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


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. 


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.


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

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-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. :)