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[Fibres Exotica News] Round-up on 2013 – Planning for 2014

2013 was a good year, all told.

Unlike 2012, 2013 had a great deal of  momentum in all sorts of parts of my life, not just in Fibres Exotica! It’s still stuck in a couple of ways, but I’ve got plans in place to move these on also.

Technically, the change to the back end of this website (after the initial work to get it transferred)  has made life way easier. No longer does the shop break when any form of update is applied and administration is so much faster. I’m also hoping that it’s made your shopping experience easier and more intuitive. If you can think of more improvements, please do let me know

In the real world, the first two shows of the year were wonderful in terms of meeting people but financially? Not so good.
The focus at Five Lakes was PaperCraft and Beading,  not the type of show where my “higher end” yarns sell, so regretfully, I won’t be exhibiting at that company’s exhibitions again. The people that did come fondle, chat and buy from me were lovely though.

The Spring Knitting and Stitching show (previously “Stitch and Craft”) at the recently re-fitted Olympia didn’t quite work either. The new layout at Olympia confused people with people entering the front entrance not realising that there was another hall behind the one they were in and visa versa. Also, some of the aisles were very narrow, causing congestion that could have been avoided. We also found that the attendance was very weighted to people attending on the Saturday, which made some of the layout problems worse and caused problems for visitors and exhibitors alike! As of now,  I’ve not signed up for a stand at the 2014 show, but if they offer me a good last minute deal on space, you never know!

Knitting and Stitching at Ally Pally worked very well all round however; the layout I used made the silks really sing out, the new labeling system worked well and so people could find what they wanted more easily. I actually made a little bit of profit, the first time in 4 shows, and the coffee trolley next to my stand this year was either a blessing or a curse, depending on whether you like coffee or not! 😉

So, looking forward…

I’ve got big plans for 2014. As previously mentioned, I really want to get back into the dyeing and also (finally!) broaden the fibre range I offer. I’ve about 12Kg of hand-dyed that I have to get photographed to upload.

I’ve also signed up for some smaller shows as well as the usual big ones.

Waltham Abbey Wool show – 19/01/2014  10:00 –  16:00, Marriott Hotel, Waltham Abbey, EN9 3LX
This is a brand new show,  Diana at The Crochet Chain approached me at Ally Pally to come exhibit, she’s looking to create a small yet exclusive content show.
Possibly maybe: Spring Knitting and Stitching – 13-16/03/2014, Olympia Central, Hammersmith Road, London, W14 8UX
Notes as above
ICHF Creative Stitches  – Stand C03 – 3-5/04/2014 10:00 – 16:30 (Sat 17:00),  ExCel, London, E16 1XL
This is this show’s second year. I’m really hoping that we fit here, with a new show, you really can’t tell, but there seems to be a nice balance of stalls attending
Awaiting confirmation: Warner Textile Archive – Textile fair – 11/05/2014 times to be advised, Warner Textile Archive,  Silks Way, Braintree, CM7 3GB
Kate from the Archive asked me to attend last year when she saw the stall at Five Lakes, but the show schedule clashed horribly with some unavoidable life. So, I’ve applied to attend this year and I’m just waiting to hear back.
Knitting and Stitching- London – Stand TGA13 – 10-13/10/2013, 10:00 – 17:30 (Thurs until 19:00, Sun until 17:00), Alexandra Palace Way, Wood Green, London,  N22 7AY
Need I say more? 😉

You’ll notice that there is a big gap in the middle of the year,  so I’d love to attend some smaller shows; anything offering a “table” within 1.5hrs drive from SE London considered. If you are having a local craft fair, get in touch!

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[Fibres Exotica News] Knitting and Stitching 2013 is upon us!

It’s the time of year again… Knitting and Stitching 2013 is upon us!

10th – 13th October The Knitting and Stitching Show – Alexandra Palace – Stand TGA13
http://www.theknittingandstitchingshow.com/london/

So, as I’m away into the 14th with the show, if you can’t come and see me (or even if you can!) just enter the phrase SHOWTIME at the checkout to get a 5% discount across all products until the 14th of October.

As to what I’m bringing to the show? Well, all the usual silks, needles, dye kits and patterns, and I’m also bringing a much larger selection of my own hand-dyed art yarns. (This is also why there is new stuff with no pictures coming up on the site, I’ve figured out a way to do automated stock-take! So, the stock is going up now, and I’ll sort pictures out when I get back. 🙂 )

If you’ve been following my ‘blog, you will know that I merged Fluffenstuff into Fibres Exotica (hence also the swap over of URL and e-mail from SariSilk.co.uk to FibresExotica.co.uk).

Now my house renovation is over, I want to move back into dyeing more again. It’s very personally fulfilling to dye all manner of non-skinny, luxury and/or rare breed fibre yarn and it also allows me to expand into offering an even more excellent selection of yarns and pretty things based on both companies mission statements.

Talking about the FibresExotica Mission statement- “sumptuous fibres from exotica places” – I’m also working with a Peruvian Spinning collective to get their yarns into my shop. The yarns they spin are to die for, so, as you can imagine, I’m very keen to get them in! I couldn’t quite get them over here for K&S, there has been a huge storm in Peru which has damaged the Alpaca herds drastically, hence little fibre for the collective to spin! So, news on that coming soon.

Well, that’s it from me, looking forward to seeing lots of you at the show!

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Customer Love: Unbiased in Recycled Sari Silk

I do so love when I get what I call a “Customer love” e-mail. So, when I opened this one from Teresa, it was rather exciting!

She purchased 6 skeins of Recycled Sarisilk and has turned it into a very beautiful “Unbiased

She said:

“I used the original pattern for the bag, but added an extra triangle to sew into the front, and a square to sew into the back to include a flap.

I had a gold tassel which I thought went well with the colours, and I made some flowers on my flower loom and sewed them on adding a button fixed on with some gold thread.

The bag is a tiny bit on the large side, so if I did another, I would probably make it a little smaller.  In the skeins I received, there was a great deal of the saffron colour (2 thirds in one skein) and as the spin was quite thin, I put 3 strands together and made a case for a mobile phone, with a small flower for decoration and a button to close.

I have to admit that I cheated a little on the last bit of the handle. I only had the bright saffron colour left, so I used a permanent marker pens to make the yarn a darker colour!”

Personally, I think it’s stunning.

Teresa made the same choice as I did when I made my Unbiased (Oh so long ago!) in adding extra panels at the mouth. Looking at her’s, the current stash of sarisilk I have makes superb knitting;  it makes me want to grab a few skeins from the shop stash and make up another one for myself!
Teresa's bag made from sari yarn

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Two shops become one

Fluffenstuff is now moved into Fibres Exotica. I’ve just got to take some (far) better pictures of the yarns (I’ve re-sized all the stitchmarker pictures already) and away it all goes!

Uniting the shops is good from the perspective of lowering admin overhead, but sad, simply because Fluffenstuff had its own creative personality and a slightly different mission statement to Fibres Exotica.

However, Exotic is what you make it… and given that I’ve been fooling around with random dyeing techniques on some of my cheap experimentation yarns again (to get myself back into remembering the techniques), and I’m eyeing up at the huge stash of undyed yarn (in all manner of fibres!) and thinking about what I want to do with it, and given the inspirational videos I’ve been watching until far-too-late o’clock at night making me want to be creative, and also given that I’ve got a finished kitchen and dyeing is again a possibility, I generally see uniting the shops as a good thing.

After all, no point dyeing yummy yarns just for me eh? Taking it just to shows is all well and good, but if it’s not in the shop, how is it going to make other people happy and become beautiful things?

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[Fibres Exotica News] Upcoming exhibitions 2013

Thought I’d drop a quick newsletter to let people know about the shows we are attending this year. It’s always exciting to get out and about, meet people, talk craft, fondle yarn and generally have a good time doing so.

Given how quiet most of 2012 was for all the reasons you will have read about if you’ve been following the ‘blog, I’m having a big push this year to get to as many shows as I’m able and really looking forward to it!

14th – 16th February – Creative Crafts – Five Lakes Crowne Plaza Resort, Nr Tiptree, Essex – Stand F12

14th – 17th March – The Spring Knitting and Stitching Show – Olympia II, London – Stand G80

10th – 13th October The Knitting and Stitching Show – Alexandra Palace – Stand TGA13

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Now Stocking Soak!

You may have seen if you follow my Twitter or you “like” my Facebook page that I’ve  started to stock Soak

Using silk is luxurious, and although it is a strong and hardy fibre, it does need a little TLC when the time comes to wash and care for it.

Soak is therefore a natural partner to things made with silk and love. It’s a low-foam no-rinse eco friendly formulation made by fellow crafters that care about their fibres. Primarily made for hand washing with minimal effort to best effect, you can also use it in the machine.

I’m so excited about this product that I’ll be slipping a Minisoak  into the next 20 orders, so that people can try it and love it too!

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One of our designers is in the news!

I was chatting with Suzanne the other day, & she mentioned that she is going to have a design in Yarnwise next month!

Yarn Wise Magazine preview

It’s good to see her getting more acclaim, her patterns are inspirational and original. If you get a chance, do check it out.

& the pattern pages on Ravelry for you to see if you don’t get the magazine:

 Marrakesh published by Yarnwise

and also

Stormy Seas published by Amirisu
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All change… For the better one hopes!

Well…

As you can see, things have changed a little. I’ve changed the Shopping cart software to one that has far better user support than my previous one. This also meant changing my website’s theme (My old one wasn’t compatible with the new cart software) which naturally changes the way things are arranged a little.

It’s not 100% sorted yet (In particular, the Knitting needle & hook variations didn’t port across correctly), & there are lots of pictures that I need to pop into place (As this theme is much more graphic intensive than the last one!) but you can again see every thing easily, buy stuff as you wish & the performance of the site is generally faster as well.

Thank you for being patient during the transition.

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Everything back to normal… almost

OK.

I did a revert and 99% of everything is back to working again. All the buttons work, & you can buy with no issues at all So, shop with impunity! 🙂

What isn’t working quite as I would want is the “Our Products” link.
I’ve had to point the menu item so that it points to a sub-category.

So, “Our Products” heads over into the “Yarn” category.
Just select another category to see our other products.

Oh, & if you are a member of our Mailing list, look out for our Xmas sale coupon, coming soon!!

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More software issues!

Hmmm….

Further to the last, it seems that the latest update to the recently broken update to the shopping cart software has broken it in a slightly different way now & hidden all my products from their own pages and the category view!

If you use the full list view,  you can see a long list of everything.  Not the nicest thing for browsing!

The “Add to Cart” function also appears less broken…
It appears to be working now (Although it’s creating a dead record in the database for me to clean up after as well),  but if doesn’t let you check out, please cut & paste the cart content into an e-mail & I’ll send you a PayPal or Google Wallet invoice as you want.

The e-mail for that is checkout at sarisilk.co.uk (replace the at with an @) & my apologies for the inconvenience of having to do things manually.

Fun fun fun eh?