Saturday, 9 January 2016

2015: My Year In Review

2015 was an awesome year. It was the year I opened my own shop selling my spindles and fibres, I visited lots of wool shows and moved studio. I have so many things to celebrate from last year so I thought I would make my first "year in review" blogpost.

First - a few fun facts!
* I attended 10 wool and craft shows across the country
* I estimate that I taught and demonstrated spinning to at least 400 people at these shows!
* I opened my very own website
* I spun 63 balls of yarn

Super fine spinning on my Lendrum wheel
The year started off with one of my favourite spins - sat in the lounge with my family, spinning as super fine as I could. I carded a batt with merino, angelina and soya silk in pale shades of seaglass green and blues. I spun it on my lovely Lilly the Lendrum, with my superfast flyer. Sometimes I was spinning so fine I couldn't even see it! :-D 
Me and Bruce at Unravel

My first show of the year was Unravel at Farnham Maltings in Surrey. I had such a lovely time there, and met so many kindred spirits and teaching newbie how to spin.
Here's my blog post from the event with pics of me with the festival resident cat Bruce!

After the show on Saturday, I had a great time going out for dinner with Sarah from Crafts from the Cwtch, Joanne from Not So GrannyCorrie from Plutonium Muffins and Wink from A creative Being. We talking about our crazy wooly plans. Sadly, Wink passed away later in the year. I loved energy of meeting so many like mined people, and Wink will be greatly missed.

As spring approached, I had happy news from my Sister-in-law, she was getting married! She asked could I knit her 20 ties for the Groom and all his merry men? Of course I accepted the challenge. I made them on my industrial fine gauge knitting machine in candy shades of blue, green, lemon, coral, lilac and pink.
It was really nice to get back on my machinery - While I was studying for my knitwear degrees my knitting machine was like a second limb. Check out my blog post to see what a beaut' she is!

 Later in the spring, I travelled to Wonderwool in Wales and the Iknit Fandango with my vintage dresser and colourful fibres and spindles, and met many familiar and new faces. I particularly loved seeing the projects people had made with fibre they bought the year before! :-D
Happy at the 'Fandango in my 50s dress.

In the summer, I moves studios! Here is a pic of my new space when I first arranged it - it's a little fuller now!
My Fiber Studio

Spinning yarn in my garden, with the fens as a backdrop

As the summer moved on I went to my beloved Fibre East wool festival and taught weaving workshops at the stunning Folk East music festival at Glemham hall in Suffolk. I loved mixing folk crafts with folk music! It felt so right - Also I got to weave and spin with some amazing acts playing just behind my stall like The Unthanks and Sam Kelly. Win!

My stall all set up for Yarndale

In the autumn I went to Yarndale in Skipton, which is always a treat. I find that at each show, people tend to like slightly different things. At Woolfest, I found for example that everyone loved my natural, botanical flower spindles. At Yarndale, everyone liked rainbow colours and sparkles! It's always exciting to see what creations people wear to the show too- often crocheted, often imaginative and ambitious! I had a lovely time in a pretty rented cottage with my darling Mum and we even had time to watch the lunar eclipse.

My Knitting and Stitching Show stall
I thought that was the last show for me for the year, and then I found out I had been accepted for The Knitting and Stitching show in London for a last minute stall with a last minute show stall deal! For those of you who don't know, The Knitting and Stitching show is one of the largest fiber shows in Europe. It's massive. As a visitor, it is an Aladdin's cave of temptation and inspiration. As a seller- it's pretty scary. Not only do the stalls cost quite a few pennies, there are hundreds and thousands of people coming through the doors! I had only a handful of days to prepare for what was surely to be my biggest ever show. I burnt the midnight oil and put together a pretty stall full of pretty things - spindles, batts, roving and kits. Here is my blog post about the show and all the fun things I saw there.
I opened my own shop!

Finally, in the last part of the year, I decided to open my own shop, I had sold on Etsy for over six years- and over the last year or two alongside my store I had grown my business into a full time job. Moving to my own site gives me more freedom to design a layout that fits my needs, looks better and it enables me to make a little more profit. It's a bit scary making the jump- as I can only make sales now from my own promotion, rather than relying on a multi nation corporation. But, I love a challenge and I really enjoy all the "behind the scenes" work that comes with running my own site. I love analysing all my statistics for example - seeing where people have found me and what countries you all come from. It's really exciting to me when I see people looking at my site from Canada, Sweden or the US- and sometimes even further afield from places like Japan! Thank you for helping me live a life full of colour and for inspiring me to keep creating. 

2016 for me will be about making a real go of Spin City -  I've already booked into to do 11 shows! If you want to know where I will be this year, have a look at my events page on my website. I have dreams of creating a fibre and spindle club with new themes and fibres each month and of holding regular workshops and lessons in spinning, dyeing and weaving. I am also working away on making yarn bowls and new kits to add to my range. It is a very exciting time! 

Personally, I hope to have a creative, peaceful year ahead, full of family, friends, long nature walks and lots of spinning. 

I hope you all had a wonderful and happy new year! 

Louise x

1 comment:

  1. Louise, you seem to have had an incredible year. I love yarn myself and I'm glad to see someone really digging in and making it their entire life. You seem to be having a great time. I'm looking for ways to make my passion for knitting and art into more of a full-time business one day. Your blog might be able to help!

    Brigida Yeager @ Gold Finch Digital Marketing