Through the miserable weather and never ending virus/tonsilitis of doom, I still managed to get up to lots of lovely things to tell you about, but I seriously do feel like I’ve blinked and missed June!
I’m still getting my head around blogging, and in fact spending this much time on my computer. My computer thought its only purpose in life was to search ‘Ravelry’ and ‘Pinterest’, and write and print patterns and posters for Number Four! It had no idea it would play such a huge part in my technology-filled future!
Technology is a perfect place for me to start this blog; I cannot explain how much I hate it. It’s incredible and clever and I’ve no idea where I’d be without google maps (literally), or to be without my Instagram app of happiness BUT I still can’t explain what it does to my insides. As soon as there’s a password needed or the whirly thing appears, I turn into such a baby, and throw the biggest tantrums. This website is something to be really proud of and seen as a great asset to my gorgeous little shop, but I’m not sure my website developer, Paula, will always agree; she’s had to put up with the panic and tears it’s supplied. I know I’ll get there though, as soon as I give something the chance to ‘click into place’ I become way better behaved…ish!
I decided to approach this blog in the best way I know how; LISTS. I have a cute notepad that I now keep with me and list anything worth talking about that happens through the month. Some wool related, some shop related and some just about me, and my personal life.
My son is so goddamn gorgeous I want to boast about him all the time! Like telling you about all of June’s adventures and how sweet he was at the cinema, with his big boy popcorn, (if you haven’t seen Toy Story 4 yet, it’s a must) or when we went to a little farm day and he cuddled a chick!
Sidney (my son) had his taster days at Big School this month. He was born in October, so only missed Big School by a month last year. At the time I felt sorry for him as, in my opinion he was ready for it, and all his mates from preschool were going and leaving him. I could not of been happier to be proven wrong. He has flourished this year at preschool. Become so much more grown up, confident and bright. He has his bestie called George and they will be starting this journey together. Me and Dave (the hubby) went to Sid’s new school for our parent’s talk. I thought I would be the only mum in the room crying, turns out it was the opposite, listening to the teachers tell us what they will be up to in their first year just made me excited for him, he’s going to LOVE school. Since then Sidney’s had a few hours in the classroom, when all the other children came running out to their parents after their first taster hour wanting to go home, Sidney just said, “can I stay at school” haha. He is the best. So it’s all forms and school uniform plans for us until September now. I am sad he’s leaving preschool though. It’s been the sweetest little place for him and I’ll always be so grateful to the lovely teachers there for creating such warm memories for him. We have his last sports day next week so I’ll be sure to take pictures for next months blog.
In other Sid news, he’s become absolutely obsessed with crafting! It’s all he does, cutting and sticking all day long. We have to save every yoghurt pot and empty loo rolI in sight!
I’m hoping his love of creating continues because both myself and Dave are arty crafty and it would be lovely to share that as a family. Although the sooner he learns to hoover up after himself the better…!
His grandparents took him to the Lincolnshire Show this month and you should have seen how he came home, it was hilarious. He was covered in stickers and apparently had to stop at every stall to collect any freebies, participate in any colouring / glueing activity they had going, he even made me a candle at the ‘bee’ stand! CUTE.
I should also say thank you to Dave. I think it’s easy for us to take each other for granted and, let’s be honest, drive each other mad, but I’ve been really poorly this month and he’s been fantastic looking after me and Sidney and running the shop for me.
I did find out something that I thought was really sweet from a customer on my return. She said she had popped in whilst Dave was there and saw our chat and craft group in full swing, she asked him “is that your knitting circle” he obviously misheard and started looking around for a knitting circle then saying “sorry I don’t think we sell those” Ha ha ha. He was amazing help, but definitely needs to brush up on his wooly knowledge!
One of my major concerns about running my own business, especially one with a shop front, was my terrible immune system. I have an under-active thyroid and am finally really doing some research into it and making some drastic life changes (ill tell you more on that next month) But as it stands I am always the one to catch any illness going, it drives me mad, I’m too busy to be poorly, but luckily have super Dave to look after me!!! ( He is NOT Super Dave when he snores all night Mind you).
Let’s move on to wooly news…
Shop stuff! I really do love my shop. It’s just the happiest, safest place to be. And by safe I mean mentally; I have people just coming in to soak it up when the outside world is being mean. The fact that I have created that safe place for so many people makes me so very proud and happy, it’s actually overwhelming.
I haven’t been tempted this year (like my previous two) to buy too much stock throughout the quiet period (which is now). This is year three for me and it feels so different, I feel so much more confident in what I am doing and I have found my feet with a lot of my ‘forever’ lines. And by keeping them topped up I can always offer plenty of lovely inspiration, without always buying the latest ‘trend yarn’ for it to only end up in a sale bin.
There really is a lot of yarn choice in the shop, no one would leave without something yummy to inspire them. That being said I have kept up with my cute bits and bobs. My most favourite has to be my lovely new needle felted sheep brooches I bought from one of my super clever crafty friends to sell in the shop. Supporting fellow makers and encouraging handmade gives me the best feeling. They are as popular as I imagined so I’m hoping Emma will never get bored of making them so I can stock them forever and ever!
It won’t be long now and I’ll be seeing all of my brand reps to see the new Autumn/Winter ranges. You can only imagine how excited I get. Especially with Katia; they always have the coolest lines to stroke and sniff!!!
Number Four has had lots going on this month. Lots of teaching going on by me and my favourite knitting teacher, Gill. I’ve been doing my little £5 one-to-one sessions and they’ve been fab. I’m also running my first all-day Sunday class this weekend ‘beginners crochet’ so I’ll be sure to report back next month on how we all got on. I have run my three-week beginners course for over three years now so I’m really proud of it and know what can be achieved. It will be totally new to me to see how everyone gets on absorbing all those new skills in just one day!
I introduced my lovely new assistant, also called Gill, to lots of my customers both in the shop and over social media.
I feel so lucky to have found her, and so glad she said yes to working for me. Gill will be working as and when I need my load lightening, so if I’m working from home (like today) or needing a day off for personal commitments it will be Gill in the shop. She is so very lovely and is mainly a knitter with some crochet knowledge. My main skills are crochet with some knitting knowledge, so its great that if customers pop in the chances are one of us can help with your wooly emergency!
I’ve had such a laugh in the shop this month with everyone, I have found myself regularly crying with laughter – at one point I was literally rolling on the floor with laughter. The Chat and Craft groups are so brilliant, I can’t remember the last time I actually ‘crafted’ at one but my goodness they keep me smiling, and working hard to keep them alive.
I’m really chuffed to tell you about my last bit of shop news; the Number Four ‘Mystery Bag Challenge’ that started life out as the £2 game.
Occasionally I have a little bright spark of an idea. And that idea can flop or fly… so I’m happy to say that this one has flown!
I have a 50p basket in the shop which is hugely popular. It’s lots of little cakes of yarn that I’ve cleared from my stash, sale yarns etc. – i’s great for small projects, fair isle, finishing projects off, pom poms, bunting… the ideas are endless. That’s exactly where my idea came from. I took a bag, chose four random balls and sealed the bag. The next person buys that bag for £2 but has NO idea what is in the bag. They then fill the next bag, seal the bag and write their name on the bottom, having no idea who will be buying their bag. You open the bag and have to make something with what’s inside. The only rule is you have to use some of each off the four balls and can’t add any other yarn. You can however add embellishments. It has been sooooo popular and the creations are now coming to life.
It’s so inspiring what you can create for £2 and with no idea what you’ll find inside. It’s also a great way of communicating with other people who shop at Number Four who you may never have met because you can see what your bag turned in to. I have been sharing all the makes with #numberfourmysterybagchallenge, and I have created an album on my Facebook page. If you get the chance to come and play, do it! It really is fab!
And now for my main news of the month… My trip to Dublin!
A friend I made through the shop moved to Ireland last year, and as you always promise when friends move on, we said we would keep in touch and visit. Well, we did! It tied in perfectly with a new wool festival (this was the second year for it) called Woollinn. Myself and my friend Pirjo travelled by train and plane, and were greeted the other end by our friend Linzi. We had such a lovely time together, and laughed lots. It was so nice having some real time to talk about wool and projects with two fellow wool nuts. I find at the shop I’m always helping others and inspiring others, and rarely give myself that time. We did find we that we spent a lot of our knitting and crochet time telling each other our deepest darkest secrets though, So now we can never fall out; it would be too dangerous!!!
Woollinn was a joy. It was the total opposite of Yarndale. Yarndale is fabulous, busy, yarn bombed, you feel like you know everyone, and very very big. I find myself running at Yarndale just to be sure I get everywhere. Woollinn on the other hand was very peaceful, very calm, had a white, sleek backdrop and I didn’t run once. I gently mooched from stall to stall having the opportunity to chat to all of the vendors, designers and makers. I sniffed all the wool and really had time to make considered purchases.
I had a couple of highlights at the show, the main one being meeting Stephen West of West Knits.
I only started ‘following’ him since learning to knit, previous to that I only ever followed crocheter’s on my instagram. His designs are insane. Very high end fashion (sometimes lost on me) and super colourful. He was on his stand at the time I was looking and he gave me all the time in the world. We chatted for about 15 minutes. He was such a pleasure to chat to. I treated myself to a few skiens of yarn and some lovely new patterns, along with my usual haul of badges, and gadgets. I really do love all the ‘stuff’ that comes with our world of wool. It was a gorgeous day and I loved it.
On the Sunday Linzi had planned to take us to Dublin for a whirlwind tour of the city. What we hadn’t realised is that en route she was taking us to her local park that had been yarn bombed. There is a group who do it there every year for a month and they are called the ‘Kildare Yarn Bombers’.
It was amazing.
It was right next to a gorgeous stream, amongst all of the trees and in the sunshine. We spent about an hour there with our jaws dropped. It was amazing to see and it was for nothing but joy, it wasn’t an advert, or for a charity it was purely for the love of wool. It was great that they can put all of these amazing makes out and about and everyone respects it and leaves it there, undamaged. It was a work of art.
Dublin was cool too. We just casually strolled about the tourist sites. We really had a fabulous weekend and are so grateful to Linzi for her amazing hosting skills, and making us so welcome. It was precious to spend time with lovely ladies and enjoy my hobby as a hobby, not a job. You can see lots more pictures for both Woollinn and the Yarn bombing over on my instagram page.
And there you have it. My month of June.
I would always like to end these blogs with 2 parts. New skills I have learnt and projects I have completed. Sometimes they will be fuller than others but it’s actually a great little reference for me to look back on. They will be consistent in each blog. So here they are…..
Wooly skills learnt this month:
Projects completed this month:
Thank you so much for reading! I’ll look forward to sharing my July with you next month.
P.s. I have just had my hair dyed pink! I’ve wanted it pink for forever and for some reason this was the time. It’s so lush! I’m hoping it’ll get darker and darker each time! I never want it not pink now! Woohoo!