Tuesday, 20 June 2017

A very awarding post

That title really makes no sense but bugger it, too hot to think of anything more interesting.

We are up once again for the British Knitting and Crochet awards run by Let's Knit. Hey! GO VOTE!!!!!!! We're up for four awards but our most important is the Best Yarn Shop in the Midlands which we've won for four years running. Here's a little photo of me from a couple of years ago, last year I hated every single photo and was pissed off through most of the day so no photos there...

But in that one I look pretty happy. In truth, I've been super mega silly happy every year and would be again if we won. That would be quite something!!! I'd really have to update our window stickers then, haha. As always, I have people asking me what to vote for in the other categories so I'm going to give some suggestions and they really are just that. Please feel free to vote for whoever you want to, apart from when Knit Nottingham comes up... Natch. The suggestions I give you will be the ones that most help the shop - our lovely suppliers who deserve as much credit for how wonderful this little shop is. :)

1.) Best Baby Yarn Brand - King Cole.
2.) Best Indie Yarn Brand - Truly Hooked (AHHHHHHHH).
3.) Best Value Yarn Brand - King Cole.
4.) Best Luxury Yarn Brand - Sirdar.
5.) Best Sock Yarn Brand - Opal.
6.) Best Overall Yarn Brand - King Cole.
7.) Best British Yarn Brand - Jamieson and Smith (actually nothing to do with us but I have a soft spot).
8.) Best Pattern House - King Cole.
9.) Favourite Knitting Designer - Kate Davies (again, it's just a soft spot thing).
10.) Best Chain/Multiple - UGH. Abakhan. They're the closest to indie that I can see. UGH UGH UGH.
11.) Best Online Shop - KNIT NOTTINGHAM!!!!!!!
12.) 13.) 14.) 15.) 16.) I really can't comment. All lovely shops and many are friends so vote with your conscience. 

17.) Best Yarn Shop in the Midlands - KNIT NOTTINGHAM!!!!!!!
18.) Conscience again.
19.) Best Knitting Needle Range - Addi. 

20.) Best Knitting Accessories Range - Addi. 
21.) Best Ready to Use Knitting Kits - The Little Knitting Company (the most indie as far as I can see). 
22.) Favourite Knitting Blog - KNIT NOTTINGHAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
23.) Best Website - Ravelry. Obvs. No question. 

24.) Favourite Book - The Sock Draw by Verity Castledine (featuring socks named after meeeeeee). 
25.) Best Knitting Show/Event - Yarndale. 
26.) Favourite Charity Campaign - God, anything but the bloody Innocent Smoothie Hats. 
27.) Best Yarn Shop Day Experience - Knit Nottingham!!!!!!!!!!!!!
28.) Best Yarn for Crochet - King Cole. 

29.) Favourite Crochet Designer - Verity Castledine.
30.) Best Crochet Store - KNIT NOTTINGHAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

31.) Favourite Crochet Blog - I'm going to say Sue Pinner. Everybody else seems to work against the LYS but I can't see any evidence of her doing so. :)
32.) Favourite Crocher Book - Bugger it, let's go Sue Pinner too. 

33.) Best Crochet Accessories Range - Fleabubs by Lala! So proud of her getting a nom against the big boys!!!!!

That's it. They're only my suggestions but I hope it helps if you're not necessarily a knitter/crocheter but still a Knit Nottinghamer and I know there are many of you. ;)

If there are two of you who want to vote in the same household then you'll need to open a private browser which works differently on different browsers so do a little google. To prevent fraud they've put a stop on voting more than once from different IP addresses but I know there are lots of fans who live in the same house so I think it's only fair. Please use fairly though!!

I think that's it. Once again. Vote vote vote! It really means that world to tiny businesses like mine. Ahhhhhhhhh!

Love Eleanor. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

P.s. Welcome to anybody who's found us through the Let's Knit promotion, as always we're super grateful to them! The blog isn't a real priority for us right this sec, I tend to update when I have very important news (like voting for us!) but you can also find us on Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and our newsletter where I talk a lot more so go like, follow, sign up and enjoy! :)

Tuesday, 30 May 2017


I'm really not sure who reads this that isn't on the Facebook, Twitter, Insta or Youtube but if that's you then GREAT! Yarndale is up on sale again! We're doing it a bit different this year. You have to fill out a form so I have contact details in case anything goes wrong and then I'll contact you in the way you ask for payment. You can still pay in the shop if it suits, or over the the phone or in paypal. Anyway, the details can be found by clicking here.

I don't want to say too much because I want to keep it all in one place - the FAQ which I linked to up there.

As we have for the last two years we're making a Yarndale Uniform. There's not much too this and it's not as exciting as it might sound. We choose a pattern on Yarn Shop Day and then we make it. Anybody can make it, in any yarn bought from the shop and wear it on the day. It's not an exclusive pattern to us but I can think of at least eight people who are giving it a go for the Yarndale coach so you'll be one of a tribe. If you've got an inkling to do it, do it!!!!!! Doing things with us is what makes you part of Knit Nottingham, no special hand shakes or anything, just being a bit of a dork with yarny friends.

I think it's a really good choice. And trust me, I stopped them choosing a fully lacework 4ply number (which is fit but deffo not inclusive). I'm considering an evening of Yarndale Uniforming where I can help with issues. Thoughts?

You can find the pattern with all the details by clicking here - Sirdar 7977. It's a fab size range and doable in an awful lot of yarns - many people have chosen Bamboo Cotton DK, but some have chosen the Rico Cottonsoft and of course, the Toscana which is the original yarn.

I think that's all I need to say on the matter. Any questions about Yarndale itself - check here before you ask - any questions about the uniform, ask away!

Love Eleanor! xxxxx

Friday, 12 May 2017

Yarn Shop Day!!!! A rant.

I've done a vlog about how bloody brill Yarn Shop Day but now something a bit more serious really. I must admit, I'm still basking in the glory that was our Yarn Shop Day. And it was bloody glorious!

You can't tell me that's not glorious!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ahhh!!!!!!!!!!! It was busy all day, we took a lot of money but more importantly we cemented more friendships and had more laughs and shared more knowledge (off the top of my head somebody learned magic loop and somebody else learned basic crochet to make the lovely April Towriess crochet cushion) than ever before! We chose our Yarndale uniform. We had a bit of a drink. Cassia got in a basket.

Yarn Shop Day was thought up by the editor of Let's Knit magazine as our very own version of Record Store Day. A day to celebrate bricks and mortar shop. And by celebrate, in reality we mean spend. It might not be pretty but our indie shops, including yarn shops, are businesses and to keep them going we need to spend. They're not just there for the hell of it because, quite frankly, a lot of the time it's not that fun (Yarn Shop Day absolutely excluded - that was fun fun fun!!!!!!!). I don't know about other people's businesses but I need to be making enough money to keep the shop afloat with no input from me and then on top of that to support me. I'm not a lavish person, you all know that, but it was thrilling when last year I was able to buy some actual shoes from an actual shoe shop that have the potential to last longer than a few months. That's where I want to be, I want to be able to buy quality shoes. If I wasn't there by now - after seven years - then I might as well get a proper job.

Quite frankly, I work an average 10 hour day but mostly longer and mostly on my Monday 'day off' too. I answer emails on the tram home from work, ring suppliers/insurers/the council/magazines/printers/whoever on the tram into work and knit samples in the evening. When I'm in the shop I'm in the shop, often editing photos for the website at the same time as chatting to and helping customers all whilst thinking about how I'm going to organise the next event or promotion or what to order next. I put my order in to King Cole at 8am every Thursday and seeing as I've already started the working day I usually ring a few other suppliers then too. There's not a moment of my day that I'm not working in some capacity for the shop. And I'm not complaining really, though I do... a lot... Haha. I'm especially not complaining now that all of my chickens have come home to roost and we've got a sustainable and stable business (crossed fingers).

Bricks and mortar shops are a different beast to internet shops. We do the same stuff that they do - marketing, social media, buying in stock (though we have to have more because people expect to walk out with the products here and there's no way to sneak in an extra day or two of delivery time), answering e-mails/phone calls, paperwork, accounting etc. But we have all of that on top of cleaning, tidying, visual merchandising, and being at customers' beck and call. Emotional labour I called it in a vlog post once and it's true. You are on call. When the shop's open (and often when it's not) you are on call. Something that no internet business has to deal with.

Yarn Shop Day is the day when we celebrate that! Every bloody industry that has indie bricks and mortars should have one! Every industry! But we have one and it's thanks to Let's Knit. Without them there is no Yarn Shop Day. There's no day to celebrate your bricks and mortar shops, the work that they do and the special place that they hold in our industry.

To be part of that - the celebration AND the (hopefully) big glob of money that comes from this event - we have to pay. Like you lot have to pay to be part of Knit Nottingham (i.e. buy stuff from us...) we have to pay Let's Knit to be part of Yarn Shop Say. The amount isn't important, and I don't feel at liberty to share, more for other shops' benefit than mine, but it's a small amount over three months. And in that amount is included advertising in their magazine (the cost of which is usually double so we've smashed it there before all the other stuff) for three months, advertising on their website, a live link on their virtual map, social media promotion of Yarn Shop Day (on a much bigger platform than any of us have), free and exclusive patterns to download and promote, marketing materials like stickers etc., a wealth of advice from the gorgeous Sam who works tirelessly for them and for the first few who sign up some freebies to give away or sell from big yarn companies. West Yorkshire Spinners even went right out of their way to produce an exclusive colourway for bricks and mortar yarn shops to sell to their customers (I ain't got much positive to say about them but they did do that!). Apart from this, you can do whatever you want! WHATEVER YOU WANT! You can get designers in, you can have workshops, spinning demos, charity drives or even - like us - just get tipsy in your favourite shop. IT IS WONDERFUL AND SO VERY WORTH IT!

And now, just days after the triumph that was Yarn Shop Day I find that there's been a backlash. A backlash about having to pay?! That's literally the point! That's the point of the whole day! We are celebrating and supporting businesses who do us good! And by celebrate and support I literally mean spending money! There's no way to put a nicer spin on it than that. These shops are businesses and they need supporting with your money.

But on the flip side, from my point of view, and not feeling able to share the amount it's a difficult argument to win, but if you're not making enough money that you can spare the tiny amount that this costs then you really aren't in business. In olden times (like ten years ago, before instagram haha) marketing should have taken about 10% of your budget. Nowadays you can get away with less than that I think, and even make some money off things like Youtube, but it should be a part of the budget of the shop and it's important. I'm going to go all out and sound like an arsehole now, I take a dim view of hobby shops. This isn't a hobby. The knitting and crochet is, and it's absolutely fabulous that that forms a tiny part of my day every day, that's all excellent but the shop most certainly isn't a hobby. It's a business. And people hobbying around make business difficult for the businesses that are businessing. Sometimes, they drive down prices so that in order to stay competitive we can't make a profit (I say fuck it, price properly and explain - my ideal customers understands and my unideal customer heads elsewhere) but that's mainly a problem with internet sellers (big boys and back room traders alike). But more often than not, they're unreliable which gives us business businesses a bad name. A business business will pay Let's Knit to be part of this wonderful event, a hobby shop would not. Don't take me the wrong way, I had to stretch myself early on to afford this, but stretch myself I did because of the value that this adds - for me, for other businesses and for the industry. This is, and was, part of my marketing budget even when I didn't have any money (and I mean literally taking home less than I would have done on benefits). 

I also need to point out, as if I haven't before, that Yarn Shop Day is about bricks and mortar yarn shops and celebrating the particular (sometimes peculiar) position that they hold in the market. That's why the event and the promotion surrounding it focuses on bricks and mortar yarn shops. As if that's even a thing to question?!

So. Rant over. I, as always want to give a massive shout out to Let's Knit (especially Sam who is bloody wonderful all the time, I don't know how she does it!) and to other wonderful yarn shops that took the plunge and invested in this event, financially and emotionally. I also want to give a HUGE shoutout to every one of you that came to our event to make it so bloody special - especially the ones that travelled loooooong distances and paid for child care and doggie care! You're all brilliant and you're all adding to the world. Well, my little world at least. I felt like the buzz this year was BIG! Here, on the internet and all over. It really feels special to be part of this. Thank you all!!!!!!

Love Eleanor. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Zoe's Beautiful Necklace Pattern

This is the blog to accompany Zoe's vlog for Vlog a Day April. She was inspired by the gorgeous new Rico Fashion Jersey to make some lovely necklaces, so here's the pattern and if you follow through onto the vlog then there's a how-to video (the first instructional video we've made, so be gentle).


About a third of a ball of Rico Fashion Jersey or Fashion Jersey Prints

6mm double pointed needles (or a size you have, down to about a 5mm, up to about a 7mm).
Some beads with big holes (we suggest heading to the Bead Shop Nottingham because they're wonderful!)


Matters very little. Get on with it. 


Cast on 3 sts and knit an icord until it was about 120cm. (Maybe a little less if you fancy. Maybe longer!)

Make a slip knot about 16cm from one end. Using your fingers chain for about 16 chains then knot leaving about 16cm from the other end. 

I then threaded beads, with a big hole, on each end.  

Tie the yarn ends together to wear or sew together and sew in ends. 

Bish, bash bosh!!

How simple is that!? Boom!

Love Eleanor (and more importantly, Zoe).