Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Loyalty pays off...

Today at Three Bags Full our first customer became eligible for a 40% discount on their next purchase, according to the loyalty scheme we're running till the end of October. Yay! Felt like a milestone. A nice one.

The lace is progressing well, thanks. The knitting in progress or in the pipeline now reads as:

3 scarves - the lace one, one that's reversible and one in alpaca for a Christmas present

the 4 ply gloves - I so want these to be as beautiful as they are on the pattern picture that it's stopping me from getting on with them. I need to get a grip

the waistcoat - meant as a shop sample but it was taking lots of time and lots of wool so in the end I decided I'd just buy the wool myself and keep it for me. Mirasol K'Acha. Beautiful but not a great seller. I wonder why? - maybe I should move stuff round a bit

Debbie Bliss Angel short shrug - this one really is a shop sample. Very pretty.

Lovely, plain V-neck jumper - for a non-knitting friend

Debbie Bliss cardigan with teddies on for my cousin. Cute. She's grateful I'm knitting it; I'm grateful for the chance to try the pattern and Baby Cashmerino, which I've never used before.

Occasionally someone will come in the shop who only ever has one project on the go at once. I haven't quite got the hang of that.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Is lace-weight for the fearless? Are lifelines for cissies?

(Photo courtesy: thenaturaldyestudio.com)

I'm not a big follower of the current knitting fashion for making beautiful, intricate, fine lace shawls, shawlettes and stoles. I can appreciate the enormous skill that's gone into them and can see them as the items of true gorgeousness that they are, but it's not an ambition of mine to be able to make one. The ratio of pleasure and potential use v. amount of effort expended would be all out of kilter.

But that was before I bought a vintage dress in pale pistachio from Purple Rabbit. The very item it needed to complete the look was a lacey scarf. Just rectangular, basic lace - nothing too fancy. I'm not a fancy sort of girl. So I chose a simple lace stitch from the stitch directory and some Natural Dye Studio oyster lace silk, and started knitting.

Then I made a mistake and started again. Then I counted up and had the wrong number of stitches, so I started again. In fact, I started over lots of times. Finally, after about eight attempts, I think I've got it. I've reached a stage where I can see when I'm doing the wrong thing in the wrong place and can adjust it to make it right.

Why so slow and stupid? Well…1) my eyesight isn't as good as it used to be, plus 2) I have two cups of coffee first thing, which isn't exactly excessive, but nevertheless it makes me shake ever so slightly - a disaster for lace knitting, and finally… 3) the oyster colour of the yarn is exactly the same shade as the aluminium needles I'm using. Thrice woe.

A lifeline or two seems a good idea, but I like to think I'm a fearless knitter, eschew such sensible precautions and with only a little grouse or two, will start over completely if I go irredeemably wrong. Anyone with 1042 stitches on their needles for a more intricate triangular shawl might feel differently. This is a mere 47 - I know, I'm playing at it, aren't I?

I'll take a photo next time the knitting and the camera are in the same place…for now, imagine something ivory-coloured and simple, where the beauty of the object comes almost entirely from the quality of the wool and the simple stitch pattern, rather than from any skill on the part of the knitter.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

How about a Sing?

I found myself at a Piece Hall events meeting the other night. It was a mistake - I shouldn't have been there, but anyway...

My not-very-well-received suggestion was that we should resurrect the old Halifax Sings from the 19th century. You can find a little information about these on Malcolm Bull's excellent Calderdale Companion site, but basically all the Sunday Schools in the area got together and sang in the Piece Hall at five year intervals over a period of about forty years. The few pictures available show the place heaving with people.

I suppose the big Sunday School era might be over, but people love to sing and if we got a few school choirs involved there'd be automatic interest and attendance from the proud mums and dads. If we got the churches involved there'd be the congregations. (In fact, why don't the churches organise something like this?) If we involved other faiths there'd be an inter-faith element. If we got a brass band or two involved that'd be even better...

It'd be brilliant to see the place full of people singing, even just as a one-off. Not in this case to make money or increase trade, but just to make people happy. There's nothing like a bit of communal singing to make you feel good.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Free sock pattern

Please ask if you'd like a free 2-needle sock pattern to go alongside your purchase of beautiful, hand-dyed Ranco. I've only got about a dozen of the patterns, so don't delay!

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Hare or tortoise?

How do you like your knitting? - fast and furious? slowish and relaxed? I like to have a few projects on the go so I can choose to either concentrate or zip along, depending on what else I'm doing at the same time. Anyway, these are two of my recent projects...

Not sure if it's immediately obvious what they have in common:

Yes, I know they're both pink! Apart from that, I mean...

Okay, I'll tell you: they're both yarns that take a bit of getting used to. Rico's Loopy (above) is, if anything, even faster to knit with than its sister yarn, Can Can. And Debbie Bliss's soft mohairy Angel is much hairier than anything I'm used to knittng.

But once you've adjusted your ideas of what knitting wool is - well, they're both lovely. And part of their loveliness is another attribute they share - they're both very forgiving of mistakes. Don't tell anyone, but the Angel shrug I'm knitting as a shop sample has one or two little errors in it, and the Loopy - well, who's going to notice a purl stitch instead of a knit among that lot?

I'm liking them.

Friday, 8 April 2011

No comment!

(Photo courtesy tvscoop.tv)

It's just been pointed out to me that the comments system isn't working..sorry, don't know why this is, whether it's a googlemail problem, a blogger problem or something more technical. Anyway, my apologies. Not ignoring anyone, honest!

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Springing into action

Seems like spring might be here at last - if it keeps up I might risk taking the fan heater home. Yesterday was spring cleaning day in the shop: we moved furniture, we cleaned windows, we changed curtains - gosh, we worked hard. And now it looks pretty and flowery and cheerful. I really should get on with some Christmas knitting, but who wants to knit for Christmas in a shop full of mini-eggs and Easter bunnies? So maybe I'll just concentrate on a few more daffodils for now.