Thursday, 31 October 2013

Speaking Too Soon A.K.A. Flying By The Seat Of My Pants

I HAVE A SECRET! It's probably not a massive secret but it's my last commission ever (stop laughing people) and it really is my last commission it's a big bloody massive headache. You may have heard about it in the shop because I can't keep my mouth closed but if you haven't heard about it in the shop then hopefully it will remain a secret by the end of this post.

I have a headache and it's my fault because I've lost my glasses and I've spend around 10 hours over the last few days staring intently at small boxes on a computer screen. I can pretty much type without looking and I want to drink some coffee to see if I can get rid of this headache before I commence the next stage and this will be a big blurrrrrrrge onto the page which will hopefully leave you with no clue as to the reasons behind my project. It's a little delve into my brain anyway - everybody's got to enjoy that - right?

So, I'm knitting a Christmas jumper:

This much you already know. 

On the front of this Christmas jumper there needs to be a lion. A lion from the Square to be precise. I said yes. I'm a tit. This much you already know. 

Last Thursday I began thinking about the process in earnest. It's for a 'large man'. What the bloody hell is a 'large man'?. I've gone for around 44-46" chest because that's just a bit bigger than me and I have boobs and I'm a 'large woman'. Does that make sense? Is that what you'd do? Walking up to Dee's last Thursday I did some maths in my head. This was going to be aran therefore 4.5 stitches per inch (spi). 44 divided by 2 (for the front/back) is 22. 22 times 4.5 is apparently 144. Yeah. That's the extent of my maths in my head... 

So, on this basis I decided that I needed a lion pattern around about 96 stitches wide. Ravelry does not do such a thing. I needed to think about it myself. Not having graph paper with me I decided to have a go at some bits and bobs. This is what I ended up with: 

Quite a look, I'm sure you'll agree. The bottom two bits of white are some sort of attempt at the legs, the middle thing is obviously some sort of head and the top thing needs explaining. 

See, I've had in my mind for a while that instarsia is too blocky. I remembered that the last time I sat down and watched This Morning in full (a couple of years ago... before the shop...) they were talking about pixellated florals and how brill they were. Something like this: 

So, I kind of got to thinking that if something is pixellated then other stuff needs to be not pixellated. Yeah? Which means that we need nice smoooooooooooth edges. Which means that where one colours meets another we always want it to be at the same point and we can do that by increasing at one edge and decreasing at another there would be a nice smooth angle. Following?

I thought this would be perfect for the lion and his lovely smooth nose and mighty mane but I also had in my head that if I did my increasing/decreasing on the right side and purled back (phew, love them purl rows...) that I'd get any angle I wanted. But of course, you only ever get one angle if you do this. And I think it's about 60 degrees: 

But obviously, I'll need other angles, so I did the triangle thing with one side increasing and decreasing on every knit row and the other side increasing and decreasing on the knits and purls. That came out with a 45 degree angle:

Both useful. And that triangle was just my practice. Here it is again incase you're interested after the explanation:

And here are my lovely smooth joins.

Good aren't they? I won't use them for every bit of it but I will use it for the nose, the muscles and the mane I think. 

On a connected note, I also thought about double decreases for bits where I need a quick decrease but I decided after swatching to separate the accompanying increases by a row otherwise it looks dead bunched up. 
SOOOOOOOOOO. I got that far and thought, 'brill, I'll sort a pattern out this week'. Then I realised that the yarn I wanted to use was already cast on with a one by one rib! Last year I started a Christmas sweater for me in the Grousemoor Aran in the Cranberry colour but not got any further than partially through the rib... tit. But you knew that already didn't you?  Luckily though, it had 244 stitches exactly so I carried on knitting rib for a bit! Perfect! Only... not perfect.... because I didn't need 244 did I? It was actually 144. But actually it wasn't 144, because 22 times 4.5 isn't 144, it's 99 isn't it? And even if I carry on with the 244 rib stitches and then put half of those on hold to do the front and then pick the rest up for the back, 99 times two isn't 244. It's not even close to 244. It is, in fact, 46 stitches different which at this gauge equates to around 10 inches. 10 inches different. Fml. 

Ripped. Restarted.

Then I decided I needed a chart and started looking around for my squared paper which I couldn't find but whilst I was searching I became less and less sure at how artistic I was and so decided to look for a knitting pattern generator that I'd seen years ago. I found this one and downloaded it. I also downloaded GIMP and followed their (sparse) instructions to sort a photo of a lion out so that it could be made into a pattern. There was a lot of youtubing... 

I went from this:

To this: 

And it only took about 2.5 hours... Inordinately proud. Inordinately. 

Then they told you to cut the colours down to three, so I did: 

I thought that you can still see enough of the detail for that to be fine, yeah? 

Then you upload it to the program and they give you a pattern. Only it doesn't sometimes and I don't know why. But on the third time of running the photo through the program and getting more and more frustrated because I thought the hard bit was over, it worked! Only... there are 1000 pixels across that picture and that meant that there were 1000 stitches in the pattern. Also, it tells you about every single line, so it wasn't until about half way through that the actual pattern starts. AND. It was bloody written. Who writes intarsia patterns anyway? So. Balls to it.

I shut the computer down and went to the pub (which may be another cause of the headache). Talking to boyf, who is a geek of the highest order, last night it occurred to me that I may be able to pixellate the image and use that. So I found out how to do that this morning, more frantic googling, and ended up with this: 

 Note, I also cut most of the black out. But.... The edges are almost too blurry. So what I did in the end was essentially, decide where the outline was myself and transfer that pixel for pixel onto an excel spreadsheet (it looks a bit squashed because of the ratio between stitch and row height, I think...)(...I hope...):

The blue thing was something that I think is probably, maybe, going to be in red. All other details will either be chain or running stitched on later. Except maybe the eye. 
So, I have to print this out, work out some sort of code for the increase/decrease change overs and what are the stepped increases and then I can start knitting. However, I may or may not make changes to the outline as I go - only by a stitch or row or so though - for example I think the leg looks kind of thick. Do you? Did you notice that I wrote (top of the nose) by the nose? Just in case I couldn't see that. Ha.

And the reason that this is called 'speaking too soon' is that I think I'm sorted now but, like the rest of this process, I'm almost certainly not. Something else will happen that makes my life a bit of a nightmare. Obvs. But right now, I'm pretty happy with myself.

LOVE. xx

P.s. I've read and rewritten so much of this blog and I'm sure half of it doesn't make sense. If it doesn't make sense to you then blame me because it's almost certainly my fault... 

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Dee and Vezza. < 3


I've got real work to do so here I am - blogging....

I want to talk about my two friends Dee and Verity. I met them both through the shop and they're both now brilliant friends in their own right. I think I do them good too but most definitely they're better to me.

When we won our award they got it into their heads to get the Post down celebrate our win. Dee was going to make a cake (have I told you how much I adore her cakes?) and make a tiara and Verity was going to get all of our friends down and this was all in secret and the Post were going to turn up with a photographer and it was going to be a big celebration and it was going to be brill! BUT. Bloody Post. They ran the story a day early. Without a photo and without a presentation of cake or tiara (which turned into a rosette because of practical concerns involving wire and nobody stocking alice bands anymore...).

Out of nowhere last week (or maybe the week before now, doesn't time fly?) Dee messaged me to ask me if she could come the next day to discuss our Big Issue Big Knit (which I will blog about soon) and I was all like 'nahhh, I'm too busy. Too stressed. Too much stuff to do. Can we talk about it on the day we're already meeting?' and then she had to ring me and explain that she wanted to present the cake and the rosette because the secret had been let out by the bloody Post. On the phone I nearly cried. What a thing to organise! And what a thing to ruin. Bloody Post.

We decided to go with it anyway and arranged that Dee and Verity would come down on the Friday and we'd just have a bit of a knit and natter and eat cake. And then I got a phone call out of the blue on Thursday from the Post telling me that I'd been nominated (by another lovely customer who's become a friend) for Businesswoman of the Year. Ha. If only they knew how much time I spend flying by the seat of my pants. They wanted to come on Friday to take photos and a bit of an interview. I spoke to Dee and we fitted everything in and it was all going to be brill.

Then Verity came down with a vomiting bug. Then the photographer came 40 minutes early - before I'd put make up on or finished tidying the shop. Then the door started doing this horrendous noise thing. Seriously, I've never heard anything like it. So Friday was one big stress.

 But let me show you the beautiful things:

My beautiful rosette.

A nice photo of me. Isn't it funny how people that like you take loads better photos than people that don't? Thanks Dee.

Two of my favourite customers and a grumpy husband (who doesn't look so grumpy here but sorry anyway Ken) in the middle. ;) He's useful though, he was the one with a knife to cut the cake...

THE cake. I've only just realised that this is a bit 'oriental' (how completely vague) looking and one thing that I really enjoy doing with Dee is playing mahjong. Can you tell that it says 'No 1 LYS'? I couldn't. Ha. But that didn't matter as soon as you tasted it. Phwoar!!! 

In the end it was a lovely day. No thanks to the bloody Post. Ha. The photographer (or journalist I suppose) chose a horrendous photo for the article. Seriously. And all of my friends have said that it doesn't look like me but I'm getting recognised all the time like an actual celebrity and it always takes me by surprise and I'm never ready for a chat with my public so they probably think I'm right snooty. Let's hope they all find the blog post and realise what a fart I am...The article is here if you want to read it, but I suggest closing your eyes for a second whilst scrolling and then you'll never have to see that photo. Bloody post.

And with that, I'm off. There's tonnes to tell you but I'm working on a top secret Christmas project: 

And I think I may have just worked up the enthusiasm to count stitches, rows and then work out an excel pattern for the biiiiiig picture that has to be on the front.
Love to all Knit Nottinghamites but especially to my two beautiful and talented and bloody marvelous friends, Dee and Vezza. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

P.s. I hope anybody from the Post reading this knows that 'bloody Post' is tongue in cheek. We mega appreciate the space you gave us but maybe next time you could try using a photo where I don't look like an alien with a tiny tiny head?

Tuesday, 22 October 2013


I did no work last week. Well, I did on Friday. Catching up on a whole week's work in a day is not recommended but I did it! And...

I finished the dress!!!! Lots of you have seen it on facebook (130 likes and counting!). Here it is:


I realised when I took it off her that I'd put it on her back to front so there were literally no boobs to fill it out. Suffice to say it look quite a bit different on my body. I'll see if I can get boyf to take a photo on Sunday.  (I did - they're later on...)

I've had lots of questions about it and I think most are answered in the last post but I'll sum up here and then I want to talk about how I sort colours. With lots of photos. 

1). Can I make one? 

YES! Please do. I will write a rough pattern/recipe/guide at some point but it's really very simple and I talked a bit about it in the last post starting in the second paragraph after the first close up-y photo. 

2). Can I make a pregnancy version?

YES! Please do. Do that same stuff as before but do lots of increasing where you need it. Vezza has taught me that all pregnant ladies carry weight in different ways so you might need to do lots of increasing at the front or half and half at the front and back (I sincerely doubt you'd need to do more at the back than the front for pregnancy. Please consult midwife if this is the case). Photos when you've done please?

3). Where did you get your yarn?

Again, all in the last post. People give me stuff to pass on to various charities/good causes. I rootle through (if they've specifically told me I can) and snaffle any mohair and Noro ( < 3 ). I've got a bit more picky over the years but I've been stashing mohair fairly seriously for about five years and I have quite a collection. :)

3a). Can I recommend a yarn from the shop?

Difficult. I think part of the reason that this works is the fuzzy mohair allows the colours to blend a little easier. I used a 6mm hook so my natural reaction is the Cygnet Chunky perhaps mixed with the Cygnet Grousemoor Chunky to get a bigger colour range. But then I think about the stiffness and my heart leaps for joy at the Cygnet Superwash DK. What I wouldn't give to have a colour progression dress in that. Next project? Well, I've started two already today so maybe I'll finish some first.

4). Will you be able to cope with the mohair?

No idea. Literally. I was born in 1988 (it makes me sick that there are contestants on X Factor born in 1996. Seriously?!) so I missed that whole shebang. But. But. But. When I first started knitting I was slightly sensitive to wool - just a bit itchy, not scaly or weeping (hurl) - and when I got to be a knitter I decided that I'd just have to cope and now I can wear anything. I'm not suggesting that everybody can do this btw, there are many genuine allergies and there are also many people who don't like wool enough to work through the pain/irritation and I am not judging. It was good for me though. I'm assuming that there were people who could work through the mohair in the 80's so I'm going to be one of those people in the 2010's. Hard-headed? Me?!? Did I tell you about the time I taught myself to literally love brussels sprouts? MMMMMMMM. Christmas dinner. 

5). Tell me more about the colours.

Oh, if you insist. :)

So. Take this pile of nothing:

Take one of each and put it in a pile. Preferably on an atrocious floor: 

Start splitting the colours into colour groups/light and dark: 

It only has to be very rough for my kind of progression... Pick where you want to start and then start placing:

 Wow! What an atrocious photo! But you get the idea. I started at black, grey/blue was the obvious next choice because it's dark. The Riot, with it's teal/green stripe led nicely into green - dark blue-y green first, then lighter and yellower until the limey colour which sits quite nicely with the gold. Obviously, the lemon comes next and then I consciously thought of the next colour, the pink. I had in my head those Fruit Salad sweets:

Which, for me, is just the most delicious combo of colours. I could have gone to creams which would have led nicely into whites, blues, purples, pinks then reds for my money. But I didn't, I wanted Fruit Salads. So, back to the photo: 

Yellows to pinks to reds. Yeah? The row underneath is what I couldn't fit in. And sometimes you just can't fit things in and sometimes, just sometimes, you need to fit a colour in (if you've fallen in love for example) so shove it somewhere. Either where it'll stand out (put the blue in with the pink for example) or the place where it'll least stick out, like so: 

That's what I ended up with. Notice that I moved the grey and black around. Black to purple is a bit of a jump but in the general fracas that a progression in these colours would be, it'll all work out. :)

I kind of feel like this is a bit of a non-post because it comes so naturally to me. I struggle more when I only have a few more colours because if you're working with more than say, seven colours then you do have some leeway. Things settle themselves down when put next to other colours which means that you can add in some neons or ridiculous colours.

**Interrupting - that reminds me: LOOK WHAT I JUST PUT ON ORDER!


Interruption over.**

I think I promised somewhere upstream that I'd show you the photos of my wearing the dress. Bear in mind that we'd been to the orchestra so naturally I was drunk and boyf isn't a natural photographer and I'm not a natural model... 

 I'm really super pleased with it! I didn't need the belt with it but somehow, with the red shoes, I felt it toned down the outfit a bit and in my head fluff = inches but actually, it's pretty form fitting with my drastic decreases:

So I think I'll wear it without in the future.

I was also dead worried that it would be too hot and too itchy. I think the too hot think makes sweatiness which is what makes the itchiness. But, it wasn't too hot and therefore it wasn't too itchy! In fact, I was a perfect temperature all night. I didn't wear anything underneath it apart from bra and leggings which come up pretty high. Maybe I just have a high level of unitchiness or maybe it's the combo between the fairly expensive stuff (some of it was lambswool and angora rather than mohair...) being near the top and I made sure that the really horrid stuff (the lemon-y yellow if you must know) was well in the legging area. The fluff did get everywhere, boyf wore black trousers and a dark purple shirt and looked like a right tit but I looked brill so that doesn't matter does it? :)

Also! I got a compliment in the loo. Which makes it all worthwhile.

It's in the wash now. And it doesn't dry quick  - I thought it might seeing as it's pretty loosely knit but nah, two days it took. So the next time I'll wear it will be knit club next Tuesday because the girls kept telling me it was 'interesting colours'. Which means terrible colours. Feel free to abuse them. I do.

So, I've managed to get two whole posts about a project that took literally two days and involves nothing from the shop. You wouldn't want a lyso who wasn't dead excited about this sort of thing though would you? I think that's why we won the best yarn shop in the Midlands (and, as I keep saying, the Midlands is the best place in the UK and the UK is the best place in the world and the world is the best place in the universe and obviously, a yarn shop is the best shop ever and therefore we are the. best. shop. in. the. universe. Logic? I gots it.).

I'm off to cash up and get home. I have a commission to finish this week. Or else. It's been going on for a long time. If you've been into the shop recently you know what it is. Fml.

Love. xxx

Friday, 18 October 2013

Catchup Catchup

Today I have caught up with something that I've been meaning to catch up on since before the birthday party!

I have got a load of patterns on the internet! It's taken all day! All day! Not every sentence has to end with an explanation mark!

Not every pattern is on there to be fair because in the time between us getting the patterns and me getting them on here we've sold out of some of them so I've made sure to only put the ones that we actually have in the shop on there and please be aware that the Ultimate Super Chunky and the Country Tweed are both running loooooow. We will get them both in but bear with me. The Amy Singer thing, paying off the credit card and the bus for Yarndale has left our cashflow in a bit of a state. Slowly clawing our way back to something more comfortable though (and you can help by buying... ;) ).

Anyway. Click here to get to all the new patterns. Appreciate the beauty - there are some stunners.

And have you noticed that the website has been looking a lot like this for a lot longer than it should?

Not anymore!!!!

And I've taken all the Vote For Us buttons off and Amy Singer buttons off.

I was about to do that on the blog too but then I bloody ruined the internet didn't I!? So I'm half way through writing all the good stuff I've done and I'm going to go and be superwoman again. Rest assured I've actually done some work today and tomorrow I might do even more! Imagine!

Love Eleanor. xxxxx

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Mohair: A Love Story.

So, you know how every blog post from the last like two months has basically been me having a heart attack or reviewing the last three days and then saying I've got to get off quick because I've got more stuff to have a heart attack about. Well. Not today! Today is a day for me. I have stuff to do, sure:
  • Photocopying and scanning a few bits for accounts. 
  • Writing a blog post for an exciting new website - I'm going to be a regular. 
  • Chasing up a payment and working out how I'm going to do the next bit of work for a customer.
  • Putting some patterns on the internet (that I promised you months ago...). 
  • Sorting out some internet orders and changing the status to 'delivered' on some workshops that have passed. 
  • Changing the window (but I've forgotten the all important certificate that will be the star of the show...). 
And a few bits that I'm sure I'm missing. But right now I want to talk about being a local celebrity and pillar of the community and all round good egg which is why I get FREE TICKETS to things. Mwahahahaha! Although, I haven't actually got them in my greasy mitts and until that time I am technically ticketless until proven ticketful.

I'm going to see the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra at the Royal Concert Hall on Sunday and I'm most excited!

What a man! What hair! 

We've got the poster in our shop and I always take posters for things like that because it fills up the space that would otherwise be taken by inappropriate acts (although I'm often saying 'nah' to posters with naked female wrestlers... Really? You think this is the shop for you?). Occasionally they give me free things.

I went last year to one of these things, on my own, and really enjoyed it! It was the first classical concert that I'd chosen to go to and I felt kind of posh apart from I had loads of bags for the internet orders and getting there on time after closing the shop meant I was sweaty and horrid. Everybody else was dressed up and less stressed. Also, I didn't realise how quiet it would be so the sock project I took to work on was too loud which meant I actually had to sit still and listen to something for once... This time I'm taking the boyf and it's after a lesson so I'll be finished by four and I'll be crocheting  - no clacketty clacks for me!

So, yesterday, when I'd confirmed with the nice man about the tickets I decided I needed a new dress. What I absolutely don't need is a new bloody project but we don't need to talk about that do we... I've more than likely talked to you about this if you've ever been in the shop because I'm finally working on my MOHAIR DRESS!

I've been collecting bits of mohair from friends' and customers' destashes for a looooooong time. I tend to think that it's not a good yarn for teach knitting or crochet with and it's not good for the average charity knit so I don't feel too bad about yoinking little bits (also, mostly, people tell me that I'm to look through to find stuff for myself first and then do what I will with the rest). I've amassed a collection that looks like somebody barfed the 80's in my stash and over the last three years or so I've occasionally got it all out to stroke and love. King Cole have a bloody marvelous book that has a mohair dress in it:

Available at the Best Yarn Shop in the Midlands. Ha. 

I fell in love with that dress at first sight but the size falls a good 10 inches too small for me and whilst I could sort it pretty easily sometimes I just don't have the drive. (I hope you're listening King Cole, and all other yarn manufacturers, sometimes fat people don't have the drive (or knowledge) to rework patterns so they give up with that pattern and get their stuff elsewhere. Whilst you're listening to that, have a think about how much more yarn I have to buy to cover my fat bum. Fat Fact.). So, I fell in love with the dress - the sleeves, the skirt, the mohair, the stiffness, the pose of the model and I knew I had to have it. But natch, I don't want such a boring colour and to be honest the only colour I have enough of is this:

and it's totes not my thing... 

But. Colour progression and stripes are my thing! So I got together all of my mohair, discarded (for a future project) the blacks, blues, minty greens and bluey-purples and made a little progression on my floor.

Looking at that and wishing that I had some sort of photographic sensibilities like Attic 24. Nah. Not me. Shove it all down, get a photo, get crocheting. That's my motto!

The colours are slightly 'off'. Which I did a little bit on purpose - one of my first memories of Dee is her telling me that the shelves don't have to be perfectly colour-ordered because something that looks wrong will draw the eye to it - I'm using that to my advantage at the bust/waist (boom!) and because there were some colours that just didn't work but I couldn't not have them because I luuuuuuuurve them (looking at you bright sunshine orange and grassy-forest green) and it's already a bit mental being a mohair dress on a fat girl with 15 or so colours so what the heck? :)

I decided on crochet because it's quick, less maths-y and I had the right size hook rather than needles to hand (I'm sure I've told you before how lazy I am...). I started with a chain that I thought was about right, did a row of dc's and then joined in the round hoping that the little bit of work would prevent a twist. It didn't. That's life. Then I did a bit of increasing and then I changed to a bigger hook which means that there's a slight bagginess to the top bit but it's okay because I have boobs.

I've added a bit of waist shaping this time because I want the skirt to be a-line and I think that'll give it the best chance of showcasing that and also because mohair, chunky-ish stuff isn't a thick-waisted girl's natural homeland so shaping will be my ally. After I've got past my waist I'll do some increasing, probably four stitches per round (but not lined up because I do want this to be mindless) and see where that gets me...

I'm doing the sleeves at the same time because I've only got little bits of some of the colours and I want the sleeves to roughly match the dress. So I do a bit of the body, making sure I still have some of all of the colours then I do one sleeve and then the other. The beauty of the mohair and crochet is that there's only one loop to lose and because it's mohair it's pretty much impossible to lose the loop. So I just leave the loops a-hanging and pick them up when I want.

I promise I will talk more about how to make this sweater - perhaps even write some sort of pattern - because it's ridiculously easy, it came out of my head and this is the third time that I've done it and if this works then I think I've hit some sort of jackpot for a sweater that only takes a few days and literally no brain cells. I suspect it may suit my body shape and not a great many other people's because it always ends up with a wide neck and the increasing is quite severe so you do need a good rack but it's a beaut and I don't want to keep it to myself.

So, I'm going to catch up with the Ottomans and do some of the dress, then do the first two bullet points, then a bit more dress, then a few bullet points etc. etc. What a day! What a relief! What a bloody lovely life!

Love Eleanor. xx

One last bit of mohair porn:

Phwoooooooooar! Look at that fuzz! :)

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Knitting And Stitching and WINNING!

[Written yesterday but my computer went wappy...]

So I'm sat in bed. It's my day off. I've got to get up and do something but this first proper day off for weeks so this is like heaven on earth. I'll do something useful and then watch lots of Iplayer stuff without feeling guilty. :)

In case you didn't know - we're officially the best yarn shop in the Midlands. THANKS! It's all down to you lot voting for us in Let's Knit and Let's Get Crafting and we're mighty pleased and proud. They invited us down to London to collect our certificate and enjoy free entry into the Knitting and Stitching Show. I wasn't going to go because it was too much money and too much stress and I don't really like London but lovely Lynsey persuaded me that it was cheap (£10 each way), lovely Jazz helped me work out the underground and buses and lovely Verity escorted me. Good customers!

We got on the train at half past 11. Gossip, gossip, gossip, some spinning and some crochet:

We got into St. Pancras at about half one I think. The times are melding into one. 

St Pancras is amazing isn't it?! I felt like a right tourist and Verity kept laughing at me. She's much more worldly wise but I've never been to London without a grownup. Ha. Maybe this makes me a proper adult now?

Verity was impressed by some of the artwork:

(She actually said that this statue of a woman checking her phone whilst giving a man a hug was a metaphor for modern life. Deep.)

And the best bit was all the bloody pianos all over the place! Literally just hanging around waiting for people to play. Is that weird or is it just me!??!

We caught the underground successfully: 

We caught the bus successfully (no picture of that. Until later. Because apparently I've never seen a bus before...). We got off at the slightly wrong stop and caught a buggy that was for disabled people... Nice man. 

Outside of the main entrance was this lovely cab. LOOK! 

I heard the lady speak to somebody and apparently it's about getting kids to knit, which is not really my thing folks but a noble idea. And a bloody wonderful cab!!! 

Inside was pretty overwhelming so we ate some cake. Natch. 

And then we went shopping. I bought some fibre, a Tunisian crochet hook, some little £1 skeins of silk and two balls of the most delicious sparkly but subtle stuff for Vezza's baby. Verity bought this: 

I upset a lady that Vezza was buying from by being shocked at the price of some of their needles. Honestly, a fair few of my customers have trouble with paying £6.50 for needles and she was selling some for nigh on £30! Seriously, what on earth were they made from? Ogre bones. I don't believe that's necessary at all, imho... 

And then we went in to the awards bit. I think we were both most excited about this bit but if I'm honest it was a little underwhelming... We each got a glass of sparkly wine and a goody bag which was brill. I got the certificate, had my photo taken and a little interview and then we sort of stood around being a bit awkward. Everybody else seemed to know eachother and there were celebrities there like the bloke from Iknit: 

And Debbie Bliss. Although, I don't think that was the lady I thought it was. I really liked the look of these two ladies: 

But I'd have felt a right tit going up to speak to them. They looked as awkward as we did though. Ha. 

Me and Vezza had a rootle through the goodie bags: 

And made our excuses to leave. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm mega grateful to receive the award and be given the chance to travel to London to collect it but I hate feeling like an outsider (not that anybody was horrid, they just knew each other). It's most of the reason that I don't do law and it's the entire reason why our shop's like it is. Maybe next year will be better? If we win of course... Ha. 

So, by this time we were majorly tired so we collected our many, many bags together: 

And headed back to the bus: 

Appreciating Alexandra Palace on the way. Beautiful place. 

We'd gone for the cheapest tickets we could so we had a good few hours to wait for the train and we'd already decided to have some dinner. We had a look at a few menus, serious London prices. How much do these bankers earn!? We settled on Carluccio's which, being the pleb that I am, is probably at the upper end of what I'd like to spend on a meal out and it was delicious. I had pasta, Vezza had chicken and it was all finished up with this: 

Which came from this: 

And ended up like this: 

Seriously the best thing that's ever happened to me. I would have licked my bowl were we not in London...

 By this time we were suuuuuuuuper tired and St Pancras is bloody cold. We were both relieved to get on the train and be heading home. I'd brought five projects with me and at that point had worked on precisely two. So I decided to give some time to the linen that I bought at Yarndale and I'm pretty happy with the consequences even if it's really bloody hard to take a photo on a moving train... 

And that was our day out in London. I am most excited to be going back to the shop tomorrow. I have shop stuff to do like changing a window, getting some patterns on the internet, speaking to my customers and appreciating the Mansfield Road drunks. It's going to be brill.

Thanks again for voting for us it's bee amazeballs!
Love Eleanor. xxxxx

P.s. I haven't done any of that stuff but the shop is fuller than it was an is an acceptable state of untidy in a way that it hasn't been for weeks. So glad to be back. :)