Friday, 9 October 2015

Guess what I forgot today!

The certificate and the keys to do the grilles! That is exactly why I'm the best yarn shop owner in the Midlands. Haha.

The shop is also, as usual, a mess, but I need to get this blog done because it's been weeks since I did one! The Yarndale one is half way written and I was going to try and finish that but seeing as the Knitting and Stitching show is still fresh in my head, I'm gonna blog out of sequence and if you don't like it - tough!

So, as you might have heard, we won the award AGAIN! We are, for the third year running, the best yarn shop in the Midlands. This is voted for by you guys - first of all everybody nominates and then it's shortlisted and then you vote again so at every stage it's voted by the customers which is why it's such a bloody privilege to win! As you all know, it's a bloody hard job doing this. It's like a normal job, plus some. I do the selling and the ordering and the picking and packing, the social media and the public relations, the filming and the writing, the teaching, the cleaning, the tidying, the customer service the escalated customer service. I'm in a constant state of stress because none of these are done as well as they should be but I'm trying hard not to let perfect be the enemy of good, the main stuff gets done and everything else will follow (hopefully...). Which is why it's more important for me to be writing this now rather than tidying, if you can still fit in the shop and touch the wool then that's good enough for me!

Anyway, the awards feel like a big thank you for that and I do like to take the time out to celebrate. It costs a bloody bomb to get to London, and I hate London so it's a stress getting there but the awards ceremony is a separate part of the Knitting and Stitching show at Ally Pally and once you're in there, past the Palm Court it really is like being in a little woolly paradise. Well, wool, fabric, dyeing, beading, reading.... all things crafty. It's bloody fab! I've toyed with the idea of doing a coach trip like we do at Yarndale but to be honest, Yarndale, being small and independent and a bit frantic fits more in with our ethos and it's nice to take some time out on my own.

Usually, I go with Verity. I don't know how that came about really but she came for the first two years. This year she couldn't make it because of the bloody kids (I'll let them off, even I find them cute) so I ended up taking Chris. He was the only one that could take time off so easily and I thought it might introduce him to some exciting stuff. He's also a nice travel companion because he doesn't give a shit - I'm a flapper and a chatter and I get myself into situations, he's just off doing what needs to be done. Anyway. We set off pretty late really, we didn't need to be out of the house until half ten so that was a bit of a lie in. We caught the tram to the train station, bought some lunch from Morrisons and for onto the train in plenty of time.

Chris was really looking forward to the amount of selfies that I was promising to take.

 I bought us a chocolate tea cake-y thing and we struck up conversations with two women sat opposite us about knitting and theatre, London and the Great British Bake Off (YEAH NADIYA!!!!!). It was lovely. Getting into London wasn't so great though, Chris has developed travel sickness (at the same time as turning vegetarian, coincidence?! I THINK NOT!). Anyway, I kind of know what I'm doing now, we get on the underground on the Piccadilly Line and head towards Cockfosters (snort). We get off at Wood Green and head out into the open air, then we can either catch the W3 or the free bus that the Knitting and Stitch show put on which are both just over the road (one is one stop left and the other is one stop right). Once you're on, it's five minutes to Ally Pally but up a hill all the way and I wouldn't trust myself to actually be able to get there...

Ally Pally is beautiful. It sits right on top of a big old hill and you can look down over the whole of London which actually looks kind of attractive from that far away. There are still the massive sky scrapers which drive me mad but you can see green space as well as grey and glass buildings. Also, there are a lot of colourful people milling around eating lunch and swapping tips for where to go next. Yesterday there was also this miserable bugger sat on the steps.

 Anyway, as usual I was sure that I wasn't going to spend anything. We went into one room and I spent nothing and then the second room where I saw stuff I might have bought but resisted and then into the third room where I ended up in a group of women looking at this sewing machine thing. Nobody else was brave enough to try it and I don't know why because they were all sewers but the lady looked like she really wanted somebody to give it a go and I always like to help an independent make a sale so I said 'ahhhhh go on then' and I was dead impressed. After I'd broken the seal other people tried it too. And then she told me the price..... TWENTY BLADDY PAAAAAAAHND! Got:

So, the idea is that it's just a little sewing machine basically. Apparently they've been around forever but I've never seen one before. I was amazed. You can only really do edges so it's not for big projects like quilts or anything but the only things I really sew are bashing two bits of material together at the edges, usually with a French seam because it's all I know and it's easy and it's tidy (ish) and I can deffo do that with it. So I bought the gun and a load of pre loaded bobbins to go with it and then we went looking for a  'jelly roll' which I've only really ever read about and only kind of knew what they were but I knew that that was what I needed. I suppose I sort of thought I'd make a cushion but I'm not really a cushiony type of person so be fair so by the time I found Jem Weston hanging around on the Lady Sew and Sew stand I knew that I needed to get more material to make something to wear. I ended up with a metre of this beauty:

Which is Kaffe Fassett of course (those colours!), and about £4 cheaper than it should have been. In the interests of keeping this blog from being a dissertation and because I only have 47 minutes until closing and I'm due a desperate customer and I want to go home, I'm going to tell you about that another day. Maybe when it's done.

 Jem won't thank me for this photo but it's the only one I took. LOOK AT THAT DISPLAY! How could you resist?! It just looks so delicious! I'm dead jealous that you can set material out like that. Wool doesn't really work like that does it? You need to keep fibres and weights together and then set out the colours. I've heard about shops that do it colour first but most actual knitters who want to make things and not just show off that they knitters don't appreciate that. One day I might have a shop big enough that I could have fabric as well as wool, although I'd totes have to employ somebody that knew what they were doing because all I know is that I shove the material into my sewing machine gun and hope for the best. Haha.


I bought no wool! IMAGINE THAT! I bought the sewing machine gun, the jelly roll, the fabric and this:
It's one of them there Kenyan woven baskets, they were at Yarndale too under a different (but kind of, maybe connected) company and somebody on the bus bought one and I fell in love. I knew I was going to get one next year but you never know what will happen - maybe they wouldn't get a stall, maybe somebody would die, maybe the shop would shut, maybe there'll be a nuclear war. Basically, the baskets were in front of me and I had a little bit of money and I was celebrating. It took me aes to choose this one, there were more exciting ones but this one had a 'mistake' in it and it kind of matches a blanket that I made for Chris's living room and I loved it. And I don't need to explain this to you do I? I had to have it. Bit of a nightmare to take home though. Hahah.

I also bought a hot dog.

Because they were on sale. No vege option though, tough tits Chris but the woman that was selling them was a vege too so she understood.

We went back into the hall to have one last look around and on the Lady Sew and Sew knitting stand we saw Arne and Carlos! It just so happened that I had started a sock from their yarn that very say so I though it would be funny to do a Yarn Harlot and have the sock in a photo with them in the background:

but because I am a celeb, somebody from the stand recognised me and introduced me to somebody else on the stand and she said she'd introduce me and I was like no no no nnon no nnonononnofijbdjndhbrhbfwedknsd\kvhbrfiuhefowjefnsldjnd and I got all sweaty but she did it anyway! And they both got up and TOUCHED ME! hahaha! I WAS SWEATY AND THEY WERE TOUCHING ME! I bet they thought I was some sort of sweaty monster, I hate touching sweaty people. Oh god. THE SHAME!



And then it was a case of hanging around. I was very clear that I didn't have a lot of money to spend - quality over quantity. And I didn't want to get carried away and buy stuff that I would never ever make, like last year I bought the most fabulous beading book but I've still never completed anything out of it. I can deffo use the sewing maching gun thing and the project I bought could be finished tonight if I ever make it out of this shop alive (so busy today - thank you!).

And then, at 5.30, it was time for the awards. I felt a bit more comfortable in there this year, it's the same room as always and the waiting staff were coming to us rather than us going to them which was great. Me and Chris sat down at a table, I got my knitting out and we had a chat. Then some other people sat down at our table, talking about serious algorithms and stuff and we didn't really join in and they didn't really looked like they wanted us to. Sam from Let's Knit came to speak to her, I know her well now and she's gorgeous and we had a little laugh and before I knew it I had my award and I was having my photograph taken:

Hopefully this year I'll find the official photograph that was taken. Maybe. Never found last years. I found the year before's one once but it is better hidden forever in the annals of the interwebz...

When we got back to the table, Chris wanted his photo taken with it like he'd won the award and as he was messing around her ended up smashing the guy to his right in the blue:

The guy did not look amused. Turns out he's from LoveKnitting and I suspect he doesn't do enough knitting to keep him from being miserable... ;) I made a joke about not being able to take Chris anyway and that made the lady to the left of me laugh. Turns out it was only DEBBIE BLISS! Ha. I have some difficult feelings towards her yarn but the lady herself, now I've spoken to her, was absolutely lovely. SHE TOUCHED ME!

I carried on knitting. Ha.

Just before this all happened the lady who'd come second in our category, Alison from a shop in Leicester came to introduce herself and she introduced me to the ladies from the Birmingham Shop who came third. All lovely women who think that they're going to win next year. Mwahahahah. Not really, it was a bit awks at times but it's lovely to be around people who 'get it'. I've told you before I think about the new union type affair that we're putting together for indie wool shops and I've spoken to them and other owners through there and it is a bit of a relief to know that it's not all sunshine and roses for everybody. But the awards are all sunshine and roses.

We left about half an hour early because Chris was getting hungry and made our way back to the train station. There are plenty of places to eat around and in St Pancras and then we knew we couldn't get that badly lost when it came to getting on the train. The underground is a funny old thing isn't it? The men there seemed absolutley amazed that I was knitting - I've never had so many stares. And one guy in particular was really weird. He was a man spreader - legs as far apart as possible as if his bollocks need constant air circulation but he went one step further and spread his arms too. Covering three whole seats for one normal sized human being. He spent the entire journey staring directly at me and then when I looked at him, he looked me straight in the eye, didn't smile or anything and gave me a really slow double thumbs up. I didn't smile at him. Manspreaders don't get smiles from me.

Talking about bastards. When we got on the train to come home, the reservation system wasn't working but it wasn't a full train so over the tannoy they told us just to sit roughly where our seats should be. This meant that we were sat just across the aisle from a couple of drunken slimy business men making weird sounds. After a couple of minutes, and after the announcement and young woman came on. She could only have been 18 or 19, not English, a student and wearing a hijab. We vaguely smiled at eachother like you do as normal human beings and me and Chris carried on our conversation. I heard her ask the business men where her seat was and one of them said 'you can sit on my lap love, there's loads of space here'. UGH! Me and Chris both heard it and turned round suddenly. I couldn't think of anything to say but I stared at him, mostly out of absolute shock and disgust. It took him about two minutes to turn to face me which he did and he looked sheepish. But I wish I'd have said something. He spent the rest of his journey being obnoxious and there was a half naked woman on his phone screen despite the fact that he'd just been to a business meeting. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

That really did spoil the day for me. Not just that he was there, you have to put up with prats in life don't you? But the fact that I didn't say anything. I felt guilty and stupid. Once the man had left the woman said thank you to us because we'd invited her to sit on our table and made some space for her, and generally not been sexually aggressive towards her. I think she felt safer knowing that there were people there who heard and were angry. But I should have said something. Surely the best yarn shop owner in the Midlands could have come up with something sharp and scathing to put him in his place? Apparently not. :(

Anyway, I've got to go. I'm having a week off next week, Elizabeth will be in instead of me and she just wants a refresher on some bits so there is a little more to say and I will say it tomorrow and then I will finish the Yarndale blog then and then I will do a blog on all the new stuff and then I will tidy the shop and then I will and then and then and then. Blah. I'm offski.


Love Eleanor. xxxxxxx

P.s. I'm so hard nosed on the fact that this is going out today, that there is no time to re read it. I know you all love the spelling mistakes/typos. It's a bit part of why we win awards. I'm sure.

P.p.s. LOVE!

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