Thursday, 20 December 2012

Something About This Time of Year...

...apparently makes me want to crochet in morse code. This time last year I was frantically finishing Seb's amazing blanket with a secret morse code message.


Well, yesterday I had a phone call from a lovely lady who I did a commission for well over a year ago. Turns out her and her Mrs have been married for seven years (together for 22 and they're on of the nicest couples I know). Apparently the 7th anniversary is wool in old fashioned terms and desk items in the modern version (who knew there was a modern version!?). So I agreed, against my better judgement to do a woolly desk tidy as a commission. She left the design up to me and here's what I came up with: 


(Ignore the face and hair - I was up 'till one last night trying to get on with another commission that I stupidly said yes to...)

It says 'love' in morse code and and I am immensely proud but trying to get that bugger to stick to it's drink bottle inner has left me with that horrible dry smoothness that only superglue on fingers can create. 

The yarn I used is the f.a.b.u.l.o.u.s. Patons Diploma Gold DK in charcoal and cream and I used a 3mm hook to get a good tight tension. I used this Wikipedia article to get the morse code. One row of doubles for each dot and two rows for each dash. The dots and dashes are separated with one row of cream doubles and the letters with two rows of half trebles. Dead easy ey? And dead good for hidden geekiness, it sort of just looks random doesn't it?

One day, probably this time next year, I will make a morse code jumper.

Off to finish the other commission, ain't no way I'll be as happy about that so you'll probably not get a blog about it but I have worked out a way to do the other blog I told you about without having a proper camera. Brill!

Love Eleanor. 


Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Christmas Opening Times

Ooohohohohohohohoh it's bloody Christmas ain't it!? I'm having a week off but June is stepping up to the plate and I love love love love love her for that!

So - days and times we'll be open:

Monday 24th:          10.30am - 3pm.
Tuesday 25th:          Closed.
Wednesday 26th:     Closed. 
Thursday 27th:         10.30am-3pm.
Friday 28th:             10.30am - 3pm.
Saturday 29th:         10.30am - 3pm.
Sunday 30th:           Closed.
Monday 31st:          Closed. 
Tuesday 1st:            Closed. 
Wednesday 2nd:     Open as usual!!!!

I don't usually work on Mondays so I'm still having the 24th off which is marvelous because since I've been working, and I started at 11, I've never had a Christmas Eve off. I'll be spending it drunk most likely.

In other news, I didn't look like a drowned rat on Saturday evening:


And I even pulled! Not the love of my life I'm afraid but he was rather handsome and I remember him having lovely glasses. That'll show the wanky bastard! 

I'll be back during the week because I have a marvelous other Christmas idea that takes about ten minutes. I just have to work out how to take photos without a camera seeing as I drunkenly broke my phone on Saturday. Pulled then broke phone - equilibrium. 

I'm off to finish another Christmas present! (Still on track. Crossed fingers.). 

Love Eleanor.


Saturday, 15 December 2012

Thumbs!!

Ok, Guzzisue here, confession time!!!

All I generally knit are lace shawls, scarves and on one occasion....a hat, mainly because I tend not to wear much in the way of knitwear and its thee intricacy of lace that intrigues me more than the finished object.

But, I have now managed to knit fingerless gloves...well at least one, on dps with a thumb. Just how good its that??

Oxford down fleece, spun sort of aranish and knitted tight and thick giving a nice close fit, very warm and reminds me of knitted jumpers when I was small.


Friday, 14 December 2012

New Things and a Pulling Jumper

Blimey - we're really treating you with these blogs ain't we? All of a sudden I feel inspired and energised and ready to face the world. Perhaps my moping was just storing up energy for the blitz that I am doing on my life (and Christmas present knitting) now. Maybe.

Anyway, I mentioned the sparkly pulling jumper t'other day and it's now finished. If this doesn't get me a husband then I think we're all buggered...


Rest assured that when I'm in pulling mode I will look less like a drowned rat/bag lady (would you believe I'm actually wearing a grey stripy jumper with this dress?! What odd combinations I think look lovely when I've not had my coffee...). I will get some brill photos on my night out on Saturday. 

Just to remind you, it's done in the g.l.o.r.i.o.u.s. King Cole Galaxy Chunky and the pattern is King Cole 3612 but because I've been shouting about it a lot we're currently out of stock of the pattern. It'll be back in soon enough though. :)

So, onto something a bit less selfish, the lovely Dee has made us some more of her sparkly art yarns. You'll have seen them before if you've been into the shop and they are really popular with people that make little bits like scarves and hats but Dee's recently been using it to make re-useable, washable, recycled tinsel. It looks bloody marvelous - we have some in the shop and I think you lot will like it too. 


She's written explanations of how to make the crochet on her blog which you can get to if you click here. It's perfect to do with the kids, and it'll be mega ridiculous quick if you need something to do right now to get your mind off Christmas presents... I understand... It'll be over soon. 

Now, maybe I should have started with this, all of the proceeds are going to Action Village India. We won't be taking any money from the sale of this lot. She's also sent in the CUTEST little Christmas tree decorations made out of recycled materials like *accidentally* felted jumpers and tea towels. You can see them right at the front and in the middle of the picture. The basket towards the right of the photo is full of lovely craft packs with lots of bits and bobs to get going with Christmas cards and decorations. It's all a bit close to Christmas for cards we reckon, but what better to shut the kids up over Christmas than a little activity pack? Especially when the money is going to a very worthwhile cause. 

Once again, to read a bit more, head over to Dee's blog, BirdSingArtBlog.

Right, I'm off to put the finishing touches to some mittens that have been requested for Christmas. Then it's slippers, cushion covers, a blanket, two pairs of socks and a shawly-wrap thing. I'm still hopeful it'll get done, please don't rain on my parade....

Love Eleanor. :)


Wednesday, 12 December 2012

CCI Four - Lovely Little Cowl

This is my idea from yesterday but it didn't work out like planned. I wanted to do a lovely but easy lace thingy a bit like the Moss Cowl but it was starting to look a bit mental with all of the LOVELY COLOURS IN OUR BRAND NEW YARN!!!!!

Alright, alright, I'll admit that it's not that brand new. We got it a few weeks ago and I was mighty excited but then, remember that bloke who I went on a date with? Wanker! (Does that surprise you!?) And I've been moping and miserable for a few weeks. Bad business owner. But now it's on the shelf:



Which meant I had to move a bit of the shop around which I enjoyed for the first time in bloody ages. Lovely to spend so much time with yarn. Making pretty things happen. 

And then it went on and off my needles: 


Beauts!

And then onto the internet: 



I am majorly hoping that Cygnet will take some photos so that my atrocious phone camera skills won't be on display for any longer than necessary but they'll do for now. It's one of those yarns that look so much nicer in real life. *sigh*

When it first came in the Lovely Verity just had to cast on some leg warmers as soon as she saw it in the 660 colourway (inspiring name, huh?) to learn how to do lace. She used 10mm needles, cast on 24 stitches and ended up using just under two balls. You can see them above - marvelous?

Me? I just wanted to get it around my neck. So I've made two cowls (one's at home), the other is here: 


It's a really simple mitered square pattern, literally just a square sewn up and I reckon anybody would get it done in an evening. One ball. 20mm needles. Bish bash bosh, that's your secret santa sorted. Thank me later. 

Click here to get the pattern pdf. It may one day go onto Rav but I want to knit my new sparkly pulling jumper, because bugger that horrid man from earlier, I'm going out on the pull on Saturday. 

Now, back to the to-do list (which mainly has knitting my pulling jumper on it). 

Love Eleanor. :)

P.s. I called it a Cowl Just to Stop You Going Mad because the mitered bit doesn't really show up when it's worn (it does if you know what you're looking for) but the decreasing means that it's not just a plain garter stitch cowl - just enough to stop you going mad. 



Tuesday, 11 December 2012

CCI3 - Nettynot's Buttons.

Well, we've been a bit shit haven't we?! I've been overcome by commissions and trying to get them done in time to get some Christmas knitting done and it's meant that I've barely been here or on facebook but yesterday, I stayed in bed all day and knitted/crocheted as if my life depended on it and I've only gone an finished haven't I!? So I'm feeling much better. And now I want to talk about these beauts:


BUTTTTTTTTTONS! (Set atop of my latest WIP... a jumper in the beautiful Galaxy Chunky...mmm...).

These buttons are made by my lovely friend Steph. She's the one that works at the Bead Shop, she's also the one that made this bloody marvelous jumper out of the Truly Wool Rich 4ply


In fact, that's her! Good ain't it?!

So, she's made us these lovely sets of buttons to sell and I know you'll love them because I sold one before I even got them out of the bag. They're made out of polymer clay and they have a slight sparkle to them. She's imprinted stocking stitch as a pattern into them but it's subtle - like a little knitter's injoke. 




I promise more blogs soon. I have an idea!

Love Eleanor. 


Thursday, 29 November 2012

Drop Spindle Spinning Workshop

So, what is a drop spindle, why do you need one and why on earth would we run a workshop about them in a shop that sells yarn???

Simply because it helps you understand what yarn is, the difference between the yarn made from different fleece but more importantly because it is fun!! We look at fleece, hand spun yarn and pictures of cute sheep :-)

you get to play with fleece, this time freshly washed jacob fleece
we look at examples of knitted items using spindle spun and wheel spun yarns
 samples of hand spun yarns are on hand to pet.

The main point of the workshop is to introduce the drop spindle and look at how to spin yarn on it. This includes looking at different methods of fibre preparation so you can find which one suits you. You get your own spindle along with samples of fibre and written instruction to take away with you.

 by the end of the workshop, you will have some yarn that you have spun yourself :-D
 Yarn spun at the last workshop shown on the spindle and as plied yarn, not bad for total beginners!!!

 we also have a spinning wheel on hand and will explain why and how it works and let you have a play on it.

So, that is is what a drop spindle workshop is.....oohh forgot to mention that we provide tea/coffee/biscuits......If you fancy a go, check out the workshop dates on the shop site :-)



Wednesday, 21 November 2012

CCI - Part Two - Workshops

I have a little idea for you - or for you to surreptitiously leave open for your loved ones - how about buying your ticket to a workshop to learn something new?! I always say that the workshops are more about getting together and knitting/crocheting with like-minded people than learning (although we learn an awful bloody lot!) and friendships have been formed. We'll drink some tea, eat some biscuits and get busy with our sticks and string.

Click here for the webpage.

There are a couple more to come but, like I said on Facebook earlier, I've taken the day off to go on a datedatedatedatedatedate so I'm at home and I've forgotten the calender I wrote all the dates on yesterday so I did what I could this morning and then pretended to work but actually wandered around the house singing and dancing to myself.

I'm offski - wish me luck!!

Love Eleanor.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

NEW YARN! NEW PATTERNS! TIRED!

Oh god. Oh god. Oh god. I've got ideas but no time. I've stayed till 11 o'clock two days already and on Sunday, my day off, I spent eight hours working. What a life! An exciting and exhilarating life but tiring too. I've got something to show you:


It's only a whiteboard ain't it!? The lovely Pat put it up for me on Sunday with his dad in return for putting some buttons on his shirt (he brought me black cotton to sew on white buttons... oh Pat...). It's got my to-do list on and I've crossed some stuff out but not enough by far. But I have been putting these little beauties on the internet though: 

Picture of patterns. 

Here's a little link: 


And here's a mosaic of some of the bits there: 


And we've got some beeeeeaaaaauuuutiful new yarn. 



I'm too tired to write my usual gushy nonsense about it but seriously, it's beautiful and Jazz said it felt like it had a good hand 'not too mushy'. I'm going to crochet this lovely little pattern in it when I get a minute to myself. 

The next exciting yarn is the: 



Again, I'll not be getting mushy over this and I really don't think it needs it. The Galaxy DK is one of our best sellers but at the moment chunky is our best selling weight so I know you'll love it. 

Thirdly, I have something maybe a little less exciting but very useful and will grow to be a favourite I know: 

King Cole Fashion Aran in 400g balls.


Like the explanation given on the webshop, this just plugs a few little holes in our Grousemoor Aran range including two greys (finally), a green, a teal and a purple. I can see it's going to be a good one. I also did a good business woman thing and got the rep to bring the price down for me so that I can stock it at the same price as the Grousemoor Aran, off the top of my head it should be around £9.99 so I've done well haven't I!? :)

Finally, I'm going to let you know how much of an idiot I am. Years ago I started a tank top for a friend. It never got done somehow, despite the fact that all that was left to do was the neck and arm bands. Oh well. I lost the extra ball I had and he shouts at me about it (jovially) every time I see him. Anyway, I went to a boozey dinner party at Heather's on Friday and he was feeling glum. So I decided to make something with the jumper yarn and all through Sunday (whilst I was working my 8.5 hour day on my day off *sob*) I was thinking, when I get home, I'll just knock up a quick scarf - big needles, aran yarn, bish, bash, bosh, done in an evening. It wasn't done in an evening. Oh no, I decided fairisle, I decided 5mm's rather than 5.5mm's, I decided in the round on my Knit Pros instead of DPNS (which are infinitely faster for me). Yuck. Wasn't finished in an evening. Does anybody else do that? I have so much to do I can't believe I did this to myself! But it is a bloody work of art...


Needs a good blocking - I'm going to do a before and after blocking blog if I can get a minute to myself. 

Always 'if I can get a minute...' - I sound like my mother. But seriously, I'm off to tidy this: 


Doesn't look half as bad when you're not here. 

And then I have to actually check e-mails and pack web orders and then the loo needs a good deep clean and then I need to fill and then.....

Oh god. Give me strength!

Love Eleanor. 












Saturday, 10 November 2012

Getting All Up In My Grille.

Let me tell you about my grilles.

They're bloody heavy!

And an awkward  shape. Nightmare.

They really need to be off everyday and put back on again at night. We store them down a little passageway at the side of our shop. I'll take you through the steps of taking them off because I'm feeling sadistic.

1). Lock the shop.

2). Unlock the bolts - this has been made significantly easier by the fact that I've bought new locks. Before, one of them stuck like nobody's business, especially in cold or wet weather which makes very little sense to me but it genuinely happened. I bought new locks this week. The unlocked bolts are hung on the grille on the door (which we can't take off) just while I'm sorting the grille out.

3). Lift the grille slightly up and slightly towards yourself to get off the hooks attached to the wall.

4). Lower it down gently, avoiding toes, letting the top of the grille rest on the frame around the window.

5). Pull the top half of the grille towards you so that it's still resting on the ground but you're supporting some weight.

6). Cartwheel this massive thing onto its side, using brute strength at first and gravity to help pull it down.

7). Wait for the pavement to clear. This is always the time when the massive group of school kids, the drunks, the walk-of-shamers or (yes, believe me) the sheep (!!!!!!!!!!!) trundle past.Whilst I'm stood shivering waiting for my time. The grille is parallel to the shop right now.

8). Once the coast is clear, the grille needs to be pivoted round so that it's sticking right out in over the pavement and it takes nearly all of it up.

9). Supporting the grilles massive weight, I need to unlock a sticky gate with one hand with a key that I inexplicably bent like it was plasticine and push it open. It's really quite a heavy gate and it doesn't stay open very easy to that's a hefty push.

10). Come back to the grille, with a heave get the front of the grille up the half a foot step, making sure that a little taggy bit of metal on the grille doesn't get caught in the hole in the ground.

11). Slide the grille the rest of the way in, using the grille to keep the door open and lifting occasionally to keep the tags from sticking.

12). Once the grille is fully past the gate, then it's a case of lifting it. Did I tell you it's bloody heavy? I need to bend my knees, make my arms really long and hook my fingers in the holes, straighten my legs and it's up. Then I need to walk, sideways because the passage is narrow, past Oscar-from-next-door's grilles and into position.

13). Done.

I won't tell you about how we get the grilles out again because that's a right pain in the arse. Now, one of the best things about being fat is that your muscles are generally bigger to compensate. I love the fact that I'm stronger than most of the people that I know and I use it to my advantage.

But, poor old skinny June doesn't have my muscles and also has a gippy shoulder. Sooooooooooo, the grilles are impossible for her. Sometimes her housemate helps her but he's working at the moment and just can't get in. When June's in, I'm on a day off so I don't won't to come in and do them for her but that means that the grilles have been up on Mondays for a while and now it's cold the door has to be shut otherwise she'll freeze. I've had a few people tell me that they didn't come because they thought we were closed. It's not true but I understand.

So I went back to the company that we got our marvelous sign from and got this one to put on the the grilles:


Isn't it brilliant and big!? Now nobody has any excuse!! 

So, what I'm going to do is put a message on the website somewhere, maybe on every page, explaining the the grilles will be up on Mondays but that we are open and we'd love to see you. 

Brill!

Love Eleanor. :)

Friday, 9 November 2012

Christmas Craft Ideas (CCI) - Part 1.

It's coming and there's no getting away from it and we're here to help. I'm going to show you some of the small bits and bobs I'm getting up to in the run up to Christmas. Basically it'll be interesting ideas and patterns that we see for presents and decorations. I'm dead excited.

Firstly, I want to talk about this little stunner of a scarf:



I got the idea from Debra who has her own little business when she did some fingerless mitts in the Riot Chunky.

I like the way the horizontal and vertical stripes look together. So the idea percolated. And then she came into the shop for a quick sit and crochet and while she was crocheting a scarf I decided to do the same and knock up a quick Christmas present. So here it is.


I think it'll be a great scarf for blokes, in some sort of boring colour of the Patons Diploma Gold or Cygnet Merino DK perhaps? For ladies, usually a little less conservative, I think it's a great idea to mess around with self stripers like the Riot Chunky or perhaps the Riot DK. I also think it would look marvellous in the gorgeous Regia Lace with a biggish hook like a 5mm but have we got time for that at this point??  

It would be a brilliant scarf for a beginner at crochet. Have you started just to make presents for Christmas? I've included links in the stitchionary to a lady called 'Crochet Hooks You' on youtube. I like her videos, they're clear and she's done two separate listings for the UK and US terms which I think helps a little. I quite dislike her voice but at least she's nice and clear - not like the usual speech impediments you encounter on how to videos on youtube...
I've got to say that I think it's imperative that the finishing and blocking of this scarf is perfect because it could look like you mistakenly made the scarf too thin and added to it rather than that you were following the trend for asymmetrics in knitwear.

I must admit, a pattern isn't particularly necessary, this is about as easy as it gets but I'll walk you through it. I'll call it my Strange Stripes Riot Scarf.



Materials: 

Two balls of King Cole Riot Chunky. (I used the wildflower colourway)
Stitchionary (UK Terms): 
Pattern: 

Ch 15. 
Row 1: Tr into 4th ch and every chain thereafter. (13 trs including turning ch). 
Row 2: 3ch, tr into 2nd stitch from hook and every st thereafter.
Repeat row 2 until you've finished one ball and at the end of a row. Fasten off. I managed 87 rows but depending on your gauge you may get a few more or a few less. 

Choose your right side, and with that facing attach your yarn to the right edge, make 3 ch for turning and tr twice into each row along the length of the scarf. I ended up putting one tr into the top of each tr and one in the space between the first tr and the second of that row. I ended up with 175 sts, yours will differ according to how many rows you've done. 
Work back and forth in trs as before on these picked up stitches until you have around a third of a ball left. I managed 5 full rows. 

To finish off, work dcs all around, working 2 sts into every row end as before and one stitch per stitch as you come across them. Sl-st to join at the end. 

Sew your ends in. 

This will need a good blocking to make sure that the row gauge matches the stitch gauge - the pattern is very dependent on that. 

Hopefully, that'll be clear enough for you. I'm off to think about more Christmas crafting. I think because the shop's so cold already I'm really somehow in the mood. Wait till I show you my next creation!!!!!

Love Eleanor. :)

Thursday, 8 November 2012

And Updatey One

Hi All,

We really are terrible aren't we?! I've been feeling overwhelmed - I can't quite believe how busy the shop's been. Can you remember at some point I said that people told me that at two years cash flow just becomes easy and I didn't believe them?? Well, I kinda believe them now! Ridiculous! I really feel like I'm into the swing of things now, only taken two years then...

Now, I have ideas and thoughts for blogs coming out of my ears but what I thought I'd do now is one of my big fat updatey/ranty ones and then I'm going to write some with cute and quick ideas for Christmas to help you along. I've already written one of them and I have ideas for three more. I'm hoping more inspiration will come and that maybe June/Sue will help too. In the middle of that, it'd be nice if we could get some normal blogging done too wouldn't it - I've (sort of) been inspired to do a 'what's on the needles' post but I've been taking photos and, honestly, it's bloody scary! So I might keep the extent of my addiction hidden from you, lest you run away in horror.

Firstly, some pretty major news. Just casually received an e-mail t'other day inviting me to design for a new magazine and be paid for it. Just hanging around DESIGNING AND BEING PAID FOR IT! I'll keep you updated with that one because it's in the very early stages and I don't want to jinx it but I also don't know what I'm actually doing yet - that requires me to send the bloke an e-mail back and our internet has been more or less down for a week which leads me neatly onto my next point (read: rant)...

T-Mobile.

T-fucking-Mobile.

T-blasted-Mobile have been providing our internet through the dongle for the two years that we've been open. Now, we're good customers in one sense, we pay on time, no issues, no delays, it's on a direct debit and there's always enough money on there (even if it means I have to buy less wool *sob*). But we don't go over and I don't buy expensive add ons and I'm also not signing up for this 4G malarkey which I think is a myth. I don't believe moving internet can possibly be as fast as broadband. Liars. Anyway, for two years it's been fine. Sometimes we have had to reboot but that's probably happened five times in two years which is fine by me, really no issue.

About three weeks ago we started to have big issues with it not loading quick enough and it just got worse and worse until it was like treacle and then last week it stopped altogether. So I rang T-buggering-Mobile ans spoke to a lovely lady who talked me through uninstalling and reinstalling the software (like I was a five year old but at least she helped). It worked. Brill. But the same thing happened the next day and it only worked when I un and reinstalled. So I rang to explain that I couldn't do this everyday. They agreed and sent me out a new dongle. Brill. Same problem! Leads me to suspect that it's a sim issue but they won't send me a new sim until I've tried the one that we have in a phone that's compatible with T-pratting-Mobile and I don't have one so I can't have a sim. Fine. So I made a complaint and got £10 credit (after speaking to a rude Scottish man who told me that that has never been done in the whole of T-titting-Mobile's history. I don't believe but if I did that's quite a feat isn't it?).

I then asked to be put through to the cancellations department, they obliged and despite some pleading on their part I gave them my 30 days notice of cancellation. Brill. I go away and start searching for new internet providers. It's crossed my mind that we really should have broadband with a wireless router anyway - it just makes sense to me. I find Orange and get quite far with them but tell the lady that I do have to look elsewhere naturally and could she send me an e-mail with a direct number for her and the details we've discussed. No sooner have I got off the phone when I realise that Orange and T-bum-Mobile are the same company. I went home.

The next day, which was yesterday, I decided to ring the lady at Orange back to discuss what sort of customer service I'd be getting from them if they were really so connected with T-shitty-Mobile. Only, the direct number she's given me isn't actually a direct number, it's a number to business customer services. Business customer services can't discuss opening ad account with me but they can put me through... if I have a BT landline. I don't have a BT landline (I thought) but could I possibly still speak to the sales team? No. Apparently, they can't speak to me if I don't have a BT landline. Okay, then I do have a BT landline, how's about that?!? Can I speak to the sales team now? Yes, of course you can. She puts me through to.............. the domestic sales team. Brill. I explained to the lady in domestic sales that I needed to speak to business sales and that I just want to give them some money and that if she could get me directly through then I would be able to give them money but if she can't I'll start to get angry. She says, no probs, I'll get you through but before I do I just have to ask........... do you have a BT landline? Yes, I say, through gritted teeth.

Lovely lady that she is though, she does get me through, I'm not even going to tell you what the first question is. I said no but that's not what I want to discuss, she says I can't talk to you if you don't have a BT landline. I said is it not possible for me to get a BT landline? Is is physically impossible for me to get a BT landline? Is it harder for me  to get a BT landline than to set up a successful business aged 22 with £3000? Has a man not just jumped out of the sky from 60 million billion trillion light years (or something) away? And you're telling me that you can't speak to me because I haven't got something that I can get with a click of my fingers?!??!!?!? And then I said 'forget it, I don't want to be with you' and put the phone down. That was that dream over.

So I rang Vodafone and they didn't give a shit, BT and they were too expensive to be a real contender, Virgin and the lad lied, Plusnet who I liked but I've heard nightmares about and XLN who do our phone at the moment and are good value but I'm a bit pissed off that they tied me into another years contract with them without giving me any notice so I sort of thought I didn't want to deal with them again. And now I've settle on Talktalk. It's not the cheapest but it does seem to be one of the fastest and I liked the guy because he said 'brill' one of my favourite words at the moment and then he said 'is it 'eck as like?'. I think I fell in love so I signed up in the hope that that would persuade him to marry me. It's not worked so far but I like in hope.

So from, nine working days from now we will have broadband with a wireless router that you can use your little smartphones with and then we're one step closer to linking with ravelry to be able to buy and print patterns for you. I just have to work out a space in the shop where the printer can be set up permanently. That'll be a challenge.

I've got more to rant about but I'll either save that for a later date or get over it. Hopefully the latter.

Tomorrow I have a lovely blog to share with you with the first of our ideas for Christmas.

See you then then,

love Eleanor. :)


Wednesday, 31 October 2012

rather off topic but a little post about sewing

Or rather a little post about sewing machines. Whilst in France recently we visited a toy museum and whilst the other half admired the model railways I went in search of something different.

And I found it in a cabinet of toy sewing machines. Did you ever have one of these as a child? I know I would have loved one but had to wait until I was old enough to use my mothers machine.



Although I'm not so sure about this one, the machine seems ok but why does it seem to be producing a piece of crochet?


These days I do have my own sewing machine, in fact I had several sitting around the house waiting to be used, I suspect I'm the sort of person who has a need to collect things, never satisfied with just one if a kind.

Something else I never had was a Barbie ( had a Tressy instead) so here's a photo of one :-)

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Pie Productions!

I promised I'd talk about the replacement for the booties that I made tomorrow and here I am! And it's tomorrow! Blimey aren't I organised.

Well, a few weeks ago a lovely lady came in and talk to me about her business of knitting, sewing, crocheting and embroidering little bits, mainly for kids it seems but also for anybody that wants to pay. She bought yarn too. Brill. It's called Pie Productions and the lady Sarah is marvellous (as is her husband - a yarn enabler - my favourite kind of husband).


(I can't find a website for you Sarah - leave a comment if I'm missing something!). 

Sarah wanted more likes on her page so she asked her current likers to share the page in return for being put into a prize draw for a little present of our choice. I was the first one to share because I was so excited that she could make the Crocodile Stitch Booties. Try as I might, this stitch is beyond me. I'm glad there are people in the world cleverer than me! I had in my head little rainbow coloured dragon stitch booties. 

Sarah came in to buy the yarn from my shop - really, I win twice there don't I? We settled on the last ball of Fortissima sock in the mixed bluey-teal colours. But when Sarah got home, the 4ply just wasn't working for the pattern so she tried it with some Mirage DK (can you remember that??) in all different shades of blue and when she left me a message saying that she was using that I was most excited because, bloody hell, I love love love the Mirage!! She chose the most delicious, deep blue, pearly kind of buttons - really sweet. 

And then, more or less just after I'd had that shit say I talked about yesterday, I walked into the shop to find the loveliest little parcel! She'd wrapped the booties beautifully in white tissue paper with a sparkly blue ribbon and tucked in two cute little business cards. I unwrapped the paper and the booties shone. I was so bloody excited I swear I did a little squeal on my own in the shop. It was most exciting that they were wrapped as a little present. Well, I suppose it was a present. Lucky me. 

Then I ran as fast as I could (it was when I'd smashed up my ankle) to the shop down the road where the bloke whose wife is having a baby works and I showed them to him and, no word of a lie, a member of the Turkish Mafia squealed just like I did! He bloody loved them! 

I was so excited about the whole bloody thing that I didn't take a photo but the lovely Sarah did. Clever lady that Sarah!

Look here:


Aren't they the best things ever!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
Thank you Sarah - you made my week! And everybody else, don't forget to like her page

Love Eleanor. 




Wednesday, 17 October 2012

On Being a Fart Part 2

There is a lovely lady called Sheila, 
I feel very much like her dealer, 
She commissions my clothes, 
Always pleased and it shows, 
And the more she gets, the keener (she is). 

Ahh yes, Sheila. One of my favourite commission customers. She gives me yarn from her enormous stash, tells me what size the child is and let's me go for it. She loves everything I make. Always pays on time. I've never had her number, she just turns up when she can afford it. 

A few months ago my King Cole rep gave me a free bag of yarn to try and entice me into buying it. It didn't work. He gave me the most horrendous lurid green - even I, queen of green, couldn't quite bring myself to like it. 

Sheila bloody loves it! It took her ages to work out what she wanted in it and we eventually settled on a really simple cardigan and she thought it was wonderful. But there was loads left over so she went away and thought about what else she wanted. A few weeks later she came back with an idea for a waist coat with some sort of lacy pattern. Yes, I can do that! Of course I can! So I looked in our patterns - nothing. My patterns at home - nothing. Ravelry!?!? Nothing! Nightmare! But it's fine, I can make patterns up. 

So I didn't bother with a gauge swatch... Life's apparently long enough to get your gauge wrong not once, not twice, but three times. But eventually, I got there, really liked the lace pattern I made up, tootling along, bish bash bosh. I knitted the whole thing in one up to the armholes and did a bit of maths when it came to separating. 

Now, when it comes to separating for the fronts and back, if you're doing a really simple thing you can more or less divide your stitches in half - half for the back - and then divide the front stitches in half again - a quarter for each front. So 100 stitches would equate to 50 for the back and 25 for each of the fronts. Simple right?

Instead of doing this simple maths, I divided my stitches into three. So 34 for the back and 33 for each front. (These aren't the real stitch amounts - this is just a tribute). I then merrily knitted on, thinking to myself 'these fronts look mighty big and this back looks might small, oh well, it'll all block out in the end'. 

When it came to sewing up the shoulders, turned out that the fronts were exactly the same as the back. No neck. Sheila most definitely has a neck. Brill. 

Verity, who was in the shop at the time, tried it on to persuade me that the only path was ripping back. I tried to convince myself that it was fine, I really did, I kept sewing and easing, sewing and easing. Surely there was a neck to be found somewhere? But alas and alack, it wasn't to be. I ripped right back to the armholes. Sighed. Started again. Bum. 

But this tale of woe isn't over. Oh no it isn't!

I finished it on a Friday night. It was a marvellous Friday night. I talked about it here.  Just before I went to bed on that fateful Friday evening, I put all of my newly finished items in to soak, planning to block before I went to work the next day. 

In the morning, I stumbled bleary-eyed downstairs only to find that the blue yarn had dyed the bloody green yarn! Dyed it! Do you know how hard it is to dye acrylic!?!?!?!??!?!?! Bloody hard! So angry. But, again, 'no problem' I thought. I'll just vanish it, and maybe put some oxy-clean or whatever it's called on it and I'll get back later on, it'll all be gone and then I can block it. 

Problem was, Dad was around. Helpful Dad. He saw the hat and booties set on the side and thought, 'oh that must be for blocking, I'll just pop it in and Eleanor will be well pleased with me'. Oh no I wasn't! Blue all over the place. Oh my life! 

Ever since, I've been vanishing, oxy-cleaning, soaking and machine washing. And we're genuinely nearly there. Nearly sorted. 

What a bloody fart ey!?

Separately from that, and less of an issue, the green of the hat (which was the same green as Sheila's waistcoat), had picked up some of the blue dye. I'm not so fussed about that because it took barely an hour and it's not for a paying customer. I also have a pretty damn good replacement which I will talk about tomorrow - really pleased! 

That's it, I'm sure I'll be back with more tales of being a fart - I just can't seem to help myself...

Love Eleanor. :)

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Absolutely Nothing to do with Knitting.

Yesterday I had a day off. What a thing. I love this time of year and I try and make the most of it when I get the chance so I decided to go for a walk.

Before I even had a chance to get up and going June rang me telling me that the lovely Adam from Coats had rung with a problem. Now, last week, before I made the order for this lovely load of Patons:


I had to pay for our last load of yarn. I decided to pay on my credit card (I want a brilliant rating just in case things go awry when we hopefully one day move). I cleared the credit card and gave Coats the details. They put the payment through but because they are a European company, the lovely Adam slipped and pressed the Euro key (that's how it happened in my head anyway - I've no idea how they actually do payments, I doubt it's with a chip and pin machine...). Anyway, obviously, £980 is different to €980. €980 at the time we paid was £817(ish). So. The lovely Adam realised his mistake about half an hour later and gave us a full refund. He then tried to take the money back but the card was declining. He rang me at that point to say what had happened and I said that when this sort of thing has happened before it just takes a few days for the money to get back in our account (they take it quick enough!) and to try on the Friday. I rang my credit card company just to confirm that in my head and they agreed. So the lovely Adam said he'd try again on Friday. Brill! I thought...

I got this phone call from June saying that Adam needed to speak to me. So I rang him and he didn't answer. Rang again. No answer. Rang a different number and got the wonderful Waseem who told me that they still couldn't get it to go through. So I rang the credit card company ready to shout but it appears that in the half an hour between taking the money and refunding the money, the exchange rate had changed as to make £817 into £766!!! That's £50 difference! Those bloody bankers. Wanky bankers. 

Anyway, so I rang the wonderful Waseem again to explain and he was incredulous. How can you work in accounts and not know that the markets change second by second? He was a bit snotty with me so I told him off and then he was apologetic. Good and wonderful Waseem. Anyway, I had to ring back to the credit card company to get proof for wonderful Waseem that the exchange rates can and do change that dramatically within half and hour and then he gave me a refund. 

Now, remind me again why I was telling you in so much detail about that? This is like when I talk and lose my thread but it's taken nearly an hour to write that what with customers and people ringing so I'll be blown if I'm deleting it! 

As an aside, I asked Jem, my Coats rep what the lovely Adam was like and she told me that he was married with kids. But now she realises that he's a new kid on the block and not who she thought he was. So she's going on a spy mission to find out what he's like. Maybe if he's young, rich, single and eligible I could chat him up by always paying my account on time. Seriously though, a man that works in a yarn company and isn't middle age with a pot belly? Boom! Well, anyway, let's cross our fingers. The wonderful Waseem is definitely married with a kid and his nickname is 'Was' which sounds like what I imagine Craig Charles would call a wee. So I'm over the wonderful Waseem. 

Right, so I sorted that out and then I went on a walk. I discovered a whole new part of the Arboretum which I was thrilled about but I realised that I didn't actually know that the Arboretum existed until I was about 14 and somebody took me to Gay Pride (and got me mighty drunk *cough* Matt *cough*). 

Then I went to that marvellous book shop up the top of our bit of Mansfield Road and discovered not one, not two, not three, four or five, but SIX whole books about knitting! Six! Aren't we the lucky ones? If you've never been in, this book shop is a bloody wonder. It's like something that would be written about in the Guardian. You walk in and it's quiet and warm which is brilliant - floor to ceiling books like something out of Beauty and the Beast. Then you walk up the stairs, crammed into yourself because the right hand side of the stairs is covered in book shelves covered in books. Then you get to the landing and there are three or four rooms - the walls covered in books, the centre of the rooms filled with freestanding bookshelves, floor to ceiling, covered in books. Somehow I knew where the knitting books were (I've been in a few times a few years ago) and I managed to get straight there. For the record, it's up one set of stairs, turn to your left and it's the room at the very end, on a book shelf in the middle. There's more books on bloody bobbin lace than there is on knitting - at the moment anyway. I remember being spoilt for choice. Don't get the impression that the landing isn't.... covered in books. Because it is. And the next set of stairs and I don't doubt the landing there and all of the rooms would be covered in books. It's incredible. A good starting point for some sort of story if you could say anything about it apart from the fact that it was bloody covered in books. 

Anyway, I bought four books - two Margaret Meads because I remember learning about her but not being able to find the books, one about American marketing and how it's taking over the UK because I plan to take over the world with Knit Nottingham one day (Knit Nebraska anybody???) and the Wind in the Willows for Seb because I've never read it and I think that he should. I'll read it before he does though. All for £6!!! Bloody brilliant. 

Wow - this is getting long isn't it? And I haven't even talked about knitting. I'll keep it short and sweet. I went to the shop and June made me a cup of tea, I went to the haberdashery in the market and bought some beautiful buttons, to Sharmas to lust over material and settle for three metres of black cotton (£3 a metre - bloody bargain!), back to the haberdashery to get some shirring elastic for my idea for my three metres, to the bank, to Starbucks, to the Post Office where I arrange to meet Marsh Marsh and bump into Verity and the baby. We four headed over to Jam Cafe where we stayed, drinking elderflower juice until we got kicked out at six. Town is really very beautiful at that time of night at this time of year. Sparkling. I love this time of year. 

I knitted in the evening. 

Right, I don't know where I thought this blog was going to go but it's completely un-shop-related and I don't care, I've got a knitting related thing for tomorrow. I promise. 

Love Eleanor. 



Thursday, 11 October 2012

BLIMEY!!!!!!!!!!

Just a really quick one for anybody that doesn't read the facebook group - 

WE WON THIRD PLACE IN THE LET'S KNIT AWARDS!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm so bloody pleased because, off the top of my head, we were against Get Knitted and Black Sheep Wools. I'v e sent June off to buy a copy. I can't quite believe it!!!!!


THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!

Tomorrow I have a proper blog for you!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Catchup.

Wow a whole week without posting - we really are spoiling you! I guess that's what comes with autumn and winter on their way and the shop being busy busy busy! Thanks! We might actually have caught up with King Cole and be able to order some more Patons Diploma DK which has been looking pathetic since about, uh, the birthday party... Thank goodness August is over! :)

So, what's been going on around here? Well, little bits and bobs. Not that much but lots of it, if you know what I mean.

We got a whole new yarn - the Cygnet Chunky! That seems to have blown everybody's mind because people are going seriously mental over it! The colours are much better in real life, it's like a little rainbow on the one shelf and smart looking monochrome above. It's got a good yardage, soft, compact feel. I don't know how else to put that, it's definitely not fluffy but it doesn't feel hard like other non-fluffy yarns feel - it's compact. And what's better it's only £1.75. I think that's the kicker because, seriously, a hat for £1.75 and worked in an evening - what could be better for Christmas? Yes, yes, we know you love us. :)

Other than that, patterns for the Supa Dupa Chunky turned up. I like them, most aren't my style but there is a F.A.B.U.L.O.U.S. 'snood' pattern (do they even know what one of them is!?) and some leg warmers so they're on trend. They will be on the internet pretty soon but I may have already sold out of one bunch so you might have to wait a little while. I'll try and get what I've got onto the internet today and tomorrow.

Because I always think of Gypsy Chunky when I think of Supa Dupa - I'll just let you know that that is smashing it out. Another perfect Christmas present price because it's one hat per ball and I suspect two balls per scarf - can't go wrong at £3.75 can you?

In other news, the Cygnet Grousemoor Aran has been featured in a pattern in one of the knitting magazine (I think Simply Knitting) for some sort of red riding hood cloak, I haven't actually seen the magazine yet. I only know this because on Saturday I had literally five internet orders for one Grousemoor Aran in Cranberry and one ball of Cygnet Aran in cream. Today I gets in and one lady has bought five balls of the Grousemoor! Blimey - she's going for it! :)

And finally, in case anybody's interested, crocodile... I went out on Saturday and after smashing through a significant amount of cheap red wine I tripped over my own feet and crunched my ankle up. It's fine, I'm fine, and it's not actually that painful - I'm hoping that's not because I'm still drunk. Masa encouraged me not to go to the Walkin Centre but to self medicate with lots of cocktails. And all in all I think that was a beaut of an idea because I feel relaxed and refreshed and really couldn't do anything at the weekend but crochet for myself and I now have a new scarf and hat which are keeping me warm in this bloody freezing shop!

Anyway, apologies for the lack of posts and the lack of pictures when I finally did post. I promise to be better.

Love Eleanor.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Reinspired.

Knitting is hard when you do it for other people all the time and I hate to say this but I was feeling uninspired. Not like me at all.

So last night I didn't go out, didn't speak to another person, ate lemon meringue pie for dinner, watched QI and made this little set for the sheer hell of it.


It's this pattern for the booties in Diploma Gold and I borrowed Verity's pattern for the hat in some spare soft green DK. 

I think I'll give this little set to the lad that runs the Cagla off-license down the road who's having his first baby. 

I'm just pleased I've reset my inspiration - it was worrying!!!

Love Eleanor. :)

Friday, 28 September 2012

Wot no knitting shops?

Well there were knitting shops but the ones that we found in Ludwigsburg on our first afternoon refused to be found again the next day when I had the camera with me !!! we retraced our steps but they had vanished into a black hole.
But, there was a small piece of yarn bombing at Saarbrucken near the old bridge and seeing this set me off on a hunt for a yarn shop, If they knit then they have to buy yarn from somewhere!

 I found the shop, three floors of yarn, every type although I didn't spot any hand spun.

 As usual with German yarn shops....very neat and tidy and as my German is so poor and marked me out as a tourist even though this is not really a tourist city they pretty much ignored me assuming that I would not be buying anything.

So there we are, not a lot to report on the fluffy front but..........would you get your hair cut at a hairdressers with this catchy name?

Friday, 21 September 2012

Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

It's not often I learn something exciting now. I mean, I don't know everything, but there is a point in your knitting career when you have your way of doing things and learning other stuff becomes a a quick and enjoyable sideline. I try and keep on top of techniques for the shop but mostly come back to old favourites.

Which is why I'll not be buying the book reviewed in this blog post but I did get excited when I followed the instructions for an old Norwegian cast on. Apparently it's stretchier than the long tail, I can't deny it because I haven't got as far as using it in a project (though we have had some super cute sock yarn delivered for the birthday ) but I did enjoy learning it. For quickness' sake I'll quote the lovely Julie (and therefore the lovely Leslie who wrote the book).

Get your needles out:


  1. Make a slip knot, leaving a long tail. Place it on a needle and hold yarn in the slingshot position.
  2. Insert the needle tip under both strands of the tail yarn on your thumb.
  3. Come over the top and down into the thumb loop, coming out underneath the strand that is in front of your thumb.
  4. Bend your left thumb toward the index finger and reach over the top of the strand on your index finger. The loop on your thumb now has an X in it.
  5. Bring the needle tip through the bottom half of the X (nearest the needle), grab the index finger yarn to make your new stitch, drop the thumb loop, and tighten stitch. 
  6. Repeat steps 2–5 for the desired number of stitches.

Good ey? I enjoyed it anyway - bit more faffy than a long tail but it works and if it's stretchy I'm happy. What made me write is because of how similar it is to the long tail. I wonder if, back in the day when cast ons were being invented every day rather than eliciting much fanfare, some Arab sailor had gone on a long journey to the north and shown his Nordic counterpart this marvellous long tail cast on only for it to be bastardised by the cheeky, forgetful Norwegian? I wonder if that Norwegian actually remembered every step of the long tail cast on but thought, ahh, I'll just add this little step and then it'll be stretchy enough to make my famous stranded sailor cap even better - did he tell the Arab? Was it actually a little old granny that thought it up? Maybe the Norwegian cast on came before the long tail?

Where does it all come from?

Back to knitting... 

Love, 

Eleanor.