Have you ever had a niggling thought or intention and then it is lost?
Well I have had numerous “niggles” over the past few weeks about this blog, and when I logged on to the computer today I could not believe how long it has been since my last post! Let me say that it has been a very hectic few months, but now things are (dare I say it?) beginning to settle.
My main concern and focus has been my Mother’s health. She is now MUCH better and is getting stronger by the day. She has gone from needing oxygen 24 hours a day, to only needing it on exertion. The pneumonia really took it out of her, but she has her sparkle back. This means that she is more independent and doesn’t need as much support and intervention. I have more time for my projects and this has coincided with the improvement in weather and lifting of restrictions. The future is looking positive and I am due to have my second covid vaccine very soon. We are able to visit Julie and it is wonderful to establish those links again. The staff at her home are fantastic and now her new greenhouse is bustling with life and activity. She loves gardening and values any time spent there.
This was wonderful, our first time of taking Julie out for literally months! We bought butties, drinks and grapes and visited Tittesworth Reservoir for a picnic!
Of course we have a long way to go before we can relax and have the wool shows with the hustle and bustle as before. I have been inspired by the ideas to reach out to folk with social network sites to offer virtual shows and have found them to be very enjoyable both as a vendor and customer! I continue to sell online from my Etsy shop and am constantly thinking of what to knit or crochet next!
I enjoyed making some 3 layer cotton masks with knitting themed fabric! I wanted to be prepared for when we can actually have wool shows again! I had some small pieces of off cuts and so made these into coasters! I love my sewing machine and find it relaxing to see a project coming together!
I was delighted to have a catch up with my knitting friends (socially distanced of course), and realised that the joy of social contact is “just being” with friends and family. Hearing about their projects, progress, and life since our last meeting was totally wonderful. I value my knitting group so much. It is great to see what people are making and gain their opinion, advice and suggestions about projects. I have a few new products which have yet to be included in the shop, but am having tremendous fun designing and working on them.
Next year’s diaries have now been designed and this will see me going for a trip to Hanley Print Services in their new location in a couple of weeks. Their quality of printing is excellent, and I only have small batches of items but they are great and we always have a natter about life in general. Their expertise is very much needed when I have some ambitious designs that need to be printed.
With the restrictions beginning to be lifted, we can start to think about travel now. We will be staying in the UK for our holidays this year. This is a practical decision as much as the government guidelines. I want to be able to respond quickly if Mum becomes ill or I am needed for anything. We love travelling around with our touring caravan and have time booked in Cornwall, Wales, Northumberland, Scotland, the Lake District and my favourite, the North Yorkshire Dales. I can’t wait.
Part of any holiday or long journey is planning what knitting or crochet to take with me. I have a full set of needles, hooks and sewing kit in our caravan. I have one project to do as I sit on the passenger seat, and then something a bit more challenging for when we are settled. I always do some research prior to our trip to find where the fabulous yarn shops and fabric shops are and have planned some stays near where one of these desired destinations is located. My friends tell me of some wonderful shops and I have been to Countess Ablaze in Manchester after Liz described it, and some gorgeous fabric shops in Cornwall thanks to the advice from Shirley!
I was thinking what would be useful for travelling crafters? I have some lovely fabric pockets which are perfect for small projects, and they will go on sale with a travel size “The Knitter’s Companion” which includes maps of UK and the world, a few essential items such as project pages and spaces for your notes. Inside this travel kit is a page of stickers and a mini pencil. Also included is a small plastic box of everything you could possibly need to complete your project. I have one of these in the glove box of our car! Customers have informed me that these have been invaluable on plane journeys as the snippers are accepted as being safe!
Another project is currently being introduced to the shop following my sharing the travel kits to my friend Liz. She was impressed with it and said how it would be perfect for the cables in circular needles, and how it would be good to have an extra section where the interchangeable needles could be slotted. I spent some time trying to work out how this could be sewn, and was very pleased with the result. Karen of Crafts at Poppy Cottage suggested that I try with some spare fabric rather than use my best and this was great advice.
The finished product is now being made in a range of fabrics and although it is complicated to sew, it is worth it for the finished product. A small internal pocket enables the cable end caps and cable key to be stored safely. I started to collect my pro plus needles depending on what the project I was doing needed. My first time of using them was for a beautiful lacy shawl for my dear friend Sue, it was in laceweight yarn and at one point I had over 400 stitches on! It was a labour of love and despite being a challenging pattern, it was worth the effort as she loved it. You will be able to see the full range of the circular needle cases including photographs of the pockets inside if you visit our Etsy shop – The Knitting Companion.
May! Where did the time go?
So much is happening that I now have to update you all!
I have had my 2nd Astra Zeneca vaccine, and it made me ill for 24 hours. I won’t go into details, but at least I am now covered.
I visited Hanley Print Services for the next year diaries and it was a joy to catch up with Allan, Steve and Garry. Always a pleasure to do business with them!
I have been extremely busy adding items to the Etsy shop, including new ranges. As a result of feeling more positive and confident for the future, I have added countries outside of UK now for postage.
The most exciting thing is that I have some shows to look forward to!
The first is the Cambridge Craft Festival on 5th & 6th June. This is the first time that they have hosted a festival, and this is virtual. All crafts are included, and I am really enjoying seeing some of the other exhibitors! Watch out for this one, it looks great!
The following weekend I will be exhibiting at the virtual Wool Monty. This is also a new festival. It was hosted last year as a virtual show instead of being at Sheffield Arena. One of the tremendous advantages of this show is the accessibility. My Mum and sister are both in wheelchairs and I totally realise the value of the time that these organisers spent in ensuring that the space between stands, access and appropriate rest and relaxation areas were well planned. Let’s hope that 2022 sees this wonderful show in it’s reality. I can’t wait!
I also have a virtual show at the beginning of October, on the 2nd. The Yorkshire Yarn Fest are putting on regular virtual shows throughout the year and these are really enjoyable. I have visited their events online and have treated myself to some lovely purchases.
Later on in the year we are keeping our fingers crossed for Bakewell Wool Gathering and Kendal Wool Gathering. I adore these two shows, they are both very well organised in excellent venues and there are always a brilliant range of exhibitors.
I am waiting to hear what is happening with Wool@J13, this is another fabulous show which should have been earlier in the year when we were locked down. The venue is wonderful and is ideal for families. There is lots to see, do and eat and they will be happy while you browse and chat to the vendors. Fingers crossed for this, but if not, there is always next year!
So, things are looking up.
In the mean time, we have structural changes going on in our house. Disruption, dust and cramped rooms full of furniture. Never mind, it will all be worth it!!!
I promise that I won’t leave it too long until my next post!