Saturday, 29 September 2012


Knitting is hard when you do it for other people all the time and I hate to say this but I was feeling uninspired. Not like me at all.

So last night I didn't go out, didn't speak to another person, ate lemon meringue pie for dinner, watched QI and made this little set for the sheer hell of it.

It's this pattern for the booties in Diploma Gold and I borrowed Verity's pattern for the hat in some spare soft green DK. 

I think I'll give this little set to the lad that runs the Cagla off-license down the road who's having his first baby. 

I'm just pleased I've reset my inspiration - it was worrying!!!

Love Eleanor. :)

Friday, 28 September 2012

Wot no knitting shops?

Well there were knitting shops but the ones that we found in Ludwigsburg on our first afternoon refused to be found again the next day when I had the camera with me !!! we retraced our steps but they had vanished into a black hole.
But, there was a small piece of yarn bombing at Saarbrucken near the old bridge and seeing this set me off on a hunt for a yarn shop, If they knit then they have to buy yarn from somewhere!

 I found the shop, three floors of yarn, every type although I didn't spot any hand spun.

 As usual with German yarn shops....very neat and tidy and as my German is so poor and marked me out as a tourist even though this is not really a tourist city they pretty much ignored me assuming that I would not be buying anything.

So there we are, not a lot to report on the fluffy front but..........would you get your hair cut at a hairdressers with this catchy name?

Friday, 21 September 2012

Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

It's not often I learn something exciting now. I mean, I don't know everything, but there is a point in your knitting career when you have your way of doing things and learning other stuff becomes a a quick and enjoyable sideline. I try and keep on top of techniques for the shop but mostly come back to old favourites.

Which is why I'll not be buying the book reviewed in this blog post but I did get excited when I followed the instructions for an old Norwegian cast on. Apparently it's stretchier than the long tail, I can't deny it because I haven't got as far as using it in a project (though we have had some super cute sock yarn delivered for the birthday ) but I did enjoy learning it. For quickness' sake I'll quote the lovely Julie (and therefore the lovely Leslie who wrote the book).

Get your needles out:

  1. Make a slip knot, leaving a long tail. Place it on a needle and hold yarn in the slingshot position.
  2. Insert the needle tip under both strands of the tail yarn on your thumb.
  3. Come over the top and down into the thumb loop, coming out underneath the strand that is in front of your thumb.
  4. Bend your left thumb toward the index finger and reach over the top of the strand on your index finger. The loop on your thumb now has an X in it.
  5. Bring the needle tip through the bottom half of the X (nearest the needle), grab the index finger yarn to make your new stitch, drop the thumb loop, and tighten stitch. 
  6. Repeat steps 2–5 for the desired number of stitches.

Good ey? I enjoyed it anyway - bit more faffy than a long tail but it works and if it's stretchy I'm happy. What made me write is because of how similar it is to the long tail. I wonder if, back in the day when cast ons were being invented every day rather than eliciting much fanfare, some Arab sailor had gone on a long journey to the north and shown his Nordic counterpart this marvellous long tail cast on only for it to be bastardised by the cheeky, forgetful Norwegian? I wonder if that Norwegian actually remembered every step of the long tail cast on but thought, ahh, I'll just add this little step and then it'll be stretchy enough to make my famous stranded sailor cap even better - did he tell the Arab? Was it actually a little old granny that thought it up? Maybe the Norwegian cast on came before the long tail?

Where does it all come from?

Back to knitting... 



Saturday, 15 September 2012

Quick Round Up

It's been a bloody busy week here but I've finally done all of the bits that I had to do on the internet (there's a list as long as my arm for next week but I'll deal with that when it gets here...). So, this is a quick round up of all of the newest yarns and colours:

King Cole Gypsy Chunky

New on the webshop today - I spent the whole of yesterday making a thing that turned out (at about 10 o'clock last night, after 10 or so hours of crocheting...) to be the most ridiculous idea I've ever bloody had but has evolved into something that will definitely be the very best thing ever! Anyway: 

King Cole Gypsy Chunky: 100g - 102y - 92m - 80% acrylic, 20% wool - £3.75.

I was so inspired I cast on, knitted and wrote a pattern for this in the mossy colourway (actually called Sage). I bloody love this yarn! Find the pattern here. 

King Cole Supa Dupa Chunky: 200g - 52m - 57y - 75% acrylic, 25% wool - £8.00.

New Colours in the Regia Lace:

Just more colourways to add to this scrumptious yarn. I'm shocked at how well this has gone but you lot seem to love it! Good job! 

Regia Lace:  100g - 600m - 656y - 71% superwash wool, 29% polyamid - £9.00. 

Probably my favourite sock yarn of all time - but maybe that's only because it was my first sock yarn love. I absolutely adore all of these colourways, even those that don't burn your retinas but I love the names of them even better. Which one would you think is called harsh miracle?!

Regia Color Sock: 50g - 210 m - 230y - 75% superwash wool, 25% polyamid - £4.00.

Our replacement for the Heritage DK - I'm so in love with this I started a crochet cardi at the birthday party. It's nearly done but I ran out of bloody yarn last night. How can YSO run out of yarn!?!?!? I was really pleased that we were sent two packets of the royal blue by accident because it meant I didn't have to spend hours worrying about which colour I should use. 

*Please be aware that we've already run out of a couple of colours of this - I really need to do another order  but it's going to be a couple of days to do and then a couple of days to get to us. Be gentle - it's just too popular!!*

Patons Diploma Gold DK: 50g - 120m - 131y - 55% wool, 25% acrylic, 20% nylon - £2.85.

This completes the line up but seeing as I'd forgotten that I'd order the Gypsy Chunky and the Supa Dupa Chunky maybe some other mystery yarn will turn up soon enough. 

Happy winter knits planning! :)

Love Eleanor. 

Thursday, 13 September 2012

New Yarn New Yarn!

Marsh Marsh is back (!!!!) so we had a good long catch up today. We sorted some shelves and put the new yarn out to ogle at. I can't say it's the prettiest display we've ever done but with four whole new yarns in a week it's the best that we could do:

Now, last night I buss' out my crochet blanket - it was so cold wasn't it!?

This morning, I thought 'ahh, it was cold last night - it will be cold today - I think I'll wear my new cowl':

Turns out, it wasn't actually that cold and I took it off pretty soon. But it's got me excited ain't it?! And then the new yarn, and Masa's new found enthusiasm for knitting has got me inspired so I cast on for a cowl and had it finished in half an hour. Look at it!

Ain't she pretty??

Anyway, it was literally half an hour because it's done on 15mm needles and it isn't going to blow your mind with how complicated it is but it is a pattern and it would make a brilliant last minute gift (Christmas is, what, sixteen weeks away.... shit....). 

I've called it Moss because it looks a bit mossy in this colourway (I started selfishly but forgot that I now have ridiculous hair...):

Maybe I'll make one in the Ruby colourway. :)

Right so here's the link the pattern in general: click here. 

Here's the link to the Rav page: click here. 

Here's the link to the yarn: click here.

Which I probably ought to talk about ey? I bought it in Bristol and then kinda forgot whether it was that or the the Gypsy Chunky (which I'll talk about soon) that I bought. Turns out, I bought both! I was a little unsure at the price at first, £8 seems quite steep even if it is for 200g but really, the Seriously Chunky is £2.50 for 100g so it's only £3 difference overall and that can mostly be explained by the fact that there's some wool in here and it really is super duper chunky (though I hate that name...). 

Now it's turned up, I'm wondering what on earth was wrong with me! It's soft, chunky and delicious. It has a real sheen even in the champagne colourway (I find creams often lack lustre). And the 200g balls have a real satisfying weight to them. I'm still not convinced you can get a whole scarf out of a ball so I'll have to try but this cowl is generously sized and I didn't feel like I was scrimping, I ended up with a couple of metres left over. I really hate that feeling of having to scrimp so you don't have to buy a whole new ball, don't you?

Push comes to shove, really, you should just buy it and some ridiculous needles and knit garter stitch (or a simple, yet stylish, free pattern for a lace cowl...) whilst enjoying a nice glass of red. Now the nights are drawing in, can you think of anything better?

And just to get it up the google rankings - let us present to you - King Cole Supa Dupa Chunky

Love Eleanor. 

P.s. Another quick plug - them google rankings don't come easily you know... King Cole Supa Dupa Chunky!!!!!!

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Unashamedly Long

**STOP PRESS! If you're the lady that bought the Gypsy Chunky in the gorgeous teal colourway from us on Tuesday afternoon then we need to speak to you! Call us on (0115) 9474239.**

The title says it all. I've been trying to think of ways to break it down but it ain't happening so you can coco. :)

What a week it's been! I can't quite get over it. With June being away it's been a bit of a whirlwind and I must admit some stuff didn't get done that should have been.... hang on...

*I'm listening to the radio with me on it and it's horrendous... Oh god - why do I giggle and say 'yes' so much... I'll pop a link up when it's on their website*

Right. Let's start with Friday. I hinted last week about a new look for the shop and blimey O'Reilly here it isssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss!

How professional does that shop look!? Posh!
Problem is, it's too bloody shiny to get a good photo but there's no way I'll be cleaning it so we won't have that problem for long... Here's a comparison: 

To be honest, Friday was just an all round awesome day. First, I saw this! Finished! Good job Scooby Nomi-Whatsyerface:

It's only the best kind of crochet blanket ain't it!? He even used fun fur (and to great effect. I know. Sit down and take a deep breath!). 

While he was in the shop showing me his crochet the blokes from Blueprint Nottingham turned up. Made a noise and a mess. They looked like this:

I took their names but can't remember them now - maybe Mike? Maybe Ryan? Thanks guys!

That was the first viewing of the sign - on the floor and the two boards facing into eachother which is why it looks odd. 

The old sign came down to reveal this - remember the shop?

And then the new one went up - dead quick and easy which was a shock and surprise! I'll spare you another photo of the sign - you'll just have to come in and see it for yourself. 

After that Verity and Dee turned up and we had a right laugh trying a bra on Ida and stuffing it full of wool (I decided to call the shop model Ida because it's my bloody shop and it's almost 'idea' not Myrtle - what were you all thinking?!!?). 

Don't mention her uneven boobs - after what we were saying about her on Friday she has very little self esteem left...

We decided against it in the end because, honestly, I didn't even have time to put balloons up for the birthday  never mind fit and fill a bra on a model. I like her small boobs anyway (I talked about this on the radio this morning - managed to get the word 'boobs' in within the first minute or two - good going - I'm aiming for within the first 30 seconds next time). 

Anyway, it's this pattern and this yarn  in the Earthy colourway - which is taking a while to turn up but is on its way!

Then me and June got to work with moving the shop around. It's a massive job. Bloody massive! And we always forget quite how big it is. Anyway, we got out by about 10 o'clock and the shop looked fab for the birthday party the next day. We agreed to meet at 9.30am the next day to get hoovering done, balloons blown up and a few parcels into the post. 

But then.... June missed her alarm. Oh gosh. I was so stressed. I had a little tantrum in the street with the balloons (stamped my foot and everything) and burst into tears in front of the first four customers. Which led me to start drinking at 11 o'clock or so. June turned up and took some of the flack for me during the day and even agreed that I could go home at 5 o'clock (in reality too many lovely customers turned up and I wanted to drink and chat some more so I went home at 6.30 like normal...). 

What a beautiful day it was! Far too bloody hot! The loyalty cards were appreciated by lots of people (and forgotten by Hilary who won the free purchase last year, honestly... she'd forget her head if it weren't screwed on...). I'm dead excited that they've gone down so well and pleased that people seem to have agreed with the levels we've set - lots of people were saying on the day that £15 in our shop is worth a hell of a lot more than it would be in say, John Lewis, which is true (and pleasing). 

I didn't get many photos of the day - I was mainly drunk as promised... But the lovely Verity did! Look what happened when Seb (my lovely nephew) met Alfie (our youngest yarn appreciator):

Isn't that just the cutest thing you ever did see!?!?!??! Seriously. Makes me want to give them a big shake and a cuddle. 

Verity also made us a beautiful thing (I've been trying to remember the name for it for about ten minutes but I'm just going to have to get on with it aren't I!?). Here:

Isn't that just the worst photo ever? If you can't see, it's a thing that says Knit Nottingham in crochet!

Anyway, I can't talk about Verity all day. I'm very sad to say that nobody won the free purchase. It didn't even occur to me that nobody would win it. But we did give away triple points, free balls of wool, 20% off and bloody tonnes and tonnes of stamps. I think the most anybody won was 15 stamps! Boom!!! That's only five stamps off having a free jumpers worth of yarn! We'll be doing some double points events at some point I'm sure. 

Thank you to everybody who turned up to celebrate with us. It was bloody brilliant wasn't it!? Thank you got the home made cakes, all the booze (nine bloody bottles!), biscuits, chocolates, beautiful crocheted things, cd's. Oh gosh. I'm grateful. Grateful grateful! Thank you! :)

Later I went out on the boozey boozey which was brilliant. I went with my sister and some of her friends and had a marvellous time - went to a gig, a nice little pub, a club and then a late bar. Had marvellous fun! Caroline thinks this is the best photo ever taken of her: 

She was quite drunk at the time it was taken and when she decided it was a brilliant photo - can you tell??

Then I had two days off!!!!!! (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). 

And now I'm in today - being on the radio, adding this gorgeous new yarn to the internet, writing this and generally getting excited about this new yarn: 

King Cole Gypsy Chunky - 100g - 102y, 92m - 80% acrylic, 20% wool - £3.75. 

We also have the Supa Dupa Chunky (or whatever they're bloody calling it) - it really is super duper chunky!   And gorgeous! But I just haven't the space in the shop or indeed in my head to work out where it could go. I will soon. Both will be on t'internet by the end of the week or I'll eat my hat. 

Right, I think that's everything for now. 

Thank you again! See you next year??

Love Eleanor. :)

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Plans are Afoot

For the birthday party! I'm nearly there. Half of the order that I made to turn up in time for Saturday is here (crossed fingers on the other half - Jem's on my side though so all will be well I'm sure). I've ripped up some tiny little bits of paper for the lucky dip that we're repeating from last year but this time I've put them in a matching cup and saucer!

(I might be doing well but not well enough to remember my phone/camera this morning...). 

I've written the mailing list and this blog - sort of - and set aside some time to tidy tomorrow and move the shop around on Friday (as well as supervising a marvellous surprise!). Yes, we're doing well. 

Now, if you missed the e-newsletter yesterday , I have some news for you! 


It's been on our minds since the very beginning I just couldn't put into reality what was in my head because I only have space for a few things at a time... So earlier this year, about two months ago, I had the idea to do our vouchers on business cards (I've never liked the look of the old vouchers to be honest) and it's certainly more cost effective. When I thought about that, it suddenly came to me that we could get loyalty cards at the same time! Oh yes yes yes what a good idea. So, I designed it (including the little balls of wool that we'll stamp over), sent them off and a couple of days later there they here. I've been sitting on them ever since and it's been a bloody nightmare but I think I've managed to tell only one person about them which is good going for a blabber mouth like me. 

I ripped the idea and rules almost entirely off the Bead Shop but changed the amounts because beads cost a lot less than yarn. So our rules will be that you get a stamp per £10 spent, collect £20 and you get £15 free! The only products not included are the artisan items because we don't make enough on them. But all of our other stuff - yarn, needles, notions, workshops, patterns. Anything you can think of (that we sell...). 

Gut, jah?

I'm thinking about how to intertwine these cards with the internet but I think that may be a no go at the moment - see the aforementioned not having space for more than a few things at a time in my head... But I'm particularly sad about this because we have plenty of customers who order regularly from the website and one in particular who is a regular in the shop but books most lessons through the internet to keep her organised. Hmm. Grumble. Grumble. 

I'm just going to be pleased that we've made it as far as a loyalty card so come in on Saturday and be the first to get your stamps!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now, I'm making a cup of coffee and knitting shop samples for the rest of the day. It's a hard life. 

Love Eleanor. :)

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Happy Birthday to Us! :)

Where to start?

Honestly, I can't even begin to describe what I'm feeling right now. Knackered might be a beginning. Overwhelmed. Emotional. Blimey.

Maybe I ought to say that Knit Nottingham is two years old today and I cannot believe it. It's just not even believable. Especially since the first birthday party feels like just a few days ago. It's like somebody's playing a big trick on us. I don't know who though.

I think the reason I can't quite believe it is that when we first started we just wanted to beat Knitty Gritty - the old yarn store on the market. They were open for 11 months and we got through that though it felt quite slow. Soon after that, after we'd reached one year, the next big marker was going to be being open for two years because most small businesses (something like 50%) close within the first two years and because Hana from the Bead Shop said that all of a sudden cash flow just gets easier then (I'm waiting on that one...). Now we've made it and it feels sort of under and overwhelming.

Underwhelming because, really it's just another day and I reckon most of the customers through today won't even know it's our birthday and then what do I say 'Oh, it's our birthday today, be happy for us'. And because it's just become part of my life - I can't even think what life would be like without the shop - it's everything I do and I wouldn't know how not to do it. When I went on holiday all I could think about was taking photos for the blog or finding interesting knitty bits for you all to see. It's really hard to explain to almost everybody else.

Overwhelming because, really? The universe has let me own and run a shop for two years without smiting me. That's quite a wonder. I'm not sure if I were looking down that I would let me run a shop. In charge of things! That's quite a thought.

I've enjoyed this year so much more than last. I've felt more in control. I've let less people take advantage of me (not customers so much as the drunks on Mansfield Road even though they were very kind to me with the hostage situation and one even got me some lager...). I feel a lot more on top of things. There are a couple of things left that I just want to get down - bookkeeping for one but on the whole I'm comfortable with where we are.

One highlight of this year has been learning how to use Twitter - many thanks to Viv and Lynsey on the Learn to Knit lessons for that. It's opened up a whole new world. This time last year I'd spent the evening horrendously terrified 'watching' the riots move further and further down Mansfield Road on twitter but it wasn't until I learned about the '@ Connect' button that I actually knew how to look at where we'd been mentioned and retweeted etc. It makes such a difference.

I've also loved getting to know new customers - I won't mention many names because everybody's special but watching little Alfie growing and now talking and even asking for food has been wonderful. And gossiping with the ladies from the Building Society...

And keeping up to date with old ones. I'm looking forward to a date with Rachel (the designer of the marvellous Rainbow Fibonacci Blanket) tomorrow. She comes all the way from Sheffield to see us a few times a year and this time she's literally just got married!

Babies have been born this year! As they have every year but I'm most privileged to see them grow - even if I hate kids I can still appreciate a good wool-wrapped bundle of blubber and snot.

We got a new cupboard, I updated our website, we got shortlisted for the best local yarn shop by Let's Knit(!!!!!!!!!), we saw the bloody Queen - or rather she saw our shop, I went to Bristol, forgot about shoulders, posted a blog a bloody day for one whole month, got tear-y eyed about colour combinations... , come up with the best idea for a blanket ever and finally, dyed my hair green, then blue, then green, then blue - and you put up with it. :) On a personal level, I spent a lot of early this year drunk in town and then I went on holiday. These are both brilliant things for my mental health.

What a year it's been! What a year! I was a bit miserable when I started this post but looking back through what we've done - I'm actually amazed! We're going okay aren't we? Still here. Phew!

Plans for this year are wide ranging. In the short term I want to get through Christmas and pay off a small loan that we owe somebody and I want to get a good system in place for my figures. Longer term we really want to be moving to a bigger place. I've been to see somewhere today which was lovely but I didn't get 'the feeling' and I'm not moving for anything less than magical. I remember walking into this place and just knew it was right. It was like a weight in my stomach that I now know to be nerves - all of a sudden it became real because I knew where we were going to be, it wasn't a just a generic yarn shop anymore. I'd love, when we move, to be more organised. I suspect I will be when I have my own little office space that isn't damp and dismal. But where it'll be, I know not. And then I can start thinking about taking a proper wage and maybe employing somebody (!??!?!). It's a goal.

Anyway, I want to give a big, fat, gushy thank you to you guys. I hope you know how much you all mean to us and how exciting it is to be with you on the good days when you're excited about a new idea and buying beautiful yarn to make it a reality and how heart breaking it is when I hear about what you're going through. I hope our yarn can be with you through the good times and bad for a long while yet. I look forward to the journey.

Thank you!



Monday, 3 September 2012

For Now...

I just want you to remember this:

Pretty atrocious, huh? And it's getting worse... 

Just you wait and see. This time next week.


Eleanor. :)