The End (for now...)

 The Knackered Knitter

The Knackered Knitter

There’s a title. The End. Or is it just the beginning? Either way, today I finished my last formal workshop commitment for 2018. When I launched The Chunky Needle on March 1st I had not anticipated moving into workshops. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the response with my workshop launch. Getting back in front of a classroom again has been a complete joy (was a former secondary teacher in a past life.) I have met some amazing women over the course of the last several months and have had so many laughs. The venues whom have hosted me have been most welcoming and their support over social media has been so valued. I’ve met wonderful Makers and Traders at craft shows and exhibitions and have been welcomed so warmly by all. Suppliers have been super helpful and encouraging and I’ve been able to rely on them for fast dispatch and flexibility.

The Chunky Needle’s first Christmas season is proving to be strong. Daily new orders are coming in for bespoke chunky knits and infinity scarves seem to be very popular at the moment. The Opal stockinette blanket continues to be hands-down the best seller with more than 10 ordered over the last few weeks. The Ready Made shop is now fully stocked with new items arriving daily for last minute Christmas shopping. Although wool orders for bespoke projects has now closed, Fresh Off The Needle knits are good to go and can be posted as late as December 21st for Christmas arrival. (UK Only) Chunky Needle knits have found new homes in Tenerife, Austria, USA and Australia this holiday season! Simply amazing. I must say, I feel a real sense of pride knowing that Chunky Needle blankets, cushions and scarves will find their way under trees this Christmas. I’m bursting.

 The Bestseller. Opal, Stockinette. Photo credit @shnordic Instagram

The Bestseller. Opal, Stockinette. Photo credit @shnordic Instagram

So as 2018 closes and 2019 rolls up, I’m beyond grateful for all the collaborations, introductions, and orders that have found their way to my studio. I’m most grateful to my customers for putting their trust into a new brand and small independent retailer. Without you there would be no Chunky Needle.

Sending much love and thanks to you and your family over the upcoming Christmas season. Keep warm and spread the Chunky love.

See you next year. ;-)

Cx

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First Major Show Christmas 2018

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So here I am; two days into four at my first major showcase. I’m at the point where I’m constantly reminding myself that it’s the experience that matters most and that the feedback and networking achieved is all worth it. Yikes, yes, that’s my silver lining. I was told by knowing folk prior to this event to make absolutely as much stock as possible. Well, I did. Whilst the world was basking away in 30+ degree weather in July/August, I was snowed under a pile of merino. The time, money, energy, anxiety, travel, money (again) etc that has gone into this show has been deafening. Will I do it again you ask….? We shall see. At this moment in time, no. I brought my goods to a demographic that I thought would appreciate and respect the work. A lot of research went into this. Annoyingly at the half way mark, my lil company hasn’t translated. For every person that says, ‘what is it?’ there’s another whispering, “I can do that myself” and other’s asking, “do you sell the wool?” Don’t get me wrong, my chunky knits have gone down well. The minute I bring out the needles and craft in situ, the crowds gather. The comments, feedback and encouragement has been wonderful, but is it worth the commitment? Time will tell.

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On the upside, I have met some cracking people. My stall neighbours are ACE and we have been having the biggest laughs. The encouragement we offer one another is amazing and each time someone lands a sale, we all do a happy jig for one another. There is much spirit.

We’ve got two more big days ahead; weekend punters with all their expectation. I’m hopeful. I’m positive. My chunky knits will make sense! To me they are the ultimate Christmas pressie. Something totally new under the tree. C’mon Great Britain feel the Chunky love!

I’ll update you all next week with a follow up. Go BIG or Go Home!

Till next time.

Cx

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Christmas 2018 Launch

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Well it has arrived; Christmas 2018 launched this morning at midnight. For a first collection it’s small, but loved. We’ve already taken orders for kids Santa hats and are excited that we’ve teamed with Illustries who are stocking our hats on their website and Not On The High Street. I often need to remind myself that The Chunky Needle only opened shop eight months ago and every day that turns over is a new learning experience on what to do (and not do) in the year ahead. I definitely know that Christmas needs planning months ahead. As soon as January rolls over, planning for 2019 needs to take shape. There are so many things I want to make and create but time just got the better of me this year. With that said, the goodies on offer I think are lovely and festive.

The days keep ticking over and I’m busier than ever prepping for Stonor Park. I’m nervous, not going to lie. I had three dreams about it last night and everything always goes wrong in each of them. I’m terrified I’m going to forget something vital and won’t be able to reach it. I’m travelling two hours from home for this show and won’t have any family support until the last two days of the show! Yikes! I’ll be able to take a super deep breath come Monday November 26th - I can’t wait!

I held two great workshops last week as well. Inside Out in Cheltenham and Craft Coop in Maidenhead on Saturday. Beautiful cushions and blankets were made, I was super thrilled with the outcomes.

The Chunky Needle has so many workshops coming up, so do make sure you keep an eye on our Events page to make sure you don’t miss out on an opportunity coming to your region.

Gift cards and workshop vouchers have also been added to the website a great gift experience for the crafty person in your life.

So there you have it. I hope you’ll enjoy the Christmas collection. Don’t delay on Christmas orders, the last day to order wool in time for Christmas delivery is 10th December. Santa is on his way!

Have a good week everyone.

Cx

Happy Halloween!

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Okay anyone who knows me, knows that I’m a freak about Halloween. It’s a Canadian thing. In North America we pretty much prepare for October 31st 4-6 weeks in advance! After an hour or so of much needed work this morning, I shall be turning Bank House into a spooky haunted Georgian House in prep for tonight. Stay tuned to my insta stories for updates!

The days have been flying by and I often feel like I’m being tugged in a million directions. I’m busy - with EVERYTHING. It’s a good thing indeed, and the growth The Chunky Needle has experienced has been incredible. On top of knitting all those new chunky blankets and cushions for The Country Homes and Interiors show at Stonor Park on November 22, I’m taking new orders daily and am still running wonderful workshops meeting loads of new people and having so much fun.

Last week I was at two great workshops. The first at a new venue: The Bowden Stores in Market Harborough Leicestershire. It’s the furthest I’ve traveled yet for a workshop, but was so worth it as I had such a good time. I’ll be back to Bowden on Wednesday January 23rd for the much sought after Arm Knit class. Go here for more info: ARM KNIT BOWDEN

Next up was the wonderful Meggie’s in Stow-on-the-Wold. This was my third workshop at this lovely little Cotswold Lifestyle shop and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ll next be at Meggies on November 17th for a Christmas wreath workshop. Click HERE.

So as the calendar flips to another month - a very VERY busy month. You shall find me knit knattering with my chunky needles, and making as many chunky blankets, cushions, scarves, ugh as possible. I love it so much, I just hope you all do too. Please come on out and see me at Stonor Park. Would love to meet you!

Have a great Halloween everyone! Stay safe.

Cx

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Christmas is Coming - I'm Freaking Out!

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Okay, okay, I know it’s ridiculous to be stressed out by this, and in real life terms (ie: mommy and wife terms) I haven’t even given Chrimbo a second, or third thought (perhaps that’s part of the problem?!) For those of us in the retail world Xmas 2018 is launching right about now. Remember all those hot summer weeks we had? Smart retailers, or those in the ‘know’ were quietly working on their winter collections whilst the rest of the world enjoyed the heatwave. Now I know how to manage my time next summer because right now I’M FREAKING OUT! Majorly freaking out. I’d take a photo showing my real state of play but I quite frankly don’t have time for selfies.

Have I bitten off more than I can chew? Perhaps. I mean with a major four day posh shopping event coming up on November 21st that will require about 75 retail worthy items to make, on top of my eight workshops between now end of November, along with the online Christmas photoshoot & launch, developing a baby line, processing new orders that are coming in daily, launching new collaborations with festivals, hotels, venues webshops, I’m going cray cray - oh yeah and today - I got to attend a speed awareness class that has eaten into my child free hours leaving this day production free. On top of the work demands (which I do love by the way) I’m still a full time mum to 4 year old twin boys, a furry baby, a husband and have house guests arriving this weekend, a haunted house to erect and dismantle on the 31st and a house-full of kiddos, parents and sleepover guests on the 3rd-4th November for our BonFire Blow Out! My housework has fallen by the wayside and I have piles of laundry all over the house. It’s total chaos at Chunky HQ, but I’m on it. Kind of.

The 1st Chunky Christmas will launch on 12th November. I feel Christmas retailing should begin after 11th November, Remembrance Day. As a Canadian, we commemorate the 11th of November every year formally and as such it deserves its own season/day of recognition. Christmas chatter takes away from that season, so, I will not launch until after that date. This year there won’t be a lengthy list of Chunky bits/bobs as I’m still exploring which direction I want The Chunky Needle to evolve in and need to observe what works and what doesn’t. But stay tuned.

So for now that’s where things are at. I’ve launched with the Tudor Farmhouse in Clearwell, Glos this week and will bring you some lovely workshops into the New Year. Exciting opportunities are abound.

Parent teacher interview, now; must run. Barely a minute to stay up-to-date with you lot.

Speak soon!

Cx

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Why The Terms?

 Credit: BeCozi

Credit: BeCozi

Hello lovelies happy Monday and Happy October 1st! WOW! It really is October, how did that happen so darn quickly? October is probably my favourite month of the year. Still on British Summer Time our evenings still have a sliver of light. The mornings crisp and the afternoons warm enough to not need several layers. The colours around us are striking with the clearest of blue skies, and forest greens, yellows, reds, oranges emerge deeper each day. Living close to the Forest of Dean brings a sensory overload and I’m grateful.

October will see a very busy month for The Chunky Needle. 5 workshops are planned and will see me travel several miles in all directions. Alongside the marketing, planning and prep for these great events, I am still busily prepping for the Stonor Park show in November. Building stock has become my prime daily focus. I’ve been told that there is ‘no such thing as having too much’ so I’m beavering away everyday making this and that.

Speaking of workshops however, I wanted to touch on the reasoning behind The Chunky Needle’s terms and conditions as this past week they were queried and I want to explain. Fundamentally, workshop tickets sold are non-refundable. Transferring tickets to future events is a possibility, however, refund is not and here’s why. Wool is ordered from a supplier at the time of your booking. At times the supplier runs out of stock in particular colours, so The Chunky Needle orders your wool early to ensure it’s safe and secured for you upon your event. Naturally, my supplier also has T&C’s that customers must adhere to, and mainly, once wool is dispatched The Chunky Needle is unable to return it for refund, thus making it impossible for my customers to request refund after their wool has been ordered. Does that make sense? In addition, in order to keep costs lower (merino wool is a luxury fiber and therefore expensive) I always need a minimum of 10 students per course. Should this number drop below 10 due to an individual requesting refund, it will impact the cost of everyone’s ticket price. I know, boring stuff eh? Once I’m at it, I’ll remind that bespoke orders (blankets, cushions, wreaths, scarves, etc) are also non-refundable for obvious reasons - these items are bespoke to the buyer. It’s all rather dull I know but I want to be transparent. When booking onto a course please do take a moment and click the TC’s link on the booking page.

Oh yeah, an awesome night was had in Newnham-on-Severn last week making arm knit blankets. Super proud of the world these ladies produced. I hope they are loving their new Chunkies. Stay tuned for further dates in Newnham to be announced this week.

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So that’s all for now. Kids are off to school and I’m heading up to the studio to start work on today’s projects. I’m growing a wee bit concerned by how few steps I make each day but I’ll save that for another blog post in the future.

Have a lovely start to the week and enjoy the new month.

Cx

Another Successful Night

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Another fabulous night was had last evening at Meggie’s in Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire. 8 fantastic ladies joined me for a night of crafty chunky knitting resulting in eight beautiful blankets. This was a first for me, teaching an arm knit class and I must say, I absolutely loved it! The smiles and enthusiasm was infectious. I must say I’ve had a cracking few weeks with The Chunky Needle. I don’t want to jinx my new found confidence, but I’m super excited.

The Chunky Needle has been building over the last year. I was knitting in the late 80s and then again in the mid 2000s but rediscovering my knit vibe took place August 2017 when I saw these amazing colossal chunky knits on Facebook. An Australian friend of mine shared a chunky knitting video and I was immediately transfixed. I’ve lived, breathed chunky knitting ever since. Finding myself where I’m at today is incredible. I now have eight knitting workshops in the books between now and November and have two amazing markets that I’ll be attending closer to Christmas. Coming off a successful mega-sale and a few media enquiries, I’m buzzing. It’s not been easy, however. Issues have arisen between myself and other Makers of similar craft. I’m not going to devote any energy into these issues however, as I feel they don’t serve me nor the work very well. I’ve always said I’m not looking for a global take over in the world of knit. I’m just happy carving out a little sliver of success in my immediate geographic area. Anything beyond that is icing on the cake. With that said, I’ve had my first “insta-spot” in real life over the last few weeks, where someone who followed my Insta-Stories, spotted me shopping In Reading, Berkshire. That was pretty cool.

On the back of last night’s success I’ve developed a Chunky Events page where you can have a quick view of where I’m at and when. Truth be told, it’s really designed to help keep me focused and on track. Check it out here.

Aside from hustling to get workshop tickets sold, I’m still working hard on new Christmas stock. Christmas hats, cushions, blankets, etc. are busily being made for the Christmas markets I’m attending. It’s alot of work for one person, but that’s what sets me apart from others - I make everything by myself. No helpers. No staff. No one. Just me.

 Working on the Winter Collection

Working on the Winter Collection

So time ticks on. I’m super excited that I sold 10 tickets to the workshop in my home village today. I woke up with only 3 out of 10 sold and I ended up selling 13! I was afraid we’d have to cancel this event but for some reason today all the stars aligned and the order poured in. I can’t wait to do this one on 27th September.

So I’m off to bed. It’s been a long day. Thank you everyone for your kind words, support and encouragement. I love what I’m doing with my life right now and can’t thank you enough. Night night all and have a lovely weekend.

Cx

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SEPTEMBER is here!

 All going to new homes!

All going to new homes!

Woohoo!  A new season dawns - okay, not technically, but almost.  The shadows are longer and the days shorter.  Autumn is here!  The Chunky Needle has now been 'in concept' for a year.  It was last August when I saw an Australian Facebook post on chunky knitting.  Seeing as I had a knitting background, I was totally transfixed.  Fast forward 12 months, here I am feeling really excited about where The Chunky Needle is going. 

I've just had a rocking sale.  The sale I held last weekend exceeded all expectations.  6 out of 11 blankets sold and 6 cushions found their way to new homes.  As a new company with not the greatest Google presence, this was a major result for me, so a major THANK YOU goes out to those of you that shopped, but also those that popped by the website to have a gander.  It all counts.  The weekend also saw a significant result in workshop bookings.  I'm so excited by the events that I have upcoming.  7 now on the diary between now and 17th November.  I'm branching into The Forest of Dean, The Cotswolds and my old stomping grounds of Berkshire.  When I launched The Chunky Needle I never thought workshops would be on the radar, but now they seem to be what I'm most involved with, and I LOVE IT!  I launched an exciting collaboration with The Blockley Cafe in Moreton-in-Marsh which sees me hosting two workshops (Oct 10 and Nov 17) with more planned for the new year.  These dates will be different from others I run as dinner & drinks will be involved - how lovely indeed!   Thank you to all the venues that have brought me on board; I love working with you and thank you for your support.

The one thing I want to stress more than ever is that every blanket, cushion, throw, pompom etc made, has been made exclusively by me alone.  When you buy a Chunky Needle knit, you are getting my love, perfectionism & attention in each piece.  I get asked all the time "did you make that yourself?" and I laugh as of course I did!  I even had one lady this week ask if I was just the front person and was buying stock to sell from overseas.  Never, ever would I do that.  Nor would I put my name on something I didn't make myself.  I'm super proud of what I've achieved and will shout it loud and clear.

So, as the calendar moves into the last months of the year I look forward to what the coming weeks will bring.  Workshops, Christmas markets and stock building will see me through this new season.  I'm super jazzed by it all and can't wait to see what the end of 2018 brings. 

Have a great weekend y'all!

Cx

 I made this! Yep, me!

I made this! Yep, me!

Time for a Clear Out

 Sale Launches Friday 9AM August 24

Sale Launches Friday 9AM August 24

It's that time of year where the days start to draw in and thoughts begin to turn to Autumn and eventually - dare I say it?  Christmas.  Yikes!!  As a former secondary school teacher, I always viewed September as the 'un-official" start of the new year.  January 1st never had that same newness for me.  Perhaps it was the buying new school clothes, the new textbooks, new school diary that brought with it a fresh beginning.  I don't know about you but my fitness regime always kick starts in September when everyone is back into their weekly routines and the hazy, lazy days of summer gradually fade away, along with that tan! 

As we come into our last Bank Holiday long weekend, The Chunky Needle will be having a super sale where our Ready Made stock will be marked down by 40-50%  That's a whopping discount on our luxurious Merino wool blankets and cushions. It's time to clear out our studio and make way for the new products which will be launched coming into the holiday season.

The sale kicks off at 9am on Friday August 24th and is first come first served.  This will be an amazing opportunity to bag yourself an awesome deal.  Start thinking about the gift-giving season ahead and maybe get a head start on your shopping list.

As for other news my workshop calendar is quickly filling up over the next three months.  With arm knitting workshops fast selling out and the ever popular round cushion tutorials taking place, I'm becoming one very busy lady.  I'm pleased to say that two new venues have been launched this week in Cheltenham and Moreton-on-Marsh alongside the popular sessions at Meggie's in Stow-on-the-Wold.  Stay tuned for Forest of Dean classes announced shortly.

So to conclude I wish you all a very productive start to the new season and hope your remaining days of summer are sunshine filled and full of rest and relaxation.  Don't forget to set your alarms for the super sale this Friday.  Once they're gone, they're GONE!

Until September....

Cx

Workshop Complete

 Photo Credit: @daniellehanno

Photo Credit: @daniellehanno

Happy Friday lovelies and a warm welcome to the much needed rain here at Chunky HQ. 

After returning home from a lovely family holiday in Cornwall, the weather has turned just in time as I push full steam ahead preparing stock for the markets I'll be attending in November and December.  I'm looking forward to the cooler months already (am I nuts?!) 

Last night I hosted my first cushion workshop at Meggies Lifestyle and Gifts in Stow-on-the-Wold.  A fantastic group of 10 ladies came together all in the name of Chunky goodness.  The colours selected were beautiful and the finished products looked lovely.  My only regret is that we didn't get more photos of the finished products. 

Keep an eye out for more workshops coming into the Autumn/Winter months.  Attending these workshops is a great opportunity to not only learn a new skill, but coming up to Christmas these cushions make really thoughtful, original gifts for the friends in your life that seem to have it all.

I'm going to dash for now but just wanted to share with you the great evening had last night.  As a former classroom teacher, I loved getting back in front of students.   I love teaching and sharing knowledge with others, it's really the greatest gift. 

Thank you Meggies and to all of you that attended last night.  I loved every minute.

Until next time,

Cx

 Photo Credit: @daniellehanno

Photo Credit: @daniellehanno