SHE'S COMING ALL THE WAY FROM CANADA TO TEACH FOR US!!!! Little ol' us! LITTLE OL' US!!!
CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?! Because I bloody can't! I bloody can't!!!
Let me rewind a bit. So, last Tuesday (I think) I checked the e-mails unnaturally early (I usually work up to it around 4 o'clock, bad business owner...) and there was one from Amy Singer. It crossed my mind that it might be her but then I though 'nah, it's obvs a well named customer' so I answered all the other queries and only got round to reading it when my sister was on the phone (telling me some awesome news). I went silent and felt a bit sick before reading it out to her and Caroline, my miserable sister who's always taking the mick out of me was as stunned as I was! It was AMY SINGER!!!
Amy sent me a list of the lessons that she can teach and they all sound excellent! Mostly they have a 'how to design' bent to them or at least how to really understand your knitting which is almost like designing anyway and I want to do them alllllll!!! Every single one! But we'll have to see what people fancy won't we?!
So the rest of the day was taken up by arranging meetings with hotels and museums and nice places to book as a venue. The shop isn't suitable being so small and, let's face it, a bit of a mess... So I've been in contact with the Contemporary (still snotty btw... I think I'll give up altogether with them), Wollaton Hall, the Galleries of Justice, all sorts of places!!! I went somewhere today that I've never been to before, in the centre of town with car parking and disabled access and I LOVED IT! V. posh!!!!! The price is good so I'm almost confirmed there I just need to take a peek around the private areas of the Galleries to see whether they'd be suitable (I really kind of hope they aren't because I don't want to have to make an actual decision...).
Then, ugh, on my way to seeing a hotel (which would have been too expensive anyway) I slipped over on a pavement outside of the Post Office and sprained my ankle. Balance. So for a few days I was feeling a bit miserable and not doing much but I am back. on. it. now. :)
So today I visited that lovely place and then I e-mailed Amy and now it's all confirmed that she's coming (unless something monstrous happens like the other shops pull out I suppose). CAN YOU BELIEVE IT!?
So now I have to think of a billionty things like actually signing for the venue and promotion and getting it on the website and what I should charge and hotels and food and oh god. Just one little step at a time.
For a bit of forward planning, Amy will be coming to Nottingham in early October so keep your diaries empty and I'll be back here asap with details of how to book.
CAN YOU BELIEVE IT!?!?
Soooo, we have a few options as to what lessons to put on. Here they are roughly:
Lace Shawl Designing,
Textured Shawl Designing,
Textured Sweater Designing,
Random Cable Design,
Making Lace Friendly,
How to Make it as a Knit Designer,
Silk Spindle Spinning (for beginners).
Now, there are a couple that I really want to do myself so I'm crossing my fingers that you choose those ones but really, just hypothetically, tell me what you would do if money/dates weren't an issue? It'll help me work out what to do when.
Right, the Royal Mail put their prices up a month or so ago (maybe longer, the near past has melded into one long slog), and we're having to too. We cut our prices to the bone so we can't afford to take the hit I'm afraid. We've followed the prices from Royal Mail quite consistently plus 50p for our packaging costs. So we now charge £3.50 for a small package, £6.15 for a medium package and £9.40 for bigger packages.
Royal Mail have really buggered it up for us because yarn, on the whole, is big but light. So we might have something that measures for a medium parcel but weighs for a small parcel (a ball of Grousemoor Aran) and we'd still be charged the medium parcel price. That's over twice as much whereas before it would have been £2.70. Brill! Thanks RM and Queenie - loving that work.
Our website allows us to either charge shipping by weight or price, not size. So I've had to take a punt that 500g will make a small parcel and over that will make a medium one. We won't get it right every time - so we will be losing some money in places but I must say that with our old pricing system we were losing money on every single order so this makes things better for us.
Now, I will also say that this smooooooooooooths out the postal prices considerably, we used to have about seven different prices dependent on weight but we now have three. Got to be a good thing.
I hope it works and that nobody's too angry with us. There was a woman in the shop yesterday who kept trying to haggle with me (and steal, though I couldn't work out if that was on purpose and it was sorted before she left the shop...), telling me that she was just a poor pensioner and I should be 'reasonable'. Well, I'm just a poor young person. The whole country's in a pickle and there isn't anything that I can do about it but offer a good service at the best price I can. And this is my best price. I do reserve the right to change it again though, depending on how it works out (it could even go down I suppose!).
So, there's my explanation of the price - now a bit of a rant about html...
Sooooo, websites, as far as I can work out are a bit like computers in that there are lots of files within files saved in public places with links between those files. So, the page here:
is a file somewhere, stored in the back of our website.
I'd already found the way to change the actual postage but I can't really do that without explaining upfront the prices can I? So this had to be changed first and the postage it last.
I couldn't find it anywhere!!!!!! It took most of yesterday just bloody finding the thing and in the end I had to ask on a forum and it was solved within minutes but now I can't find the forum to say thank you to whoever helped me.
Anyway - I found it and changed it. Boom. But then I noticed that the first paragraph needed changing because it said that we posted only on Tuesdays and Saturdays. That was based on Liese and Sue doing the postage rather than me but since Liese has moved away and Sue is too busy so that's fallen to me and June who can do it most days really.
So I wrote a nice paragraph explaining that in informal lovely language. Saved. Checked. Shit. There's a 'syntax error on line 17'. What on earth does that mean!?!?! I've still no idea but somehow it came to me that it was the bloody apostrophes! My website doesn't like apostrophes!!! WHAT ON EARTH!? Is that normal for websites?! I've seen apostrophes on websites before? So I took them all out which has left me with a somewhat awkward and formal sounding paragraph but it gets the point across so never mind.
Right, off to do some knitting now, after 1.5 hours of internetting I think I deserve it!
There's a little haiku for you. Holidays do me good. :)
I want want want want want a bigger shop. We've talked about it for ages and I started a month or so ago squirreling money away for the purpose - to let the universe know that this. is. my. plan. Jonathon Cainer says that today I should have a 'young head on old shoulders' and keep a sense of fun and lightness about my being and my other horoscope says that I have a tremendous amount of luck coming my way! PLEASE!!!! I also dropped a mirror today, properly smashable speed and velocity and it didn't break or splinter or crack. Surely luck is coming my way!?!?! I'm crossing my fingers and touching wood.
SOOOOOOOOO - How's about a fundraiser!? A good old fashioned day of fun for kids and families with a craft fair and raffle and knitting/crochet lessons at first leading to a boozey night with live music, bingo and dancers later on?!!?!?!?! YEAH!? Good idea!!!! DEAD GOOD!
The ideas that we've come up with so far are that it's going to be carnival themed and called KNIT NOTTINGHAM'S CARNI-WOOL!!! How good it that!? Marsh Marsh came up with it. :):)
We've thought about a craft fair, cake stand, face painting, balloons, live music, wine tasting, bingo, raffles, pub quiz, burlesque dancers and naked waiters. Of course, not all of this will happen but wouldn't it be bloody good!
In terms of the craft fair - I know a lot of you will want to be part of it but hold your horses because we'll sort that at a later date with a call out. You'll be the first to know!!!
In terms of anything else - ideas!?!?!?!?! Help!?!?!?!?! Good idea?!!?!?!
Because I've missed you! I'm glad to be back which makes me feel a but guilty... Shall I start with the shit bits and then we can get on with the good stuff?
1. The hotel owner (and one of my fellow holiday makers) told me that Nigel Farage was 'her kind of man' She also had a really weird wobbly way of being that put me on edge...
2. I was sat with three ostensibly lovely old folk - Ron, Iris and Ethel. We got on swimmingly until Iris got it into her head that I didn't know I was fat and needed reminding at every opportunity, especially when I was knackered after a 2 hour hill walk. She did it with a horrid smiling face and of course I've thought of a tonne of responses now to wipe that sickly smile off her face. She lives in Ilkeston so I may see her again. Can't wait.
3. The weather was atrocious.
4. I got a cold.
5. My cat Lily died while I was away.
6. There's been a lot of stress happening at home and I don't think I made it clear enough how I didn't want to hear about it until I got home.
Now, onto the good stuff!
So, I went to ILFRACOMBE! In Devon. It's somewhere I went as a child and I only vaguely remembered it but I did remember Combe Martin which is right around the corner and I really wanted to go there. I was going to on the Tuesday (the first full day) but we ended up going to Bideford instead which was... fine. I'd have preferred to spend the only really sunny day we had walking to Combe Martin and enjoying the beach but that's life ain't it!?
Anyway, back to Ilfracombe. We set off about 10.30 and got in at about half four ish which is a good long day but so much time left before bed! The first thing I did was rush down to the beach and had a swim. OH it felt so good! There is nothing like icy cold English sea on a hot day after you've travelled for miles and miles. :)
Then I had a bit of a wander but wanted to get back to the hotel for dinner. The dinners were fine - nothing to write home about. The hotel was fine - the view from my window just about sums it up:
Clean and tidy but not at all impressive. The bed was comfy though, I had one of the best naps ever on Wednesday afternoon.
After dinner on the first night I decided to take my knitting by the seashore and sit and watch the sunset. I managed that for about five minutes until I saw somebody else coming down from the hill to the right:
That one there.
I try and avoid hills when I'm at home so by the time I got to the top I thought I was going to die. I hung around for a while - found this little statue:
It was funded by the family of a German girl that fell to her death there not that long ago (like 2002 or something). Put me on edge a bit...
From the top of the hill I could see a coastal path and I had no idea where it led so naturally, as it was getting dark and I was on my own in a strange place with virtually no phone battery left, I walked it. And I'm so glad that I did because the views were STUNNING! Let me show you:
It's been a long time since I've seen an impressive sunset. I couldn't believe my luck, especially as I'd just happened upon the path.
At the end of that little jaunt was the harbour and the controversial Verity statue. I didn't like it at all. Nobody had warned me that her skin was pealing off and you could see all of her insides, muscles and the baby. Ugh.
But I must say it was spectacular from far away!
The harbour wasn't much fun - at that time of night there's not a lot of stuff going on and the boy racers take over, shouting and driving too fast. A bit scary really. I also didn't find a pub that I felt really comfortable in which is always a disappointment. I look for one on the edge of the beach, nice and cheap, relaxed. But there was nothing. I did find this little shop though:
You can't really see but it's a needlework shop on a back street just up from the harbour and it does look as it a pirate could live there. I'm sure there's a history to it. When I went on Wednesday to have a look inside they were shut for lunch and I didn't manage to get up to that end of town at the right time again. Oh well.
I went to bed exhausted that day. Why is travelling so tiring!??!
In Bideford the next day I spent more time in the Post Office than any where else but I had a very. important. parcel to send so it had to be done (hadn't really thought of the effect of Bank Holiday Monday when all the biddies in Bideford need to get their money though...). I had some lovely fish and chips:
Best batter I've ever had.
In the evening I went for a walk at the top of the cliff towards the left hand side rather than the right. Nothing much so say about it but I was pleased to have found the Tunnels Beaches because I'd been finding street signs around and about but they all seemed to abruptly stop by my hotel - probably because the beach was by my hotel. I just couldn't bring myself to believe how well it was placed.
Here's what the Tunnels Beaches looks like from above:
It has the most interesting history this place. Essentially it's four or so beaches connected by tunnels drilled into the cliffs surrounding it. It was drilled sometime in the early 1800's I think (Regency period or so which is my favourite historical period at the mo... ). There were separate beaches for men and women. They built 'pools' which are essentially just walls in the sea and every time the tide comes in, they're completely covered and the water refreshes each time. The next day I actually made it down there in the morning and had a lovely swim whilst the sun was peeking out.
I didn't get a good photo of the pool but look at this stunner looking towards the town:
Stunning isn't it??!
Hang on, I think I've just found a photo of the pool that I went swimming in:
I think that's it anyway. Such a stunning place to go swimming! I love wild swimming. Really must have a look to see what's going on around Nottingham.
Then towards the left hand side of that pool there were some rocks and and way they were shaped formed lovely little rock pools. I really wasn't prepared for a rock pool day. I had a floaty dress, flip-flops and a shawl on. So I bought some wetsuit boots from the shop, tied my shawl under my arms behind my back and shoved my hand bag on the long strap towards my back. I must have looked a right sight! I trundled and climbed my way around the rock pools for a good two hours. The sun was out and I was pleased!
I found a crab - can you seem him!?
Then I went back to the hotel and got ready for a day around town, hoping to find a wool shop and I did!
The outside reminds me a lot of our little shop - it's a bit nicer but the feel of it is similar I think.
Inside I found BUTTONS!!! Hundreds and thousands of them!!!! I bought two different kinds, one for something I want to make and some for a present that I want to make, maybe one day. There wasn't that much wool, it was mainly King Cole and Patons so I didn't think I'd be buying but then this caught my eye:
Yes, it's Patons Cotton DK in a colour that I've never seen before. The lady couldn't work out if it was a very old colour or a very new colour but I thought that if it's very old I ought to buy it because I love it and if it's very new then I'll have something worked up in it before it comes into the shop. :) I'm crocheting a shawl in it, one that wraps around and ties at the back so a bit like a shrug kind of. Reminds me of the lady that talks to the bees in Larkrise to Candleford. It's nearly finished but I only bought three balls so I may need to work something else with it at the bottom. I reckon it'll be done tonight at knit club.
Which brings me on to what else I was knitting. THE holiday knitting. Remember? Well, technically it was started on the Sunday before we went but setup rows don't count do they? I thought I'd get a good few inches done on the bus but somehow it didn't... This is what it looked like about half way through the journey:
That's not even the first repeat... Oh well. The rest of the holiday didn't go much better to be fair. I never found a place where I felt comfortable to sit. and. knit. Which is a shame because that's more or less all I look for in a holiday - still pining for the lovely little pub at the edge of the beach in Bournemouth.
When I got home I spent two days in bed so a bit more has got done but it's still not half way through yet! I have sewn in 99% of the ends on the front though which must take as much time as the bloody knitting! It'll get done but much slower now I can't bugger everything else off and knit for myself.
So, back to Ilfracombe...
I found a CHOCOLATE MUSEUM! I didn't go to the museum I just dawdled around the shop and drooled a bit. I settled on some chocolate with fudge in it for my dad and some sugar free chocolate (which genuinely tasted like the real thing) for my mum. Then I bought myself a gift: Port made with some sort of chocolate liqueur. Oh. My. MMMMMMMMMMMMM. Delish!!! I managed to save some to share with my mum but it was difficult! Lethal too - the best kind of booze!!!!!!!!!
Gorgeous shop and lovely lovely people. If you know anybody with diabetes I thoroughly recommend the sugar free chocolate. If you like booze as much as me I recommend the chocolate port. MmmMmmMmm.
At lunch I went to this cute little cafe:
I had made a decision in the morning to sit outside and sit outside I did. In the rain. I had a crab salad which was one of the items on the eating-list. I wanted fish and chips, crab salad, cream tea, cornish pasty and some fudge. I think that's why the 'lady' from my table thought badly of me - having a list of food that I must eat when I'm in a certain place is probably weird but seriously, all of that stuff is shit in Nottingham ain't it? Anyway...
My final stop on the jaunt into Ilfracombe town was the museum described as 'your granny's attic'. Not my granny... It was a bit weird to be fair. Lots of bits and bobs of nothing but there was tonnes of it! Could have spent hours and still not seen everything. I spent a good hour and a half there and it's really only two rooms so that's quite a feat! There were those horrid drawers of moths, butterflies and beetles:
And then... hidden away amongst the creepy crawlies... really. old. wedding cake...
Some of it was from the 1880's!!!
After dinner I decided to go on the Torrs Walk:
Somebody had told me about it during the day and when I found out it was National Trust I had to do it. I love the National Trust. It's about three miles and more or less circular, taking you up the side of a big hill (I'd call it a mountain but I'm sure it's not). It zig zags up to the top where there's a little tower and then takes you down the other side of the hill more or less straight through fields. Fabulous views of the coast path and the sea on the way up and countryside over looking the town on the way back down. Gorgeous. I thought it might take two hours or so with lots of stopping and staring and photo taking. However, once I'd got through the foresty bit that gets you onto the the path, and taken this photo:
(It looks foreign doesn't it? Beautiful!) I noticed a bloke behind me. He stopped when I stopped and started when I started so I though 'oh shit'. I got my phone out and dialled 999 ready and got my crochet hook out, thought about where to get him and where best to walk so I could grab on. Ha. He walked past eventually, said a cheery 'evening' and not much more but after that I felt all het up so I bombed the rest of the walk. Stopping to take photos and not much else. Sad really because the sunset was stunning.
When I got to the top there were sheep all across the path to the torr. In my stressed out head they were killers and would headbutt me over the edge at the slightest bit of bother so I took some photos of them and headed home.
There's only one sheep there but I assure you there were more and they were KILLERS!
So I headed home, slowly dawdling through the streets. I found this retirement home:
Imagine retiring here!!! By the sea!!!
And then I rounded the corner, past a dull looking church and heard the most fabulous singing in my life! Like something out of the Sound of Music. I took this video but I don't think you can hear very well. try anyway because it's like a mermaid's singing. Seriously.
By this time my cold was developing so I went to bed with my delicious port hoping that it would be gone in the morning for me to walk to Combe Martin.
Of course it wasn't... So I went on the day trip with the old folk instead. We coach tripped through some countryside *yawn*. Seriously, who wants to drive through countryside? I know you're old but you can't enjoy that? Wouldn't you rather go from village to village rather than just windy old roads? Hmm.
We went to a village called Dunster which was lovely. I had no idea what it was about but as soon as we got there and saw the old Yarn Market I knew I'd been there before and bought sweets in the shape of bow ties that tasted beautiful and waited for ages for my sister. It all came flooding back. :)
That's Dunster's Yarn Market.
On the way back to the hotel the lovely coach driver, Eric, dropped me off in Combe Martin but the weather was hideous and I was feeling pretty coldy terrible by then. So I got a photo of Combe Martin on the beach and retreated into a nice pub where some people were talking about being from Nottingham which was nice.
That's the beach at Combe Martin and if you look closely there are some caravans at the top of the cliff on the left hand side - my mum once single-handedly stopped our caravan rolling off the edge and into the abyss there. Good memories.
When I got back to Ilfracombe after manically searching for the bus stop for the bus that comes once an hour I decided not to spend the evening with my fellow holidaymakers so headed to a pub on the harbour past the beach. The sea was wild! And the tide was really far in. Beautiful.
Ooooh that's a good one!!!
All in all I was pretty happy to be home. Looking back now it was a nice little holiday - always good to get away but some snotty people can ruin your day with just one little comment. I'm going to remember that from now on.
Learning that Lily had died didn't surprise me, she'd stopped eating about a week ago and has been looking frail for maybe five years. Ha. So many times we've thought 'that's it, it's over, bye lovely Lil' and then she's pulled through. She was happy to the end though, still enjoying chin tickles and shouting at us for not feeding her at five o'clock prompt even though she was only having a sip of water and going back to bed. She got very loud by the end because of how deaf she was. She was at least 20 years old, but I think closer to 22 from my memories of when we got her from my childminder. She's buried in the garden with her brother Quintus who died at about two years old - wonder if she remembers him? Lovely Lil.
God I don't half rattle on ey? There's not enough time to check this before knit club so I'll post it now and check it later.
Gosh. It's pub knitting again this week which means that I have missed out about a month of my life. Things are getting back on track though and I want to do a bullet-point(y kinda post, you know me, I can't shut up enough for bullet points).
1). New patterns on the internet! Lots of SUMMERY garments and some intarsia (oooooooooh). I bloody love intarsia I just haven't made up my mind what I'm going to knit (and how I'm going to fit it in....).
2. On a similar note - I don't know if you lot have noticed but we have a sale pattern folder in the shop. It looks v. inspiring:
Jokes. But it's full of lovely little patterns that are either for yarns that we no longer stock, or some that we inherited from another yarn shop and now, some that have been blue-tacked/sellotaped to the wall so the edges might have been caught or the picture may have faded but the words and the design are still fine.
Best thing about this?! PAAAAAAHND! That's right, every pattern in here is just one of your Great British Pounds. The folder sits on the same shelf as the other patterns and they don't appear on the internet because it's too much bother to keep up to date with these ones seeing as they're mainly in singles. If I was better at marketing I'd called that an 'exclusive in-shop offer'. So next time you're scanning the pattern shelf, give this lonely little folder a go.
3). I've done the window!!! All the while I was singing 'Step into Christmas' which more or less explains how long it's been since I've done the window (not quite but you know...). I cleaned the window inside and out with newspaper and everything and it's so shiny I can't even begin to get a good photo so you'll have to put up with this:
I'm dead proud because all of the yarn moves from blue and purple, through teal and turquoise to bright limey greens! Best window ever! But there's no rhyme or reason to the yarns chosen and it was too much of an effort to price everything individually so I'll have a think about that. Hope it doesn't put people off thinking 'if I have to ask the price I probably can't afford it'. Not true!!!!
4). Things have slowed down a little on the Yarndale front but we still have four places left so if you know anybody or their grandma who wants to come then make sure to let them know. Yarndale have now opened out their online booking process so we'll be getting tickets in advance (because so many of you have booked that's now part of the package). We'll be doing that either once everybody's booked or on the 30th of June - whichever is easiest.
5). I'm going on my hols next week so if you want me for anything then get in contact now. June will be in all week and she's a fab knitter so don't hold back but if it's me you want then let me know. Just found out that Verity it magically in the same place at the same time so I shall be spending Tuesday on the beach with Alf and Vezza in our (almost) matching swimming costumes! Isn't that brill!?
6). This is a big one! Dee of Singing Bird Artist fame has an exhibition!!!! It's been a long time coming and a lot of hard work on her part and I'm dead proud and excited and I'll even be back from my holiday!
She'll be a better descriptor of her work and what it means (and believe me there are many many layers) but as far as I can see it's about colour, fluidity, yarn, play and recycling. The piece will be hung amongst the trees to blow around and twinkle in the wind and there will be a picnic on the first day where we can sit and knit and appreciate being outside after a long winter. Joy!!! You are all invited. :)
Isn't that a fab poster!? Photography by Keith Turner and the rest of the (beautiful) art work is by Dee.
I think that's it. Not as many bullet points as I was expecting but maybe I'll have another one to add before I post this (I'm writing on Monday and hopefully posting on Tuesday).
Love Eleanor. :)
Right - this didn't get posted yesterday so I now have LOTS more to tell you. :)
Firstly - I moved the shop around!!!!! It's summer ain't it and the shop's been looking a bit shabby for a month or so so I thought it was time and just got stuck in yesterday. I didn't sit down yesterday at all (apart from to answer e-mails as discussed at knitting group...). I even ate my lunch standing up to create an air of urgency. Moving the shop around is quite a job with the space being so small so it's a bit like one of those tile toy things - like this:
Anyway, done and dusted now. The cottons and summer yarns are to the right as you walk in the door. They look like this:
OMG OMG OMG OMG isn't it LOVELY!?!?!?!?!? It reminds me of jumpers when I went through an 'ugly jumper' phase. I love love love love love it and have been thinking about it every day since it was released over a year ago! I've chosen my colours:
And borrowed the pattern from June:
And I am GET, SET AND GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
SO excited about my holiday!!!
And then finally, proper finally this time, I've just discovered this:
Which is the Happypotamus by Heidi Bears and it is just CRYING OUT to be made in this. Please somebody make my day/week/month/life!
And now I really do feel like we've caught up. I'm sure I will but if I don't get back on by the time I go on holiday then see you sooooon and I'll miss you and I'll diligently hunt out ALL of the yarn in that little corner of Devon (though I have a sinking feeling that there aren't any LYS's... Maybe we could start a Knit Combe Martin?).
Love love love love love,
Actually we haven't caught up. I have a rant. I'll keep it short and sweet.
We bank with RBS. I took some money in last week to bank and thought it was around £250. The cashier counted it not once, not twice but thrice (and I was watching her) and the final receipt said £380 something. Which is possible - it's not unknown that I've been that far off... Anyway, they ring me on Monday saying that their till was down and that they were just going to take £100 out of my account and I was so stunned, gobsmacked and shocked that I said yes. When I spoke to my mum she told me to get angry. The cashier may have made a mistake but that's not my fault! So I rang back and shouted a bit and the manager said she'll pass it on to her higher ups. Fine. Didn't hear anything yesterday so I rang back this morning thinking that they'd forgotten me, all ready to shout but the lady said that they were putting it back into my account today. Quite pissing right you are lady! But I couldn't be cross even when she blamed me saying that I had to know to the penny what I was putting in the bank etc etc etc. Of course I should, but they'll still be counting it and typing it in so that doesn't stop that mistake does it? Anyway, doesn't matter now because when I'm back off holiday we're going with the Co-op. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it RBS.