As we are reaching the mid-way point of Scottish Lockdown 2.0 I figured that now would be a good time to let you know what’s been going on behind the scenes at Sealy MacWheely.
During the original lockdown back in March I opted to bring all of my stock home from the shop and worked from my craft room (aka spare bedroom). As you can probably imagine this was far from ideal, particularly as my sister was - and is still - working from home using the desktop and therefore sharing my space. (For those of you not in the know, I live with my younger sister who came up to visit ‘for a couple of weeks’ when I first relocated to Glasgow after I graduated several years ago. We get on remarkably well although are steadily slipping into the role of the quintessential spinster sisters - spinning wheels and all...)
This time round I have taken a different approach and have rearranged the shop to a more manageable layout with space for packing orders and photographing stock etc. I have also been working on a secret project in the background which I shall be revealing below. Despite this I have been eerily quiet on social media over the last few days and I wanted to let you know why as well as give you a heads up about what is coming up over the next few weeks:
Poorly Hands Make Heavy Work
If you didn’t catch my post about it the other day, I started off my busy lockdown badly by foolishly burning the tips of almost all of my fingers, making dyeing a very bad and painful idea. It wasn’t from an individual event but a mixture of working with hot dye pans over an extended period of time coupled with heavy labour in the garden which I believe left my hands extra sensitive to the heat.
They are healing but the process is a slow one and given the amount of dyeing I still have to do it is less than ideal but then I guess that’s just how 2020 rolls... A quick shout out to my wonderful friend Tara of The Beauty Apothecarist in Killearn for recommending me her ‘Just the Butter’ body and hand balm which I have been applying liberally over the course of the last week and has made dramatic improvements to the state of my haggard looking hands.
This malady did unfortunately push back the release of my Kickstarter: Revamped preorder and this months yarn club but all orders have now been fulfilled and I am about at the stage I should have been at a week ago!
Whilst on the subject of clubs, I have released the sign ups for next years yarn subscriptions with a few changes that I wanted to highlight.
After a lot of deliberation I have made the difficult decision to take a break from the Fluff of the Month Club - hopefully not indefinitely - as the time required to card batts and fibre is no longer manageable and is preventing me from keeping my batt stock updated in the shop. One of the things I love most about carding is the creativity of blending textures and colours and making so many multiples of the same colourway each month is draining. I am hoping that by taking a step back I can rediscover my love of carding and come up with some new and exciting batts on a regular basis to share with you all.
My two yarn clubs, however, are continuing with the addition of a new member.
I have enjoyed the Smash the Patriarchy theme of this year’s Beauty is Skein Deep Club so much that I am extending it for at least another year, this time including inspiring historical women as well as those of the modern world; filling in the gaps that the history books leave out. This is a DK weight club on a BFL base which is great for quicker knits or working together in a larger project such as a blanket with an optional contrast Skein or double up also available.
Bejewelled is my luxury yarn club, which as the name suggests is inspired by gemstones and precious jewels. The base varies but always contains something special like alpaca, cashmere or silk - likewise the yarn weight is generally either 4ply or DK but remains a surprise each time. As with BISD you can either double up or add an optional contrast Skein which allows you to fill out a project requirements - for example, I know I’m biased, but what about a two tone Improbability Shawl?
Both Beauty is Skein Deep and Bejewelled are bimonthly clubs which leapfrog over each other (ie are dispatched every other month) and include a blurb explaining the inspiration behind the colourway. There are six colourways of each in total over the course of the year and you can sign up for either or both as you would prefer.
Lastly and new for 2021 is the brand new Sock Club. Unlike the other two options this is a monthly club which does not have any specific inspiration other than a love for bright colours and yarn. The base is either a 4ply or sock weight in British BFL or occasionally Peruvian Merino and may contain a small percentage of nylon for durability or be a high twist yarn to prevent dreaded holes from appearing in the heels of your hand knitted socks. There is the option to add a mini skein contrast for the toes and heels if you choose to make socks as the title suggests but otherwise this club is a great way to help build your 4ply stash.
I shall be adjusting the payment system that I use for clubs in the new year as I am not satisfied with the set up that I have been using for the last couple of years. Invoices will be automatically recurring to your email address but you will be able to adjust them via your online account if you need to make any changes to your subscriptions. Payment will not be automatic and will require you to pay manually each month but as the sub clubs will be processed via my website each month there is an added benefit of planting a tree with Ecologi for every club you purchase as well as receiving loyalty points which you can put towards in shop and online purchases!
As always if you do have any queries relating to clubs please do not hesitate to get in contact!
Online Shop Update Coming Soon
Despite my dyeing process currently being slower than a snail in flip flops I have been dyeing up some new colourways behind the scenes. Rather than uploading them as I go along I shall be releasing them in a shop update - date TBC.
I am painfully aware that time is ticking away and that Christmas is suddenly just around the corner but I am worried about doing permanent damage to my hands and thus having to hold myself back a wee bit this year. At time of writing I cannot feel my fingertips on six of my fingers (a vast improvement) and it’s amazing how difficult that makes my job - I can’t tell when yarn is dry for a start and skeining feels just wrong in a way that I can’t describe!
If you do wish to support my wee business this Christmas but don’t see quite what you’re after please remember that I do offer gift certificates which are now eligible for both in-shop and online purchases.
Can You Keep a Secret?
In addition to all of the above I have been busy behind the scenes in the shop since closing last month. My wee knit’n’natter room has been kitted out as a mini film studio where I have been working on a not-so-secret plan!
It’s fair to say that 2020 has been a rough year for us all but one of the things I have missed the most is teaching. I have been unable to teach either workshops or one to one classes since March and that was a tough pill to swallow given how much I enjoy them and rely on them for my business.
For the last couple of years I have been planning on adding my classes to an online course but never found the time to get the classes filmed. Somewhat ironically the pandemic has given me the opportunity and time to get this project off the ground at last and I have been filming clips for my ‘learn to spin on drop spindle class’ while the shop is in lockdown.
Again my poorly hands have caused issues with this and I still have some filming to complete as well as a lot of editing before the course goes live and although I’m hoping to have it all uploaded and available before Christmas there is a chance that it won’t be released until the new year.
If you are, however, considering learning to spin or wish to gift a spinning class to a loved one you do have the option of purchasing a gift voucher of commensurate value which can be redeemed against either the virtual class when it goes live or saved until the pandemic is over (🤞🏼) for a one to one session in person.
A beautiful gift option would be a hand turned drop spindle by the wonderful John Hamilton, made specially for the shop, with some custom blend fibre (add any of the Firefly or Hitchhiker fibres to your basket with a spindle for an automatic discount) and a gift certificate for a lesson, either virtual or in person.
If you are in need of advice for gift ideas get in touch and I can give you a hand!
I think I’ve rambled enough for one day so I will let you go!