Wednesday, 18 December 2013

The Big Ish.

Sooooo. I've just realised that I never actually told you about this on here and I know there are some people that read the blog but not facebook - Imagine! Next year will be different, I promise!

We were doing a charity drive! But it's over now. The Big Issue were doing a Knitathon where knitters were asked to make 6 by 6 inch squares to be sewn together into 12 square strips and sent off to the Big Issue to break a record for the biggest knitted blanket (that's why crocheters weren't invited - sorry!!!). I read somewhere that the blankets would be broken down to give to the homeless but I can't find that now. Ahh well. Click here for more info.

To be honest, we didn't make a particularly concerted effort - we picked a day (16th November), asked people to knit squares and get sponsored and spent that day sewing the strips together. It was fun! Dee brought lurrrrrvley homemade cake and her and Maria deserve massive bonus points for sitting outside all day! They got plenty of people donating to the cause.

 This is they looking delighted in their work... 

When everybody else turned up they preferred to sit inside and I obviously had to host them. ;)

I've got a list of everybody that participated but it's definitely missing some because there were plenty of non-regular-customer people who dropped in squares and strips without having a chat and we're eternally grateful to you too but I don't have your names - sorry!!!! (and I'm forgetful anyway, so tell me off if I've missed you...) In no particular order:

Dee, Karen, Debs, Elizabeth, Stephanie, Elaine, Davina, Pat, Gemma, Suzanne, Maria, Hilary and meeeeeeeee. 

All STARS! Every single one of you! Thanks!!!

So, the deadline was yesterday... Last week I started getting the strips together, sewing the last few (when I say last few I mean... 192... I am a real star ;) ) but I got bored, and tired and then left it until yesterday when I realised we were missing the deadline. We were left with three random squares and I couldn't just send them in like that so last night my Mum and I knitted nine more, I sewed them together and we were off.

Everything fitted in this MASSIVE box. 

Which was an actual nightmare to parcel up: 

And I knew I had to deal with the detritus all around afterwards. Ugh. 

I sent this letter in to them - totes profesh, you know me: 

I counted the money which came to....

A total of £233.96!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WOWOWOW! More than I'd ever thought! And bear in mind that one of our knitters sent her money off separately and I think that was just over £100. Can you believe it!???!?!?!

I realised that a load of people who had been sponsored had given us money and, I couldn't send that through the post (t'other day I got a Christmas card posted through the letter box that had been opened just like normal. Now I ain't blaming anybody but I'm sure the people at the Royal Mail know as well as we all do that often Christmas cards have money in...) so I had to get to the bank, pay in the money and then transfer over to the Big Issue. Brill. Dead easy yeah?

Nah. Not with RBS... Lovely RBS... So I deposited the money into the shop account no problem, got a print out of that. Then I handed over the Big Ish details and she sent the money off to them. Got the print out, put a copy in with the letter I sent them and everybody's sponsorship forms and the cheques that we got and sealed it up. I needed to deposit some normal money into the shop account so we went ahead and did that and it was then that the woman behind the desk realised that she'd send the Big Ish money from my personal account! And it couldn't be got back!!! Ugh! I'm genuinely suprised that there was enough money to cover it but apparently there was... So. We transferred the money from the shop account to my account and everything's right and I'll just make a mention in my accounts next year. Bloody hell. (On a side note - if anybody that gave us cash wants a copy of the bank transfer note give us a private message on facebook or an e-mail and we'll get a scan over).

So, with that done and my letter to the Big Ish ready to send I carted everything off to the Post Office. WHERE I GOT FARTED ON! SOMEBODY FARTED ON ME! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT! Nothing more to say on that note really. Again, if you need the proof that the stuff went give us a pm or e-mail.

So that's the Big Ish story. Massive thanks to everybody that contributed and I'm totes going to do it next year because it wasn't that bad. I'm toying with the idea of doing something for Syria because the news is just making me want to weep but I do have a ridiculous list of stuff to do and I could be on the verge of a breakdown (ahhhh, Christmas) so if anybody knows of a group or charity let me know and I'll pass the details through. In the new year I'll decide if I can cope with organising anything myself. 

And now... Christmas... We've decided our opening times!!!! AND THEY'RE GOOD!

We're going to be closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day and any Sundays like normal. Every other day from Christmas Eve to the 31st we'll be open 10.30 to 3pm.

We're back open like normal on the 2nd. 

I'm having some time off!!! I was in the shower this morning writing a mental list of all the stuff that needs to get done. A lot of that is cuddles with t'nephew and boozes with t'sistah. Quite a lot of it is knitting socks. And the majority of it is making sense of my living quarters which have gone to pot since Yarndale pretty much from when it feels like everything has been travelling at 80mph and my days off have involved bed and knitting commissions. I might also sneak in some time with the boyf. In fact, I'm going to meet his parents (down south... uh oh) and his mum has expressed an interest in knitting again so I'm going to give her some Gypsy Chunky, needles and a pattern for Christmas. What do you think?

Separately from that. I have been beading. What is it about this time of year?? On Sunday evening (after a double lesson!) I made this:

From a kit at the Bead Shop. (I LOVE THE LADIES THAT WORK THERE - they don't seem to mind my farting about and they do a brillo loyalty card). Doing that gave me the bug so last night I started this:  

Which is going to be a glasses chain thing (you can buy the nobbly end bits from the Bead Shop) and I got the beads from... you guessed it... the Bead Shop (I've no idea what colour they are but I most enjoy that there are a few random coloured beads in there and I'm sure most people would chuck them or save them for another project but it just makes me love them more - little light blue and white sheep standing out in a crowd of royal blue < 3 ). Sorry. But going in there a few times has been like a lovely respite from my stressful life so it's worth a big promotion. 

Also, please take no notice of the beginning of the piece - I have never started peyote stitch successfully... I enjoy the fact that it settled (without me planning anything I might add) on an even number though which means that you do the same thing every single row rather than having to look to see if you have to do a row 1 or 2. It's a bit like when you're doing a 2 by 2 rib and you do it over a multiple of four so that every row starts with two knits - soothing and no looking down at your knitting. Ahhhh.

And I think that might be that. I am planning to tell you about my Christmas knitting but... uhhh... it's not finished yet and I have this pile to sort out today: 

Fare thee well.

Eleanor. xxxxxxxxxxx

Friday, 6 December 2013

Did I ever tell you about the time...

that a world famous knitting super star asked me to knit her a sweater? Amy Singer of Knitty? No? Allow me...

This is how it started. Can you see a mistake? I could and it drove me mad (sorry Amy...) so I ripped it out (in Starbucks, it felt right somehow seeing as it was Amy's second home here) and started again. And then I got waylaid with Christmas jumpers and then neon and then the Christmas window... Anyway, I'm about back to where we started and I've changed the size a little at Amy's behest and here it is. I'd forgotten how perfect a pattern the Beatnik is, every cable's so perfectly placed and there are some cute little features that mean the cables at the side really pop - not that you'd tell from my horrendous photography... 


Anyway, it's being done Amy, I promise! slowly but surely. Not likely for Christmas though, I have a request for a set of Gruffalo hat and mitts. Seems like the Canadian winter goes on for quite a while though? ;)

That's it. That's all I have to show off about now. I'm off. 

Love Eleanor. xx

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Get Your Thinking Caps Out

Because I have an idea!


That's our Christmas window and isn't it beauts!? I wasn't feeling very inspired this year because I'd already knitted the advent calender in the colours specified and they're not traditionally 'Christmassy' - I love them! You can see that hanging in the window here.

 Incidentally - how does that bloody Christmas tree make you feel!?!? On top of the woooooorld!?

And then, when I was plucking up the courage to do the window (they take all day and lots of physical ups and downs), I dragged out some signage from the lovely Jem and found this box:

And you know how I love love love neons now (apparently....)?? Well, I was inspired by the hat that the bloke on the right of the box is wearing. Good yeah? Apparently skiers and snowboarders are totes into neons... So I just copied his hat and it took about half an hour all in all. 8mm hook. Brill!!!

And on top of all of this neon, rainbow madness. We, as a shop, got a gift from boyf t'other day! LOOK HOW BEAUTIFUL THEY ARE! He didn't buy them for me, he bought them 'for the shop' so we can all count that as a gift, yeah? Good man. But lilies and roses and pink don't really count as 'Christmas stuff' do they? But they need to be in the window otherwise they will get knocked off.

So, naturally, the Christmas window is a proper rainbow riot and I'm dead pleased. That got me thinking about a gift that we could give to you lot. And it's inspired by the box from above and the 'My Mountain' concept by SMC (essentially, lots of Germans (love Germans) are designing mental hats in one specific yarn line and it's all over Pinterest and it's got it's own Facebook group).

Now, I love our SMC yarns, I do. But I also love our other yarns. And I love accessories that aren't hats. So how about:

a competition to design an accessory in anything bought from us!?!? 

The theme is going to be colour! Extra points for neon! (Lies... It's going to be judged by you lot and you might not love neon with the deep passion that I do). Make of this what you will - stripes, fairisle, neon, intarsia - just something that brings the colour elements of the design to the forefront.

Items can be knitted or crocheted (or both) but they must be designed by you.

They must be some sort of worn accessory - hat, scarf, cowl, gloves, mitts, leg warmers but not bags, cushions, poofs etc. 

As many entries as you want - I figure there's only so much knitting/crocheting you can do.

Entries must be in by the 5th of January (send via e-mail, twitter or facebook) when we'll make a Facebook album so that you can peruse the entries and vote! (Don't worry, you can see the album even if you're not on facebook and vote over e-mail).

Winners will get a £20 voucher and the yarn that they used to make the accessory back. :)

I AM SO LOOKING FORWARD TO WHAT YOU COME UP WITH! This is going to be brill isn't it!? And I thought good timing because you'll all be busy making for festive gift giving, yes? So it's just a chance to be creative while you're doing it and maybe win things!

Right. I'm off to buy a new heater seeing as this one's pretty much kaput and I'm so bloody cold in this wind!!!!!

Love Eleanor. xxxxx

P.s. Here's what I'm making - not that I'm entering...

Once again. Neons. Love.