Monday, 28 January 2013

Settle Down.

Settle down and settle in with a cup o' char because this is going to be a long one and it's entirely my fault. 

Exactly one week ago yesterday I taught a crochet lesson. It's probably my favourite lesson to teach. If I'm honest it's because it's easy but mostly it's because there are a hell of a lot of people out there who have tried and failed to crochet and ended up frustrated to the point of tears. To be able to sort them out so easily is brill. A few days before, we'd started the sale and to replace the Cygnet DK (which was in the sale) we introduced the magnificent King Cole Pricewise DK (which still deserves its own blog post and I will...). Usually, on lessons, I use bits of leftover stuff to show them how its done but on this lesson I decided to use the Pricewise to test what it was all about. AND I FELL IN LOVE!!!! It's beaueaueaueaueaueautiful! A perfect acrylic yarn, nice and soft, lots of it, cheap - beauts! So, that evening, whilst watching Blandings and Call the Midwife (good old BBC), I sat and crocheted the bloody two balls. And then some more from stash. The next day I bought a couple of balls of Cygnet DK from the sale and crocheted some more. Oof! An idea! But, this is going to be too long a post to explain it here - suffice to say, I'm making three blankets almost exactly the same... Obsessive much? 

On Monday I spent a delightful day catching up with an old friend, eating the best steak ever, getting right royally drunk and crocheting squares (I also finally filled out my tax return!!!). If I'm brutally honest with myself the rest of the week followed suit. Not much work was done. 


On Thursday I got a call from a lovely lady at the Federation of Small Businesses (a sort of union thing that we're part of with free legal advice!). She asked if I'd like to go on national t.v. and I was like 'well, maybe, yeah, what's it about?' but in my head I was like 'OMG OMG OMG OMG I'M GOING ON TV I'M GOING TO BE FAMOUS! PEOPLE WILL LOVE ME! THE SHOP WILL TAKE MILLIONS! GIVE!'. Anyway, it was sort of organised and I decided to dye my hair, put some make up and clean clothes on the next day (I made such an effort!). Then I went to the pub... In the morning I woke up early to wait for a phone call from London and low and behold at half past eight I got the fateful phonecall and it was all arranged - I was going to be on Sky News at half past ten! SKY NEWS! ME!?!?!?! So, I let everybody that I knew know and then I caught a taxi into town. 

I had to knock on a locked van door to speak to the camera man. Which felt awks. He set me up with a microphone and ear thing that didn't fit very well and then we waited. And waited. And waited. So I facebooked this photo:

I told him it was for Twitter and he looked a bit shocked that a LYSO would even know what that was... Mwahaha!

Then came my time to shine! And I can't really comment about it because I've only watched it once peeking out from behind my fingers. Ugh. The worst part about it is at the beginning. The cameraman didn't tell me when I was on and there were some kids making a noise in the square and my eyes kept wandering over to them and then I'd think 'oh no, I've got to be ready' so then I'd jump back to looking at the camera and smile. Ha. Oh god. What do celebrities do!??! Anyway - I'm going  to try and embed it here, hope it works:

We must thank Debra (of Jazzy Pants Creations) for this video because otherwise I'd never have known how big my chin is... He seemed to like my scarf though! :)


But I was on a massive high all day! I did some bits and bobs in town like the post, the bank, buying more bloody storage boxes, all with a massive smile on my face, and then I headed back to the shop - I think I was in for about half 12. Verity turned up and had a present for me! Only a granny stripe cowl that literally hasn't been off my neck since - in every colour that I LOVE!

Later on, Marsh Marsh rang to ask me for a celebratory drink and who am I to say no? It ended up being a messy night finishing at about five in the morning in a kebab shop speaking to Jake Bugg's cousin about Jamie Oliver... In the meantime, we took some drunken photos trying to get a good one of the cowl to share with Verity's Truly Hooked page. This is all we could come up with... but it does show the cowl and my bloody brill jumper to great effect!

Verity says she doesn't want photos of drunken farts on her wall. I say, Knit Nottingham wants all the drunken farts on their wall!!!

As you can imagine, I was in no fit state on Saturday so June came to the rescue and covered for me in return for me doing today. Which leads me to why I'm in the shop on my day off and how I've got so much done!!!!!!!!!

The first thing I did this morning was wait for the bloody bus for 40 minutes. Wrote a brill post on Trent Barton's wall about it because it meant I was too late to get to the Post Office to send off the last of the Cygnet DK which was bought last night by a woman in Wales who makes blankets for the homeless (her name is Eleanor too which makes her just about the best person I've ever spoken to I think...). Anyway - nearly 60 balls heading over Wales as we speak because June, stunner that she is, volunteered to take it to the Post Office this afternoon. Dead good seeing her rolling down the road with a box as big as her on a metal trolley thing. Especially when the wheel got stuck in the paving... 

In the meantime, I finally took down the last of the Christmas decorations and shiny stuff and did the window ready for spring - lovely blues, creams, baby pinks and greens. It also features a hyacinth plant bought by a good friend. Not flowering yet - perhaps I ought to water it? Anyway, here it is: 

Looks lovely and clean after the months of Christmas stuff...

Then we got a BIG order from King Cole (a few things that were missing were pretty crucial - in fact the reason for making the order - aye me!). But, most importantly, THE new yarn turned up! Bloody brill!!!!

It's the King Cole Opium which is a brand new cotton blend for this spring. It's got a big space in the window and there it is looking glamorous on the shelf. It's a proper grown up yarn and I cannot wait to get my grubby little mitts on it... Maybe tonight, though it's five past six and I've not finished here so maybe not... 

Anyway, it's on the internet here. And the patterns are on the internet here.  And I will get back to you when I've made the poncho (even if I've spent the last two weeks talking about how I don't like ponchos for one reason or another...). 

Dead good. 

And then, I realised that in all the excitement I'd forgotten that I'd order the four new colours in the beautiful Bamboo Cotton DK. I love each and every one of them but I must admit, it's been a subtly kind of an update hasn't it?

What's wrong with a good grass green King Cole!?

We don't currently have space for it on the shelf but I'm betting that because of the Cygnet DK all having sold, I could get some of the cottons out of the back cupboard and into the right hand one (which is apparently where 90% of consumers turn when they walk into a shop...). For now, it's being wonderfully displayed in a pile on the table:

Finally! I got the shock of my life t'other day when I got my electric bill. Well. Actually. It's not that bad because I am tight as anything and prepared to spend the whole day on the phone when I negotiate my contract but the lovely June had the bright idea of buying a cheaper heater! She nipped to Aldi today and here it is in all its glory:

I'd have given it a little kiss if I wasn't so fond of my lips. Lindsey who works across the road says it makes me glow orange but I think that might be the three carrots, two oranges and some cheese that I've eaten today. 

All in all, good job ey!? If I'd have just put the crochet down for a few minutes last week I would have been able to give you this update in little bits. But I didn't and now I'm one week and over 100 squares into my three identical blankets... 

Oooooooh! And before I forget. Last Monday, which was the boozey, steakey, friendy one, I bought some royal wedding memorabilia cups from Barnardo's. If you're on facebook you'll have seen them but if not - look!!!

Beauts aren't they!? If you ever come on a lesson that's what you'll be drinking from until I lose/break them all. 

Right, if you've reached this far you deserve a medal!

Love Eleanor. 

P.s. I'm too late to read through this so I hope it makes sense.... 

Friday, 18 January 2013

Three Important Things and some Pyjamas!

Wow. It's been quite a week. Culminating (well, for those of you who work a normal week...) in this bloody big snow storm. I think. Or maybe it's just snow. There's been so much 'snowpocalypse' malarkey on facebook I seem to have lost the ability to judge for myself what's normal. Just in case you've forgotten what snow looks like...

Can you see it? You can't really, can you? Suffice to say it's sort of round, white and cold and it. comes. from. the. sky!

Anyway, on with life... 

Those of you on facebook will be bloody sick of hearing about this but tough. Not everybody's as obsessive as us... Apparently. 

The first thing, and the thing that's going quickest is the Cygnet DK. Yes! The Cygnet DK! It feels like the end of an era. This is the first yarn that was fully in stock at the opening that we're getting rid of. And I am saaaaaaaaaad. See it in the glorious circle cabinet by clicking here. It's been a loyal favourite around here and there are some colours that I will be very sad to see go but I have my plans folks, plans, plans, plans (is there ever a blog post where I don't mention plans?). 

Here's the gossipy bit. For those who are interested: 

When I was a young (waaaaaaaaarthooooooooooooooooooooog) woman I worked at Indigo dry cleaners down on Upper Parliament Street. It was a bit of a shithole but we had delirious-on-the-fumes fun and I learned to press garments (a skill that has laid dormant since). When the recession hit, people tightened their belts on  dry cleaning and the shop went under. It was empty for years. Then I expressed an interest in it for the shop and all of a sudden it was under offer - sod's law. After about a year it opened as a charity shop. I'm all in favour of that. But, on the way home from knit club one night, I passed the shop and noticed that there was yarn in there! And the colours looked suspiciously like the Cygnet DK. Well I got up early the next day to check it out and it bloody was wasn't it!? For £1.95!!! 20p more expensive than we stocked it for. I was dead angry, I'm sure most of you have seen me in a rant-y mood and by god was I rant-y! Here's a very condensed version of why: I'm never happy about charity shops selling new goods anyway, what's the point? I thought it cheapened the brand (you might think differently). I thought that Cygnet should have showed more loyalty to a good customer. Why would anybody walk up a hill to come to my shop if they can get it smack bang in the middle of town? And how the bloody hell can they justify 20p more per ball than me!? Ugh. 

So I calmed down and rang Cygnet but they couldn't do anything - they weren't going to stop selling to a customer which I can understand, money is money ain't it? But they did keep saying 'oh well, they only stock a few colours'. I made it clear that I wouldn't be stocking any colours if they carried on there and they did. So that's that. I'm hoping that we can stick with them for other yarns in the brand but I am hearing some ugly rumours about other shops stocking it so, we'll see. We want to be different, we don't want to stock what everybody else stocks. That'd be sad wouldn't it? 

We've replaced the Cygnet DK with the King Cole Pricewise DK but that deserves its own little blog post so I'll just leave it there. Stunning green in the guacamole though - boom!

So that's the gossip. Now let's move on to something else/more interesting shall we?

Other yarns in the sale are the King Cole Wicked DK and the King Cole Shades DK and I think they're in for the same reasons - that they're maybe too bright for people? Each have their loyal followers but they haven't sold like I wanted them to and, being such a tiny shop (and, let's be honest, actually wanting to make some money), we can't afford to have yarns in stock that don't sell on a daily basis. I'm most sad to be seeing both of them go because the Shades is a beautiful yarn to work with and wear and the Wicked really caught my attention during the 80's fashion phase that we're having/have had. Anyway, I started a jumper in it on Tuesday that was supposed to be a Knit Club project but actually turned out to be an every-minute-of-the-day-when-I-can-possibly-justify-not-working kind of project. Beauts: 

Excuse the horrendous photography - it's getting dark and I'm planning a blog post about the jumper on its own anyway because it's all gone stupendously right (crossed fingers, touch wood). 

It's been described variously as fireworks, liquorice allsorts and a starry starry night (one of my favourite songs ever). :)

Anyway, there are jumpers worths left in both the Wicked and the Shades. Really, there are blankets worth which is apparently the name of the game in this weather (literally, eight blankets worth of sale yarn sold this week!). 

Moooooooooooooooving on...

I've confirmed the coach for our little trip to Skipton and I'll not shut up about it until all the places have been sold. There was interest from about 20 of you in the end and plenty of you said that you'd like to bring mothers, aunties, sisters, friends - me? I'm hoping you bring single, rich, handsome men who aren't scared of needles. Failing that, a bottle of port? You don't have to pay for a seat for the bottle - I'll look after it up front...

I've settled on £24 with the hope that enough of you book for me to be able to pay for the parking when we get there (which will be about £50 for the day) and, if we're really lucky, the entrance into the place. But like I keep saying, it all depends on who books. I've given a deadline for getting the money to us as the end of June because that gives you six paydays from now to get everything together and gives me a good chunk of time to get my act together and pay the coach company after that. I can't emphasise enough that it won't happen unless we have enough people because I'd rather pay for yarn than a half empty coach. :)

I'm trying to think of other things I have to tell you. But I can't. All that's in my head now is to crochet this lovely jumper and watch things on T.V. I'm trying to work out if it's worth me going home? I can't think that it's going to be as bad as facebook seems to think and if all I would do is crochet at home then I may as well be here. So. Decision made. Though I would like to be wearing pyjamas. Would you judge me if I brought pyjamas in tomorrow? I have some beauts, courtesy of Cazza (the sister) and Sports Direct: 

That's Batman in case you can't see... And it says 'boom' all over it! BOOM!
Right, my lovely blogees, I'm offski,

Love Eleanor. 

Saturday, 12 January 2013

A Possibility.

Right. You all know I'm an avid reader of the Attic24 blog and I love coach trips. Or you should know. Have a little look at this post and come back to me. 

Back? Right, settle down for a big bloody idea....


For those who couldn't be bothered to read - there's a yarn-y type festival going on on the 28th and 29th of September in Skipton and Lucy of Attic 24 is going to be there as well as lots of little suppliers and yarn shops and designers etc etc. I want to meet LUCY! I WANT! I WANT! And I thought that maybe you lot would want to too?

I rang the lady who's contact number is on the Yarndale site and she was as lovely as I imagined those Skipton ladies would be. The price for entry to the show is £5 which is nice and cheap as far as yarn festivals go but they couldn't afford to do online processing so it'll be pay on the door. What we would have to pay for in advance would be the coach and it's a bloody nightmare getting prices for that. 

The only price I've been able to get so far is from Skills Coaches (incidentally the marvelous company who took me on holiday nearly a year ago, booked almost exactly a year ago - something about this time makes me want to get. away. Kwim?). Anyway, the price is £450 (at the most, maybe a little cheaper). This coach takes up to 40 people (I think he said) so the least we'd be paying each would be £11.25 for there and back. If 20 people booked then we'd be charging £22.50. 

Now, I've done as much research as I can (be bothered to do today...) with trains and, they won't let you book so far in advance anyway, but if the event were to happen this Saturday we'd be charged £12.00 one way and a return would be £24.00. The train includes two changeovers which I hate. But it's led me to conclude that I wouldn't want to be charging more than £25.00 per person which means we need at least 18 to make it worth anybody's while. We'd probably be looking at going on the 28th which is a Saturday. 

Are you following me?

It's also got to be much nicer travelling with a load of knitters/hookers with some choccers, fizzy pop and maybe a film on (I'm thinking Sightseers because I might have some bloody knitting in it! I'll tell you about that another day). Just close your eyes and imagine. 

Anyway, I don't think we'll make any money out of this, but I certainly don't want to lose any, so before we do anything serious, I need a good head count of who might be genuinely interested in going. The more of you go, the cheaper it will be and the happier I'll be but if we're getting less than 18 people interested then it's a definite no. Let us know here, on facebook, twitter  or e-mail us on knit AT knitnottingham DOT co DOT uk. You can talk at me in the face or in my lughole ((0115) 9474239) too if you want but don't expect me to remember if it's not written down....

I hereby declare that day booked off though because I'm going come hell or high water. Apart from really really really wanting to meet Lucy I don't really know why this has taken a hold of my heartstrings but it has. 

Anyway, let me know lovely readers. See you soon,

Love Eleanor. :)

Friday, 11 January 2013


Something tickled me last night. Not literally but figuratively. Which is nice.

Masa and I went to Verity's house for dinner - we had lasagne, chips, peas, chocolate (lots), tea from a pot and pink lemonade. Bloody marvelous readers, bloody titting marvelous! We watched Miranda (I think I may be her?! But without the two FIT men loving her... Can't wait for the next episode). Verity and I crocheted, Masa knitted. We bitched a little bit. Laughed a massive lot. And then the baby cried so I was left to appreciate Verity's ever growing stash (books and yarn to die for!) and two shawls sort of fell about me, which is what I want to talk about today.

Before Christmas, Verity came to me asking what to make for the MIL. She had some leftover Regia Laceweight in the beautiful Plums colourway and knew she needed to make some sort of scarf-y thing and that it probably needed to be triangular. I told her to make the gorgeous Elise Shawl which I thought was just perfect. Took me a while to persuade her. Then she tried it and it went tits up. Then I told her to try with the chart which I thought was much better written than the pattern pattern. And it worked. She made this beaut:

We hope it went down well but Verity couldn't gauge the reaction. 

She did however, fall in love with it and made another in some aran-ish handspun yarn that her sister bought her for Christmas on a MASSIVE hook: 

Look how different it looks!

And then just after Christmas, I logged onto facebook and saw that she's only gone and done it again, hadn't she?!

This time in the Wicked DK and something from stash which is the equivalent of our Cygnet DK. Beauts?!

So, yesterday, I had to set out early early early in the morning, I had an appointment at half past bloody eight which is about half and hour before I usually get up. I grabbed any items of clothing I could and just happened to include in the maelstrom, my version of the Elise Shawl:

(That's my dad. I'll tell you the story. I was blocking this beaut on a spare bed, he heard me, decided to be a wanker, and lay right down on it. I had to roll him over to get the pins on that side in place. I took a photo and put it on facebook and rav. He wasn't very happy. I told him it's his own pissing fault for being such a wanker. I'm now making it my lifes mission to disseminate the photo as widely as I can. That'll teach him). 

It's not quite so well blocked now, it's been a while and I rarely reblock scarves. 

So, Verity's first shawl was out of the house but the purple aran, the green dk and my foresty-kinda-berry coloured laceweight were all in the same room. At. The. Same. Time. 


So, whilst Verity was doing a sterling job of keeping the next generation content, happy, comforted and sleepified, I took a load of really shit photos with the flash on her lovely patchwork blanket. I'll share them with you. 

One of the loveliest things about seeing something worked in lots of different weights is the different aspects of the pattern that show up. I really thought that the most important part of this pattern were the 'shells', like the actual crochet parts rather than the holes. Turns out, when you see it done on a massive needle that the most important parts are the flowers that are created by the holes:

Once you can see it in one shawl, you can see it in them all: 

Once I'd got over that excitement - I moved on to cat porn: 

I didn't get to see my favourite of V's cats - a massive ginger tom called Ollivander (the girls are Minerva and Ginevra. Geek) but the girls are sweet, affectionate and purr like you wouldn't believe. 

We rounded off the evening by preparing for Masa's hot date tonight. She won't thank me for this photo but I think you lot might: 

Note the beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeyoooooooootiful Humping Reindeer Hat. 

So that's that folks, I thought I might say something more interesting than I have. Instead I've splurged a little of the inside of my head. I have been making tea cosies and I will share them with you soon, once ends are sewn in. And I'm still working on my new year's resolutions - I don't think it's a bad thing to take my time because I'd like a more successful haul in my next years 'have I done my resolutions?' post. 

Lastly, and most importantly, I'm trying to work out if I'm allowed to eat a proper greasy chicken and mushroom pasty today even though I had a sausage sandwich and a bucket of chocolate yesterday? Thoughts? Suffice to say, I'll have had it by the time you answer so please be positive... 

Love Eleanor. :)

P.s. I forgot to say. I was also tickled by the fact that V and I were both crocheting with the new shades of the Galaxy DK (which haven't yet made it onto the internet yet - that's a job for today...). I was making a tea cosy and V was making some sort of small triangular shawl that you might have heard of.... Here's a photo of the new colours in case you missed it/aren't on facebook: 

I think I may finally have found love. 

P.P.S It has now reached the internet - click here for the Galaxy DK.

And I've also added the Knit Now magazine because we're now a stockist and this is dangerous for me because it's all I want to read all day..... 

Monday, 7 January 2013

New Year

Ooof. I made a joke with a customer before Christmas that the New Year doesn't really start until the 2nd (possibly the 3rd) because of the horrendous hangover. This year it really hasn't started at all yet due to a terrible hangover and then the. worst. cold. ever. I've never felt so bad over a sustained period of time. Horrific. I managed to walk to the Coop today, bought some chicken soup, forgot some custard and now I'm wiped out. Wow. But the walk gave me some thinking time and having just read Sue's post I was reminded that I wrote some resolutions last year - let's have a look see if I've managed them.

1). Get a printer for the shop. Alright, that's a bit of a cheat I bought one today and it's a beaut!

Haha. I love a good cheat. Done!

2). Tidy more consistently.

Hmmmm. I think we were doing quite well until I went a bit mental in November. I've got some good ideas though - all written out in a plan. 
3). Restock the shelves every day.
No.... Terrible. I'm less anal about this, which may or may not be a good thing. the feedback has been that we don't necessarily need nice straight lines but I'd like to make sure that all colours are out at all times. I have plans again. 

4). Keep up to date with my figures.
No. Oh god. Where did I go wrong!?!?

5). Make many many more shop samples.

YES! YES YES YES! I've done bloody tonnes! Off the top of my head I've done three full size adult garments and a load of little bits and bobs this year. A good few hats. There's not much in the shop that one of us hasn't worked with which is marvelous. 

6). Write some patterns.

YES! YES YES YES YES YES! This year I have written:

The Great British Granny Shrug

Some Cute Little Sheepy Things

The Moss Cowl

A Quick Scarf

Another Bloody Cowl

Somehow I thought I'd done more than that - I've had ideas a plenty but not much time to put them into practice. It seems.

I also promise more regular blogging.

I can say a big yes to this one - we've done 30 more posts this year than last, maybe that's to do with the March thing. I'm happy with that. 

I'm seriously knacked so I'll post this. Have a nap. And then I've decided to write a plan for next year. Then ask the universe to help me. 

Thanks for this year guys - it's been immense!

Love Eleanor. 

P.s. If this is as good as my end of year/beginning of a new year pots gets then I really ought to mention that we are still absolutely thrilled and delighted that you lot voted us the third best yarn shop. That's been my highlight! Thank you!!!!!

Sunday, 6 January 2013

New Year resolutions

No, not the usual lose weight, get fit blah blah blah but the more woolly type. Have you made any this year? I wonder how many people start with...

1 finish all WIP............ although you have no idea where they all are
2 Knit up all stash.......yes even the really weird stuff that you bought ten years ago and have never found a use for it/managed to knit it
3 etc, etc,etc 

Looking at my blog, I posted this as general resolutions

 I really want to revisit Bobbin Lace although I think I may have to go back to basics with it, maybe pick a book off the shelf and work back through the first few lessons.

Already made a start on this one, maybe some of you may like to try this some day?


The inkle looms need some use, so I plan to work through the inkle weavers handbook some more then try designing my own bands.

Again I've started playing using some dark blue and some white acrylic yarn, also playing with a few design ideas and will keep you posted. 


The strange thing is that I have an urge to learn to play a musical instrument, in the previous post you may have read that we have swapped an electric guitar for something else, well the something else will probably not arrive until Easter time so I'll let you guess what it may be :-)

This may sound a strange one for a fibrenut like me but goes back to when I was maybe 8 or 9 years old and was offered the chance to learn to play Guitar, banjo or ukulele. I chose guitar but have always sort of regretted not choosing one of the others so we traded the electric guitar for a banjo!!

  I have thought about trying to keep a record of how much I spin and how much fibre I buy !! have now realised just how scary that may be  :-)

Especially since by the 4 January I had already bought a new drop spindle and 1kilo plus of fibre!! photos of spindle to follow soon.
Anyway, first up on my round up of things woolly since last time is this. Yes, I finished the fingerless mitts for my friend just before the really cold weather set in before Christmas.
I  bought about 120gm of sari waste from a friend at guild ( unwanted and unloved)
So I now have some sari yarn to play with on my small loom at some point.
The last of the Jacob singles..........this means I have spun my first whole fleece ! whoo whoo!! I've also managed a skein of Shetland and skein of what may be the last of the polworth, not sure until I do a stock take of my stash.
On the needles.....not a lot( But I have decided that I really want to knit the EZ 100th Anniversary Camping Half-Circle shawl and have some organic merino stashed away ready to spin for this.)   on the wheel at the moment it is back to the oxford fleece and I'm on bobbin 3 since Christmas due to having treated myself to some wool combs two weeks ago and being desperate to play with them.
I suspect that this yarn will be sent out to Italy once it is finished although I find the idea of knitting and wearing mittens in Venice a little strange.

On the home front, hubby has succumbed to the nasty cough/cold/flu bug and I'm hoping that I don't catch it again, So far I've managed to catch it twice or maybe it never really went away. After having time off work for that I went and fell over managing to pull a muscle/trap a nerve near my hip so was promptly forced int taking it easy again!
 I hope you all had a great Christmas and have a wonderful New Year xx