It looks likely that some of the lockdown restrictions will be eased in the coming days. There has been a lot of speculation but we don’t yet know exactly what form the new rules will take.
As a business, we have to consider the risks to our customers and ourselves that may come with re-opening. Hand hygiene remains extremely important, and it is known that the wearing of even a non-medical grade mask over the nose and mouth offers protection to both the wearer and other people. It is probable that we will need to restrict the number of customers in the shop and asking everyone who enters to clean their hands and wear a mask.
Ruth’s mum Marilyn has been a very busy bee making masks for Jenny and Ruth to wear in the shop when we do reopen. After some trial and error and several consultations with her nurse sister, she has come up with a design that will fit most people well, provide good protection using non-medical grade fabric and be washable and re-useable. Most of us have probably never made a mask before but you only need some basic machine sewing skills. The mask could even be sewn by hand with a bit of determination and a thimble.
The pattern she has developed is available from our website as a free download here. Marilyn has asked that if you use the pattern and you are able to, please make a donation to Medecin Sans Frontiere to support their Covid19 work.
And if you still fancy making that Medieval Plague Doctor mask, we’ve spotted this fabulous patchwork version...
It may be baby steps but we are getting closer to the time when we can open up again as the government discusses how the lock-down can be relaxed. We suspect a big part of the opening up process will include face-masks so we’ve been investigating.
There seem to be two schools of thought at the moment – full on plague doctor or just wrap any old scarf around your mouth and hope for the best! Clearly we need something that does the job but doesn’t make us look as though we are about to join the Venice Carnivale.
We have been working with our local councillor Marg Griffiths to come up with a solution and are putting together DIY mask packs to be sewn at home. Basic sewing skills are required and ideally a sewing machine for best results. The masks are for use at home and when out in a public place but are not for key workers in a hospital or care home environment.
We’ll put posts on all of our groups as soon as the packs are ready but in the meantime, if you are a keen tailor we can supply the pattern as a free pdf but ask that you make a contribution to Medecins Sans Frontieres .
We're really lucky here that we have very talented designers and teachers and we worked with Giselle when she organised the 'Crochet with Confidence' retreat last year at Number 63 in London. Unfortunately Covid19 put paid to this year's retreat but look out for when it is re-scheduled.
The blanket designed for the first retreat was From Land to Sea and now Giselle has created a baby blanket based on it. In Giselle's own words:
“Onwards from Sea to land with new variations of my Noughts & Crosses design ......
As some of you who have worked with me in the past already know, I originally designed my “Noughts and Crosses blanket with pebble border” to complement the From Sea to Land theme I was working on with the stitch combination aiming to mimic rolling waves. The original ‘Atlantic’ colourway in lovely soft affordable Stylecraft Special DK supplied by Ammonite Yarns, my local independent yarn store was used at my 2019 Crochet Confidence intermediate workshop to help teach techniques such as standing trebles, carrying yarn, bobble stitches, puff stitches and crossed trebles. Since then, I have added the ‘Pacific’ colourway.
Now, to create a “Noughts and Crosses, complete in a week” baby blanket, I have adapted the pattern for “Rolling Pinks”, “Rolling Blues” and “Casual neutrals” colourways in two sizes, 36” x 36” with 6 colours and 30” x 30” with five colours. After experimenting with other borders, I decided to keep the pebble border as I like the simplicity of the two colour combination and feel the puffiness compliments the overall design. The new pattern variations also use Stylecraft Special DK yarn but are easily adapted to more expensive yarns too.
A small version is easily adaptable to make a baby “Lovie” by adding your favourite amigurumi head!
The yarn packs and patterns (available together or separately) for these new designs are exclusively available through Ammonite Yarns as are the From Sea to Land original designs.
Look out for my other new designs coming to Ammonite Yarns soon.
We couldn't have put it better. You can find the designs and yarn packs here
We know you are all disappointed that the physical Wonderwool isn't happening this year so I thought I'd give you a useful list of how to prepare for our Virtual Wonderwool Weekend so that you wouldn't know you weren't at the real thing.
This time last year we were getting ready to go to Wonderwool. Ruth was busy packing bags and then the cars and I was making sure we had everything on our website correctly and hindering Ruth with bag packing.
This year is a bit different. Wonderwool had to be cancelled for obvious reasons so no mad bag packing or trying to fit a quart into a pint pot when packing the cars. Instead I've spent the morning updating the website and getting ready for Virtual Wonderwool instead. Wonderwool Wales will be running a virtual show this weekend so make sure you check your social media feeds as there will be loads to look at.
We'll keep you up to date with our preparations and our Virtual Wonderwool web page will go live today or tomorrow. We will be offering 15% discount on all wonderwool purchases with the coupon code Wonderwool2020 (I'll enable the code on Saturday and disable it on Sunday evening so you'll need to be on your toes to get it).
As some of you know, Ruth runs an after-school club, Fibretastic, at her daughter's school in Cardiff. For the past 18 months the children have been learning different fibre arts skills and have really been enjoying it.
With schools now to most pupils due to Covid-19, we have developed a range of kits to support continued learning at home, based on the Fibretastic sessions for Key Stage 2. As well as practical skills, the projects support other learning objectives including maths, planning and decision making along with the concentration and persistence needed to complete the task.
Crafting can help children to cope with higher stress levels at this time and offers a focused activity to do when outdoor pastimes are unavailable. Our kits include a range of fibre crafts including sewing, knitting, crochet and felting.
Children will require adult supervision and assistance whilst working on the projects. Many of the kits contain items such as pins and needles that should not be used without an adult present. We encourage the adult to work to complete a project alongside the child so where possible, the kits contain enough materials to make more than one item.
When writing the instructions we have assumed that the supervising adult will have some basic craft skills and online resources for some techniques are signposted within the instructions where they might be needed. If clarification or more help is needed from us, please email us at email@example.com and we will respond as soon as possible.
Unless otherwise stated on the kit description, you will need to have some basic equipment at home such as scissors, sewing thread and a tape measure. Ask us about starter packs essential equipment.
We've taken some time during this dratted lockdown to sort out some real bargains for you all so why not take a look and add some gorgeous fibres to your stash to keep you knitting and crocheting while staying safe at home.
West Yorkshire Spinners Blue Faced Leicester DK and Aran are both down in price from £4.85 to £3.99 This is a beautiful, yarn -- it is 100% BFL so is very soft and warm and, as with all WYS yarn, is British yarn -- at this price, you really shouldn't miss it. It's suitable for garments and accessories and will work perfectly for colourwork or single colour projects.
Similarly, Filanda Caldoline Aran is reduced in price from £5.65 to £4.65. Caldolino is a wool, linen mix which knits up into a slightly flecked effect. Suitable for all aran projects this is a lovely yarn to work with and thanks to the linen content, the fibre is irregular and looks very natural. The linen gives the ball a slightly rough feel but like all linen,it softens with washing. Filanda is the alternative brand name of Italian manufacturer Adriafil which sells Caldolino as WoLi.
Also on sale is Yarn Stories Merino DK, a 100% merino yarn which was £5.75 and is now £4.75. Merino is such a soft yarn and suitable for all kinds of projects. Take a look at the Yarn Stories link on Ravelry for for project ideas -- we have Yarn Stories patterns stored digitally so you can also buy them from us.
Once we've sold the stock in the shop, we won't be re-stocking so why not take a look and add some fab yarn to your stash.
As you know, we had to postpone our Spring/Summer events and workshops but we are looking forward to Autumn and have re-scheduled the knitting dates and Sew Up Saturdays.
You can find the new workshop dates here and the Sew Up Saturdays here.
So what are we all doing under lockdown?
Well, I'm going into the shop each day to fulfil online orders and to wait for a delivery which the delivery company has managed to mess up, trying to do some exercise and of course, I'm knitting and crocheting.
One of the projects I have started is the Sandrine crochet shawl designed by our crochet teacher, Gaelle. I'm doing this as a crochet-along with lots of other crocheters on Gaelle's crochet along facebook page, Crochet with Gaelle. So far I seem to be doing OK but have only done two clues so there is plenty of time to go wrong yet! I'm using a 4-ply Rico sock yarn bought from Wool in Bath about three years ago. I bought two colours, originally to make a skirt but fell a bit out of love with the yarn. One ball has gone to Tal to make socks and the other is making this shawl.
I've done a crochet along before and it is a great way to learn new skills. The previous one was a granny square blanket (now gracing Lawrence and P'ls flat in The Hague) and now this shawl. It's great to see everybody else's progress on the group too and Gaelle is adding video tutorials too.
Why not have a go? Here is the link and you can find plenty of yarn in our online shop!
I came in after the weekend yesterday to a flurry of online orders. It's good to know that our customers are supporting small businesses and that they are still knitting and crocheting.
As we all know, crafting is a great way to relax and in these stressful times it is more important than ever to look after our mental health. If you've ever wondered why Ruth and I are so laid back, it's because we spend a lot of our time surrounded by yarn. It's amazing how even the most tedious of jobs (weekly accounts for example) can be cheered up by just looking around the room at the wonderful colours of yarn on show. Sadly we don't generally get that much time to knit or crochet when we are in the shop as there are lots of other things to do but it doesn't stop us from working on our projects at home.
I have seen a few posts on the online forums though where people are finding the current situation so overwhelming that they can't focus on their crafting. Perhaps if you feel like that, you could just cast on and knit or crochet blindly for a while. Use the time to focus on the process of how the stitches work and take note of how they work together to create a whole. It doesn't matter that you are not making 'something' , just use it as a way to chill out. You could even come over all philosophical and see those interlinked stitches as a metaphor for how people are working together to get through the current crisis!
It's very strange not seeing our usual customers face to face and at our drop-ins but although we may all be may be physically isolated, we don't have to be socially isolated so we'll add a blog or a facebook page a couple of times a week to keep in touch.
Welcome to our blog
Here we will share our experiences of running a local yarn shop in South Wales.