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. :)

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