Wednesday, 25 July 2012


First of all I need to tell you that this post comes from my blog and was posted  in 2008. I'm republishing it here as there has been a lot of interest on the row counter photo about halfway down. I hope you enjoy the pictures xx


Old sewing tools

The big cupboard sort out continues so I thought I would post quickly about some of the older items.

This sewing case complete with knitting needles and cotton reels was found at a car boot sale, the assorted lace bobbins, rug tools and wooden knitting needle holder were found in a small antique/curio shop in Lincoln last year. The owner admitted that he had no idea what they were and was quite happy for me to take anything sewing related for a very small sum.
My late MIL s sewing box, just as it came to me except for a few buttons which have been used.
A collection of bone and bone handled stilettos, one is carved and opens to reveal a baby ones inside purchased in Scotland a few years ago. lace bobbins that are over 100 year old, bone tatting shuttle and assorted packets of needles.
Knitting stitch/row counter, advertising item maybe, cost me all of 20p at a car boot sale
Mother of pearl thread holder, sewing case, needle case assorted scissors and needle packets.
Fortunately, most of these items are small and inexpensive and give me great pleasure, some even get used from time to time.

Sue xx

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Tied Up in Knots

I rarely use circular needles, I see them as the devil's own invention. But, as you lovely lot aren't coming in to buy our scrummy yarns, I've cast on a Still Light, using the Haze DK. And I didn't bring my super-duper 40cms dpns with me. And now I'm at that stage.

Its time to join in the round. Fortunately (!) I've found a 3mm circular in the basket, so wish me luck as I try not to tie myself up in knots as I move from a straight to the circular.

June x

Sunday, 22 July 2012

The Final Ride on the Champs Elysee

And so, as Bradley Wiggins rode on the Champs Elysee to claim victory as the first ever British rider to win the Tour de France, three weeks of knitting also comes to an end.  Like Bradley, I decided I too wanted to win the yellow jersey and chose my projects carefully.

First on the needles was Summit, an interesting wrap destined to be a friend's 80th birthday present. The lilac Galaxy being the perfect yarn. After doing an entire section of right leaning rows, I then decided to cast on my second project - a self-designed crescent shawl, using an ball of Mirage DK I had in my stash. Everything was going smoothly. No bumps in my opening time trial.

Day two brought an unexpected bump in the road. A party invitation for 28th July. Now, as we know, the weather has left rather a lot to be desired recently, so I decided I needed a new sweater. This sweater, to be precise. And added it as a third project for the Tour. As I'm not overkeen on blocking, I chose the Big Value 4ply in Damson, this way I could steam block each piece to size and never have to worry about it in the future. Cast on commenced as the riders took to the first stage on the road. By day six, the back, front and first sleeve were complete. I was knitting to victory! Or so I thought. A major crash occurred 10 rows before the end of the second sleeve. I dropped a stitch and as I attempted to pick it up, more stitches fell off the needles until I was left with a tangled mess.

Wine was drunk and I decided to leave it all until the next day, when I ended up casting on that second sleeve not once, not twice but five times and still couldn't get it right! Finally, on day eight I managed to cast on, get it right and finished the second sleeve with just the collar to do. As the second week got underway, the collar was finished and here's the result.

Of course, the sleeves and collar (blocking as I type) need to be sewn on, but not a bad result for just over a week, I think.

As the second week got properly underway, the self-design was picked up again. A little bit of tinking was done, then off we went. Two days later, it was finished and ready to steam block (and yes, it does still need steam blocking!).

Which left only Summit. And only one (of four) balls of yarn worked. As I picked it up again, I realised that although a lovely pattern, it can be rather tedious. I thought I would crash on the mountains of boredom. But no, I managed the entire cast off

just as Mark Cavendish was launched up the Champs Elysee for the last kilometre and win the final stage, for a historic fourth time. What a finish! Well done Cav, and congratulations to Bradley Wiggins for being the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France.

June x

Friday, 20 July 2012

Tour de fleece

Hi, as some of you may know , the tour de fleece is a event held by Ravelry for spinners and it is very much a personal challenge to spin every day whilst the Tour de France is taking place. I have taken part in the past but was loath to sign up again this year due to family commitments but at the last minute I decided that it would be good to try and spin everyday even if its just a few yards.

So This is my first post at the end of week one, not a huge amount to show though :-)

 This is Bond fleece, imported from Australia as a special treat as I would not normally pay this amount for raw fleece BUT it is amazing and soft and really does not need any prep before spinning, I just separate the fibres and remove any second cuts ( short bits where the shearer has cut the fleece twice) with a dog comb. So far there has been very little wastage.

Bond locks, tips slightly sun bleached.

1st bobbin on the wheel, lovely to spin, aiming for a soft woollen yarn this time
 Hand dyed merino/silk, I have already spun one bobbin so I am looking to spin and ply this asap
OK not strictly spinning but it is, sort of, I have had a bobbin of Falkland singles sitting around for ages and really need the bobbin for some other spinning so over the last two nights I've been Navajo plying it onto one of my large spindles, hoping to knit hand warmers from it for next winter !!

So thats my update for the first week, will be in touch real soon, Sue x

Thursday, 19 July 2012

How to cheer yourself up!

I AM IN A GOOD MOOD FOR THE FIRST TIME IN ABOUT THREE WEEKS!!!!!!!!!! I am in a massive, big, fat, good mood and I think it's made even better by the fact that I haven't actually felt good in a very long time. But things are looking up!

Why? Well, let me tell you...

On Friday my oldest friend asked me out for a drink on the Saturday. Usually, I'd say no because I'm mostly miserable, skint and busy but this time, I did what I said I'd do for my new years resolution and said yes. I left early because I didn't want to be too hungover for the lesson the next day but it was marvellous catching up with old friends. I decided that I couldn't face doing any commissions whilst I was there so I grabbed a ball of lemon Bamboo Cotton, a big hook and made a dishcloth. Ahh, easy crochet and all for myself. Lovely. I finished it the next day and it looks like this:


I had a hippy-hoppy-happy fantastic lesson on Sunday. Little Ollie was too cute (even though I don't like kids!) and his mum, Helen, was marvellous as always. Here's what the shop looked like before we started:

And here's what we made: 

Ollie's was some sort of Treasure Island in the sunset. 

And his mum's was an abstract inspired by the sea (I think?). 

I love them both equally. But I'm not showing you what a state the shop was in when they left. 

And then, I had a day off - sort of. Where I signed up to get a FREE eye test at Specsavers and chose some glasses, in advance because I definitely need them, and the glasses will only be £25 lenses included! However, my bus didn't turn up on Tuesday in the morning when I'd booked to go so I had to miss the appointment and rebook it for this Sunday at 10.20. Because of the frame of mind I was in, and every single other thing in my life was going wrong, I thought that that was a bad thing. But actually, it's not an early time to get up in particular, I'll get to take my time and not worry about opening the shop, maybe I'll grab a coffee wearing my new glasses afterwards. It's got to be a good thing. 

And then, I went home and did a load of looking for a present for my mum's birthday. I decided to get a cross stitch kit and a frame for her to make a cross-stitched fire screen because she's been on about doing what for literally ever. I went to John Lewis - shock horror! There was one thing that I didn't mind but it was definitely too small so I went to search for somebody that knew that they were talking about and surprise, surprise, there wasn't anybody. But whilst I was talking to a perfectly pleasant non-knitting, non-cross-stitching assistant she told me that they might be able to order something in from Coats. And I was like 'OMG - I can order something in from Coats!'. So now, I'm not stuck to what John Lewis can provide, I have access to the whole bloody lot and I'd give myself a good discount! 

So I came home, went online and discovered that they don't do anything even remotely like I want/need. Oh dear. So Jem, my Coats rep (who incidentally had some GORGEOUS designs in the new Rowan book. Not that you should buy it, just admire the designs...;)), told me about a shop that she also reps for that might help me and I rang them and I spoke to a lady who knew what she was talking about. What a thing! She told me about a designer called Thea Gouverneur - you should seriously check out her work even if it's never crossed your mind to cross a stitch before - seriously beautiful designs, incredibly intricate. 

And I found this one:

My mum would go mental for (and possibly over) that! Mental. But I'm not even going to give you a clue as to how much it costs - more than two jumpers worth in our yarn, I'll tell you that for free. I'm thinking about it anyway.

Then a good dinner and then a load of knitting which meant that my commissions are over. Well, I announced on facebook that they were over but actually they're not. Near enough though, they will be tonight....maybe tomorrow...

And then the next day I got a letter from a company called Elavon who told me that I owed them £20 - but £10 urgently, which had to be paid Well, I called them and they passed me on to Payzone, who passed me back to them, who passed me back to.... blah blah blah. Anyway, despite their best efforts to make me pay £10 a month for the next two years for NOTHING they bloody FAILED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Mwahaha! I think they think that they can just fob me off but I'm like a dog with a bone. Provided I can knit/crochet whilst I'm listening to their drivel I can put up with anything and I think it's my sheer bloody minded-ness that makes me win these battles every time. Every time. Don't mess with my you wankers!

So, that brings me neatly up to today. And now I have the pleasure to announce to you - our new yarn. Which I promised would get it's own blog post, but if I'm honest, with me potentially going on holiday next week - I really don't have time. So here: 

Nice ey??? 

It's on the internet - click here. And I started this pattern a little while ago and, I haven't finished it, but to be fair I've barely been doing it for all of these commissions but I wanted to tell you that I've knitted pretty much the whole front in one bloody ball! One ball! All the way up to the patterning! What a thought. I love love love love love love love it!

Right, I'm off to get the patterns for the Shades on the internet. It may be tomorrow now but we'll see. 

Love Eleanor. :)

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Give Me Strength

Blimey. What a couple of weeks. I feel like we might be slipping back into pathetic blogging again but here I am making an effort and luckily, Sue's written a load of posts that I'll pop up over the next week. Also, maybe the pressure will be off a little bit too (please universe, please).

I don't even know where to start really but I think I'll start with what I promised you which is an explanation about why my fingers were funny coloured for a few days...

Well, you'll all know that tomorrow is my Playing with Fibre for Kids workshop and I really had no idea what to do. I knew that we had to do some felting and a few years ago I had a wonderful boyfriend who, off his own back, found out about and bought me some Kool Aid which can be used for dying. So I thought I'd give dying some fibre a go - I keep hearing about it, thought it's maybe less of a craze than it was a couple of years ago, how wonderful Kool Aid is for dying and I think I might have tried it a couple of years ago but not for a while. So I used this website and got on with it.

I had three flavours - a cherry, a strawberry and something-else-berry. The strawberry and something-else-berry ended up looking the same.

Essentially, you mix it up with water, put in your fibre/yarn and shove it in the microwave for a few minutes. It went well:

Until I heard a bang:

The pink had bloody exploded hadn't it!? The kitchen smelled like a strawberry sheep and it was pretty rank. But I don't think it affected the dying at all which was lucky. I ended up with three piles of this:

Which was brilliant. Until I realised that the bloody fibre was superwash! Ain't no felting superwash...

My hands looked like this by the end of it:

which actually doesn't look that bad and it wasn't all the fault of the dying. The blue bit nearest the hand was the dye from my hair (which is a rather fabulous shade of turquoise/teal - even if I do say so myself) and my middle and pointing finger were pure pink for a day or two. Oh well. 

That evening I pounded the cream fibre so see if I could get it to felt at all - and it sort of did. I ended up with this: 

Which wasn't bad considering I'd used fibre that was bloody u n f e l t a b l e. What a tit. 

So - there's the bit that I promised. Now I'll have a rant which I haven't had for a while. 

I have had a bloody busy week! The internet shop has gone a bit mental recently and I've had no less than four parcels to post every single day for the past 10 days or so. Mental. For us anyway. But because of that I've been realising that we were out of date with our patterns. People were ordering patterns that we didn't have in stock and it was getting to happen too much for my liking. 

So, I went through every single one of the patterns that we have on the internet and checking whether we had it in stock and similarly I was going through every single pattern that we have in stock and checking whether it was on the internet. This led me to order just over 50 patterns from King Cole and to retire about 20 from the internet if I decided that I didn't want to stock them any more. I also put some patterns on sale - click here to see them . Most of them are on sale because they were written for yarn that's gone in our sale but one of them is on sale because in the nearly two years we've been here I have not sold a single copy. I'm not going to tell you which one it is because I bought it because I love it and I'm not going to admit to you that I have terrible taste. Haha. 

And then I had to sort out the patterns that somehow hadn't made it onto the webshop and there were about 30 of them. I'll talk you through the process shall I? Because I've had to suffer it - so you will too. 

1). Scan the photos - both side. 
2). Load it into Picmonkey (fabulous website). 
3). Crop, rotate, change exposure and change the size. 
4). Same thing again on the other side. 
5). Choose the best size and crop again to make a square that can be made into a thumbnail and change the size for that. 
6). Use Filezilla to upload the photos onto the back of our website - which essentially means making it into a webpage so that I can use the url to link back to it in a minute. 
7). Open notepad. 
8). Copy some code that the lovely Kate wrote for me months ago which I can use to make photos appear by copying and pasting the url that I made in step 6. 
9). Put right any typos that mean that the photo isn't showing... (seriously, I never get to miss this step...). 
10). Open the pattern and type in the sizing information - every single size, inches and centimetres. With the brackets in the right place. With the html (which is the bit that gives me bullet points and italics etc) in the right place.
11). Type in the yarn requirements information with all the same brackets and bullet points. 
12). Repeat for any other gaments or bits on the pattern. 
13). Have a think about what kind of yarn and needles I'd use in the project and find it on our webshop.
14). Go to this website to copy and paste how to do an link in html. Copy it a million times at the bottom of my notepad page because there are going to be a lot of links. 
15). Isolate one of the bits of code I've just copied and fill in the blanks with the correct url and name or yarn/needle. 
16). Copy that into a paragraph underneath all of the bullet points with some chatty, happy, selling kind of language. 
17). Repeat steps 15 and 16 for as many yarns as suggested and as many needles, hooks or notions are needed. 
18). Write another paragraph about buttons and ribbons etc. No links there thank god!
19). Open up the back of the webshop and click through to find the 'new patterns' page. 
20). Open up a new product, copy and paste the information I typed onto notepad earlier. 
22). Enter in thing like the price, the weight and upload my thumbnail that I made earlier;; .
23). Save. 
24). Quickly press the button that means it's not available on the internet. 
25). Copy the url from the back of the webshop and paste it into about five different tabs. 
26). Whilst they're loading, click on the new product so that I can see how it looks on a webpage. 
27). Whilst that's loading, click 'copy product' on every single other tab. 
28). Whilst they're loading, check how the actual product looks - things like spelling, italics in the wrong place, wrong sizing, is the photo showing up? Typos. Anything that makes it look a bit shit. Remember what's wrong. 
29). Back to the tabs, using a drop down menu find a category that the pattern should be copied into. One pattern might be copied into: girls, boys, all of the chest sizes from 10" to 24", three or four different yarns, double knit and all patterns are copied into pattern number. Find one and click save. 
30). Move to the next tab, find the next category, click save. 
31). Repeat move 30 until you've done all of the tabs. 
32). Whilst they're loading, go back to notepad and put right any mistakes from step 28.
33). Click edit on the pattern entry. 
34). Click copy on every single other tab. 
35). Paste the new notepad information into the right place on the editing page and click save. 
36). Repeat step 30 on all of the tabs. 
37). Check that there are no more mistakes to put right. Repeat stages 28, 32 and 35 if there are. 
38). Carry on repeating 34 and 36 until the pattern is in every single category that it can possibly be. 
39). Move the photos into a file called 'done' so that you don't have to go through this more than once for each pattern. Ask me how I know...
40). Click on the button that puts the pattern live and make one last check that it's okay, this time on the real live webpage. 

For EVERY SINGLE PATTERN. That's got to be at least 30 minutes work. And in the year that I've been looking after the webshop I've got it down from about an hour. Seriously. What has my life become?!?!? I had no idea this stuff existed before I opened a wool shop. I honestly thought that I'd be pottering around, tidying, knitting, helping smiling customers. Oh how wrong I was! 

I must admit - as with most things that are boring/hard work - looking at the finished product makes me pretty proud and once it's done it really is done but honestly - it just doesn't stop. It sort of makes me wish that there was just one pattern in the world that catered for preemies, babies, toddlers, kids, women, men, big, little, tall, short, curvy, slim, long armed and short armed. Surely somebody could work it out? Norah Gaughan? Ysolda? Help me!

AND THEN! And this is the big news...

We got a bloody yarn order didn't we?! A good one! Full of good stuff! A big one! And obviously that had to be put away but instead of putting that away like a good LYSO, I tidied up the sale - squashed it up a bit - to make two free shelves. By accident. I didn't really know I was doing it, I just knew that the sale yarn couldn't look that dilapidated forever. But the yarn that I got in the delivery wasn't stuff that could be used to fill that hole. Which meant that I'd just made myself another hour's job putting out a rather special yarn that I'd set aside time next week to do. (Seriously, it's lovely. I don't want to talk too much about it because I think it needs it's own blog post and I will next week. Promise! But you can come in and have a stroke if you want). 

It had got to about half past five, I'd started filling the hole left in the sale's wake when a lovely young woman came in looking for some nice bright yarn to make for a friend's baby who was being adopted any time within the next three months. She wanted natural so we talked about the Merino Superwash, the Paton's Cotton, the Cottonsoft but she settled on two gorgeous shades of the Bamboo Cotton DK. But neither of those shades weren't on the shelf were they? So I pulled everything out, on the floor, to add to the mess created by my order and my sale tidying... I think I had a near breakdown. Not in front of the customer though. Professional me. 


Obviously, I had to stay late to sort it because, like my mother, if I don't do it - who will? At about 8 o'clock or so, my leg went straight through a chair and created this beauty: 

I went out for a fag straight away but really? No big deal, bit of bruising, bit of a scratch. Fine. 

I soldiered on. 

I inserted my hand into that basket that holds bits and bobs of sale wool on the right hand side of the shop and I caught my nail. I caught it and bent it back and I didn't know what to do. So I ripped it off and then it bled and bled. Oh god. I found a tissue, tried to find the first aid box, gave up, ran to the shop around the corner and cried at the poor young man. He didn't have any plasters - or maybe he just wanted to get rid of me. So I went back to the shop, tidied as much as I needed for the shop not to look like it had been burgled, cashed up and caught a taxi home. All in fits of tears. Oh my gosh I was tired .

When I got home, I went pretty much straight to bed not before realising that I'd forgotten my storage card for my phone which had on it the only book I've been able to get into in about a year. 

Oh yes, I'm over this week. 

Bring on next week and cross your fingers that I will get the next week off because that's looking a little hairy at the moment. 

Love Eleanor. 

P.s. I'll not die from my injuries don't worry. :)

Friday, 13 July 2012

I did a good thing...

I put a load of patterns on the internet. Click here to see them all. 

Aren't good to you??!

I promise I will do that blog post I promised. 

Friday, 6 July 2012

We need to you to do us a massive favour!

Can you just click here and vote for us? (We don't mind what you vote for in the other categories but we will remind you that King Cole have been pretty good to us...).

We would so love to win - being just a little, tiny shop with ramshackle owners it'd mean the world to us! Look down that list - I feel like we're in it with the big guns. What a thought!

Click here!

It would mean to very much to us!

Tomorrow I have a post about funny colour fingers.

Love Eleanor. :)

P.s. Click this link here and vote for us!!!!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Completely OFF TOPIC BUT...

I had to wander over to another store to buy some sparkly crochet thread, don't get all excited, I'm not about to crochet some exotic piece of anything!!! On the way back I noticed how much the hedgerows have grown with all the recent rain and finding my camera in my bag ready for the knit in public session I took a few photos.

The question is, are these weeds, or just flowers in the wrong place :-)

Have a great day...............Sue x

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Competition Winners!

Here are the winners of our competition from a couple of weeks ago

Here's what the random number generator came up with:

Blimey O'Reilly - Lucky GEMMA H she's won three of the seven prizes (but she did do nearly half of the retweets - what a stunner!).

Winners in order:

1) Gemma H - A set of Knit Pro needles or the soft touch hooks plus a voucher.

2). Nichola W - A £20 voucher!

3). Lynsey H - A £20 voucher!

4). Anne Rowe - A £10 voucher!

5). Gemma H - A £10 voucher!

And the extra prizes because of facebook's cock up...

6). Gemma H - Three balls of sale yarn.

7). Lynsey H - Three balls of sale yarn.

We'll be in contact with you tomorrow (if you're not in contact with us before) to arrange collection or delivery.

Thank you ALL for taking part and welcome to our new likers that came through all of the shares.

Now I'm off to start a project that I really shouldn't...

Love Eleanor. xx