Our crowdfunding only has six days left so here's a quick reminder of what it is all about.
You can help us fund the improvements to our workshop space by contributing to our crowdfunding campaign. You can choose a perk in In return for your contribution. The amount you contribute will open the door to different perks. If you buy yarn regularly then it's a good idea to look for a perk that includes a discount card. That way you can claim discount on any purchases in-store or on-line for the next year. If you don't knit or crochet yourself then you might prefer to have something made for you in which case check out the handmade perks. On the other hand you might like to learn or improve your skills so then there are one-to-ones available. There really is something for everyone and at the same time you will be helping us to reach our target and enabling us to re-vamp our storerooms into an amazing crafting space.
This Saturday sees the first of our Sew Up Saturdays. If, like us, you love knitting and crocheting but are not so keen on sewing then this is the session for you. Bring along some of those 'bits' and ufos (unfinished objects) that should really have made it to finished project but are just waiting for a seam to be sewn or a button to be added and we'll inspire* and motivate* you to finish them off.
* bribe with tea, cake and a (small) prize for any finished items!
Saturday 1 July 2017 from 10 till 1 £3.00
Our crowdfunding is all about helping us to share our skills with others through workshops. Improving our workshops space will enable us to run varied sessions more often as well as providing a pleasant environment for one-to-one classes.
There's a great value perk on our crowdfunding for three hours of one-to-one tuition for just £25. Normally this would only buy you two hours of tuition. We find the best way to teach knitting is one-to-one as the intensive sessions enables students to progress faster.We can tailor the content of the session to suit the skills you want to learn - from the first skills for complete beginners, through the techniques needed for sock knitting, right up to complex fairisle and lace patterns.
You could have just one session to cover specific skills, or get a set of classes if you'd like to really improve your knitting technique. Sessions can be taken at a time to suit you up until the end of March 2018. Don't hesitate as there are only nine days to go till the end of our crowdfunding campaign after which sessions will be back to the normal price.
These new Candy Swirl cake yarns have just come in from Stylecraft and look just like sweeties.
We love the colours of these yarns but like many of you want more ideas for projects so we sat down, had a think about it and have designed a workshop to make the most Candy Swirl.
We'll spend the day learning how to make a bag or a top in miniature, using modular construction techniques. We'll then provide you with two cakes to take home and make the full sized project with. We’ll have other ideas for these amazing yarns too – scarves, skirts and cushions to name a few.
The session will run from 10 am till 3 pm on 08 July and costs £55.00 including refreshments and lunch.
As you've probably already seen, we are crowdfunding to re-invent our store rooms into a crafting workshop and kitchenette but what it crowdfunding? We hadn't heard of it until just before we opened the shop two years ago when we ran a successful campaign to help us to buy specifically British yarns.
Having teenage kids is always useful to help us keep abreast of the latest in social media and true to form it was one of Jenny's threesome who opened our eyes to crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is a way of using social media to help finance anything (in our case expansion) without having to borrow. Crowdfunders offer 'perks' in exchange for money -- those perks can be anything -- a copy of a music cd or a book if the campaign is to fund music or publishing, a hand-made item, a listing on a website. It is, in effect, an exchange, of money for expertise or publicity. Did you know that when novels were first published in the eighteenth century, they were crowdfunded? Subscribers would give money to help publish the book and their names would be listed in the frontispiece.
Our store-rooms are waiting to be transformed into a workshop and so we are offering a wide range of perks to tempt crafters and non-crafters to contribute. The campaign has been running for five weeks and has 15 days to go so we'd love it if you would take a look and contribute.
Babies are undoubtedly favourite to craft for. Whether knitting or crocheting, most of us enjoy creating mini works of art or couture for the babies in our families. Blankets, shawls, matinee jackets -- there are just so many different items to make and, because babies are so small the projects aren't as daunting. A pram blanket definitely doesn't take as much making as a king-size bedcover so we are more likely to take on the challenge.
If your family has a new baby on the way but no knitter, then take a look at our crowdfunding page at the Bespoke Baby Gift. This perk exchanges our time and expertise to make a gift to treasure for the baby in your life while helping us to create our new workshop space.
Sitting here weather-watching this morning, it feels like Autumn. If, like us, your windows are filled with storm clouds, you might be suffering from cold toes. If so, have you looked at our crocheted slippers on our crowdfunding page. Made in Wendy Mode, a chunky merino and acrylic mix yarn, they will keep your toes cosy whatever our eccentric Spring weather decides to do and will be ideal to curl up and watch Wimbledon in. This perk is only £20.00 and the slippers will be handmade for you in any of the colours shown in the basket.
Babies need to be fed, kept warm, dry and clean and loved. Quite a small sentence for a huge task!
One way to make sure babies are well cared for is to care for the parents. Parenting is full -on and self-care often takes second place when looking after the new arrival. The advice given to new parents is generally all about the baby and help for parents is relegated to 'sleep when baby sleeps'.
Ideally habits of self-care should be developed during pregnancy so that they are already embedded in everyday life by the time the baby arrives. Sometimes this is easier for the Mum-to-be than the Dad as antenatal care is centred around her. There are antenatal classes for both parents but the more focused self-care sessions like Yoga for Pregnancy are aimed more at mums alone. Yoga for Pregnancy develops the habit of listening to your body and switching off the mind. Techniques of mindfulness focus on the here and now and can help new parents de-stress and relax. We'd like to add another skill into the mix -- Knitting. There is a growing body of evidence that supports the idea that handicrafts in general, and more particularly repetitive crafts like knitting and crochet, can have a very positive effect on your mental state.
With this in mind, we have developed a series of three workshops designed to teach prospective and new parents how to knit. Shared experiences is a great way of making friends and this can be really important as a new parent. Learning a new skill at the same time will make it fun too and as an added bonus the end result will be a beautiful hand-made blanket for your baby.
Mums, Bumps and Babies link to our workshop page
Useful Links for new and expectant paren
NHS Direct www.nhsdirect.wales.nhs.uk/LiveWell/Pregnancy/
One of our crowdfunding perks is a handknitted gansey jumper so we thought you might like an up-to-date look at the history of the gansey.
Also known as a guernsey jumper, the gansey is easily recognisable as a sailors sweater. The term probably comes from Old Norse 'garn' which means wool so a gansey is a thing made of woollen yarn. The island of Guernsey became a centre of spinning so the terms gansey and guernsey became interchangeable. The term gansey can be found from around 1820 referring to a canvas garment similar to a farmer's frock and to a knitted garment in 1851.
There is no evidence prior to the 19th century of knitted ganseys. Documentary evidence from 1773 of clothing needed for Royal Naval ships doesn't mention knitted sweaters and the excavation of the 1785 shipwreck of the Whitby based ship the General Carleton is similarly short of ganseys. The wreck still had intact sailor's slop chests which contained a full range of sailor's clothing including gloves, mittens and stockings but no knitted jumpers. By 1850 however, there is photographic evidence of many and varied ganseys.
A gansey is knitted tightly in fine, oiled wool so that it is warm, windproof and waterproof. A gansey would be knitted in the round so that it has no seams to let in the cold, with gussets under the arms to aid movement and a tight neck. it is commonly believed that stitch patterns and designs were local to specific areas and that they were personalised so that sailors could be recognised if their bodies were washed ashore after a shipwreck.
Appealing as this sounds, it just isn't true. Ganseys were personalised with initials and patterns, not for recognition of corpses but rather to prove ownership of the garment. In her book, River Ganseys, Penelope Lister Hemingway could only find two references to bodies being recognised by clothing and then not necessarily by their initials. A knitter would recognise her own handiwork but the chances of a body coming ashore in its home town was remote. When a body did wash up it was usually buried in a pauper's grave with very little attempt at identification. Clothing of drowned mariners was often described in newspaper articles but tattoos were more often used for identification. Bodies found at sea were usually left there as sailors were superstitious about having dead bodies aboard and also wanted to avoid red tape.
Another commonly perpetuated myth is that stitch patterns belonged to different villages. While patterns were broadly geographic it is unlikely that they were specific. Most patterns became universal so quickly that it can't be said where they came from and patterns were only named 'Whitby' 'Filey' etc after books were written about them. Photographs of family groups show wildly different patterns and there are photographs of the same mariner in different patterns. Patterns travelled around the country with the girls who went from port to port gutting herrings so designs were shared all round the country just as we share patterns today. Part of the reason that patterns became identified with particular towns is the paucity of surviving ganseys so a garment preserved in Whitby for example became known as the Whitby gansey.
It is interesting to know that Ganseys were not just knitted and worn by families in fishing communities. Children in charity schools were expected to knit prolifically and female prisoners were given knitting as hard labour. Convicts on prison ships awaiting transportation were given ganseys to wear and there are newspaper reports of burglars wearing them. They were also knitted for road and rail labourers and by the late 19th century ganseys were being knitted for cyclists.
So there is more to a gansey than you might think. If you would like to knit a gansey yourself, there is a gansey style kit as another of our perks or you could select a one-to-one class to learn the skills to make your own.
Welcome to our blog
Here we will share our experiences of running a local yarn shop in South Wales.