I can't quite get over this week. It's been full of cold, stress, laughter, food, booze, spinning and quite a lot of knitting. I'll start from the beginning. This will almost certainly be a long one so settle in folks.
30th of May 2013. That's when I first introduced you to the idea. We got a MASSIVE response - tweets, facebooks, comments, phone calls, e-mails. Loads! So we knew we had to do it. As always, the stress went up and down - finding and booking a place was a bit bad but we ended up with the Belgrave Rooms and I was impressed with them. Once we found the place and booked Amy, the stress levels went down and then...
Promotion. That was difficult for me. If you've ever been to the shop you'll know I'm not much of a salesperson. I hate to force people into things but I knew this would be amazing for loads of my customers. We did lots on facebook and here and June got busy on Ravelry but we also sent out press releases to the knitting and crochet magazines, the local press and the national press (the FT didn't get back to us...). I rang and e-mailed people directly. The lovely folk at Creative Nottingham featured us. It was all a bit of a whirlwind!
Then we went to Yarndale, which was a stress in itself and I caught a horrendous cold. I kinda knew it was coming but being in the vicinity of that many people for that length of time meant that it was inevitable. By the time Amy came on Wednesday I thought I might be dying. I went for lunch with the fella which was nice and calm and then he dropped me off at the train station where I found out that I could actually go down onto the platform. I think I thought I was going to meet her at the main entrance. But then of course there isn't much of a main entrance anyway. Luckily, she'd forwarded the exact times that she was going to be in which meant that I knew she was coming on the Skegness train - no way I would have worked that out (me and June have decided that my geographical knowledge extends to Wollaton and old lady seaside towns < 3). So I got down onto the platform, worried myself to death when loads of people got off the train that I thought it was and then breathed a sigh of relief when Amy ambled off last. Two massive suitcases and a stinking cold. She told me she didn't want to speak to much and I worried that she hated me (a constant internal monologue). We took a taxi to the hotel and then I left her to it.
In the morning she was teaching Making the Next Monkey about how to present your work for publication as a knitting designer. We'd arranged to meet at the hotel lobby between 9 and 9.15 (I didn't want to get specific with the state of my buses). I got there around 5 past 9 and waited around. At 25 past I started to worry. Got them to ring Amy's room but the phone was off the hook (found out later that it was actually broken) and that caused a minor heart attack. I went out for a cigarette and the lovely bloke on reception came out to tell me that she'd left her keys in the drawer which meant that she was somewhere. in. Nottingham. Without me. I tried to ring June, she wasn't answering. I manically text Verity, she was answering. I ran (and much as my wheezy, yucky chest would allow) to the Belgrave Rooms. Told the two students who were there that we'd lost Amy. Sat down and nearly cried. Then one of those students calmly told me that she was already in there. I nearly died. So I went into the teaching room and Amy was like 'well, I've been texting you all morning'. Uhhhhhh. I genuinely thought that I might have been texting her back without knowing. That's how stresssed, ill and drugged up I was. Turns out - one number wrong and you can be texting a random student who has a friend called Amy whose plan for the day pretty much matches exactly with yours. HA!
June was doing the lesson so I headed off back to the shop. Sat down and watched the Great British Bake Off. Honestly, I couldn't think of anything else to do.
Verity was the first student I talked to about the lesson and she loved it! She told me about everything that she learned and how useful it was and, most importantly I think, what a confidence boost it was to have somebody with influence and interest look at and appreciate your work. Verity was also mighty impressed with the standard of work from the other students. We're a talented bunch aren't we!? :) Feedback from other attendees was similar and that made me relax. Phew!
Then we had the Evening With Amy Event. By this time we'd sorted out phone numbers and we'd text to arrange a time and place. She didn't let me down. In fact, all along, whilst I was flapping, stressing and generally heart-attacking Amy was just calmly trundling along, unflappable and with a smile on her face. Love her!
Loved her especially when she did a little dance to promote the Tuscany Lace Shawl Workshop. :)
The microphone/speakers were broken - Amy fixed that. There were lots of us there, in good spirits and the lecture was fascinating! If only I hadn't forgotten my glasses so I could see all of the little details. Amy says this is the first time she's done the talk with booze - that's the Knit Nottingham way! We were shy with our questions at the end, I kept thinking of stuff to say and then other people would say it or they'd ask something else and I'd forget (brain like a sieve...).
We went to the pub round the corner afterwards and had a reet good booze up. That's when I properly relaxed I think. :)
There were more of us too but my photo taking memory is apparently also like a sieve so I'm relying on the lovely Steph. She took photos of me too but literally the best one was this...
Donna looks brill ey... me? Not so much. Ha.
On the Friday we had the Tuscany Lace. Amy persuaded me to go on it and I'm glad that she did. It was fascinating and the pattern is just begging for some intarsia. Begging. And I have just the colours. One day.
After that lesson, I told Amy that I'd take her to The Bead Shop. She makes the most lovely peyote stitch bracelets and I got one!!!
Aren't the colours delicious!? It's barely been off my wrist since. I didn't get her a gift... I should have done should I?! I'm a terrible host. But, I have agreed to knit her something, I'll talk about that in a bit.
So we trundled down to the shop, stopped by Peckish on the way who do the MOST DELICIOUS SANDWICHES EVER, and mooched around looking at the pretty beads. I hope she was impressed. I think she was anyway. :) We ate lunch on the square, bought £16 worth of (not so delicious) fudge between us:
Oohd and ahhd at the Doctor Who stuff in Lakeland:
And all the while I was thinking 'oh god. I'm having tea with Amy Singer'. She sorted my phone out and now it runs a lot smoother but I can't get to grips with texting so much, instead of 'and' I keep typing 'abduction' and 'important' for 'I'm'... We walked through Viccy Centre and up to the shop and she said we won the award for the smallest shop. :) I bloody knew it!
She took some photos. I took some photos. She bought wool. Patons 100% Cotton DK if you must know and a crochet hook. The pattern is Rippling Along and I must do it for myself. Must! She caught a taxi and we all headed home (after I had a dead good chat with my childhood best friend who now lives in Inverness).
In the evening I found out that Fibre Flurry was cancelled and I knew that Amy was supposed to be teaching there and I didn't know what to do. She found out on her own though and we texted a bit frantically but I was told in no uncertain terms not to take on other people's stress.
On the Saturday it was the Plug+Play Texture Design Shawl and I had the best time ever. The whole idea was to get people to start designing. It was a really simple technique, and a really relaxing day. Sometimes it's nice to sit and do something all day with no distractions. I've got in my head a design for the best shawl ever! It's got cables and colour and texture. Boom! I was dead excited to see what other people were thinking of too. Again, some brilliantly talented customers - dead proud!
And the final day was what I was really looking forward too - the Silk Spindling. I was all set up and ready to learn on that day and it was bloody FAB!
We watched a lot of videos at the start about how silk is made. Fascinating! Absolutely fascinating. But it's a bit disgusting. Amy gave us a little package of heaven including a single silk cocoon, like this:
THEY BLOODY RATTLE! THERE ARE DEAD THINGS IN THERE! HURL!
We started off by drafting the silk hankies which was a fascinating but slightly boring process. Amy had dyed them herself and they were beautiful, pastel shades of blues, greens and pinks.
And then we actually got some spinning done! It was brill! But weird to not draft at the same time as it was already done for us.
Then we ended the lesson with playing with the Tussah Silk from Sweet Georgia. Mine was the best ever!!!
LOOK AT THAT!
And then we went to the pub. Of course. Where we had lots of booze:
Dead yummy food:
And some spinning with a celeb. :)
And that, as they say is that.
There's definitely more to tell you because I've got photos that I haven't shared but I've got a list of things to do as long as my arm and I literally started this at half past ten and it's now half past three and I haven't done anything else. So I'm going to head off and come back tomorrow and wrap some bits up. Then on Thursday, I'm London bound!!!
Just in case anybody near Oxford is reading here but hasn't heard, Amy's filled her time that would have been filled by Fibre Flurry by putting on some workshops with the lovely Purlescence. Click here to book. They really are worth every penny!!!!!
So, I must thank Amy (and I will get back to her text when this is posted) from the bottom of my heart for being unflappable and positive and making our first major event just perfect. It wouldn't have been the same with any other tutor and we're immensely pleased that it was you. THANK YOU!!!!!! And I can't wait to work on your Beatnik - send it quick!!!
And thanks to all of our marvelous customers who supported this little venture and us in general. We'll do it again some time? Gimme at least a year to get over it all.
Love Eleanor. xxxxxxx