Saturday, 21 December 2013

The last post...

Well, not exactly, but the last one from our Piece Hall home, so we thought for a change we'd have a look back at an old Piece Hall Christmas booklet. Do you want to try and guess the year? And see how many you remember?

Okay, here's just a selection of the shops which were in residence...

Friendly Dragon
Epona AD
Cappuccino cafe
Red Patch
Blooming Ecke

And, it wasn't in the Piece Hall this particular year, but does anyone else remember a shop called CBGB's? I think they were somewhere near where the Greenwood Tree Gallery has been more recently. I know I bought a wooly cardigan from there which I'm still wearing so they could've been gone for anything between ten and thirty years...

Have a lovely Christmas everyone, and we'll see you from the 7th Jan in our new home at The Old Bank, Silver Street.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Small projects

Seems like everyone's knitting small projects at the moment - especially me. After decades of knitting jumpers and cardigans, I'm realising how satisfying it is to make something that's ready to wear in a week or maybe even just a night or two. So, here's one lovely pattern - and it's free! - from the Simply Knitting Magazine website, a pretty lacy cowl using four balls of Artesano Alpaca 4ply.

(Photo credit: Simply Knitting)    

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Adriafil Mistero

New in stock today: gorgeous, soft and practical Adriafil Mistero chunky, which boasts 47% wool content and comes in a range of multi-tonal colourways. I knew we had to have this as soon as I started knitting with it. Think Debbie Bliss Riva, but with a bit less wool. Wonderful for scarves and hats, altho' Adriafil estimate you'd need 8 balls for an average woman's jumper, so it's not too pricey at £3.45 a ball for those larger items too.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

It's a sign of how exceedingly tickled I am by these buttons that I'm putting them on both facebook and the blog. For £4.75 you get six little buttons which you can use to personalise your gift/card/tag/whatever you like. Clever or what? I know I'm easily impressed, but I hope you'll agree they're a good idea.

In the shop now; on the website as soon as Mike photographs them. Because my photos just aren't mustard-cutting website quality.

(Lots of other new button designs in the shop too...)

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Backwards and forwards

It's a weekend for looking back and looking forward. Yesterday was the 40th anniversary of the day Mike and I first went out, so on Friday evening we tripped off to Heckmondwike for a drink in the pub we walked to that first evening. The customers seem to have deserted it, maybe because the decor's still strangely seventies-oriented, but the barmaid offered Mike a taster of the beer he was considering and that always sets the tone for a good pub-related experience. And in the morning Mike presented me with a bag containing 40 presents!! Looking forward, can we see another 40 years together? - well, we'll be doing our best...

And also yesterday was the final lights switch-on at the Piece Hall, till after the refurb anyway. The 'final' anything always has an inbuilt tinge of wistfulness, but that was allayed to some extent by the added fireworks from the roof of the Orange Box. If anything it was even fabbier than ever. Huge crowd, some great entertainment and a feelgood atmosphere. Hope it's just as good in a couple of years time and that the whole place won't be yuppified out of recognition. Think positive!

Today, on the other hand, is the 18th birthday celebration of the middle daughter of a lovely friend who used to childmind for us, so that's very much a prelude to the future. Wishing Sophie a happy, sparkly future.

As to the shop's future...many, many people are asking about when and where we'll be moving. The brief answer is we're going into what was the TSB bank opposite the top of Crown Street but, as to when, 'around Christmas' is the most accurate we can be until we know whether the floor needs boarding, when the carpets can be fitted etc. I suspect Boxing Day might be spent painting... The best place for info is the shop facebook page which you can reach most easily via There's also a cheap and lovely Christmas gift idea on there at present, even for the slowest of knitters.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

A little gratuitous trumpet blowing...

Okay, so those people in the UK who've read the ebook - hang on, I haven't mentioned it for maybe a couple of weeks, so I'll remind you it's called So You'd Like to open a Wool Shop..., just in case you find yourself needing to know - anyway, as I was saying, those people in the UK who've read it have been dashed shy about posting a review, good, bad or indifferent.

But two very nice people in the USA have left comments on, one of which is headed 'Very witty humor'. Very witty! How about that? This same kindly potential wool shop owner calls it a 'very entertaining read with useful information' and the other lovely reviewer describes it as 'informative and entertaining'. Currently rated a satisfying 4.5 stars out of a possible 5.

You can uncover your ears now. Own trumpet blowing over.

Wear your Christmas Jumper with pride!

Lovely festive idea for a fundraiser from Save the Children who'd like people to pay £1 to wear their Christmas jumpers on Friday 13th December. And I know what you're haven't got time to make a Christmas jumper! Well, this:
was my most recent attempt at a Christmas jumper so I think it's best if I avoid the idea of knitting another in a rush. But, luckily for both you and me, Debbie Bliss has come up with a mini-Christmas-jumper pattern which you can make up in a jolly Christmassy jiffy and pin to your clothes on the day. It's a bit of a cop-out but one I'm happy to embrace. Who shrinks from a judicious cop out now and then? Only people who end up as over-stressed perfectionists...

Have a look here for more details.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

There, there, soon it'll all be over...

Who would believe moving a wool shop - any shop? - could take so long? Every stage has seen delays and mistakes and things that needed adjusting, plus the landlord's somewhere down south and the agent's representing him not us and the contractor seems like the only person who actually has the motivation to start work on the job, but he can't until we've signed the final papers and given him some cash to buy wood...

Anyway, in a couple of months' time at most we'll be in our new home, which will be renovated and painted and lovely. Furthermore, Christmas will be over, but people will still be knitting. At least half of the passengers alighting from the buses which stop at the top end of town will call into the new building to see what it's all about. The website will feature all manner of additional lovely items and everything will be hunkydory. Oh yes, it will.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Where's all the wool?

Yesterday was our annual trip to Meadowhall. I'm not a shopping mall type of a girl, but just once a year Maddie and I head off on the train, share a nice lunch (mushroom burrito - very delicious) and then we steal a march on the Christmas shopping frenzy. All went well. There were a lot of people - many more than I'm comfortable with, (which is about three at once) - we didn't get all we needed and they managed to continue playing the piped music all the way through the two minutes silence (for crying out loud!), but generally it was fine. Enjoyable even.

But here's the thing. Amongst all those shops, there isn't to my knowledge one selling even a smidgeon of wool. We didn't go into House of Fraser so maybe I'm making incorrect assumptions here, but there certainly isn't anything approaching an actual wool shop. Or even, I think, a general craft shop. What's that all about? Is the market just too fragmented for any single shop to be able to survive in a big shopping centre?

Well, of course, normally it wouldn't bother me. I'd sooner do the bulk of my shopping in craft fairs and little, local shops but yesterday, among the strappy, sparkly dresses, the leopard-print jim-jams and the over-sized pvc shopping bags, it would've been restorative and wonderful to be able to spend just a couple of minutes stroking something soft and full of potential.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

A moving experience

Wool shop life continues with a run of good and bad, which is probably how it's meant to be.

The card machine works again, against all the odds it seems, and the providers have offered a rent-free month in recompense. Small yippee for that, as it's clearly the least they could do.

We have lots of new stock - new colours in established lines and some stuff that's completely new. Lots of it being added super quickly to the website. And plenty more to come. Still get that child-in-a-sweet-shop feeling every time a new box arrives.

And the Christmas lights switch on will be in the Piece Hall this year. Yay!!

The move into new premises is under less helpful stars and we've now been told it'll be after Christmas before the building's ready. Oh, and the landlord's not going to paint the walls. So we'll have at most a few days for painting, carpet-fitting and moving out before our Piece Hall deadline in mid-Jan. Not a lot of leeway there, n'est-ce pas? Let's hope they don't find any endangered bats or anything in residence, or we'll be well and truly scuppered. Oh, and despite our hopes, there'll be no central heating in the new place. The boiler's too old and unfit for any heavy work so it'll be electric heaters only again, altho' it'll surely be warmer without an door leading straight in from outside and letting in occasional snow flurries...

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Of course! Mercury's retrograde...

That's why we're having all these delays with the start of work on the new premises. But Mercury's back in the old routine from 10th Nov, so why we've been given a vague completion date of 'the week after Christmas' is beyond me. Does that leave much time for carpet fitting and stocking up before we have to finally close our Piece Hall doors mid-January? No, it doesn't.

And what if stuff doesn't work? If there's six inches of snow on the ground? If we have flu'? If all the moving guys are booked up?

Yikes. Not that I'm stressing or anything.

Our new home, from some loosely-defined point in the middle of winter:

Saturday, 2 November 2013

I do love a bargain.

And free stuff's even better. So does anyone know why it's taken me so long to realise I can search on Amazon for free, and/or very cheap, Kindle-edition knitting patterns and other knittery books? I don't have an e-reader of any sort (I'm sure the day will come, but they'll need to make them smell of good old-fashioned book first...) but I download the stuff I want to my laptop and Bob's your uncle - there they are, just ready for a lull in the woolly day.

I know, I know: Amazon!! But what can I say? They have lots of knitting stuff. I'm torn. And I'd have a kind of ethical dilemma about only taking free stuff, because it's not Amazon who'd be losing out; it's the people who put stuff on there for free to boost their other sales. So I try and play nice: I get something for free; I try and buy something the next time.

Still, something free - especially something wool-related - is very lovely indeed.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

The trouble with sample garments, and then rambling off at a tangent...

Sample garments - the trouble is that people keep wanting to buy them. Mostly if something's for sale I'll put a price tag on it but, of course, people just wandering past the window don't know that - they see something nice inside and think 'that'd be great for whoever' and before you know it you're explaining sadly that no, it's not for sale. I do have the phone numbers of a few people who will knit for money but in the case of larger items the price would almost certainly be prohibitive. How much is dozens of hours of knitting worth? More than most people want to pay.

Knitting's slow. I'm a fast knitter, but it's still slow. Compare running up a pair of curtains on a sewing machine - all you have to do is edge the fabric, add a little tape maybe. With knitting, before you do anything else, you have to make the fabric itself. It's never going to be viable, is it? Except sometimes for cute little things.

And y'know, I think there's an image problem too. Everyone's mum knitted so everyone thinks it's dead easy. Well, so is everything once you've learned how to do it - playing the flute, growing herbs, re-wiring a house. It's all easy if you've been trained and you've got a slight predisposition towards it.

What knitting needs is a re-launch. We need to nurture the idea that handmade is fabulous, that artisan knits are preferable to shopbought in the same way artisan breads are preferable to white processed. Sometimes anyway - there's a time and a place for everything (and you can't beat Warburton's white for toast...) but wouldn't it be great to see knitting skills revered?

No, I don't know how I got to re-launching knitting from a sample garment problem either.

Friday, 18 October 2013

This week's star question

A lovely lady visited the shop while researching for a book she's writing about her dad. We chatted for a while and she gazed around the shop, then turned to me and asked: 'Are you Debbie Bliss?'
I don't think she's a knitter.

And while we're having a Debbie Bliss moment, look what I finished:
It's the stripey hoodie, Charlie, from the Rialto DK Print pattern book, knit up as a shop sample. Not something you'd want them to wear for school maybe - bit too nice for that - but it'd make a great Christmas present for a special boy or girl. Sizes up to 12 years. (If anyone tries the pattern and works out the point of the markers near the tops of the sleeves, please feel free to enlighten me.)

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Sale time

I'm weaning myself off the exclamation marks. I know any sale announcement traditionally should have many exclamation marks, but I type them and then think: that's so not me. The ellipsis is way more me...

So, what's this sale of which I speak? Y'know the bargain basement baskets in the shop? The ones with many wonderful yarn packs at lovely low prices? Okay, for this week only, everything in them is reduced by a further 20%. I'm loosely tying this in with Wool Week, because if you can't give people a yarny treat in Wool Week, well, when can you? But also, it'd be nice to reduce the amount of stuff we have to move to the new place. But more of that anon...

Remember this week only - 20% off already reduced prices! (I knew one'd creep in somewhere...)

Tuesday, 8 October 2013


It goes without saying that basic prices at Three Bags Full are generally lower than those of the 'UK's Leading Online Retailer' or however it is they style themselves. You can hold out for a short-lived sale on their site of the very thing you're looking for or you can buy from us, knowing that we always try and keep our prices as low as we possibly can. (That doesn't mean we ever claim to be way cheaper than anyone else, just that we try hard to offer really great yarns on good long-term deals that still allow us to pay the rent and the electricity bill, etc...)

Anyway, all that aside, I'm even more delighted to realise that currently we're also cheaper in several areas than our local discount yarn mill. It's not exactly Sainsbury's v. Tesco or even Aldi v. the Co-op but, y'know, 50p cheaper per ball on several lines must be worth having, n'est-ce pas?

Saturday, 28 September 2013

You never forget your first knit

What was your first knit? Mine was an aran jumper. I seem to remember someone suggesting a few dishcloths first, but I'm not a great one for dishcloths even now, and I thought how difficult can a few variations on knit and purl be? And so I went ahead with the aran. It came out fine and lasted several decades.

So I just had to show you this gorgeous beret, which was the first knit of Stephanie, who runs the lovely teddy bear shop, Serendipity, across the Piece Hall courtyard.

Wow! was my reaction...

Monday, 23 September 2013

This vegan thing

I'm not a vegan, okay? I'm a vegetarian who tries to avoid dairy products as far as possible. I eat eggs because, as far as I can see, if they're unfertilised, they're a waste product. If we're out and the place everyone else wants to eat at only goes so far down the no-meat route as to offer vegetarian food in a creamy sauce, well, I'll eat it. I think animals should be treated nicely, but me starving myself and making the rest of my family feel awkward isn't going to help a single newborn calf. And while I wouldn't wear fur - you have to kill the animal to use it, for goodness sake - I don't have a problem with wool; I don't believe sheep are usually distressed by being shorn.

Is using wool really exploitation of the sheep as some - true vegans - would have us believe? Or is the fleece a happy by-product of the shearing that's necessary to keep the sheep comfortable through the warmer months? Would it be exploitation if you just gathered the wool left behind on fences and tree trunks? Is it exploitation to use a cocker spaniel as a companion? Or a collie as a working farm dog?

It makes my head hurt a bit, but -  allowing that anyone else's, possibly opposing, views are just as valid as mine - it seems to me that a vegetarian-who-tries-to-avoid-dairy running a wool shop is fine and dandy, ethically-speaking. Not conflicting in any way.

Glad we sorted that out.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Springtime baby cardi

I need lots of shop samples just now for various yarns, so I'm knuckling down to some very serious knitting. Here's my first garment - Springtime Baby Cardi, designed by Kaity von Rader - simple and quick baby knit. You can find the pattern for free on the internet.

And it's knitted in our new Cristallo sparkly aran - very soft, very lovely. Would be perfect for scarves and hats. It's not too early to think about Christmas presents...

Thursday, 5 September 2013


I seem to have gone a bit overboard on accessories knitting of late. Especially hats, which are such a satisfying knit. Round and round you go with nary a worry, till you get to the decreases and even those aren't that challenging so long as you can count to 9.

So, while the hat-fever's still upon me, I'm going to be starting a beanie today for, which have a branch in our nearest city, meaning we can deliver our goods direct rather than paying out for postage. Yay! Big plus in my estimation. And it's nice to focus on the local now and again anyway.

Our other current charity knitgroup project is knitting heart bags for Ruth and Belinda's joint venture with Kids' Company, and we now have a goodly pile. A fantastic idea, this - it's possible to make some very pretty bags with some very small oddments of yarn. They wanted about a million and a half of these by next Feb so we'll be knitting a few more yet.

And some people - better crocheters than me - have been producing granny squares to support the Mencap/Country Living project.  How worthwhile is that? And how pretty? And how useful for practising your crocheting skills? Go on, you know you want to have a go...

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Austermann Step Pattern 127 Snood

Snappy title, huh? Well, I finished it tonight:

It doesn't look like much, does it? But it's a cosy snood in a wonderfully stretchy stitch which can be worn long or wound twice round for a snug fit when it's really cold. The pattern says to work some extra rounds of stocking stitch to make a roll-up edge, but I wasn't keen to do that.

Might make myself another now in a brighter colourway. One of those great background type knitting projects - dead easy to get on with in between other things.

So,  now I'm itching to start something else - maybe a Leftie? Or even a Feelgood Tank Top? So many patterns. So little knitting time.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

The interesting thing about Noro... that sometimes you get two packs of the same colourway that look completely different. Not just a bit different. Not just slightly less of one shade being visible in one or two balls. No, absolutely completely different.

Which is why, even as a seasoned Kureyon user, I was fooled into thinking these:
were not the twins their labels insist they are.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

British Wool Weekend competition

Would you like the chance to win two tickets for 2013 British Wool Weekend in Harrogate in September? All you have to do to be entered in the draw is to list the British wools we sell on the Three Bags Full website: It's the makers or trade names we're after not the yarn weight or the sheep breed.

You can email your entries to us at anytime before noon on the 22nd August and the draw will take place at our shop knit group that afternoon.

Good luck y'all.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

I think I'll go and eat...

No one loves a wool shop on a sunny summer Saturday! Or maybe I should say nobody loves MY wool shop on a sunny summer Saturday. Tuesday's holding its own. Wednesday - well, Wednesday's should just generally be abolished. Thursday and Friday are making an effort. But Saturdays - busiest day in winter, quietest day in summer.

So, for the rest of August we'll be closing at 1.30 on Saturdays. I'm really sorry if this inconveniences anyone. Then, on 7th September we'll be closed all day because it's my nephew's wedding day. Yay! Looking forward to that.

And then it'll be back to our proper, published opening hours till next spring.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Three things I don't like...

I used to fantasise that I'd get asked on Room 101 and have chance to tell Paul Merton all those little things that really irritate me, while people up and down the country would nod their heads and mutter: she's so right - I'd never realised just how annoying that is! But clearly if they'd ever asked me I'd have been bereft of ideas so I used to keep a running list of Things That Should Be Banned. So, for today:

People in supermarkets who don't put the separators in place on the conveyor belt after their goods.  I've noticed it's usually men, so maybe they're uneducated in supermarket etiquette, but simple courtesy suggests you should do this to help the person next in line. Embarrassingly when I finally can't wait any longer for them to do the decent thing, I put theirs in place and then forget my own. The shame.

Slippers. Especially slippers with jeans. So wrong.

So-called wool suppliers who bank my cheque and don't send me any wool. That really gets on my nerves. I'm coming to get you.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Ever dreamed of opening your own wool shop?

If so, you might like to take a look at our new ebook: So you'd like to open a wool shop...

Find out what worked for us and the stuff we should've done differently. Loads of learn-from-our-mistakes tips! We've covered finding a place, choosing stock, customer service, those sticky money matters, just about everything you need to know.

Available now from the Amazon Kindle store for £3.38.


Monday, 22 July 2013

Wavy Gravy Hat

I know, I know, it's hardly woolly hat weather! But still, you see a ball of wool all on its own, looking gorgeous, and you find just the pattern... So, I couldn't resist this quick-knit little hat which is made from a free pattern by Iconoclastknit.
And this is it being modelled:
Yeah, she looks a bit pouty, but I'm sure it's nothing against the Wavy Gravy, altho' it's come out slightly (very) swimming hattish, so if I was making another, I'd add a rib edging and make it more slouchy. And after that I'd probably make a matching scarf. Because you just can't have enough woolly self-striping.
EDITED TO ADD: so, I wrote this and then I lay in bed - y'know those nights when you can't sleep? you've no new worries and it's not too hot and you try all the deep breathing you can, but you still can't sleep? - well, anyway, I lay in bed thinking that was so ungracious, to knit up a free pattern and then say nothing positive about it, just that the finished product looks like a swimming hat! Well, let me add: this is a pretty pattern. And I'm always grateful for free patterns, especially those offering great ideas for using up oddballs. And even more especially for those that include a note saying the designer doesn't mind if you sell your finished objects. But maybe my head's too big and my hair's too long for it to look good on me. I'm picturing it in a different yarn actually - something pale and slightly silky. And I'm seeing it atop a sleek blond bob. A little fringe peeping out at the front. And a cute kiss curl on each rouged cheek. There's a 1920s vibe about it. So, nice pattern. Try it.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

So you want to open a wool shop...

...well, watch out for our new ebook - with exactly that title - which should be published next week.

It's a new venture for us and has been, as they say, a steep learning curve, but now it's nearly ready. It's kind of a how-not-to-do-it guide - light-hearted, but with loads of information too. I'm hoping it'll be available on kindle from early next week and will be at a special low price for the first week, so sneak in fast if you'd like to read it. (Don't forget if you don't have a kindle - and I don't! - you can download free from Amazon a kindley-type thing to your pc or laptop that allows you to read kindle books on your own computer.)

This is Mike's lovely, simple and clear, cover photograph:

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

We've been prettified

The last shot of the shop I posted was a snowy one  - makes me shudder just thinking about it. So it's time for something a bit more summery: hanging baskets, lovely contented sheep on the car magnets - I'm sure that sheep's smiling - and colourful cottons in the windows for all your warm weather knitting needs!

Tuesday, 11 June 2013


This is the little cutie I made as a sample garment with the new Bergere Cherie aran acrylic/cotton/silk mix. In knitting, it's surprisingly substantial and makes a soft, lush fabric, just right for a little jacket.
I was sucked in initially by the lovely ice creamy shades and the silk running alongside the coloured strands. Very pretty. Love these summery yarns...

Monday, 10 June 2013

Well, we had a lovely, sunny time yesterday for our Worldwide Knit in Public gathering. We set up just outside the shop but, as the sun moved further over, so did the chairs. At one point I was in the shop for a few minutes and returned to find everyone was several yards away in a cobbled patch of sunlight. Coolish, but bright. Probably the best you're going to get in a UK June.

It kind of developed into a WWKIP picnic - coffee, squash, biscuits, plus gorgeous scones (with clotted cream and jam) made by the lovely Rachel, and a delicious pear and cinnamon cake made by the equally lovely Sarah. Many thanks to you both!

Of course, I forgot to take pictures, so imagine: strawberry jam and cream piled up on scones and dripping onto paper plates, the sun high in the sky, much laughter and swopping of knittery tales, needles clicking, happy faces - all against the lovely Piece Hall backdrop. That's the romanticised version, but it was pretty good anyway. Thanks to all who came along.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Hebden Bridge

My work-life balance hasn't been up to scratch lately so I'm making a big effort to do stuff other than sit in the shop and knit. And that's how we ended up going for a walk here:
I didn't even mind ending up walking about six miles when I'd expected four, because it was sunny and pretty and the feelgood factor was massive.

And then we got home and I started knitting almost immediately. Work-life balance: a work in progress.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Magic mattress

New customer: I need to pick your brains.

Me (cautiously, because I know how unworthy my brains are of being picked): Okay...

New customer: I'm a new knitter but I'm rubbish at sewing up. How do I do it?

What would you say? I told her the truth as I know it: that about 90% of the knitters I know sew up using a back seam. And it's perfectly adequate. But at the same time, the 'correct' way is to use mattress stitch. Bear in mind, this was a knitter who'd been using a bulky overstitch - probably anything was going to be an improvement.


What's backstitch got going for it? Well, it's quick, easy, it's secure and it looks okay on the right side.

And mattress? It more or less disappears on the right side and it's very easy to undo if you find you've veered off the line you're meant to be following.

The cons of backstitch? It's a bit bulkier on the wrong side and especially under the arms where seams converge and it's very difficult to unpick without accidentally snipping the wrong bit of yarn.

And mattress? You need exactly the same number of rows for it to work just right, it's (I find anyway) a much slower process and difficult to do well with your knitting in your lap.

We hosted a Finishing Techniques workshop recently at Three Bags Full - it was great to learn the different techniques for joining that make for a neater, more professional finish. But just because you might know them, you don't have to use them all the time. Don't feel pressured to discount anything. Mattress is great for that special gift - just like a wonderful yarn is great. But if you're happy with backstitch most of the time or want to use a mix of the two - that's fine too. That's my feeling anyway. But maybe I'm just pretty slack!

Thursday, 23 May 2013

How tickled I am!

Very tickled indeed to find that this little blog is mentioned in June's Knitting magazine! How lovely is that? And just when I'd been thinking I really should be making more effort to keep up with the blog and try (against all the odds) to make it a bit entertaining...

I've added a couple of other blogs to the list of favourites in the sidebar: Robin Hunter's - lots of great interviews and information - and String Theory Crochet (shows as STC), which is one for those of you who'd like to make money from your craft. This last one hasn't had a new post for a couple of months but is still interesting. Hope I'm not latching onto it just as the writer gives up the ghost!

What are your favourite blogs? I have loads more - there are so many knowledgeable and talented woolly people out there - but diminishing amounts of time to actually keep up with them. Sound familiar at all?

Friday, 17 May 2013

Time for a WIP post

Clearly this isn't a picture of all my current WIPS - just off the top of my head, there's also the cotton pink jumper, the red aran, the dinosaur, the lacy scarf, the socks... - but obviously when I got down to half a dozen items on the needles, it was time to cast on a couple more.
So, here we have the beginnings of a gorgeous Debbie Bliss Paloma cardigan - it's soft and squishy and I'm really looking forward to wearing it in the shop as a walking, talking Paloma sample. Sadly, though the yarn's lovely, it's been poorly supported with patterns and isn't an easy substitute for other yarns, so tends to get neglected. No more will it sit at the back of the shop and be ignored!
And the other one is the first pattern repeat of a One-Ball Wavy Gravy Hat - a free online pattern from Iconoclastknit. And very nice it's looking too . Should take a single ball of Noro Kureyon. I might have to make one in each of our colourways. That's okay, isn't it? We all need lots of hats. Maybe not for another few months, but longterm. Lots of hats is good.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Spot the difference

I've gone from a try-anything-and-most-things-will-turn-out-okay kind of knitter to the how-could-I-be-so-stupid kind.
Three weeks ago, I managed to make the fronts and backs of a baby jumper into sleeves, using the proper sleeves as the front and back - I just had to throw that mess out. Then I managed to sew what should've been set-in sleeves into a garment as raglans - I managed to just about save that situation. And now, this is my most recent debacle - two corresponding sides of a cardigan, one of which is clearly knitted on needles a size or two bigger than the other.  Does anyone know what's happening to my brain?  Will it pass or is it all downhill from here? Tell me it's a phase!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

I wanna tell you a story

You know those people who hate sewing stuff up? They spend ages knitting or crocheting away, making something beautiful and heirloomy and then they throw the pieces in a corner for several months because all that sewing and finishing's such a pain, and you can never be sure it's going to look so fabby afterwards anyway.

Years ago we cleared my mum's house ready for sale and what should there be in the boxroom but just such a garment - every necessary piece of a tiny matinee jacket, but all in bits. Goodness knows who it had been meant brother? a cousin? my nephew? Anyway, whoever it was they never got it but I took it away and sewed it up and saved it because what else could I do? I wasn't a big fan of matinee jackets - my taste was more for brown spotty babygros and the like - but my daughter wore it on her Christening day for about an hour, and I've still got it now.

Anyway, this is all a totally unnecessary preamble to announcing that we're holding a Finishing Techniques workshop at the shop on Sunday, 19th May, from 12-4pm. Cost will be £25 and you'll need to book in advance please.

Here's a couple of photos of our previous workshop - Beginners' Sockknitting - to whet your appetite. Everyone went home with at least the best part of a sock completed!

Diane looks like she's having a good time!
Kate gets some individual tuition

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Our little shop

March 22nd 2013. Very pretty.

(We'll be there at least part of today, but you could stay home in the warm and order online if you like - preferably from

Saturday, 16 March 2013

What we don't have... a band of loyal internet shoppers. We have more crafters buying from the site all the time but while the bricks and mortar shop sees an expanding circle of knitters and crocheters coming back regularly to see what we have in stock, or just for a browse or a chat, the website doesn't seem to be having the same effect.

So, how to encourage people to re-visit and (I hope!) re-order? We already try and offer the best service we can; the vast majority of orders received are posted the same day. We're courteous and friendly on the phone and in emails. We try to offer a good variety of yarns. Hmmm, trying to get into the psyche of the average wool shopper and obviously failing!

What makes you go back to a website?

Monday, 25 February 2013

WIP completed

Well, I don't know how this little set is going to be received by the soon-to-be parents it's meant for - not sure if they're pastel-colours-from-Mothercare-only-please people or open to something a little more...what's the word?...garish? - but I like it anyway. So much colour, so much pattern, so little work...

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

The unanimous decisions were...

...that Fyberspates new Vivacious DK is a truly fabby yarn with great stitch definition and wonderful colours and texture. And that the chocolate cake was pretty good too!

Yeah, this was the  yarn tasting on Sunday - the first of a series, I'm hoping. There were loads of yarns available - mostly wool, with one or two surprises thrown in; I think I over-estimated how much knitting the average person can manage in a couple of hours.

Other popular opinions were that the Austermann Alpaca Silk is also very soft and lovely, and ranking high on the excellence scale are Debbie Bliss Rialto aran, Crystal Palace Kid Merino and the Adriafil New Zealand...

And for good measure, because no little scrap of wool need ever be wasted, I'm going to knit up a few of Ruth&Belinda's Heartsease Project bags with the remnants.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Okay, well, I did finally finish one...

What do you think of this? A sample for the shop to show off the Kid Merino using one of the free patterns from The lovely thing about this yarn (and the same's true of the Debbie Bliss Angel) is that you only need one or two balls to make something beautiful.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Completed project!

Not mine, alas! I love it when customers take the time to show me what they've made with the wool they bought from Three Bags Full, and here we have a gorgeous baby blanket made by Charlotte for her lucky baby grandson. Isn't it lovely?

My own projects are getting out of hand again - in number, rather than behaviour. I can see I'm going to have to count and list them and then at least I can fool myself I've got a handle on the situation...

Monday, 28 January 2013

My best Christmas present this year...

was this...
I was really very pleased indeed. But it's not called a Drop Spindle for nothing, so I've needed a bit of help along the way. First, the lovely Rachel lent me her spindle to practise on (thank you!), and I managed a very, very small amount of spun yarn. It was slightly - okay, very - rustic, but spun nonetheless. Then the lovely Jo brought her own spindle along (thank you!) and sat and spun her own gorgeous laceweight while giving me some hints and tips, and lo, see what we have now:
Yay! Still very rustic, but if thick and thin's good enough for Noro, I'm pretty sure it's good enough for me.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Just a sock...

Years ago I worked in a library - in the record department a very alluring teenage colleague loaned tapes to lustful young men all day. On her day off they'd halt, disconsolate, at the door and mutter, 'It's not her' or a single sad, 'Oh!'. This was a little deflating for those of us who stood in for her occasionally.

Fast forward two decades and sometimes potential customers, probably looking for cupcakes, push open the door of Three Bags Full and mutter 'Oh, it's just wool in here!'. Just wool? Whatever do they mean? - an oxymoron if ever I heard one.

Anyway, this all sprang to mind last night when I showed my daughter my latest sock.  It's not a pair yet, but it's a whole sock and the wonder of being able to produce an actual sock- with shaping that goes round corners and everything - well, I don't think it'll ever leave me. Inevitably, as I held it up with a proud 'Look!!', she smiled kindly and said, 'Yes, but it's just a sock, Mum.' And I got that old deflated feeling. Just a sock indeed.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Almost spring?

Are you feeling a bit bleuch in the middle of this wintry weather? I seem to be in some kind of elongated post-Christmas slump! So, for the benefit of everyone in a similar state: a cheery picture of the brave little shop daffs!

(Yeah, there's a little flash bounce-back - I'm no David Bailey...)

And one benefit of the current January gloom is the excuse (as if we needed one) to sit and knit for a very long time. It's an ill wind and all that.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Getting involved, parts 1 and 2

Part One: Knitted scenery - that's one step further along the path started by The Killing, I reckon. See this page for how to get involved with this innovative idea at Harrogate Theatre. (Knitted leaves seem to have been very popular, but for interest they're surpassed by the knitted fireworks and knitted body parts...)

Part Two: Age UK's Bobble Day 2013 will be on the 8th Feb, so make sure you pay your £2.00 and go along to work in something woolly that day. Hmm, I think I can manage that.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Fish and chip babies update

Well, the Fish and Chip Babies post from a few months ago gets more interest than any other, easily outstripping even the Bad Taste Jumpers which for a long time drew a good audience. But now, disaster! Or sort of - a disaster caused by an improvement in the situation in Africa: the gentleman who was shipping these items to Africa from the UK is no longer accepting them. With improved healthcare, the AIDS babies they were designed for now enjoy a normal African lifespan. So that's good, but in the meantime, we have a big bag of jumpers which were dropped off recently, with a (very gratefully received) contribution to postage and I'm wondering what to do with them. Some of you maybe be in the same position. I don't really want to post direct to Africa myself...