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


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


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!!!!!


Tomorrow I have a proper blog for you!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012


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.