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Temperature Wrap CAL

For the last few years I have been seeing Temperature blankets popping up in my social media feeds. Although I have been tempted, I also know I’m not the greatest at sticking to long term projects. As the many UnFinished Objects hidden around the shop in the boxes under the shelves attest too. (and you thought they were just for hiding all the extra stock from Peter.)

This year is the year I am committing to a Temperature project. I was inspired by the Scheepjes Instagram post of It’s All In a Nutshell’s Temperature wrap for 2019. 

Having committed publicly and now having a group of us working on it, in the Knit Spin Weave Brains Trust Group. I am pretty confident this year I will keep to the plan.

I ordered in Scheepjes Cotton 8 in the colours suggested by Esther and put starter kits together, available in the webstore here. If the colours aren’t to your taste I am happy to order in other colours of Cotton 8, it would take less than a month to come into stock. The other colours of Cotton 8 can be viewed on the Scheepjes Website. Send me a message on Facebook or leaving a comment here, with the colours you would prefer.

I have started my wrap. I started by making each row a different day and wasn’t happy with the result, as the ends being sewn in on such short rows was bulky and unattractive. I made a second start and did 10 rows in the Day 1 colour (orange for me) to start. I will now be working one row for each day.

If you would like to join along it’s not too late and past temperatures can be found on the BOM Website. I am using the temperatures for Clare on the BOM website. 

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String Bags – Saturday February 2nd from 1pm


I’m trying another approach to the workshops and classes this year. Starting in February, every first Saturday of the month from 1pm, will be a crochet afternoon. For beginners to those with advanced skills. More of a social come & play and learn from each other, rather than a formal class. I’m hoping to develop a once a month crochet gathering, with the sharing of skills around a common project.

After a conversation at Knit Night a decision was made to make the first Crochet gathering to be market bags. 

I make my bags, out of my head. I make a circle for the base, then I work the sides of the bag with chain loops and slip stitches. I finish the top of the bag with a few rounds of double crochet. Sometimes I work the handle into the top rounds and other times I add the handles separate. I will write down my recipe (or is that pattern) for the group. The lovely thing about crochet is it is very fudgeable. Those of us who have a hard time keeping to a pattern can very easily get away with a few extra or less stitches. If you have a way youwould like to share bring along your samples and ideas, I’d love to learn how you make yours.

If my fast and loose methods are not to your taste here are a few FREE patterns I have found that you may want to try:

Mavis String Bag – You Tube Tutorial

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/mavis-string-bag

The Old Fashion String Bag – By Leslie Lewis

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/old-fashioned-string-bag

Zero Waste Kitchen: Crochet Produce Bag

Crochet Shopping bag – From Your Family, this one is very much like the recipe I use

The beginners crochet market bag – Ravelry download

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/beginner-crochet-market-bag

The String Tote Pattern – has a clever pocket created to fold it into for storage.

http://lindacraftycorner.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-string-tote-patterntutorial.html

The Tuck away Tote from Crochet World also features a pocket to fold the bag into

https://www.crochet-world.com/newsletters/talkingcrochet/pages/TCNL3008_patt2.html

The Mum market bag by Traditionally Emily features a rather gorgoreous flower motif for the base. Very tempted to try this one myself.

https://traditionallyemily.blogspot.com/2012/11/homemade-gifts-market-bag.html

The Crochet afternoons will start at 1pm which is an hour before Zest closes, if you would like to grab a coffee. I offer these groups for free on the understanding that you have purchased something from the shop, yarn or a hook. I’m not going to set a minimum, I do know how hard it is for many of us. Support your local yarn shop and I will support you back.

If you have a pattern to share, please post it to the comments below or over in the FACEBOOK Group

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And just like that…

And just like that, it is finished. The goal reached and there is exhilaration, but also a vacuum. I tend to feel a little lost after finishing a big goal. I was like that when I ran. I’d finish my goal race, generally a half-marathon, and for a couple of weeks after wander around a little lost and low.

I love the challenge of working on larger projects. The Ubuntu Blanket was a 12 week Crochet-A-Long by the talented Dedri Uys from the blog Look at What I Made designed in collaboration with Scheepjes. I did the small blanket which was worked in Cotton 8. The videos which go along with the Ubuntu Cal, made by Esther from It’s all in a Nutshell, were excellent. Watching the videos made it easy to follow the pattern, which was well written.

IMG_3890

I have avoided Mystery Knit-a-long and CALs after a not so successful one a few years ago, when the resultant project wasn’t to my taste. I had the same experience with mystery yarn club purchases, opening the parcels to find I don’t like the yarn. Fortunately I found someone to gift the yarn too. Maybe I am overly picky. I prefer these days to know what I’m buying.

I really enjoyed the Ubuntu as I knew from the outset what I would be making. The Cotton 8 is lovely to touch. I did find it splitty to work and if I had had another brand hook in the 2.25mm I used to get gauge I would have tired that..

My Ubuntu will be in the shop for awhile before making it’s way home. At present I am out of kits. If you do want one let me know and I will order one in for you.

My WIP (work in progress) pile is huge and if coming into the shop, you may find a few half worked socks littering the shelves. I justify their unfinished state by claiming I need samples.

I’ve had a lovely quiet Christmas spent with my family and I’m back into the shop tomorrow. I’m looking forward to my reduced hours in the shop in January. I should be writing more blog posts, sharing my new adventures in the dye kitchen, which is now back home in Jamestown.

Warm Wishes,

Tracy

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How (not) to run a yarn shop

Knit Spin Weave reached it’s third birthday in October. A real milestone in terms of survival for start ups. Although now in the fourth year I am in no way profitable. We are so conditioned not to talk about money, particularly so for women of my age group, so this might be a little uncomfortable for many to read and many will feel it’s TMI, for us over 50’s that stands for Too Much Information.

I often get asked, “How is it going?” The motivation for asking this is often hard to judge. Are they asking out of genuine concern as they don’t want to loss their favourite shop, are they asking out of curiosity, is owning a yarn shop their dream too and they want to know if I’m raking it in.

Well, Tracy, how is it going? How is the shop of your dreams measuring up? Has it turned into the money hungry monster that many start up businesses become, gobbling up every cent that comes through the door and leaving nothing for the owner/mother. Well to put it simply, it has done that. Which isn’t unheard of for most retail start ups. We start with limited capital, many too limited and that tends to be the downfall of those who don’t make it to the end of that first year. They run out of capital and the business isn’t generating income and they can’t eat what is sitting on the shelves. Making it past the first year is tough but not as tough as making it to the third year.

So here is the rough numbers that no one ever discloses, because we don’t talk about money you know. so I will fudge and round things up and down and these figures aren’t truely exact but will give you the idea..

Year One.

I started with a capital investment of $40,000. $20,000 went into stock $15,000 in set up costs and $5000 in reserve. By the end of the first nine months of trading I had generated a turnover of around $45K and expenditure of $80K! With those figures I had managed to make a profit of about $1,000, I had not paid myself and every cent coming in the doors was going back onto the shelves. I had grown stock to about $30,000. The bank account was almost empty and we were living off Peter’s wage and family payments. It was costing about three tanks of petrol a week to get to the shop a week, being paid out of the family income. My friendly accountant happily informed me I was actually doing really well as most start-ups make a loss in the first year. I had at least made $1,000 for 9 months.

Year Two

The end of year two came with the challenge of moving after the landlord wanted a higher return on his investment and being left with no extra money to pay for new signage. At the time it almost brought the dream to an end, but like all good stories the challenge made it interesting. It forced me to grow. It established and cemented my friendships with customers/friends and built community. I ended up in a better location and had a fabulous moving experience enjoyed by all involved. Moving to the Edwards Mall has made me more accessible to many, plus given me a community of fellow retailers.

Income for year two increased to just under the threshold for GST registration! I missed it by about $200! A bit of a relief as I was dreading having to manage GST. I managed to spend $80K on expenses once more!

Remember turnover isn’t profit and my profit margins aren’t 100% like many industries, mine are more like 60% over the full range. A turnover of $75,000 so roughly a gross profit of $25,000 for the second year out of which my lease expenses of around $20,000, insurance about $1,000, electricity and other overheads needed to be paid.

Year two saw Knit Spin Weave make a profit of $2,000! I had doubled my profit from the previous year. Still no drawings and the hungry toddler of a yarn shop was still gobbling onto the shelves all the money, with me still having not learned to be disciplined with limiting the expenses. I had also managed to grow the stock by another $7,000.

Year Three

Came with extra challenges, more competition saw my USP (Unique Selling Point) evaporate. No longer was I a destination store as many of my unique offerings were no longer unique. That is business and although very upsetting, at the time, the competition in the long run, like the landlord increasing the lease on my old shop became a positive not a negative. It forced me again to grow, to look around again at what isn’t being offered and after a visit from Amanda of The Calm Nook Crafts I became South Australia’s Scheepjes dealer. I once more was a destination shop, plus my turnover boomed and I well and truely hit that $75,000 required for GST registration! Something I had dreaded, but I’m so far finding surprisingly easy. I certainly have to keep my books up to date, also a positive side effect. The bank must of also had great faith in me ( or knew we owned our home and they could sell it for more than the overdraft) and gave me an overdraft to bring in the new stock, so for the first time I was in debt!

So figures for Year 3. Turnover was increased to about $95,000 and expenditure also increased due mostly to bringing in the new stock , a new phone plan and electricity through the roof to $105,000! And once again I made an increase in the profit to $2,500! still no drawings and now with an overdraft debt. Stock increased by $20,000 and Peter and I are still talking. Although the joking about stock levels has become more serious and accompanied with a frown.

Year Four

Hard to believe Knit Spin Weave is now in it’s fourth year! I am starting to wonder if the dream may be more of a nightmare at times. Four years of doing it tough in the hope that eventually I will have a viable business that will pay me a wage. I’ve finally come to the conclusion that it may never pay me a wage. Although my lovely suppliers and gurus do tell me it takes five years to be paying yourself, so I’m almost there, if that is the case. I’m also desperate enough to do what I was told to do four years ago and be serious about the webstore and site. The local market, even with my lovely customers from as far as Whyalla and Adelaide, is just not large enough to generate the turnover needed to produce a profitable retail business. So here I am writing a blog to generate traffic to a website, so it gets picked up by search engines and gets ranked higher in the searches! I’m enrolled in SEO and WordPress courses to try and get my head around it all. I’ve implemented a POS (Point Of Sale) system to manage my inventory. Selena Knight would be proud. I’m sure she would also be rolling her eyes as from day one she was trying to tell me. But l’m a pretty slow learner at times, especially when my dream of having a yarn shop involved me sitting knitting most of the day.

So will Knit Spin Weave make it to Five Years?

Who knows, I like to think it will but it’s going to take a lot more listening and work by me. I do love what I do and do what I love and even if Knit Spin Weave doesn’t make it, I will never have any regrets about trying to live my dream. But the dream is changing, it no longer has me sitting all day knitting. It has me planning, learning and working. Although I will of course be sneaking in that occasional bit of knitting out the front and justify it by calling it marketing.

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FREE Bumpy Scarf Crochet Pattern in Crypto 8 ply

Crypto Bumpy Scarf

Crypto is 100% Acrylic Yarn with lovely, soft, slow colour changes. It’s a very soft acrylic. A great value yarn with 428m to a cake. Purchase the yarn HERE in my store.

 

Crochet Hook:    4.5mm

Yarn:      1 cake of 8ply Crypto

Australian / UK  terminology used.

Abbreviations
Ch, ch Chain rem. Remaining
Dc, dc Double crochet Tr, tr Treble
Sk, sk Skip

My preferred scarf lengths.  Adult  (Child )
Hip to hip around neck 130 – 140 cm (110 – 120 cm) Short
One wrap around neck 170cm – 180 cm (150 – 160 cm) Medium
Two wrap around neck 210cm – 220 cm (190 – 200 cm) Long

Pattern
Foundation Ch 26 (multiple of 4 plus 2)
Row 1        Dc in 2nd ch from hook and in each rem ch; ch2, turn
Row 2        3 tr in base of ch; *sk next 3 dc, (sc, 3tr) in next dc; rep from * to last 4 sts, sk 3 dc, dc in last dc; ch 2, turn
Row 3         3 tr in base of ch; * sk next 3 tr (dc, 3tr) in next dc; rep from * across to last st, dc in 2nd ch of turning ch-2; ch 2 turn

Rep row 3 for pattern.

Work until desired length.

Last row DC in each stitch to end.

Break yarn and weave in ends

Crypto is available for purchase in my shop HERE