Tuesday, 30 October 2007

You know you are nearly 30 when

STILL AT WORK. grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr so to distract me, I am being silly about some observations I have been making in the last couple of weeks.

You know you are nearly 30 when:

1. You honk your van horn and wag your finger at big scary men for dropping litter/fag butts out of their vans.

2. You look in the mirror and scream because you are looking at your mother.

3. Every small child you see makes you go completely stupid and broody.

3. Continuing in the theme of babies, you imagine your designs made in matching mini size.

4. You refuse a glass of wine because it means you won't be able to do your work so well the next day.

5. You are coveting that £160 luxury tagine you saw in the christmas present suggestion section in the sainsbury's magazine.

6. You set aside a savings pot for the tagine.

7. You turn the heating off and make your lodgers wear jumpers so you can save money to afford the fricken tagine.


9. The toffee from your toffee apple melting down your dashboard makes you take a big bucket of hot water and you end up washing the wholevan.

10. You sound like your mother.

11. You loose your inhibitions and tell people exactly what you think and don't guilty.

12. You wear things which are much more riske than when you were 20, because that day when you look perfect to wear that dress will never come in your head, and you'll be nearly dead and realise you should have just worn it anyway.

13. You start to realise that time goes so fast, thats its pointless wasting your time on things that are not good for you, and that wasting one drop of time doing something which you don't want to do seems like sacrilidge.

14. Did I say I look like my mum? lol.

15. Policeman really really do look like children.

16. A 28 year old bloke is too young to go out with!!!!!

17. You feel like a mother to the postgraduate students.

I think thats enough don't you?


Monday, 29 October 2007

Wednesday, 24 October 2007


As some of you know I am a psychology researcher as well as fyberspates queen, well not too be researcher much longer, just 4 days left, but anyway the last part of the project I am working on involves an online study. I will not be analysing the data, but I promised my bosses that the lovely knitters that read my blog would help me get us the numbers we need to do the research, as its difficult to get participants from the UK; (you can still do it if you from elsewhere though). Its not knitting related but in aid of a very worthy cause ( I can't tell you what, you have to wait until the debreif), it will only take you about 10  - 15 minutes.

So I want a nice mixed sample. Its all anonymous as well, so if you have a little bit of spare time, please can you help?

Click here for the Experiment



Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Sock Machine.

So cherubs what do I have for you today huh?

Well, firstly something very gorgeous and wonderful arrived today..........this:


Its going to take a little while to get a pair of proper socks out of it, its going to take alot of practice, however I do understant how to start, make a heel and do toe, not bad for a 2 hour lesson huh? Its gorgeous, and I am chuffed to bits to have it. The main reason I wante it apart from a selfish desire for socks, is I want to knit samples of my colour range, people often want to know what the colours knit up like, so now I can!!!! Yipeeeeeeee.

I also have some brooches to put up on the shop, they all vary in size and weight so remember to click on the photo's for details of them, I am so in love with this little sheep!


Ok, I am trialing a new yarn, its 80% merino and 20% bamoo, bamboo is good for socks because it is antifungal, he he, I might see if I can whip some up on the old sock machine before the week is out, I think its higly in likely though heres some in the shop:


and finally, I dyed some little fibre treats for the shop, sigh, I so don't want to sell these, they are gorgeous!


Monday, 22 October 2007

colour inspiration

So, I am edging towards being able to run my business properly with organisation, lol, something I am desperate for, and it involves applying proper research and development to everything I do. I am a researcher after all!

So yesterday I decided to go and spend the day working on some colours, not in the workshop, but in the countryside, I have about 200 photo's of trees and leaves and mushrooms, from one of my favourite places in the UK. Its called Westonbirt Arboretum its such a beautiful place all year around, but in the Autumn its just mind blowing, the colours are stunning, and they will be new yarns colourways in the next couple of weeks, here are some:






The weekend, was fab, we had a polish theme for eating, Marcin cooked us some yummy dishes. After the day dyeing wool on sat, I came in completely freezing to some wonderful polish sausage soup, which was kind of sour, with sausage, eggs, mushrooms and potatoes, I can't remember the name off hand, but it completely contrasted to my idea of a soup, the flavor was amazing! We are lucky living in Cardiff, because there are a few polish food shops, which means we had the proper ingredients. Then Sunday morning we had polish style eggs for breakfast, with sausage (there is a definite theme here), onions and tomatoes, it really was yummy yummy yummy!!! I am very excited, because I am hoping we will go to Krakow for new years, and we can try all sorts of amazing things, lol.

Friday, 19 October 2007


Ahem! A cherub has bought it to my attention that the shipping in my shop is a little steep, I appologise, I just checked it and its a little out of kilter, mainly because I've been adding extra shipping zones and its messed all the table rates up, apologies, it will be fixed in the next couple of hours, I had wondered why all my orders were only from Australia and south Africa, lol.  Anyway you can shop in the knowledge that it will be at the normal postage rates for royal mail by lunchtime.

*gets php manual out, and a huge cup of coffee to keep me awake*

(PS, I love feedback, so if you ever experience a prob with the shop, please let me know, I'm not a scary person honest, mwahahahahhahahaha)

(PPS All sock clubs have gone today, 3 month and 6 month subscriptions, I deliberately avoided the postal backlog because I lost so much money on lost packages in the last one)

*added later* ok, all the shipping seems to have been corrected, prices are back to normal and in accordance with royal mail, and now I have correct shipping to the uk, europe and every blinking country you can think of, even greenland!

Thursday, 18 October 2007

1 week left to go - gulp.

OK, so its 1 week left to go before it's 'el quitos la workos', yeah well, I noticed that if you add 'os' to the end of the words and put them the wrong way round, sometimes sole can understand me, lol, well, she laughs at least, he he.

I had a meeting with my bosses yesterday, and we worked out where I wanted to go for a dinner to say goodbye, I felt mildly anxious, I am going to miss it alot, well, the social side of it anyway, its the only place I have ever had a proper job, I went straight from my degree into working as a research assistant in 2001, I now feel like I completely know what I am doing, ironic really, I always feel its time to change when my boundaries are not stretched any more, but I'm going from at least knowing my wages just cover my mortgage (little tip here, don't buy a house with your husband and then get divorced when you move in, and take the house on on your own, its a little scary) I actually have no idea how I have done it, I mean how do you survive when after mortgage and bills, your wages leave you with £7 a week for food?, and trust me I have a good lifestyle as you probably know from the crap that I write, lol. So its even more scary when those wages won't be there any more, but I'm not scared, just excited, very calm and know that if I've managed to build the business up till now whilst having a full time job, when I can focus on it properly I will build an empire (mwa hahahahahahahha,  little finger on mouth like doctor evil).

So, the one of the most popular things on my stand at ally pally was my shrug I made in Italy,


its cute, really easy, and perfect for adding your own little embellishments, and use all sorts from your stash. I intend to make some more and pop beads on them and things, but for now you can buy the kits in two colours: black and white, there will be some more coloured ones in a little while, I need to do some dyeing, I virtually sold out at ally pally, and I have a tonne of wholesale orders, in addition I have the stitch and bitch show in Rotterdam, gulp, and then the stitch and bitch show in London in the next 4 weeks, lol.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Alexandra Palace knitting and stitching show 2007.

What can I say? It was amazing! I had so much wonderful fun, chatting to such lovely people, I never ever get tired of chatting away to customers, seeing their wonderful projects, and just enjoying their pleasure at being in such an inspiring place. The knitting and stitching show is just magical, you drive up to the show amongst the beautiful autumn trees, and potential of all the beautiful yarns and projects, its just perfect. Thankfully I was feeling autumny in my last dyeing session so there was a tonne of autumny colours.

I met so many people, I would love  to list them all, but I'll be here for ages. The other thing I love is the friendships between stall holders, ever though many of us are sort of competitors, it never feels that way, we chat, help each other and do lots of lovely swapsies!! he he. Oh by the way, just wanted to say thanks to my little helper, you were a star, especially looking after me so well!!!!

OK, so you wanted to see my hair so I'll show you with a pic of my stand, which I have to say was unbelievably tiny, people were fighting to get in, so I'll have a bigger one next time, lol.


I changed my stand around about 4 thousand times, I think this was the first way around, lol. Lots of people didn't recognise me which was hilarious, I do look a little different, I need to change my photo on my blog now!

I did accidently make a couple of purchases, especially when I saw that cherry tree hill had 20% off on the last day, I bought a skein of sock yarn in colours I wouldn't normally go for, I need to challenge my knitting with different colours:


Then I went to check out Socktopus and accidently purchased a scrummy skein of fleece artist, totally in my fav colours, I had to start it immediately:


OK, so what else do I have for you today?

Well, shop will be updated again later with all the treats, plus we have a tonne of new brooches, some of which I don't think will get in the shop, seeing as Carmen is trying them all on with her outfits!

Oh I have to post this photo, when we were getting all the stock ready we had rather alot of wool everywhere, Guapita decided that she had to find somewhere safe to sit seeing as there was no carpet, and she might get packed in a box!


Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Purple hair

Last year at Ally pally, I was chatting to Lucy Neatby and she grinned at my blonde white hair, and said, 'thats just a blank canvas waiting to happen' to which I laughed and felt mildly anxious.

I went to get my hair but last week, I had all of it cut off, it was driving me nuts, and getting way too scruffy, as I had let alot of dark roots coming though, I ended up with badger hair after it was cut, and I decided I needed to switch colours and go for a totally new look, so Tristan, my cutsie hairdresser told me to put a red colour on the blonde, and then go over it in a dark brown colour, otherwise the brown will go badly on my bleached bits, and it would look crap. So carmen decided to dye my hair, we got the red on the bleached bits, and after about 5 minutes, she started looking nervous, "what's up" I said.

"Um nothing"......and then she shouted, "jeni, its purple" and she wasn't joking, it came out the same plum as I use in alot of my sock yarns, and having over dyed my yarns to achieve different effects I wasn't panicking yet, so anyway we popped the brown on top, and it looks great, but there is definately a hint of purple in there big time. Its a major contrast though, and when I went shopping for some new clothes at first I hated it, because it looked crap with everything, then I relaxed and pretended I was choosing colours for yarn, and it was then that I fell in love with my hair, lots of reds and greens, really complimented my eyes and skin tones, you'll see it at allypally anyway.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Blah blah blah.

Thanks for all the comments left, I really appreciate it, I keep hearing so many stories of people being screwed by the banks at the moment, I am going to fight it all the way. I'm am not going to let it worry me though, its all part and parcel of having a business, its a huge learning curve, and my goodness am I becoming tough, I had no idea at the beginning of this journey just how much I would grow. I can honestly say though that I would not recommend starting a business just anyone, it is seriously stressful, but I think I have the temperament for it, lol!

Right, I have about a thousand things to talk about, ally pally, new yarns, cashmere, sock machines so I will do it in little paragraphs, cause I am loosing the plot, and it won't make sense.


I'll be there, damn I need to find my stand number, please come and see me, and say hello!! I am offering 10% off to blog readers, just tell me the password 'sock machine' and you can have 10% off your purchases!! Yippee!!!!!

New yarns

OK so, I have a new range of solid arans, they are gorgeous deep colours and are perfect for felting projects, they also compliment the space dyed arans, so you can mix and match solids and multi coloreds. Pics later.

I am also getting some solids in the scrumptious, which will be the same as the solid arans, they haven't arrived yet, apart from the black one, its gorgeous!!! I will have them all at ally-pally, then they will be on the website after that.


The British spun cashmere has arrived, its lovely stuff,  there is a sock weight and a lace weight, I intend to dye most most of it for ally-pally, it will retail at £20 per 100gms, so you need to let me know if you want any in specific colours asap, or just put some aside, which ever is fine, it takes a little while to get more.

Sock machine

I pick my sock machine up on Monday, and have lessons, which means, yes, it will be at ally-pally, and hopefully I will be able to show you, fingers crossed, I am so excited, I am desperate to see how some of my colours knit up, and I would like some fricken socks, for meeeeeeeeeee!

I am so busy at the moment, I feel a little screwy, I felt like I was going to have a major cold yesterday, so I went for a little reflexology, seeing as it would be very very bad if I was ill at the moment, and it worked a treat, I feel mcuh better. Psychology work is probably the busiest it has ever been due to the project ending, so we are working like mad to finish everything, I might need your help soon for one of my experiments, it will be on the Internet, and I need participants desperately for the last one, I'll post details when its up, it'll only take 10 minutes.

In addition wholesale orders are also coming in thick and fast, I have to say though that my wonderful lodgers are pitching in to help me, helping with dyeing, fixing my winders, and making up wholesale packs, labelling yarn, cooking me the most wonderful food I have ever eaten, and putting up with the chaos, they are all wonderful, I am very blessed to have them around.

I'm so busy that my Kirk Geiger boots and my skinny jeans are still in the bag, I haven't even had chance to wear them yet!! Thats unheard of for me, I haven't had my hair cut yet, but Friday is the day, and I'm afraid its all coming off, in a serious way, I hate looking messy, and I am going for a major chop, I need to wake up in the morning and look the same as I went to bed, especially seeing as I have a house of boys, I hate getting up and putting a woolly hat on to control my hair so I don't look like a numpty with sticking up hair, come to think of I probably do anyway with a woolly have on, lol. So the hair cut is booked in for Friday lunchtime, man I can't wait to get rid of it.

OK, off to carry on, I am so excited about next week,

see you guys soon!!!!


Monday, 1 October 2007

Banks are *&%**&^$*&*&$

OK, today I have to write a serious post about banks, mainly because I need to let a few of my customers know about a problem I have had.

This only applies to customers who payed by card at wonderwool and woolfest.

OK, so most of you know that I always accept cards at shows, often I use the proper electronic terminal which is fine, it all goes through electronically, and its all done and dusted.

Sometimes, when there is no electric, I use the manual machine for backup, this again, should not cause any problems, I take the banking slips to the bank not my bank, but the one I have to use, and then they pay me the money for the slips, and then take the money from my customers account.

Most of the shows I have done in the past nine months, I used the back up because generally there is no electric, like wonderwool and woolfest. In march when I was in Paris, I phoned the merchant company, quoted my account number etc, and asked if it was OK to take cards from other countries, yep, they said, no probs at all!! Great!!

I kept on using it for wonderwool and woolfest, the bank paid me for the slips, all OK I thought.

About 6 weeks ago, I get a phone call from the bank, telling me that they cannot process the cheques. I went to see them, they kindly told me that my merchant account had been closed last December. I laughed, and said don't be silly, I have been using my manual card machine for 9 months, and they never notified me that my account was closed, I even phone them in march, and they never said a thing!!!!!

They shrugged and told me I have to pay them back all the money and if I open a new account they can claim the money back from the customers, and then they will refund it again. At which point I nearly started crying, basically because some of them are from Feb and march, which is 1. give my business a bad reputation, and secondly the slips are over 6 months old so they are not valid. "Oh, well, you'll just have to pay us the money back then" I nearly had a panic attack, cause it amounts to thousands of pounds, it could seriously affect me being able to carry on with the business, especially wth giving up work in the next 4 weeks, and no more wages, but I am a hard arssed momma when it comes to stuff like this so, there is no way I am going to let a bank affect it, they can go to hell.

Anyway we agreed in the end that I would open a new merchant account, and then the slips that were valid could be processed, I wasn't so worried because they were from woolfest and wonderwool, which at the time wasn't so long ago, and then I would have to pay them back for all the other shows, which I decided I am not going to pay until I have had legal advice, however, the shocking thing is, they know how improtant it is to process the slips quickly, and guess what? I'm still waiting for them to process the slips for wonderwool and woolfest, still now, after all this time! Which means that more of them will be invalid, and the people that paid at the shows are going to be confused about money coming out of their accounts so late. I am pulling my hair out, and now I am going make a massive complaint to the bank, because they failed to notify me that my merchant account was closed, failed to contact me for nine months, and not telling me when I phoned up that my account was closed.

I can't contact the customers directly that paid by card at wonderwool and woolfest because I don't have their information, I just hope that the handful of customers it affects read this, its not allot, and the average transaction is low but still, I am so upset about this and very sorry. Please contact me if you are worried at all about this on FyberspatesATbtinternetDOTcom

It will not affect any future card processing transactions at shows like ally pally, because I will only use the electronic terminal from now on, and check before every show that my account is open.

Yours, a very stressed and p******d off Jen.