April Newsletter

April...

Hello and welcome to the first edition of my Monthly Round-up Newsletter, thank you so much for subscribing.  I decided to start this Newsletter (even though it feels a little vain) to share what I've ben up to during the month, what I've been making and creating and enjoying.  A little like the YouTube podcast I had.  I decided a while ago to take a step back from YouTube, I can't really explain why but it just didn't feel like it was a comfortable thing for me to keep doing to so rather than struggle with it I decided to just quietly take a step back.  (I'm keeping the Channel open over there as when I film Bag Tours for my products, I need to upload them somewhere on the internet for my shop website to be able to feature them) But I miss the sharing element of the podcast and after having a few messages saying that some people missed watching I thought I'd try and create a written blog version instead. I really hope you enjoy taking a moment and having a little read. Thank you.




Knitting

The first project I would love to share with you is my Zorzal Shawl by Lisa Hannes, a paid for pattern over on Ravelry that you can find here.  Back in November last year I visited the Nottingham Yarn Expo and picked up some yarn from the Black Elephant stall, I spent ages picking two skeins that would work together for a shawl.  I had no idea of which pattern I would choose but I was wearing my Pure Joy shawl at the time which is also a two skein shawl and knew I wanted to recreated something similar as I find that garment so wearable.

I met another customer on the stall, we had a lovely chat and they helped me choose two colours that worked together. The yarn is a 4ply weight and 75% Superwash Merino and 25% Nylon, lovely and soft but strong enough to stand up to lots of wear and washing.  The solid yarn colourway is Golden Coast and the speckled is Nostalgia and they just work together so well.

I'm almost finished! I'm on the last few boarder stripe rows and I'm looking forward to having it off the needles.  I cast it on back in December when I travelled up to Leeds to meet some lovely yarn friends for the day (more on that another time) but since my Knitting Motivation (it's a thing!) has been MIA for a while it's hung around on the needles.  I know we're super late to the party but we've just started watching Games of Thrones so the majority of the shawl has been knit in the last few weeks as we've been trying to get through the seasons and catch up before too many spoilers of the ending come out. And as the shawl is simple garter stitch, it's the perfect project for sitting in front of the TV with.

Out and About

During April it was the Spring into Wool yarn show which is held in Leeds.  I've been to this show once before, on the first year of opening actually but I couldn't make it last year.  As this was the third time they'd put the show on, they decided that the Saturday was ticket only to avoid over crowding so plans were made and tickets bought and I travelled up there (it's just over an hours drive for me).  The show is held at a Grammar School just on the outskirts of the city centre and has good facilities for parking and toilets etc.  I think next year I would definitely take my own food though.

I met with my friend Vanessa (who's Kill to Craft on Instagram and she also has a podcast over on YouTube) and we went around the stands together.  The third stall in and Nessa had pretty much spent up and bought everything she went for including a sweater quantity of yarn.  I was a little slower of the mark and didn't really buy much this year.

I'm struggling a little with the size of my stash and I think I'll save the chat about that for another month but I was torn between not buying anything as I didn't 'need' anything but obviously I want to go and purchase something to support the stall holders.

I purchased the sweetest little dinosaur pin badge from Rosies Moments stand and he will go onto one of my Canvas Cube Bags.

I made an impulse purchase of the set of mini skeins as I just fell in love with the colours (everyone I showed them to at the show agreed they are very 'me' - I'm not very wild with colours!) and these are by Manos Del Uruguay in their Fino blend, which is 30% silk so it will have a lovely drape. As these were a bit of an impulse buy I didn't have anything in mind for them (something I'm trying to avoid doing and again I'll talk more next time about buying with intent) I put them on my Instagram and asked for pattern suggestions.  I had some really beautiful pattern ideas given to me so I plan on investigating these a little further and possibly pairing them with a full skein of something else.

My third and final purchase of the day was the two little balls of Hot Socks by Gründl, these are a blend of wool, polyamide and cashmere. So again, so soft and squishy but hard wearing.  If you've watched my podcast you'll have seen that when I went to Spring into Wool for the first time, back in 2017, I purchased enough of this yarn to make a Madewell cardigan in a dark blue colour.  After knitting just past the split for the sleeves I've decided that it's actually not for me! Its been shoved, unloved, in a project bag since then but the yarn is too lovely not use and of course, too wasteful not to actually do anything with it.  So. I purchased 100g of the mustard colourway and I plan on frogging the Madewell and putting the two yarns together on another garment.  Possibly something with the mustard around the yoke.

Nessa and I also met up with two of our other friends Susie and Wendi (the ones I saw just before Christmas) and we spent a lovely couple of hours in the refectory having lunch, knitting and a good chat.

Community

We all know the negative side of Social Media but I wanted to share something good that has come from posting and sharing something on Instagram during April.


My Sister in Law, Liz, works for the British Transport Police as a Crime Scene Investigator and was lucky enough to get a place in this years Virgin Money London Marathon. I won't go into the details but she works on the Railways and has an incredibly difficult job, one she does with grace and respect for the people she attends to.  Liz also is trained in attending the aftermath of large scaled incidents and went to Manchester Arena after the terrorist attack and also worked at the top of Grenfell Tower for weeks after the horrific fire.  Having worked in these horrendous environments she’s seen first hand the effect it has on her emergency service colleagues and how some of them need support and counselling after. Not only does this charity help people who’ve worked large scale incidents but also those who’ve developed PTSD from doing their everyday job, the terrible things they are exposed to daily. They support people in the aftermath of dealing with the horrendous things that most of us turn and run away from, these people are those running towards what’s happened to help and they need support afterwards, just because it’s their job doesn’t mean it doesn’t mentally affect them.

Liz decided that she would run the Marathon to help raise fund for an amazing charity called ‘PTSD 999’.  It is the only organisation in the UK that supports all members of the emergency services, both serving and retired, voluntary, family and friends. It is run by volunteers and receives no government funding so every penny really does help them and the invaluable support they offer to our country's emergency service staff who give so much for us.

I put a post on Instagram offering one of my Canvas Cube Bags in a teal colour for a reduced price of £25.00 and said I would like to sell it to someone and give the £25.00 to Liz as sponsorship.  This wasn't about making any money or profit simply fundraising for both Liz's efforts of running the marathon and the charity.  I'm thrilled to say that from that one post several people got in contact and I sold way more than one!  I was able to donate £225.00 to her Just Giving page from my wonderful customers and it meant the absolute world to both Liz and I.  People reached out and spoke about their respect for their workers, how similar charities had helped them and privately shared things about the help and difference this particular had made to several lives.

We had planned to travel to London for the day to watch her run but unfortunately there was a problem with works on the railway lines and the whole train system was completely messed up and we couldn't make it down! I'm sure there's some kind of weird irony in that.  But she did amazing and completed the marathon in 4 hours and 11 minutes - what an achievement! Money is still coming in but there is around £800 collected for this charity which is just simply brilliant.

I can't thank those who supported us enough.

Shop News

And, finally, I'll end this Newsletter with a little bit about the Shop



I've been playing around with different and patterned fabrics these past few weeks, not just solid canvas colours, and there are some cute bags and notions pouches now in the shop.  For ease, I've added a New In section in the shop drop down menu box over on the website so you can find new products.  I've also been working hard to keep the Knitters Carry All Backpacks in stock and they are available to order in a variety of different colours.  And, due to popular requests. I've not designed a Tote Bag version on this bag!

I have ideas in my head for two new bag designs so hope to reveal them soon.  Plus at start of June it will be four years since I started the shop! Four years! I'm still in the planning stages but think I may offer a one off Club to celebrate, I'll release details of this over on Instagram (there's a link at the bottom of this page if you don't already follow me).

Thank you

And that's it for the first of my Monthly Round-up Newsletters!  I really hope you enjoyed it and took a moment for yourself to relax and read what I've been up to.  As always, thank you all for your support, I'll popping back in your inbox next month.

Have a great month and take care,
Tracy 

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