Bye bye burton road.

A big hello to you. This seems a very odd blog to find myself writing. Having only just re-signed a three year lease for My Burton road shop in January 2020, to find the doors Closed in June 2020. Does anyone else still find themselves scratching their heads over what has actually happened to us in the last few months? It is absolutely bizarre and takes all of our strength to accept it and follow the guidelines! Anyway, I’m hoping that by reading this little blog it’ll distract you from your troubles for a few minutes, it will also help me “brain dump” which I have found extremely helpful for my mental well being.

So If you follow me regularly on facebook, instagram, or have walked past what was my shop, you’ll of noticed the shop on Burton road is now closed. I cannot actually believe how fast my working life has changed, on march 21st I was stood in my shop serving lots of panicked customers just about to begin their lockdown adventures, to now where I am sat in my office/wool shop writing this blog to you all. I have and always will be an open book, so ill happily explain it all in a nutshell.

During the start of lockdown, I have to say, I didn’t actually give my business a huge amount of thought, My entire thought, anxiety and instincts were to look after my five year old son. I couldn’t help but be thrown back to the days of my post natal depression, where I felt I wasn’t good enough for him, so home schooling him and keeping him entertained took over my mind, I didn’t want to fail him , after some advice from his teachers I soon got into the groove of being mummy, teacher and best friend and shock off all those anxieties.

Once my mind had come to terms with Sidney , I put some thought into my business again, and offered a postal service, it was reasonably popular, and for one person it was a lot of work, but it wasn’t overly profitable, nor what my business is all about. I adore the social aspect of the shop, the groups, courses and workshops. Not only do I adore it, but its my bread and butter. It is by far the most important part of my income , selling wool alone does not pay the bills. Having looked at the figures and predicting that it would be unlikely id of been able to offer the classes this year , I contacted my landlady. I explained I wasn’t going to be able to run my business profitably this year, and id soon be in the negative, extremely stressed, all the while still having a 5 year old at home with no childcare and and my husband at work . And so I asked for help. Help has never been something I’ve been comfortable to ask for , but I figured if you don’t ask you don’t get. I had presumed one of two answers. 1. I’m afraid I can’t help, sorry. 2. lets reduce the rent for time being. I actually received neither of these answers. I got a phone call, and very quickly had to choose between no help at all or terminating my lease and leaving the shop asap. I was panicked and was told to answer very fast as someone wanted my shop. Obviously in floods of tears, with a huge knot in my tummy I chewed the fat with my husband, I even called a friend to talk it through, and it seemed the most sensible option was to leave the shop. I had virtually 3 years ahead of me , with no idea what the future could offer. I didn’t want to plough all of my time and money into the shop only for it to close in the future and be left with nothing. Sadly I made the phone call and accepted the offer to terminate my lease. It was a tad mental clearing the shop out, with my fiat 500 as my moving vehicle, and, with social distancing not allowed any help, nor could I open up to have a closing down sale. So I was physically knackered from clearing out the shop , mentally drained from the upset and the very many messages I received and my anxiety was at an all time high. This was not a situation anyone could of predicted, nor can I imagine would ever go through again. Sadly things weren’t as clear cut as I had been led to believe so I had some very sleepless nights, but I’m glad to say all though it was not the ending I had hoped for , I am now out of the building and free to start my next adventure. I will always hold the memories of my first shop fondly in my heart, and be proud of what it was to myself and many others.

The empty shell of what once was.

So where does that leave me and number four now? The ideas are endless, my brain has excitedly thought of a million adventures . I am actually at peace with it all now and I’m really intrigued to see what is next. We are all still very much in the middle of this life changing pandemic so I can’t set any ideas in stone just yet, but I promise I’m going nowhere. So many of the messages I received were about my crochet classes, and I literally love teaching those classes so I will of course still be here to teach beginners, and intermediates when the world can safely let me do so. I will also still very proudly continue to stock my favourite brands. I would be lost if I couldn’t buy and sell my favourite wool! I just love motivating people and seeing all the wonderful creations you come up with. As it stands my focus is still very much on my son, and until he is back at school I cannot invest the hours id like to into the business . I am also useless at technology, so I am keeping it simple and selling yarn/stock I already have through my Facebook page. I promise I have so many exciting ideas in my head, but for now id like to just clear the decks, keep you all supplied with wooly treats, and keep my sanity, this seems the best plan for now.

My new office/shop.

I really hope that has explained things. I did receive some exceptionally generous messages of people offering to pay the rent, and some very teary customers obviously very sad to lose their creative hub of happiness. It was hard for me, as a complete softy to try to block out others thoughts, and I had to think that Number four is ME , SARAH, and I am still here. The building may no longer be mine. But if you still want me, you can have me. I have really enjoyed some socially distanced catch ups with friends I have made through the shop, and it just re-motivates me to keep going, as someone who relies heavily on being needed and loved, Id hate to lose the business and community I’ve built up and the friendships I have made.

How you doing? You still with me? That was all very heavy, but I felt it important to explain. I appreciate having this audience to ‘vent’ too. So a big thanks to you for hearing me out.

Lets change the subject shall we? a quick natter about life, wool, weight gain, bad skin, and my new obsession with the reality trash tv that is ‘the real housewives’ . I have always enjoyed reality tv, I’ve never hidden it, despite my husbands eye rolls, and my best friends asking why I watch that rubbish. But my oh my I have been well and truly sucked into the ‘real housewives of….. New York, Atlanta and Beverly Hills’ . The thing that strikes me most , is that with all there fortune and free time not one of them knits, or crochets??? Just think with all that money, space and time the things you could do. You could drape yourself in the finest merinos money could buy! They even have hired help for EVERY job imaginable, so why not hire a knitter? crocheter? I have 50 million projects I could set others away with. Hahaha it really makes me giggle how different humans are, 4k on a bottle of champagne? No thank you, 4k on luxury yarns? yes please! Oh god , and imagine the craft room with crystal chandelier lighting it all up! So yes I’ve found my evenings are swallowed up by watching other people live their crazy lives. Ive done a little crafting whilst watching it, I’ve not made much, some socks and I’ve been adding a few rows to a scrappy crochet blanket I’ve got. My aim is to finish some wips in the next couple of weeks, so thats exciting. I have been trying to get back to some excersise , sadly running really hurt my knee, so I now aim to walk every day, I’m doing well with my targets, but my eating needs to improve. Chocolate and cheese are not my friend! my skin is struggling, I have so many health issues that cause my weight to be heavy and my skin to be spotty, but I’m enjoying trying new products and facemasks to see if I can find a little solution. Im not vain in the slightest, but my spots are painful, thats why I want them to go.

That important Rainbow that we’ve all become so fond of during lockdown,

I really hope you are all keeping well. Its a huge battle for us all to get through this strange time, emotionally, financially and physically . But I’ve certainly learnt what and who are important to me, and thats the positive I am going to take from this experience. I hope you find yourself in a similar position of finding the positives,

For now I shall leave you in peace, But it won’t be for long! Biggest wooly hugs and kisses….

Sarah xxxxx

Strange Times

Hello , to whomever finds themselves reading this! I thought id dedicate some of my “sitting on my bum” time to check in with you all , and to give you something to do for five minutes!

How are you doing during the coronavirus lockdown? What have you found yourselves doing to keep yourself from going a bit loopy? We can be sure of one thing, none of us will ever forget this time, we are officially a big part of history now.

I shall go against my normal instincts of waffling on for pages and pages and just give you a little snippet of what i’ve been up to. I have been home schooling my five year old Sidney , which has actually been very sweet, its lovely seeing him learn and wanting to learn, sadly he has the attention span of a gold fish, so class generally starts and finishes within 40 minutes! We have however spent heaps of quality time together, playing reading, and building lots and lots of lego kits! My husband Dave is at home too, i’ve been amazed at how well we are all getting along. Not one argument!!!! Plus Dave does ALL the cooking which has been fabulous as Its not a thing I enjoy! I do enjoy making our house pretty so i’ve been faffing and cleaning which has been nice, although I clean more now than ever , with us all being at home it soon gets a mess again, so thats been a good chore to keep me busy. I wasn’t clever enough to get any DIY supplies in before the lockdown, so not been able to decorate which would’ve been a good job to get done. Our garden has never had such love, we’ve really enjoyed all being out together in the sunshine its also been a good way of keeping active, I do have a tendency to turn into a sloth if I let myself! And of course i’ve had a little extra wool time. Not as much as i’d of liked because Sidney gets most of my time, but I have enjoyed the calming quality of my hobby to keep me inspired and sane.

I have found myself mainly knitting socks. One because i’m loving watching myself improve with each pair I knit, (for some of you) , you may remember when I opened Number four I was not a knitter, its been through sheer determination and patience that I have got to the stage I am now. And two, its been great using some of my sock yarn stash (THERE IS A LOT). I have also really enjoyed going back to my true love of amigurumi. Ive made a few little toys thats have been waiting for me to bring them to life for a very long time, my craft room is slowly filling with some seriously cute faces. I have also been doing a bit of garden crochet , the sunshine has fully inspired me, so I have pretty mandalas swinging about in the wind, and a lovely new table mat set for our outside table.

Not every day has been perfect though, having your shop shut is not nice, its my livelihood, for every day its shut is another day i’m not earning the money to pay my rent, electricity etc etc. In normal life I spend most of my time working hard to keep number four buzzing, encouraging customers to choose me over my internet rivals, and helping you all build new skills and create lovely new things. So understandably I have had the odd wobble with it. I also struggled a little with teaching my son as I panicked I would let him down, but his teacher has been wonderful at reassuring me, so that anxiety has passed. And of course like so many of us i’m missing my people so very much, I keep day dreaming of being at a huge party with all my friends and family, prosecco in hand, laughing the night away….. I CANT wait. If nothing else this time has definitely taught me to appreciate my life and who I treasure most.

So there you have it , after saying I wouldn’t waffle on too much, I have (obvs) .

Also for you attention , I have decided after a good chat with my accountant that I will be open for business every Tuesday until the lockdown Is over. Clearly not physically open, but I will be there for you to order wool etc and I will post out. I am asking for all orders to come through my facebook page via PM , if however you don’t use facebook then please place orders over my email (see contact page) I will then put your order together , and post out. If this is of interest to you please do get in touch and ill explain further. I am also going to post some ‘inspiration ‘ videos over on my facebook so hopefully my usual love of wool can rub off on you virtually.

And finally I really hope that you and your loved ones are keeping safe and sane. Don’t forget we are all in this together and likelihood is for every bad day you have someone you care about is too, so don’t be shy to talk about it. Big love to you all, and thanks for reading! Sarah xxx

Busy Bee…

I have enjoyed writing this monthly blog, However as always my brain runs at 1000mph and i’m already excited about some new ideas I have, so I will be focusing my attentions on these for the time being.

With that said please pop over to my Facebook or Instagram page for the latest arrivals and inspiration. I’m sure I’ll blog again someday, Cheers for reading!

Sarah xxx

Sid, sunshine and sniffing wool; perfect!

Ooooh it’s blog time again! This is my third now, so I’m starting to feel like a total pro! 

It’s really hotting up out there, and I don’t know about you but I’ve been living by my fan. One thing that is probably not all that apparent about me is I go to the gym. I try to go minimum of twice a week for personal training and if I can fit in 3 sessions, even better, but my goodness the heat has been crippling there. I’ve never sweated so much in my life.

I mentioned in last months blog that I was going to look into my thyroid issues in a bit more depth. Basically I have an under active thyroid and always think the only side effects I suffer with are tiredness and my weight. Having looked into it a bit more (I’ve been diagnosed for over 5 years and only just thought about researching into it), it can also be the cause of my terrible memory, my anxiety, my rubbish immune system, my bad skin – the list goes on. I’ve actually accepted my weight because it won’t ever dramatically change unless I go on a hardcore Keto style diet, but that means no chocolate, booze, cake. EVER. I don’t eat a lot but if I was told I couldn’t I would be miserable. I’m healthy and fit so I just have to accept my size and shape. I would however LOVE to not always be so tired and forgetful. I bought myself a book called the thyroid diet, but my PT basically said it’s nonsense. SO i’m just going to have to continue on with my research. 

Bizarrely this month we took our son Sidney to see a specialist about his throat (he is absolutely fine, thank goodness) and when she sent the letter to us to confirm he is well, it said on there that she is a thyroid specialist, so I think I’ll look into her job more and hope she can point me in the right direction to improving my side effects. It would be amazing to be given some instructions that could change my life. 

Whilst on the subject of Sidney, it’s been a big month for him. He has finished preschool forever now, it was so emotional. I had a tear when I hugged all of his teachers and said thank you and goodbye, it’s been such a beautiful chapter of his little life.

Before the big leave, he also had sports day. It was the cutest thing ever, they are too little to be competitive (but us parents definitely aren’t) so it was just them all running up and down doing adorable things. I love how confident he has become and the independence he shows. 

He is still craft obsessed and been making ‘collections’ of ‘things’; the latest demand is to print pictures off of the computer. This morning, for example, I had to print multiple postage stamp images off with planes on. He’s very precise in his demands. It’s going to be a long 6 weeks to entertain such a little ball of energy. We went swimming today and they have some intensive swimming classes over the holidays that I’m thinking I’ll sign him up to. That should wear him out a bit. I’m also super excited about the new Lion King film so I definitely need to get that in the diary. He’s had quite a few adventures…. Look at the cute photos below. 

The shop has been as busy as usual,  it’s surprising that even with the heat people still keep me so busy. I had a HUGE Katia delivery that was very exciting but I wasn’t at all prepared for it, I hadn’t made room on the shelves (front of shop or stock room), nor had I priced them and it’s all the new Autumn/Winter range so I needed to do my maths and displays. Gill wasn’t free to help me in the shop but Luckily a friend of mine, Marie, came to my rescue one day to help me get it sorted. It has already proved very popular, which is such a relief.

When I choose new stock I try to think of what my customers would like, occasionally I go crazy and order stock I love but that I know most likely won’t be very popular to others, so when that stock sells I feel really chuffed. I have decided it will become my life ambition to encourage the world to knit with glittery pink yarn!!! I honestly have some AMAZING new yarns that you just have to come and see for yourself at the shop…. The squish and sniff ability is off the scale! Delicious!!!!!!!

This month I also topped up my hand dyed 4ply yarns from wool is the answer. The Dyer’s, Marie and Dominique, invited me over for tea whilst I chose my new wool, which lets be honest has got to be THE best perk of my job! They had been super busy dying new colours for their many upcoming wool festivals so I had lots of fun choosing new colours to stock. I was VERY happy to find they had fulfilled my desire to dye NEON colours too, yay! Whilst there, the girls asked me to join them in their latest podcast too, so it was a really fun evening.

The new yarns are already a huge hit at Number Four too, and the neons have all sold…. Which means they have to dye more… wahoo!

July has been a great success for the teaching side of my life.  I ran an all day beginners crochet class, and I was so impressed with all of the ladies who came,  they picked it up so well.

Ive also taught Crochet mandalas…

… Crochet corner to corner…

… and had a couple of one to one private lessons to help with peoples personal projects (including c2c graphs and crocheting a ripple blanket).

I have to say, I really take huge pride in my teaching. I am very passionate and always love to see people exceed their own expectations. I am not good at very much, so thank goodness I have my crochet skills. It’s a real pleasure being part of people’s new love and skill (or addiction- thats what mine is). One lady said to me, “I’ve never been able to understand crochet before, I’ve tried and tried, been taught, read books, watched YouTube, but I’ve almost given up “ my response was “yes but you’ve never been taught by me” and guess what, now she can crochet! Hahaha. It may sound arrogant, but I just want people to trust in me, that I WILL teach them to crochet. If I don’t believe in my skills then they won’t believe in theirs, and I’m yet to fail yet! 

This month we had a lovely number four night out, it was for all of my regular chat and crafters. It was really nice getting together in the sunshine, outside of my working hours for a few drinks and some food. I was a little squiffy (I don’t get out much) and as soon as I’ve had a drink I lose what little memory I have, but I do re-call a few compliments…….

(I don’t have many people to pat me on the back so when someone gives me a compliment, it’s lovely to hear. Don’t get me wrong, I find it hard to take compliments  and I get a bit shy, but nether the less I do love a bit of love. )

… It was really lovely to hear people telling me how proud I should be, that its down to me and my little shop that had brought us all together, I did look, at that moment down the table of my lovely friends, who were once just customers, and even strangers and felt very proud, I even patted myself on the back that night! 

I am going to start ‘interviewing’ my customers and sharing the videos on here.  Vlogs as well as Blogs. It was on the list of things I wanted to do when I first met my website creator, we had to narrow the list down to start with so I wasn’t overwhelmed, adding my other ideas in as I get more confident and see what will be popular. I want everyone to be inspired by others happiness and pride in what they are making. I also want to share the laughs we have, our top tips, our favourite yarns etc. So watch this space, and if you’d love to be involved please let me know.  On that subject, please do comment on the blogs (just scroll down!), if you like them, and spread the word. I know some people love reading blogs so it’ll be lovely knowing my hours at a computer have been appreciated!! There’s me needing that love again 🙂 

So there you have it my loves. Another month nearly out. I am VERY happy to say I do actually have some finished projects to show you this month. Not only did I finish a couple, I’ve also cast on LOTS more too. And I’ve found a new obsession in knitting jumpers. So hopefully next month I’ll have one of those to show you! I’m also busy with blankets and wall art and shawls….. you get the idea, so much yarn so little time! 

Wooly skills learnt:

  • Knitting sleeves
  • Fair isle knitting flat (rather than in the round) 
  • Tapestry crochet

Projects completed this month:

  • My long knitted cardigan. My first EVER knitted garment!
  • Crochet toadstools
  • Crochet valentine bunny
  • My Knitted houses

I do hope this blog has found you in good health and underneath a freezing cold flannel. I am taking the next week off work – I’m desperate to spend a few days with my little monkey and to recharge my batteries, so we’re off to visit friends and family down in Somerset. The lovely Gill will be holding the fort at the shop for me. I look forward to seeing what August has in stock for us all! 

Thanks as always for taking the time out of your day to read this.

Big love, Sarah xxx

Bloggedy, blog, blog, blog. Where on earth did that month go?

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. 

Family…

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!

The lovely Gill (left) teaching these wonderful ladies how to knit a fair isle project bag
Above is a picture of the lovely ladies I taught to make my favourite little friend, Mr Bee!

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.

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Yarnbomb #3

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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:

  • M1 purl wise (make one purl wise) in knitting.
  • Mattress stitch for sewing up. (the cardigan I spoke of last month is slowly getting there) .

Projects completed this month:

  • Scheepjes whirl crochet granny shawl 
  • Garden bunting
  • Number Four mystery bag challenge
  • Crochet coasters

Thank you so much for reading! I’ll look forward to sharing my July with you next month.

Sarah xx

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!

So this is it; I’m blogging!

Well this is it… the first ever sentence, in my first ever blog, for my first ever website, to promote my first ever business!

I’m hoping in time these will become more natural to me. When I was younger I was regularly found face down in a Roald Dahl book, but as the years go on, I’ve found it harder and harder to read. Nowadays my brain is so scatty it’s all I can do to read my order list to my wool reps! 

I’m hoping that this new blog will reach lots of you of who I’ve yet to have the pleasure of meeting, so I would like to take the time to introduce myself properly.

Hello, I’m Sarah! I am married to Dave and we have one son (currently aged four) called Sidney. We also have a very old, stinky, hairy little puggy called Ollie. I have written an entire essay over on About Us, so I shan’t tell you anything obvious right now, maybe just throw in some random facts, and in time you’ll learn more and more!

So off the top of my head… I have a very strange phobia of hills and moths make my skin crawl. I used to think white chocolate was the best chocolate in all the land, and don’t get me wrong a white chocolate Tobelerone is genuine heaven, but in my ageing years I’m increasingly partial to milk chocolate, especially any flavoured with mint or peanut butter. I’m a hugger. Pink is my favourite colour. When I was little I won a Little Miss Pines competition whilst holidaying on the Isle of Wight, I can’t remember why though! My geography skills are awful, despite my love of travel. I never stop talking. I love lists (can you tell). I feel really happy when I find time to clean and/or organise my home (preferably both!). I am partial to a Prosecco or two. When my husband is in my bad books he sends me photos of cute animals, and he instantly gets out of trouble…

People who are kind and make me laugh are my favourite kind of people. My dad fed me a whole chilli pepper as a child after telling me it was an Indian green bean, my mouth still burns at the thought of it! I love being cosy inside when it’s raining outside. Flip flops are the best footwear ever invented. I love my son’s crazy imagination. I used to be a big music geek, and although wool has taken over now, the Rolling Stones and Kings of Leon are probs my faves! And one final one… I’d REALLY like to drive a monster truck…. If I could get my chocolate-filled, roly poly bum into one!

So there you have it, some totally random nonsense for you to digest.

At this point in a blog, my minds usually drifting off to what job I’m doing next, so thank you a million if you are still sticking with me. 

Let’s take a look back at May 2019…

We took two weeks off this month which is very rare. I worked solidly up to it so was truly exhausted and grateful for the time off and with my boys. Getting the shop ready to leave is like taking your child to their grandparents; you need to be sure everything is done. It’s hard leaving my shop as it’s such a huge part of me. I have made so many friends, I miss everyone and the wool so much, plus without wanting to sound big-headed, lots of my regulars come to chat to me so when I have time off I know my profits will suffer, but I’m back, charged and full of creative beans, so it’s all worth it. 

We had one of the weeks away in Spain, and it was so tough deciding what project to take with me, I left it to the last minute. In the end I chose a Scheepjes whirl in colour way ‘sea breeze tease’, and a new crochet shawl pattern I found online called ‘my voyage shawl’ written by a designer I follow on Instagram called Barberton Daisy.

I love supporting independent businesses and I think it is important support bricks and mortar yarn shops, Having said that I do love buying patterns from the clever folk that fill my Instagram feed as they too are trying to make their mark in this creative little world we love so much. 

So that’s what I chose for holiday and, for the first time in a very long time, I not only started, but finished a project during my time off! That’s what happens when you only take one project and aren’t surrounded by all the yarn… 

It was really lovely having some time out of real life; drinking beer in the sunshine next to the pool is always a highlight for me, but spending quality time with my family, and some friends who we went with, made it even better. We only had a seven day holiday, so with travel it seems to fly by in a second. We went on a cable car in Benalmadena which was stunning (once at the top that is, the steep incline was a little heart racer) and we visited a wool shop (obviously!) in Fuengirola. The owner was so lovely and very talented, she could knit and and crochet to a very skilled level, and her stock was a Norwegian brand that I’d never had the pleasure of sniffing before!

The rest of the time we just, ate, drank and lazed by the pool, it was lovely.   

And that was our holiday in Spain over, in the blink of an eye. We had a rubbish homeward journey; a delayed flight and a travel sick child is no fun. But like so many of us, as much as I love going away, I love coming back home, too. It was lovely to get into our own bed and see our little Puggy, who was a little chubby after his stay at the in-laws.

A week at home with no work to look forward to was a real novelty as, starting Number Four, I’ve only had time off if we had something to do. It was great being home mid-week with no real plans and, despite all getting ill (typical, right?!) it was amazing getting some time in my own craft room.

As mentioned above I love cleaning and organising my home, and that is my favourite room. Because my job and my hobby collide with one another, it easily becomes a dumping ground for my work, so it was really inspiring getting in there and reminding myself of all my crafty, wooly little treasures.

For many, that ‘back to work’ feeling is the worst, but it’s the total opposite for me. I was so excited to see everyone and get my hands on all my new WYS colour lab and Bo Peep yarn that had only arrived the day before I left for holiday!

West Yorkshire Spinners Bo Peep Yarn
Here’s that lovely Bo Peep yarn!

It’s been a full-on week. Most days I’ve been in the shop till 9pm getting it all tidy and fresh for its big photo shoot that happened, this weekend. It was lovely seeing the shop more tidy and organised than it has been since opening day. I’m really excited to launch this website and, as a total technophobe, it feels like such a huge hurdle for me; the start of a fresh chapter for both me and my little shop.

It was a great excuse to do all the jobs I’d needed to do for so long that never get done, so Dave made and put up new shelves, I did some painting, and I just had to make new bunting for the window, didn’t I!? I used the WYS bo peep yarn mentioned above, and what an absolute joy it is to work with; DELICIOUS in fact.

So the shop is looking really great, even if I do say so myself. 

I will have such fun messing about with my new window shelving, setting displays and making lots of pretty stuff. 

Other shop news this week, had me in tears. My very first ever rep Peter came and said his goodbyes to me. He’s nearly 80 so I can understand why he’s decided to retire, but I was very teary nevertheless. He is the loveliest man, but has invited me and my boys to lunch one Sunday so luckily it’s only goodbye on a work front, not in real life. He has been with me since before I even got the keys to the shop, and he’s always so complimentary about not only my shop but also me; considering he has over 40 years in the wool industry, I take it as a huge compliment.

Peter’s first and last days with me!

Peter, it has been an absolute pleasure, and you will be sorely missed. Your visits always made my day. 

Wooly skills I learnt this month…

  • How to crochet with beads
  • How to knit two socks at a time using the magic loop technique on circular needles
  • Perfecting the Kitchner stitch
  • How to make my own stitch markers

Projects completed this month…

A pair of knitted socks
My new window bunting, eek!
My voyage shawl
T-shirt yarn crocheted rug

So there you have it. My month of May.  Phewf!

And Still to come…

  • Tonight (26 May) we are going to Kayleigh and Ollie’s evening do after they were married this afternoon. I met Kayleigh through her Saturday chat and craft groups at Number Four, I can’t wait to see her in her dress. It’s so special to me that my customers become my friends.
  • First look at this website… eek!
  • I really must tidy my stock room as thats where all the ugly stuff gets dumped when I am tidying the shop… Whoops!
  • As always the fabulous hustle and bustle of the shop and my lovely customers. 
  • I plan on knitting some more of my Rico light and long cardigan, however my wooly plans rarely stay on schedule for more than an afternoon, so who knows. 

I Look forward to sharing my second blog with you at the end June. 

Thanks a million for reading. 

Sarah xx