Monday, 23 July 2012


Are you a one-project-at-a-time kind of knitter or a can't-wait-to-start-something-new kind of knitter? I'm a serial starter. I do finish stuff as well but love starting things more. Yesterday wasn't an entirely successful day for us, (birthday outing gone SO wrong...) so I couldn't wait to get home and get on with one of these:

These two are scarves I'm knitting in the gorgeous Manos Silk Blend, both just a very simple chevron pattern from a stitch directory - I didn't even need to add a border. Love these.

I'm knitting Mike a pair of socks. It's taking a long time.

This is a wool/silk mix that I've been gazing at for ages. On Saturday I finally succumbed, brought it home, made it into a ball and started knitting another scarf. But it was too stiff and solid. I didn't fancy using a bigger needle so I think it's now destined for a bag or a belt or...something anyway. So, not stricty speaking a WIP at the moment, but was and will be again soon.

Well, I know what the yarn is - it's lovely Artesano alpaca - but what was I making with it? Fingerless gloves possibly? The pattern's disappeared from the basket, so I might have to pull it back and start again.
A Noro scarf using two balls of the same colourway of Kureyon. It was coming along nicely but then I thought it would make more sense to continue with it in autumn. Very simple: choose a number of stitches according to the width you want the scarf, cast on and away you go in stocking stitch. Just remember to swop balls every couple of rows, and don't start both balls at the same place in the colour cycle. 

And this one's my vintage jumper from a 1944 book Mike bought me. I was knitting this originally to wear for Armed Forces' Day but it became clear I wasn't going to finish it in time so it's on a back burner for the moment - I just add a few rows when I'm in the mood. I'd be sprinting through it much faster if I didn't have to knit into the back of every single stitch. SO slowing. Cygnet Truly Wool Rich 4 ply; perfect for vintage knitting.

That's just the WIPs at home. At the shop there's more...

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Fairtrade, eco and all that jazz

We like to think we're pretty ethical people here at Three Bags Full but if we limited ourselves to selling only officially fairtrade yarns we wouldn't have the breadth of stock that we want to offer.

But now and then someone will pop in and ask what we have that's fairtrade or whatever. And well, put me on the spot about anything and I flounder about, mind totally blank. So, while I'm on the ball, these are a few examples...

Artesano yarns: Artesano are 'socially conscious' wool suppliers and each hank of their beautiful Manos yarns from South America benefits the community it's produced in. At the moment we sell mostly the Artesano alpaca (also South American, from Peru) but are trying out some special purchase Manos Silk Bend, which is gorgeous.

Mirasol: Mirasol yarns support the children of Peruvian shepherds. A percentage of each sale is donated to the funding of a school in the Puno region. The project is named after a real little girl called Mirasol and you can read more about it here. We have Mirasol K'Acha and Akapana.

Zimame: okay, not yarn, but we buy most of our buttons from Zimame who supply beautiful carded, handmade, ceramic buttons, the sales of which support women in Africa. This is what their website has to say:
Zimame Trading Co supports fair trade companies, selling high quality, hand-made goods from producers in Southern Africa...
The term fair trade does mean different things to different people, but to us it essentially means that products have been sourced from companies who pay a fair wage and assist their workers, mainly women, to maintain a better standard of living. They are often the only, or main wage earner, supporting large extended families. A fair wage means they can send their children to school, have proper food and gives dignity and hope.
Some of the companies we support were set up to directly support orphans and their carers.

So, those are the main contenders, altho' we also have other odd things - the Debbie Bliss Eco Aran springs to mind, both fairtrade and organic - and we'll aim to add more as and when we can.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Final results...

...of the Knock On Effect/Three Bags Full short story competition can be found here!

Monday, 9 July 2012

Totally Locally. Or As Locally As Possible in our case...

Today the brand new Totally Locally shop and cafĂ© opens at Dean Clough. This is great for lots of reasons: Dean Clough's a fantastic collection of mills, very significant in Halifax's history, and deserves more brilliant companies there to attract visitors and increased use; shopping local means cash stays local; reduced transport costs mean lower prices and a healthier environment; shopping local might just help re-build a sense of local community. Plus the Totally Locally shop crew intend ploughing profits back into the area. I'm sure there are even more reasons to support this venture. Mike and I will be moseying down sometime this week for a look around and a coffee and something delicious.
I'll be honest, I have questions about what's happening that don't seem to be answered in any of the website info: I feel like I want to understand the ethos more thoroughly than I do at present. What are the aims and how will they achieve them without damaging other local suppliers that aren't included on their favoured suppliers list? How will competitor shops fare when the TL shop is selling the same things and open for longer hours? I don't know, but I do have faith in the TL ideal and the good intentions of the movers and shakers involved, so maybe that's all taken care of behind the scenes? Anyway, overall, yeah, I think it's a great idea.

And it made me wonder about what we sell in Three Bags Full that's local. We do obviously use a lot of local companies for undertaking any work we need doing - the electrics, the decorating etc - it's all been done by local firms and one-man bands. But what about the actual stock? Well, there are some problems with wool - we can only stock what we're able to buy and it has to be of a certain quality. There's probably more, but this is what I came up with without thinking too hard:

Pretty beaded stitch-markers - crafted locally
Woodland Whiteface - spun and supplied locally
Blue Faced Leicester DK - locally supplied
British Breeds arans - locally supplied - these are getting harder to get hold of nowadays but I've sourced another local supplier for when we've sold the present stock
Hipp kits - crochet bag kits supplied by local crafter and designer
Sheepy notelets - made by me, from photographs supplied by my very talented husband!

In addition to those, we deal with several bigger companies within the region - Designer Yarns and Cygnet are both in the Bradford area, for example. I can't claim their products are 100% local but things are moving in the right direction: Designer Yarns are introducing  a locally spun Debbie Bliss BFL aran for their winter collection which we're hoping to stock when we're able.

So local products for local people - shopping's coming full circle and it's great, isn't it?

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Old-fashioned fun

Yesterday in the Piece Hall  we celebrated Armed Forces Day with the emphasis on the 1940s, so we had lots of people dressed like this:

 and lots of simple pleasures like this:

some great singers:

and some weaponry, just in case:

and to top it all off we had a fly past by a Spitfire:

So, all in all, a pretty good day. and a big well done to the organisers. At Three Bags Full, we dressed for the occasion - well, I did anyway. I'd pulled back the Ever Fashionable Bolero on Thursday because clearly I wasn't going to finish it on time and I could think of a dozen better uses for several balls of Baby Cashmerino. But I made a snood - not a very good one, but a snood all the same. The morning saw more customers than usual nudging past the Saturday knit group and one gentleman, on his way to an ordination at the Minster, who needed a button sewing on his suit! And the evening saw me too tired to change before heading off to meet Mike and Joe in the pub, which explains why I was out early Saturday evening in a red polka dot dress and vintage green jacket. Yeah, it looked a bit weird out of context.

Planning on a lazy week next week...

(All photo credits: Mike Hodgson)