Christmas is very nearly here so most people are planning their festive season. Haircuts need to be booked, party outfits sorted, presents bought and wrapped and Christmas dinner organised. I'm not even close on any of these (apart from booking my hair appointment) but I do have an idea about how to make it all less stressful. My game-changing idea? 'Keep it Local'. We can all schlepp down to our nearest big town and take advantage of Black Friday/Fortnight but we'll probably spend more on parking, coffee and lunch than we save so have a think about what you can sort locally. In our village (Pontyclun) we have a lovely butcher's shop for the turkey, we have several hairdressers and beauty salons and we also have clothes shops either here or in the next village. Present shopping can start in Giles Gallery and then move on to shops in Cowbridge, Talbot Green and Llantrisant. If you want a slightly different present you could book recipients in to local pubs or restaurants for a meal in the new year and ask if the eatery has the equivalent of gift vouchers. Here at Ammonite Yarns we sell gifty items and gift vouchers or you could book workshops for the New Year so that your family or friends can learn a new skill. Your local village might be small but it has lots to offer, just give it a go.
We have another Sew-up-Saturday coming up on 9 December. Time to turn any UFOs (unfinished objects) languishing in your workbag into FOs (finished objects) and in time for Christmas too! Bring your work along for convivial company and handy tips on how to sew up and finish garments. We'll fortify you with tea and cake and give a small prize for finished objects. The best part of the day is knowing that you can now start your next project without guilt!
Sew Up Saturday 9th December 10 am till 1 pm £3.00 including refreshments No booking necessary
One of the weird things about working in retail is that we are always planning for the next season so although we haven't had Christmas yet, we need to plan for Spring! Gaelle is planning her crochet courses for us, there will be more Beginner and Beyond Beginner courses as well as project based sessions. Eva is looking at hosting a drop-in for felters, Ruth and I will be running more knitting classes and we have a spinning tutor, Gina who will be teaching enthusiasts how to spin yarn. It's all very exciting so keep an eye on our workshop pages and facebook for dates. Added to this, our new workshop space will be finished and painted by then so we can't wait!
een followers of Stylecraft's Blogstars will already know about Eastern Jewels and we have blogged about it several times too and wondering how to help less confident crocheters embark on this lovely blanket. One of the things we wanted to do is a Crochet-Along (CAL) with technical know-how available so have asked our crochet teacher Gaelle to lead an Eastern Jewels project at our evening drop-ins. Gaelle comes to the evening drop-in once a fortnight but as Christmas is nearing we thought it would be a good idea to let you know her dates. You don't have to do the CAL to join us on Tuesday evenings but Gaelle will be here to help on 21 November and 5 December. In the New Year Gaelle will be back on 9 January and then alternate Tuesdays until holidays intervene! The crochet pack for Eastern Jewels is £35.00 -- it would be a good idea to order a pack before you start to make sure we have it in stock -- just click on the picture for details.
One of our favourite things about owning a wool shop is squishy mail! We've just had a very large parcel of squishiness containing new superchunky yarns just right for Winter accessories and (dare I say it) Christmas presents. Wendy with Wool superchunky is a new addition to the Wendy range and is 80% acrylic/20% wool mix. It's amazing value at only £2.95/100g and comes in 12 colours. Also in today is Peter Pan Precious which is an 80% nylon/20% polyester fur yarn which comes in six soft shades with pattern support for toddlers and children. I can see an Elsa cape or Bunny onesie coming up!
We're delighted have been asked to do a yarn tasting for KnitNow magazine. Our lucky drop in groups are going to make some swatches in some of our favourite British yarns and review them.
Our theme is British Blue and we've chosen yarns from several British suppliers. The yarns we will be feasting on are:
Woolly Wumpkins merino-alpaca DK in light blue
West Yorkshire Spinners The Croft in Boddam
Woolyknit Blue Faced Leicester DK in Blue
Garlic Meadow Dorset Down Alpaca Blend DK in natural
Wendy Traditional Aran in Tarn
Stylecraft Life DK Vintage in Indigo
If you've visited our shop you can't fail to have seen Michelle Lewis's amazing hand-dyed Woolly Wumpkins yarn. Until now it has mainly been sold in-store rather than on-line but yesterday I spent an hour or so photographing and uploading photographs of the beautiful colourways so that I could put them on the website.
The yarns are mainly 4-ply sock yarns (merino and nylon) but don't save them only for socks. Michelle has designed the Ammonites and Sea Foam shawl which takes two 100g skeins and is lovely. You could also use one skein to make a shawl, mitts or hat (or socks). I have been planning to knit a quite complex colourwork jumper using Woolly Wumpkins yarn for some time now -- when I finally sort it out, I'll blog it here.
I've pictured a few colourways here to whet your appetite and tempt you into the shop or the online shop to treat yourselves.
Hand Made Project Bags
Most crafters I know are very happy to have craft related presents so here are a few of our latest!
Just arrived are our project bags. They come in a range of sizes and shapes and are ideal for one-ball projects right up to blanket sized projects. The bags are all handmade by Lynda Jones (who also makes our silver shawl pins) and would make a unique present for any knitter or crocheter.
If you need something to put inside the bags, then look no further than our latest delivery of Woolly Wumkins yarn. The colours are delicious and would warm the heart of any crafter!
If you are still not sure what to buy your favourite knitter or crocheter then we also have gift vouchers in any denomination.
You can buy directly from the shop or order online -- don't hesitate though as these gifts are one-offs!
After watching the Bake-Off final last night I have cakes on my mind. As I'm not too keen on baking though, I thought I would do a bit of a review of the Cake Yarns that we now stock.
If you are new to this phenomenon of yarn cakes, you might like some guidance. A yarn cake is yarn that has been wound to create a cake rather than a ball or a skein. When we talk about yarn cakes though we are usually referring to variegated or shaded yarns. Yarn cakes come in all kinds of weights and yarn types from amazing hand-dyed natural yarns to much more affordable acrylics.
We stock branded cakes in the shop so I'll concentrate on these.
Katia Infinity Shawl
Our finest yarn cake (both in weight and yarn-type) is Katia's Infinity Shawl. This is a lovely pure merino wool spun with a very light twist. There isn't a sharp break between the colours and it is ideal for floaty shawls knitted on fairly large needle for the a 4-ply but it can also be knitted on smaller needles to make garments rather than accessories. The cakes are 150g giving 600 m and retail at £14.95 each.
Next is another Katia yarn, Degrade. Degrade is a heavy 4-ply sock yarn with 75% wool and 25% polyamide. These cakes are one colour which fades from pale to dark to pale throughout the cake. They make amazing ombre effect socks but would also knit up 4-ply garments. Again the cakes are 150g with 410 m on them, retailing at £12.95.
Candy Swirl and Batik Swirl
Moving to DK, we have the Stylecraft Cakes. Stylecraft launched Candy Swirl in the Summer and have now brought out Batik Swirl. Candy Swirl is 100% acrylic and is the same yarn as in the Special DK range. As with all Stylecraft acrylic, Candy Swirl is very soft and has vibrant colours. With 443 m on a 150g cake, the yarn can be knitted into accessories or garments. Candy Swirl retails at £6.99/150g. Batik Swirl arrived today and a caked version of Stylecraft's current Batik yarn although it has some colours not available in the current range. Batik Swirl is 80% acrylic/20% wool with 200g /550m and retails at £9.99/200g. Patterns are for accessories and garments. Unlike Katia's range, the Swirl yarns have definite colour breaks and knit up into fairly wide stripes.
Finally we have Katia's Paint. This was launched in the early Summer and is a 80% aran/20% wool aran weight cake. Pattern support is for shawls and accessories but again can be worked up into a garment. Paint has 150g/540m retails at £9.99/150g.
Welcome to our blog
Here we will share our experiences of running a local yarn shop in South Wales.