Husband’s view on opening a wool shop!

With the imminent opening of Neath Valley Wools on the High Street (yay!), I was reflecting with my hubby on our journey (be it long) to realising a long held dream. I suggested (tongue in cheek) why don’t you write something about me opening a shop but from your point of view.

Well here is the result, enjoy:

 

One day Jan said to me ‘Why don’t you write a blog about what it has been like getting the wool shop going – from your perspective?”

“ok” I said.

I have been involved with Smallscrafts from the outset. The website was initially down to me. We decided to use zencart as we did not want the hassle of hiring a programmer and zencart was straightforward to set up. I used to work on the website at the swimming pool while my daughter was training. Our initial setup worked extremely well, not to say we did not make mistakes, we (I) did expensive ones! One mistake was with the credit card handling company, we chose a horribly expensive package when cheaper ones were becoming available. It was sorted out in the end. We chose different templates, and paid for some, until we settled on one we were happy with. The Google ads were set up badly to begin with by a professional company but we learned from experience and now use shopping ads we generate ourselves.

The house was taken over by wool and crafting products. It was fun at first, but then, slowly, it became more and more difficult to get into some of our rooms. My business was ejected from the office and into our lounge – and ultimately to an office above the shop. The wool mountain kept growing and sales plateaued.  At last we made the move to get our stocks into the shop. Of course they will not all fit into the shop and so we have had to keep some at home and store some in a stockroom.

Fitting out the shop has been fun. Well for Janet anyway. From my point of view I have been required to paint, repaint, varnish, drill, polish, and be a general skivvy. But it has been fun and it is great to see my wifes’ ambitions realised So while there have been ups and downs it has been a wonderful ride. Long may it continue.

 

 

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February 2017

Hello, and a belated Happy New Year and Chinese New Year to you all.

Its been a while since you have heard from me, but I have been working hard to open our high street shop in Glynneath, in the beautiful Neath Valley (hence the name of the shop).

We have been trading on-line as SmallsCrafts for a number of years and will continue doing so. But now we all so want to make our gorgeous wools and accessories more accessible to local knitters, crocheters, stitchers and to encourage ‘want-a-bes’ who want to learn but don’t know where to start.

The shop has been a while in the planning and a lot of hard work. Here is a before picture of some of the work we needed to carry out:

DSC00202

and here is a picture of how we are starting to look:

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and this is some eye candy – the WestYorkshire Spinners Gems.

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The opening date has not been set yet, but once the barcoding is complete and the till system is up and running it will be all systems go – and I can’t wait!

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December 2016

Hello and welcome to Neath Valley Wool’s blog.

TTY15PETTY15 TTY15SF 2TTY15 TTY15SA 2TTY15

It’s that time of year again, Christmas, it comes around so fast.

We have been very busy this year, preparing the on-line store to become a proper bricks and mortar shop in Glynneath, the heart of the Neath Valley.

I didn’t realise what an undertaking it would be, but I just can’t wait to open the doors and welcome you all in person.

In the meantime, have you finished all your Christmas shopping? Do check our store for any last minute gifts for your knitting relatives/friends/or yourself!

Well here are a few suggestions:

english-melodies-of-life 2 CR091KREDTR005 DMC_BABYHUG_blanket

Yes, the last one is a crochet tie, in a kit, by DMC, and it looks lovely!

Just a quick reminder of the last posting dates for the UK:

Tuesday 20 December 2nd Class and Royal Mail Signed For®
Wednesday 21 December 1st Class and Royal Mail Signed For®
Thursday 22 December Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed®
Friday 23 December Special Delivery Saturday Guaranteed

We send our parcels 2nd Signed for, so do make sure you make your orders by the morning of Tuesday 20th. If you miss the boat, don’t worry we will upgrade your postage but we will have to charge extra.

If I don’t here from you before, have a wonderful Christmas and I look forward to hearing from you in 2017 x

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Circulars and Socks

I love knitting socks! I’ve always knitted my socks on DPN’s.

If you ever go on social websites, there is often debates about peoples preferences for tools for knitting socks. Lots of knitters do seem to favour using circular needles. Any way I thought  I would have a go at ‘mini circulars’. I tried a few without much success, until a friend suggested the Knit Pro Symfonie Mini Circulars!

Knit Pro symfonie 2.5 25cm

and yes I love them, and we now stock them on the website. I find them very comfortable to use, but I find its easier to use the DPN’s when decreasing at the toe.

I am finding I am using circulars more often, I have been knitting shawls (see pics on Instagram and am currently trying out a set of the Knit Pro Royale fixed circular needles, that have a swivel cord attachment. So far I like them, so they could be coming to Neath Valley Wools soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We are now stocking:

Just a quick word to let you know about our latest addition – British Wool by baa ram ewe.

baa-ram-ewe-stacked-logo_21682137783_o baaramewe parcel

I’m so excited about stocking this wonderful brand of British wool.

Produced in Yorkshire, one of baa ram ewe’s brands Titus is a stunning, luxurious natural 4 ply with a Yorkshire accent. With beautiful long Rastafarian locks, this gives the yarn a gorgeous silky drape often hard to find in wool, then blended with the finest of all the British sheep Breeds, the Bluefaced Leicester, and added the finest British Alpaca.

bre Titus

baa ram ewe’s second brand, that we have also started to stock, Dovestone DK celebrates another local breed, the Masham.

Yorkshire farmers have long known the mix of the local Masham sheep breed and the Bluefaced Leicester is a special one, highly prized for its meat across the country and the world. But blending the fleece of these two magnificent breeds, along with the drape of the Wensleydale, creates something truly special too.

bre Dovestone

We are also stocking one of their pattern books:

bre dovestone smallholding frontcover

This is a gorgeous book using Dovestock DK, full of farm animals to knit for a little one, or yourself of course 🙂

Originally published on SmallsCrafts blog

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January 2016

NV Wool logo jan 2016Hello and welcome to the first blog of this year, and a

Happy New Year to ewe all (belated).

 

 

Work is progressing on our Neath Valley website – we have just added the gorgeous new sock wool by Debbie Bliss: Rialto Luxury Sock Wool.

DB Rialto Luxury Sock Yarn

Made from the finest Merino, it is a mix of 75% wool and 25% Polyamide. Although it is very soft to touch it is still very durable to use to make socks for all the family. Though I’m sure a shawl will look lovely too. The colours are so pretty, there are 14 shades, all available at Neath Valley Wools and SmallsCrafts.

Here are a few of the colours to tempt you:

Debbie Bliss Rialto Luxury Sock Yarn Rialto luxury sock yarn 01-Coachella__1_

Rialto luxury sock yarn 02-Roskilde__1_ Rialto luxury sock yrn 11-Fuji__1_Rialto luxury sock yarn 13-Montreux__1_Rialto luxury sock yarn 04-Ultra__1_Rialto luxury sock yarn 14-Glastonbury__1_Rialto Luxury sock yarn 03-NewOrleans__1_

Other items being added to Neath Valley Wools include our Brittany Needles and Brittany Crochet Hooks.

There was a lovely article this month on the Knit Pro newsletter about caring for your needles – well worth a read. One of the recommended tip was not to use your needles for anything other than knitting…………………! mind is going into overdrive.

A good tip was cleaning your needles with clean dry muslin, paper towel or a microfibre cloth. For wooden needles they do suggest applying a thin layer of natural bee’s wax, allowing it to dry before buffing it with a soft muslin or chamois cloth. But leave them for at least 24 hrs before using them for knitting. Well worth it to prolong the life of your needles.

Our sister website SmallsCrafts is undergoing a major refit at the moment. Feedback will be much appreciated after the new look site has been launched.

Or next blog will have some news about some new yarn and brands coming to Neath Valley Wools! (Mirasol, ssh!)

Thank you for popping by

Janet x

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Christmas count down

Wow, less than 5 weeks until Christmas!!! how did that happen? I’m still waiting for summer, sigh…….. and we had our first snow fall last night! the mountains do look pretty though.

So who has finished their winter knits? I have been making hats lately, and have been using the Knit Pro Zing circulars and DPN’s. I have to say the Knit Pro Zings are a pleasure to use.

Knit Pro Zing Single Pointed Needle Set 30cm

How many of you are knitting Christmas gifts? I’m not putting myself under pressure this year to knit gifts – I’m having this Christmas off 🙂 I have still been knitting / crocheting until very late on Christmas Eve for the last few years. My New Year’s resolution will be to start knitting for Christmas next January :), – we’ll see…………!

If you are planning to squeeze in a couple of pairs of socks between now and Christmas we have some lovely ranges of sock wool –

there’s the beautiful Definition Sock Wool by Artesano,

Definition Sock Yarn Colours -1a copy

Ranco sock wool by Araucania,

Ranco Multy

and lots of wool by Opal including the latest delivery – Opal Happy Sparkle

Opal Happy poster small

 

Keep knitting x

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Hooks and Needles

I have been slowly adding to the Crochet Hooks and Knitting Needles that we stock. Most of our stock is still listed on our SmallsCrafts website. It is proving to be quite a length process transferring stock on to a new website!

We have a good range of Crochet Hooks and needles by Knit Pro and Brittany. Both very different, wood vs metal, both high quality.

Recently I have been asked about stocking hooks and needles by Addi. Much to my delight some Addi samples dropped through my letter box this week 🙂 and just in time for some projects I want to start.

Addi hooks

The samples include the Addi Crochet Hook and the ergonomic Swing Hook, both come colour coded. Also some straight needles – bamboo and metal.

Made in Germany, Addi needles have a good reputation. Have any of you used any of the Addi range? What did you think?

I will report back to how I get on with these needles/hooks, but I suspect I will be stocking some soon.

Knit Pro recently bought out a new range of needles: Zing

The new needles from Knit Pro that come  in a vast range of bright metallic colours, specific to different sizes, have beautiful silver tips, and a perfect finish. These needles are sure to to become the style statement for any discerning knitter.!

Zing_poster

We have got some of these sets in stock – they will make gorgeous Christmas gifts.

Knit Pro Zing Single Pointed Needle Set 30cm Knit Pro Zing DPN set 15cm

 

 

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Inspiration

Did you come across a blog I recently published on my ‘SmallsCrafts’ website?

It was in response to a question I was asked by a customer. In case you missed the article, here it is:

 

Yes, we are a real shop

 

Why the title? you ask.

A couple of days ago a customer telephoned me and asked “if SmallsCrafts was a real shop, because not all the shops on the internet are real”.

Yes, I answered. But the question did make me think…….so I thought I would tell you a little about me and my internet store:j

This is a picture of me – I was concentrating hard at the time trying to master a spindle  🙂

I am 50 something, been married a while and have two daughters. Hubby has been a huge support helping with the website part of the shop. He has his own internet business – scanning slides, negatives, pictures, videos etc.  and transferring the images on to discs, hard drives. He can be found on Saturn Films 1969.

I am a qualified Biomedical Scientist – since a very young age, working in the NHS in Biochemistry, Haematology and Immunology Departments across the country. About 11 years ago we move back to the country of my birth – Wales.

Some of my earliest memory’s involve my Nana trying to teach me how to knit and crochet. Over the years I have knitted lots of items for nieces, daughters and friends. I also mastered the art of cross stitch. Recently I have piked up the crochet hook again and am slowly gaining confidence.

Since moving back I have been working towards my dream of opening a wool shop. We started with an internet store – SmallsCrafts. The name ‘smalls’ came from how we use to refer to our daughters, now not appropriate as one daughter is already a lot taller than me!

SmallsCrafts has been open for business for over 8 years, and through it I have made lots of friends and have had lots of gorgeous feedback.

We are now working towards taking the next step and plan to open a high street shop next year. The shop will be on the High Street in Glynneath, Neath – located in the Neath Valley, South Wales. The name of the shop will be changing to – Neath Valley Wools (NVWools.com). We have started an internet shop by that name – you may have come across it.

You can follow our progress on opening our shop on our Facebook pages – SmallsCraftsand Neath Valley Wools or on twitter – @NVWools or @SmallsCrafts or on our Google + page, or on our blogs – the links are found on the shops front pages.

So yes, we are a genuine internet store and soon to be High Street Store.

While I was writing the article, I did start to think about my early days learning how to knit (admittedly a very long time ago …….).

As I mentioned in the above article, my Nana helped me learn the art. She was an accomplished crocheter, born in 1900, when she left school until she married, she worked in a shop in a near by town. Her role was to crochet the edging on table linen, which was then sold.

After she married my Grandad, the tradition then was to stay at home, looking after the house and bringing up the children. In those days there were no washing machines and floor hovers, everything was done by hand! Grandad use to be away a lot in the Navy / Merchant Navy.

I wa1s lucky enough to be given some linen she had crocheted. This piece she made while waiting for my Grandad to return home from sea.

She has crocheted a ‘Welcome Home’ message and a couple of boats on each side of the cloth.

Some of my memories of her in her latter years was knitting squares to be sewn into blankets. I don’t know how many blankets were made from her squares, but it might have been quite a few!

So I guess this is where I started having a love for wool and for creating garments/items from it by crochet or knitting.

I am looking forward to taking my love for these arts to the next level by opening a store next year.

 

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Welcome

About us:

Hi, my name is Janet and I am the owner of www.smallscrafts.co.uk, Smalls Crafts knitting and stitching internet shop.

Smalls Crafts internet store is based in the Neath Valley, South Wales, UK.

We have been trading as an internet store for over 8 years www.smallscrafts.co.uk and serve customers locally, throughout the UK, Ireland and Europe as well as customers as far away as Australia, Japan, the Phillipines, USA, Canada and South Africa.

Also, we have been refurbishing a shop in Glynneath high street soon to open to the public. Our shop is to be called Neath Valley Wools and has a dedicated website www.nvwools.com.

All our wool and knitting related items are being moved (slowly) on to nvwools.com. Check Neath Valley Wool’s blog for regular updates.

We enjoy talking with our customers and will go that bit further to get you the items you want when we don’t have what you are looking for in stock.

Our policy is to only display on the website items which we have in stock and which are ready to post. If you want something we don’t have in stock we will order it for you, tell you the total cost and let you know how long it will take.

 

www.nvwools.com  – our shop

Neath Valley Wool blog is our social interface with the internet. We use the blog to showcase our new products and tell you folk about our sales and special offers.

We have established our brand with accurately described products, well packed and posted with recorded delivery world wide. We sell only new products from the manufacturer.

Neath Valley Wools – a brand you can trust and hope you will come back to time and again.

 

Some photos of the beautiful Neath Valley:

DSCF1357 DSCF1382 DSCF1389 DSCF1394 DSCF1401 DSCF1405  DSCF1416 DSCF1422DSCF1413 DSCF1402

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