Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Yarndale 2015 - Thank you speech

This post is very, very long and reads a bit like a oscar winning speech, I have so many people to thank for making ,my first solo show a success.
I was very mental, hysterical and stressed, throughout the whole experience, but it was amazing and I loved every minute of it.
So much so I am already planning next year's show in my head, I made a lot of mistakes, but I now have a whole year to plan and get it right next time.

 So here goes.....

Firstly and most importantly I would like to thank...

1 - The whole Yarndale team for creating and putting on such an amazing show, for all their hard work, dedication and thoughtfulness.

2- Lucy - Attic24 For being the creative force behind the crochet element of Yarndale.
Lucy has helped create the only show that I know of with a crochet focus, she attracts crocheter's from all over the world, which means crochet designers like myself have the chance to showcase our work.
She also organises beautiful instillations, that decorate the show and the town of Skipton, made up with crochet donations from crocheters all over the world, this year it was flowers, that were sale in aid of Alzheimers Society charity.
I was told the flowers came from 23 different countries, the work that goes on behind the scenes must be immense.
I was lucky enough to have a couple of chats with Lucy and although I burbled verbal diarrhoea at her, she understood and kindly approved my idea's for my next year's show.

3 - Joy - The Knitting Goddess, who supported and enabled me to get to the show in the first place, without Joy I wouldn't of made the show at all.
Joy launched our joint Colour Wheel project, which hopefully will run for a long time, we have lots and lots of future plan's in the pipeline, I think she sold out of the very first sets of colour wheel mini skeins on the first day, which hopefully is a sign of good things to come.

4 - John and Juliet - John Arbon textiles (+ Frankie - Franks Knits & Emily - Viola Viola )
My very close friends and neighbours who became my temporary carers, who gave me some where to stay, ensured I ate properly and generally supported me through out the whole experience.

5 - I started off my Yarndale trip on Wednesday with an overnight visit to my very good friends Jeni - Fyberspates and Andy - Chester Wool
Jeni and I  did some serious brainstorming and came up with some very exciting plans to work together next year.

6 - Valerie - Agraian Artisan
My lovely, lovely friend, who helps me write all my patterns, I wouldn't be a designer without her, I went to visit her on the Thursday and we finally had the chance to chat in peace  and quiet.

7 - All my woolly friends that I only ever see at shows, I've missed seeing them this year, because I haven't been at any of the summer shows so it was lovely to catch up.
Firstly Jon & Roy - Easyknits and Linda and Andrea - Tall Yarns
Plus Jonathon & Sarah - Purlescence, Erica - Debonnaire, and so many more who will have to forgive me for not mentioning.
Plus my neighbours John & Claire - Natural Born Dyers & Marie Wallin who put up with my excess of blankets and hysteria.

8 - My fellow designer's - Janie Crow, Rachel Coopey, and Ann Kingstone, who also had to put up with my hysteria and answered my questions, thank you for your time and advice.

9 - Emma - The Little Grey Sheep, who became one of my new yarn enabler's, Emma gave me such an amazing collection of yarn to play with that I couldn't wait to use it, so immediately started designing on the stand.

And finally my amazing customers, who forgave the fact that I'd sold out of patterns by lunchtime on the first day, ran me out of 500 postcards and accepted me stickering them with my Ravelry shop address for the remainder of the show.
Especial "Thanks" go to Denise, who suffered my panic & my hysteria when I realised I hadn't taken my epilepsy & high blood pressure tablets on Sunday & for always being a loyal and supportive friend & customer.
And Gina who has been a loyal supporter who has been a loyal customer and friend from the very beginning of my NDS days

The end :-)

Saturday, 19 September 2015

VAT promotion

Ever since the new digital VAT regulations came in at the beginning of the year all my UK customers have had to pay VAT on my patterns, normally they wouldn't be charged VAT as they live in the same country as me.
However because the platforms I sell on are based in the US, they have to charge VAT on all European sales.

I feel its very unfair on my UK customers, and have been trying to think of a way to make it a little bit fairer.
So I've done a little bit of research and I've discovered I can run a Etsy promotion, so I've set one up to run until then end of the month (Sept 2015)
When you buy one of my patterns on Etsy you will receive a coupon that gives you 20% off your next pattern.

Incidentally all of my customers will receive the coupon code, so if you live outside Europe and don't have to pay VAT you will still get the coupon, which means you will still get the 20% discount off subsequent patterns.

I'm a bit confused about how the Etsy coupons work, I think you will be able to use the coupon on all subsequent purchases.
So I'm going to be cheeky and ask if you could buy a pattern to test to see if  you will get subsequent discounts.
As a special incentive here is the coupon code, so you can take advantage of the discount on your first purchase - VAT2015
After your purchase you should receive a e-mail giving you the code, please can you let me know if you receive it :-)
If the code works I'll set up a new promotion which will last until the end of the year.

You can find my Etsy shop - HERE
And some of my patterns to tempt you......... :-)

https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/244528009/harlequin-crochet-afghanblanket-pdf?ref=shop_home_feat_4     https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/80527550/lily-crochet-blanket-pdf-crochet-pattern?ref=shop_home_feat_1

https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/198695904/kissing-circles-kaffe-crochet?ref=shop_home_feat_2     https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/114082442/ermintrude-crochet-blanket-pdf-crochet?ref=shop_home_active_4 


Friday, 18 September 2015

The Knitting Goddess & Yarndale

This time next week I will be setting up my stand at Yarndale.
You would not believe the behind the scenes chaos and hoops I have had to jump through to get there.
Everything is beginning to fall in place and excitement is setting in and fingers crossed I will see you next weekend :-)))
Along with my family I have 2 people who have made it all possible.
The first is my lovely Valerie - Agrarian Artisan, she has always been my head cheerleader and has believed in me and talked me through numerous traumatic day's.
The second is Joy, the lovely and amazing Knitting Goddess, this blog post is about her :-)


I have known Joy for years and for almost all of them she has been one of my indie dyer competitors.
I remember first discovering her on eBay back in the day when I didn't realise competitors could be friends, but didn't actually meet her in person until 2009 when we both had stands at the disastrous wet first Ravelry day in Coventry.
We instantly became friends, because not only were we both indie dyers, but we also shared a slightly wicked sense of humour.
Since then when ever we have met at shows we have always done lots of laughing.

So fast forward 6 years to this spring when I closed NDS.
Joy kindly sent me some of her yarn to use in my last 2 book blanket's, as I wanted them to contain yarn from my indie dyer friends as a thank you for all their support and love over the years.
She sent me some Britsock, after playing with it for a while I realised it was the perfect replacement for some of my NDS yarns and so I asked if I could name her as one of my new yarn recommendations, to which she said yes :-)
Then I very cheekily asked if she could dye some colour wheels that I could use as examples for my book.
Joy took the colour wheel idea and ran with it, she was so keen to help that she spent a whole day dyeing mini skeins, I fairly certain she told me she'd dyed about 96 colours that day!!

Since then we have been discussing and planning on ways we could collaborate on a colour wheel project.
Yarndale will mark the beginning of our project.
Joy has been dyeing colour wheels and will have sets available to buy on her stand, they will be available in her on-line shop when she gets back from Yarndale.

And I have been editing and revamping some of my patterns for her to use for kits and to sell at Yarndale.
In fact she was so keen that she made her own version of my Iris scarf design, which she will have on her stand at the show.
She will also have my Rita blanket, I have spent the last week re-writing the pattern, who knows how she is going to fit it in, you will need to go and see her to find out :-)
Her stand number is 158


Incidentally you can find the new Rita pattern HERE in my Ravelry shop.

We have lots more plans for the colour wheel project later on in the year, including (fingers crossed) a set of colour wheel cushions and a blanket design using the motifs I designed for the Love Crochet CAL.
Plus I have a couple more of her yarns I want to use as yarn replacements, so far I have only swatched them, but am hoping that her 4 ply Silk and Merino will be a good substitute for a couple of scarf/garment patterns and her 4 ply British wool & Alpaca will work as a back up to Britsock.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Winter Blanket Warmer - Buy one get one free.

Good morning from a glorious sunny Exmoor

Even though its September already it feel like the summer has just started, stupid summer, its 3 months late!!

Anyway before the sun started shining I thought we all needed something to cheer us up due to the manky summer weather and I have been planning a pattern promotion for a couple of weeks.
I thought it would be nice to concentrate on my blankets because the autumn and winter are the perfect blanket making time, even if you don't finish the blanket you have will have winter wip to work on that will keep your knees warm while its cold outside.

The promotion is a very simple "Buy one, get one free"
So from now until the end of September 2015 all you have to do is buy one of my blanket patterns, and I will send you any pattern of your choice for free.
For each pattern you buy I will send you a second free one, so if you buy 2 you get 2 free patterns and so on....

You might like a second blanket pattern.

Or you might like to make one of my scarf designs

Or how about snuggly Anna, which is the perfect winter cardi/coat, or elegant Dulcie

Just reply to me via your order confirmation or Paypal receipt telling me which pattern you would like.
You can buy your pattern from either my RAVELRY SHOP

If you would like to make you blanket as a kind of CAL, please join my Facebook page, where I will be available for encouragement and to answer and questions and will be able to help with any problems.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Homemade - Do you? Don't you?

Over the weekend I had a very interesting comment on one of my posts on my private Facebook account.

My post was about a conversation I had had with a lady I met in the village, which went like this.....

Q - what do you do?
A - I'm a free lance designer
Q - what do you design?
A - crochet blankets
Q - do you sell the blankets?
A - no, I sell the patterns
Q - what you mean you actually design the blankets yourself!!
A - (in my head) - REALLY!!!!! 😖

There were a few more comments and then I added....

I've also had customers at shows asking "did you make that?" and when I say yes, they're really shocked and surprised
I'm not sure who they thought had actually made it, maybe I should ask next time....

My friend and neighbour Caroline (who runs a lovely B & B in Lynton, if you are coming to visit Lynton make sure to check her out at Lee House :-) commented that it might have something to do with people being removed from creating due to being able to buy everything they need cheaply.
I realise it doesn't apply to knitters and crocheters, but maybe it does, hence this post/comment/question.

I've always assumed everyone made home-made things, I guess due to the fact its something I grew up with and have done my whole life.
My mother and aunt have/had always made all their clothes, as a child I can remember shop bought clothes being a luxury and being allowed to buy a pair of trousers from an actual shop as a birthday treat was something really exciting.
My granny knitted and crocheted and made everything including carpets for her house, my granddad was an upholsterer, had an attic room full of bolts of fabric and owned about 5 or 6 sewing machines, he also had an allotment.
My grandparents brought up three children during the war years and so homemade was part of life.
My dad built several of his own boats, including his first yacht.
There was home grown fruit and veg, birthday cakes, jam and chutney and home made wine etc etc etc
My parents weren't destitute, its just the way it was and it meant they could take me on camping trips around Europe every year and spend my summers sailing.

I've always assumed everyone of my age had a home made life, Caroline's comment made me step back and reassess my assumption and to think about the people who didn't and don't.
I'm beginning to understand that being able to do homemade is something really special now and this is the reason behind all the really popular sewing, cake making, gardening, crafty tv programmes, I've always struggled to understand why they are so popular, surely everyone knows how to make a dress, grow new potato's and bake a cake?
I had several childhood friends whose mothers didn't own sewing machines or knit/crochet or make their own jam and I guess these are the people whose children a generation later have no idea how to do home made, but are eager to learn and make for their own children.

So just I'm just wondering.......... did you? do you do home made?
Or have you had to learn the skills as an adult because there was no one to teach you as a child?