - I know we've been going on about the tiny little jubilee patterns but this would actually be fab for jumpers, cardis and aran-y type things so don't be scared.

On top of that - when I can get my head around it today I'll also be updating the patterns because  a few of those will be going in the sale. Mainly ones to do with the Haze DK and the Alafoss Lopi but also some that have been hanging around so that we can clear some space and breathe again!

I think you'll agree that this is quite an exciting sale, no? Lots of stuff in here and varied. Dead good.

See you soon!!!

Love Eleanor.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Competition Time!

Right, my King Cole rep finally visited t'other day and updated me about what was coming for the late summer and what was going. :( Some really sad things. I've also decided to discontinue our relationship with Woolcraft so I'm getting rid of the yarns that come from them. It'd be silly of me to tell you what's going in the sale right now but I will tell you that it's at least seven yarns (and each one I'll be sad to see go...).

We've also been shortlisted for the Best Yarn Shop by Let's Knit magazine and we need you to vote for us so that we win this bloody thing! Imagine, a tiny little disorganised shop like ours winning the best yarn shop! We would bloody love it!

And finally we've got 441 'likers' on facebook  as it stands and we'd quite like 500 (or more!). Just a showy-offy thing.

So, we're going to run a competition to get more likes and to promote the sale and people voting for us to be the best yarn shop (if I ever get the link that you need to vote). Every day next week, starting on Monday the  18th and ending at 6.30pm on Monday the 25th, we're going to write at least three facebook statuses a day starting with the word 'Share:'. They'll go something like this:

'Share: Vote for us in the Let's Knit competition by clicking on this link...'.

And then, you share on your wall. Or retweet.

Then on the Monday evening, I'll assign you all a number, based on when you shared the status - so the first person to share the first status will be number 1 and the second person to share will be number 2 etc. And then I'll assign numbers to the retweeters following straight on from the facebook likers, so the first retweeter will be the final facebook liker's number plus one. And then I'll use a random number generator (like this one) to pick out the winner and four runners up.

You can enter more than once by sharing any or all of the statuses that you want but as you can only do that once per status I think it's fair the we'll only allow one retweet per entry (though if you want to do more we'll not stop you).


The winner will receive a full set of Knit Pro Interchangeable needles worth £50 or a full set of Knit Pro Soft Touch Crochet hooks, the King Cole Crochet Book and and £20 (you make the choice - we just didn't want to leave the crocheters out!).

The next two runners up will receive a £20 voucher.

The next two runners up will receive a £10 voucher.

So, to sum up:

  • We write statuses. 
  • You share statuses or retweet them. 
  • You get a number. 
  • We randomly select numbers to win. 
  • You get free stuff - we get promoted - everybody wins!!!

Got it?

Dead exciting! I'm going to write a blog about what's going in the sale now and I'll make sure to post it first thing on Monday morning. Sad.

Love Eleanor. :)

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Knit in Public

Was brilliant! Didn't we have a lot of fun! I was a bit late because of the kitten in the previous post. I couldn't just leave a fluffy thing on it's own now could I?!

So I headed down about quarter past four and found a tiny little group of people and thought our disorganised organisation had meant nobody would turn up. I thought 'oh well' and headed in for a booze and what did I see but three bloody customers hanging around who hadn't realised they were all there for the same thing! So I rallied the troops and we headed outside in the beautiful weather.

For about an hour the Salvation Army were keeping us company with their lovely brass band. The order of the day was apparently socks - I think I counted four sock WIPs! I was sewing in the ends on a hideous intarsia thing and June (not our June) was sewing in just about the same amount of ends on a baby jumper. Other than that we had a lady teaching herself English style knitting with a lovely chunky waistcoaty-tunic thingy. Ooh, and a shrug. I nearly forgot about that!

I'm sure there were more projects that I can't remember. It's exciting to spend time with other knitters because I become kind of insular in the shop. All I want to knit with is stuff from the shop - mostly because I get to choose it, then quite a lot because it's gorgeous and a good price and lastly because it's a good way to show off the yarns. I sort of forget that there is a whole 'nother yarn world out there. Not that you should go there at all, you see, naturally... ;)

Anyway - here are my photos:

There's the Sally Army in the background. 

We were at the table in the middle and the table at the back to the right. About 15 of us!

A picture of the weather - looks darker than it was...

More lovely weather. We do live in a beautiful city!

My lovely Irish coffee.

My intarsia...

I loved it. Like I always do. Booze, knitting/crochet and good company is all you need right? Anyway, next year we'll make sure to get organised earlier and let you know what we're up to. Any ideas? Anywhere you really want to go but don't dare?

In other news - the Queen came past today!!!!!!! And William and Kate. We were so excited we bought chocolate and coke and stood outside for about an hour. Everybody was so excited - all the people from across the road were stood out and the dance shop and the cafe next door. It was wonderful! And I took a long video, or little shots of every time a car came near that looked like it might be a queen but when the Queen did bloody come past my video broke! I nearly died! When it was over and I was looking for the video that I thought I took I ended up with just a video of my feet and my disembodied voice mournfully wailing 'ooooooh nooooooo I don't think I even got a video'. What a tit!

Tomorrow (or maybe the next day) I'm writing my blog about steeking...

Also - we've just had two cancellations on the cable workshop at the weekend - we'd love to have you there and it's nearly midway to Christmas so it's time to start thinking about your brother/uncle/dad/husband/wife/mum/aunty/sister/neighbour/cat/dog's present. A cabled hat, like we make on the workshop would be just perfect! Come come - no excuses.

Love Eleanor. :)

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

We have got more to tell you but

THERE WAS A BLOODY KITTEN IN THE SHOP ON SUNDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I promise a proper blog post tomorrow.

Love Eleanor. :)

Thursday, 7 June 2012


Just a quick one - I think June has got a bit more to say on her F.A.B.ulous Flag cardi but we're late so I need to promote it quick. We've decided to recreate our Knit in Public Day for last year - look here for what happened and how lovely it was.

We'll be at the Bell Inn from 4pm this Sunday (the 10th). Bring some sticks and string, a few pennies for booze and a big smile.

Click here for the Facebook event.

Click here for the Ravelry event.  

We'll see you there!

Love Eleanor. :)

Monday, 4 June 2012

Flag the Second - These are the Ends

These were the ends, the lovely ends

I had to sew in the ends

and the ends

and the final ends

and at some point I lost the will to live, because these were the ends

June x

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Flag the First - A Tangled Mess

When I first decided to knit Flag I didn't realise what I was getting into, being a bit a an intarsia virgin. It looked easy enough, garter stitch on big needles (I used the Cygnet Truly Wool Rich 4-Ply), essentially just a large rectangle, with slits for the sleeves to fit in.

I hadn't counted on this

13 little balls of wool to twist together across the back of the piece! And, what a nightmare it was when the whole lot fell off the sofa and became a tangled heap (I couldn't bring myself to take photos of that). However, a good tip from Eleanor helped in the end – I kept a spare pair of needles and moved each ball in order from one to the other as I worked. And, it all came out OK in the end.

June x

Friday, 1 June 2012

I have spent the day...

... researching techy kind of things.

Firstly, I want to change our website. There are two things on my mind and both will be big things to do so I'll do one and then the other.

On the main website, I want to change the menu across the top so that it's vertical. It'll allow me to add more stuff. This idea came about because I had a bloody marvellous thought on the bus about a dress for a little girl that I'd like to write and offer as a pattern and then I was thinking about how we market patterns and it's mainly here, on rav and on facebook but wouldn't it be great if we could get a direct link from the website? (I think we also need to put a little menu on the blog - deffo need to sort out the side bar here and change some of the colours so you can actually tell what are links and what aren't etc. I also want to change the header thing.) In order to get the patterns in a space on the main website there will need to be another option in the menu but we just can't fit any more along the top so vertical it has to be. I'm getting there - I've found out that < u l >means 'unordered list'. That's a step in the right direction... But if I'm to get serious about that then the whole order of the website will have to change to shunt the information up and about to make space for the vertical menu and I'm not sure I'm up to that. Then, I think, I'll have to update every single on of the ancillary pages: 'about us', 'location', 'workshops', 'events' and 'contact us' (the 'online shop' and the 'blog' tabs are just links to other websites so I won't have to do anything about those). And for each of those ancillary pages I'll have to think about and design a page that fits around a vertical list.

    To put this in perspective - I was MAJORLY impressed with myself when I worked out how to make bullet points in html... like LET'S HAVE A PARTY I'VE LEARNED HOW TO WRITE < li > AND < / l i >!!!!!!!

    The other idea that really needs doing is to make the webshop more 'us'. At the minute it's so blue and I want a whole lot more of green! But the problem, as I understand it, is that all of the blue stuff is actually a picture so to change it I'd have to get the same or similar pictures in green and upload them to every single bloody page. I can't even begin to think of how many pages there are on our webshop... It's a daunting task that's going to take a lot of time (and patience for somebody who's such a luddite...). I assume there's some sort of 'template' page for each of the offerings - so I'd set that up and then all of my products would automatically have green based pages. It helps that I realised a couple of months ago that our webshop is actually part of our website! I don't know why I thought it was separate, especially since we don't pay separately... Nothing in this life is free! So anything that needs changing on the webshop we have to find out the website - it caused a lot of grief and frantic mouse clicking on the back of the webshop to work that out...

    So I guess that's three thoughts: get a vertical menu, sort out the blog properly and green-up the webshop.

    No idea when they'll be done.

    Then I had my lunch and read one of the Federation of Small Business magazines and saw a QR Code which got me thinking that I'd said the other day that we would use them. So I looked up how to get them and found this website and bloody made one didn't I!?!? Look:

    Have you got one of them there smartphones?!!? Can you use it!?!? Does it work!?!?!?! Do let us know!!!

    I was wondering how on earth we might use them and I think the first thing I'm going to do is when we do our next chunk of lessons - I'll print out a copy and put it in the window with a link directly to the webshop where the lessons are!!! What a thought! And then when I do a press release I can send along a picture file with it in and if they use it in their magazines we might look like we're technologically advanced (mwahahahaha - how little they know!). 

    What do you think!?

    What other techy thing can I think of to look up?

    Love Eleanor. :)

Edited To Add: Some spaces in the html so that they show up rather than actually work... Not that brilliantly technical, obviously...