23rd April 2020

Phew, I'm Back In Business!

Self Portrait
slopping around in my slippers and spending quality time with my kids

It's  been a long wait, but finally, our online shop is open, you can now indulge in a little retail therapy. I'm sure  many of you have worked your way through your 'stash' and would like a lovely new project to get you through the next few weeks.

  Actually I am rather relieved that I am not allowed to open our Milford shop just yet, I think it would be quite a shock to the system...mine and yours. You see, I have let things slide. My hair desperately needs cutting, my dress sense is 'eclectic' (aren't pajamas comfortable for wearing around the house all day) and I suspect I have a few stray hairs sprouting from my chin. 

  For me, one huge bonus of the Lockdown was that I had so much time to knit. Despite having the enviable job of running my wee shop, I seldom had the spare time to relax with my own projects. My family were so sick of hearing me moan "I wish I had more time, I never get the chance to indulge in my own knitting". Maybe, in future, I should be more careful what I wish for!

  Like many of you I have spent many hours baking, gardening, cleaning the house and walking my Labrador, Harry. I have had my family around me and we have, surprisingly, coped rather well. Unfortunately, I constantly worry about my Mum, who is totally alone, in her little bungalow in England. She did come to New Zealand to  visit me late last year,  how I wish she were safely here with me now. The situation in the UK is dreadful and I know Mum is feeling lonely and fearful. I talk to her every couple of days and she frequently breaks down in tears and sounds desperate. There are a few light moments though, which I treasure. Mum has trimmed her  hair. She mentioned that she had cut her fringe to a quarter of an inch in length. I immediately pulled her up on a technicality and said that she meant to say that she had trimmed a quarter of an inch off the length of her fringe. "No" replied mum, "I've given it a really good chop, but I think I'll wear a bobble hat for a while". 

   Mum's neighbours are all elderly and are not venturing far from the perimeter of their garden. One neighbour, Mrs. Hyacinth Bouquet  (A well earned nickname) has taken it upon herself to organise  a daily exercise class for the road's resident octogenarians.. Every morning at 11 am elderly ladies and  gents positions themselves at the end of their driveway and prepares for 30 minutes of activity. As an ancient tape recorder is begins to play, a rather hilarious performance begins...there's arm waving, full body gyrating, leg lifting and energetic jumping, all to the pounding beat of  ABBA, Village People and Showaddywaddy. I suggested that someone should contact the local newspaper and regional TV station, their antics certainly should not go unreported. Mum wasn't too impressed and muttered something along the lines of "who on earth would want to see a bunch of  old codgers making a fool of themselves?"

  Enough frivolity! What, if anything, is happening at Woolly...
  Now, as you know, I sent out a rather unusual newsletter last month. I explained that I would not be taking advantage of a 'dubious loophole' which would have allowed me to sell knitting wool online, under Level 4 Lockdown. Many of you took the time to write and voice your support and I really am am incredibly grateful for all your kind words.

Only now, as we approach Level 3, have I opened up my online store. You are now able to place orders and I will begin shipping you Woolly Care Packages from Tuesday next week. 

 Now, I'll give you a brief insight into what I have been knitting during Lockdown, point you in the direction of some of my favourite yarns  and also showcase some new arrivals.  

  I love knitting blankets: no thought required, no sewing up to do, and they keep you warm as you are knitting. Click on the following link to take a peek at my latest offering. I am including a free pattern, a pair of circular 10 mm bamboo knitting needles and a chunky crochet hook with every purchase of wool for this project.   My Yorkshire Blanket  is made from damn good, no nonsense  pure wool. I was born 'just over the hill' from this woollen mill,  tucked away in the industrial town of Bradford. This region is also famous for  Yorkshire Puddings, Wensleydale Cheese and the literary Bronte sisters. I imagine myself as Cathy, the heroine from Wuthering Heights, my knitted blanket wrapped around me, as I wait, on a windswept moor, for Heathcliff to find me and wrap me in his powerful arms. My husband snorted when he read this...you're no Cathy, your far too old and chubby,  your more like the intimidating  Norah Batty from Last of the Summer Wine! 

Norah Battys Blanket
  I brought home a huge amount of New Zealand Lammermoor Organic Merino to occupy myself during Lockdown.  I am totally addicted to this wool  but if I'm honest I don't need more knitted samples for display purposes at the shop. I spent the entire Christmas break making exquisite baby garments but I suppose there's no harm having few extra baby beanies added to our display. If you have a special baby to knit for do take a peek at this sumptuous merino and my knitted garments. 
  Easy Garter Stitch Jacket and Beanie
  I am a very basic knitter, I describe myself as a 'Garter Stitch Girl'. I don't attempt complicated cabling, lace knitting or Fair Isle. I never complete  an adults garment, and only allow myself  to make beanies and babies garments. When my husband saw this cute little jumper he said "you haven't made that have you?"  I think he was impressed, I don't think his remark was derogatory. I will let him believe that I toiled for many hours over this complex design...of course I didn't at all, my knitting wool did all the work. 

My impressive 'fair Isle' babies sweater
  My range of Mistral Jacquard (cheats Fair Isle) arrived just before Lockdown so many of you will not have seen this rather classy and fun new wool. The colour range  is glorious, some subtle and muted, others rather bright, cheeky and joyful. Any 4 ply pattern can be used with this yarn, although I prefer to follow a simple stocking stitch design, that allows the clever fair isle pattern work to show to it's full advantage. 

Now, I will wind this newsletter up now, so hopefully there hasn't been too much rambling. 

 On a final note, I did update the website information yesterday, so those paying particular attention, (or have far too much time on their hands) have already placed orders.  Thank you. Please note that some of my stock levels are a little low but I am expecting new deliveries  next week. If you need any additional information or help please contact me.

 Stay safe, stay home and keep knitting,
Fran and Olivia.
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