The shop has been open again for almost a fortnight and it is wonderful to see everyone again. I know some of our customers are limited by the five mile guidance in Wales but that will end soon so then we can see them again too. Being closed for so long has really made us appreciate what a community a yarn shop is and how we all support one another both in crafty doings and in the rest of our lives. We really miss our drop-in groups (although we are seeing some of you on Zoom on Tuesday evenings) and our workshops and sadly can't see these re-opening until September at the earliest but just being open is a start. Just a quick reminder that our opening hours are reduced over the Summer (Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 11am till 3pm and Saturday 11am till 1pm but our online shop is always open if you can't get to see us in person.
It’s always nice to be able to re-open with a yarn launch. We will be celebrating the relaxation of lockdown with some new Welsh yarn from The Naked Spinner in Criccieth.
The yarn is a mixture of 71% wool from Crugan Farm and 29% alpaca from the Naked Spinner. The fibres were prepared and spun by Curlew Weavers from Rhydlewis in Ceredigion so this is a truly Welsh yarn.
The DK yarn comes in two different greys, a mink and a natural white and is £14.00 for approximately 100g. Initially, we only have a small amount of each colour in stock but can easily order more from The Naked Spinner should you need it.
You can find the yarn here on our website.
Mark Drakeford has announced the latest relaxation of the Covid lock-down today which means we can re-open next week.
As we are usually closed on Mondays we will open our doors again on Tuesday 23 June with some guidance in place to keep our customers safe:
Guidance many be modified in line with government advice.
For more details check our here.
Revised Opening Hours:
Initially our hours are:
Tuesday ...................................... 11 am till 3 pm
Wednesday .................................. 11 am till 3 pm
Friday ......................................... 11 am till 3 pm
Saturday ..................................... 11 am till 1 pm
Drop-ins, classes and longer opening hours will resume later in the Autumn
Opening times may be subject to change – please keep an eye on our website and facebook pages.
Do any others find it hard to relate to life after lockdown? It seems that the lockdown has been here for ever and this surreal state of affairs will never end. It is particularly weird if you have relatives and friends in one of the other UK countries where the relaxation of lockdown is taking place at a different pace to Wales. Ruth and I are on a facebook group for local yarn shop owners in the UK and the talk is about re-opening (in England) next week. While we have never closed online, we won't be opening the physical shop for a while yet -- the Welsh Government hasn't given any clues to re-opening dates for retail so we will see how our neighbours manage and learn from them.
In the meantime, let's look forward. Lockdown will end and things will get back to normal so we have planned our Autumn dates for classes, workshops and drop-ins and are looking forward to getting back to helping more people to learn new crafts.
You can find all of our new dates for knitting, spinning and crochet workshops here but do bear in mind that dates may have to change if guidelines change.
As you may have noticed, our website looks a little different. We are updating it and hope that when we've finished you like the result and that you'll all find it easier to navigate and find all the lovely yarney items you are looking for. It's a work in progress so it may take a few more days before the work is done but the shop pages are fully functional so you can still buy any yarn or accessories that you need.
I like to be a glass half full person and If nothing else, the Coronavirus lockdown has forced us to come to terms with tech (I can see my kids rolling their eyes at this!) and here at Ammonite Yarns we are embracing Zoom. We have been running our Tuesday evening drop-in using the platform and it's been a lifesaver. When I say, 'we have' what I mean is that Martyn, one of our Tuesday evening crafters has set it up and runs it for us, but we are still becoming more tech-savvy. My Wednesday evening ballet class is also running via Zoom so I'm almost blase about using it.
Obviously being part of any kind of remote meeting can be problematic -- sound not always working, ropy internet connections and you can really only hold one conversation at a time, unlike the drop-ins where we are often all talking at once (we also don't have biscuits or cake provided!). I don't think the world will move wholeheartedly to working remotely because we are very social animals but these past few months have proved that working from home, at least part-time, is not impossible and in future it might help to change our work/life balance to a life/work balance, and ultimately make life easier for many.
Our next plan is to master You Tube videos for teaching techniques -- you have been warned!
If the answer to the question is 'no' then read no further! Otherwise ... read on!
Every job has its associated jargon and the worldwide knitting/crochet community is no different! We've already introduced you to the UFO (unfinished object) with our Sew up Saturdays. Now it is the turn of the CALs, KALs and MC/KALs. For the uninitiated the AL stands for A-long so we have Crochet-A-Long, Knit-A-Long and if pre-fixed by M they are Mystery Knit/Crochet-A-Longs.
CALs and KALs are a great way to learn new techniques and explore ideas that you might not have otherwise come across. Patterns are released step-by-step, with a minimum of a week between the parts and are often linked to a facebook group or YouTube videos for help with queries. The project is announced in advance with dates for when pattern parts and details of the yarns used and and there is often a linked facebook group. Crafters also post their progress on Ravelry so it's easy to find out more. These projects are a great way to link up with other crocheters and knitters and see how they are doing and whether they are following all the rules or going a bit off-piste either on pattern or colours. Yarns shops can produce a yarn pack for the project and will be happy to help with other colours or yarn options. The Mystery versions of CALs and KALs don't give any pictures in advance of the finished project so the design is a surprise -- one of my favourite MKALs is Follow Your Arrow shawl KAL by Ysolda Teague which gives different options at each stage so no two shawls will be alike.
So now you know what the jargon means why not give it a go? Our favourite crochet teacher Gaelle has been hosting a CAL through facebook for her lovely Sandrine shawl and we have been promoting the stunning Fruit Garden Blanket CAL by Janie Crow. The Fruit Garden CAL pattern is available on the Stylecraft website and we have the Naturals Bamboo Cotton yarn packs in stock. There are other stunning CALS from Stylecraft too and there will be a new one launching in July in a later post!
It seems a bit early in the year to do our 'back to school' blog but if, like us, you are looking forward to some sort of normality, you might like to plan your September skills classes.
We are being optimistic and have scheduled our workshop programme to re-start in September. There will be knitting, crochet and spinning classes once again with teachers, Gaelle, Giselle, Gina, Ruth and myself (I have just notice our trio of G's!).
Knitting workshops cast on 12 September with our 'Make a Signature Ammonite Toy'. It's a fun project but teaches some useful skills like i-cord and knitting in the round. Gaelle's crochet courses re-start on 8 September for beginners (although at present we are taking expressions of interest rather than bookings for this) and Giselle will lead her 'From Sea to Land' crochet workshop on 26 September. Our spinning day is on 4 October and will be led by Gina.
We've really missed our knitting and crochet classes as they are always full of keen, interested learners and we always hear loads of laughs (as well as a few groans) from our workshop.
You can find details of our courses here -- just click through to the ones you are interested to do and then you can book on the website or give us a call or e-mail.
Anybody who works in a people facing job often jokes that the job would be so much easier without the customers/clients/students. This pandemic has shown us is to be careful what we wish for! Yes, it is easier without customers -- shelves don't get messed up, there's time to do social media, we don't get interrupted half-way through a cup of tea (the list could go on a while) -- but ... it is nowhere near so much fun without you! Generally I love my job (although, as Ruth will attest, I am always late!) but at the moment I'd rather stay at home. I am going in each day to do the background stuff, sort out any online orders and make sure everything is safe but a shop without people walking in and out, chatting, squishing the stock, buying yarn is ... not a shop, so I can't wait for the time when we can throw open our doors again. The big question is 'when will that be?'. Westminster and Cardiff don't agree but, as my youngest has noted, Boris and his colleagues are conducting virtual briefings so clearly social distancing and staying at home is still a thing so we remain closed. Don't let social distancing stop you crafting though -- you can order online from us and either have the yarn posted or make an appointment to come to the shop and collect. We are also holding our Tuesday evening drop-in via zoom so if you want to join us, join our Yarnmanglers facebook group and let us know. When we do re-open it will be slightly different to begin with as there will still be social distancing measures in place but we will keep you all up to date on our plans so that we can open safely and successfully. In the meantime, we'd love to see what yarny things you have all been working on so why not post some pictures on our social media for us all to see. I'm posting a picture here of Gaelle's 'Sandrine' shawl which I have just completed -- there are mistakes but I'm not a pro-crocheter. My knitting project is a Kaffe Fassett coat knitted in Stylecraft Naturals so i'll post a picture of that later on.
This Saturday the 9th of May is the fifth anniversary of the day that we opened. Normally we would be celebrating by inviting you to come and join us for cake, a moderate amount of party atmosphere and a special offer or two as a little birthday present from us to you.
This year feels quite different and rather sombre. As I write this, the shop is closed to customers, and most of us have friends and relatives we are concerned about. Like many small businesses, we are also having to work out how long we can last through lockdown and the anticipated recession (spoiler: we’ll be ok for a while longer).
So, just for this year, we would like to ask you for a birthday present.
When you shop, for yarn or anything else, think about whether there is a small independent shop you can make your purchase with. Many little businesses are offering online shopping, but struggle to stand out on search engines as they just don’t have the advertising reach of the big companies. But for them, even a small sale might mean the difference between being able to pay the rent this month or not. We know finances are tight for lots of people right now so if you can’t afford the purchase, support them by engaging on social media or telling your friends about them. Personal recommendations are always the best.
Thank you for all your support over the last five years and we hope so see you again before long.
Jenny and Ruth
Welcome to our blog
Here we will share our experiences of running a local yarn shop in South Wales.