Vintage Knitting, Retro Dressmaking, Make do and Mend, Original and Vintage Inspired Knitting Patterns, Vintage Inspired books

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

An Enormous Thank You!


Slightly earlier than I had incorrectly calculated, the crowd funder for the Vintage Shetland Project closed in the early hours of Monday morning. I set my alarm for 5am to see the final moments and sit in stunned amazement at the incredible response to the campaign.

We raised an incredible £31,954 with 855 wonderful knitters supporting the campaign. In addition to this I received a further £685 of pre-orders in the 24 hours that followed - when the campaign should still have been running.

After processing fees of around 8% and a 2% contribution to literacy charities I will receive £29,258.65 via pubslush once the monies are forwarded to me. This is the agonizing part really, knowing you have raised the funds but not yet having them in the bank!

The money will go a long way. It will pay for a bigger print run than originally planned, some photoshoot expenses, additional research expenses, tech editing and proof reading costs, image licencing fees, pr and marketing, the little extras such as project bags and lapel badges and much, much more, including additional samples. It will also help cover the costs of having a new batch of Fenella spun and dyed to ensure there is enough yarn to fulfill all the yarn rewards that were chosen and also for me to purchase stock of Jamieson & Smith 2 ply for the same purpose. There are packaging boxes and bags to be purchased in anticipation of December’s mail out and I will also have to employ someone part time to help with the despatching of so many orders in December to ensure all orders are despatched promptly. Signing around 900 books alone is going to take some time! I’m also still working out the best way to manage wholesale orders, so if you are waiting to order books for your yarn shop if you can just bear with me for a little while and then we can hopefully get a smooth system in place before the publication date.

With the number of emails still coming in, I’ve realised that many people are still just finding out about the Project and are disappointed at missing out on the chance to pre-order a book. Due to the amount of time its takes responding to each email, I’ve come to the conclusion that I will have to set up ‘standard’ pre orders on the website sooner rather than later. So I should hopefully have this done by the end of the week. As previously mentioned however these orders will only be despatched once the crowder funder contributions have all been met - and most likely, after Christmas. I also won’t be able to offer signed books on the standard pre orders on this occasion as it really would just become an all-consuming operation. I feel quite bad about this but I really do have to get to grips with my own limitations!!

So what next? I will be spending every moment I can on the book - obviously I still need to run the rest of my business and the farm, but please bear with me if emails and the like take a little longer than usual to be replied to, as I will need to spend time really focussed on the book to ensure it is everything I want it to be. There have been moments during the campaign when the weight of expectation has felt heavy and the best way I can deal with that is allowing myself the space to dedicate myself to the book as much as possible.  I will keep in touch with all contributors via email but there is a chance that things might go quiet here on the blog and on social media!

And now, there are so many people I need to thank for their involvement and also for their wholehearted support of the campaign.

First of all every one who took part in the blog tour who not only took the time to write a post for the tour but really got stuck in and made the blog tour fascinating for so many people to read and enjoy. You are all stars every single one of you.

To everyone who tweeted, retweeted, shared on facebook and other social media, who wrote their own blog posts, regrammed, talked to friends, read each and every post on the blog tour. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You got the message about the campaign out far and wide.

To so many friends who really went that extra mile sharing the campaign again and again, including Tasha, Woolly, Jo, the ladies of Edinburgh Yarn Festival, Sweater Spotter, Kate Atherley, Rachel Atkinson, Adrienne of Williams Wools, Ella at Jamieson & Smith who wrote TWO blog posts, to Clara Parkes for mentioning the campaign on the Knitter’s Review - WOW! and made my professional career by tweeting this:

If you were to fund just one knitting project this year, let it be the Vintage Shetland Project”

To my good friends at The Knitter and Kate Heppell at Knit Now. To my friend Tess who has helped me in a million ways, to Karie for everything but in particular, ‘that’ sentence, to Felicity Ford who not only supported the campaign but gave me such great advice before and throughout, to Donna Druchunas who also shared her experiences with Pubslush and encouraged me to take the plunge, to Jen Arnall-Culliford who gave me a bloody good talking to when I needed it most, to Gavin who turned my clumpy video presentation for the pubslush page into something rather wonderful and wrote the most amazing post as part of the blog tour, to Ysolda who spent an entire afternoon filming our interview about the project and then spent two days and also two very late nights editing and battling the internet to get the video uploaded and to Louise Scollay who literally made this all happen. Louise has been the most supportive friend imaginable, pushing me when needed, supporting and bolstering me when confidence was low, checking my words again and again, and basically being the best right-hand woman ever! I couldn’t have done it without her.

To all the people who gave me support when our barn caught fire during the campaign and in particular to Caroline and Freyalyn who are going to try and save some of the fleece for me.

And finally to all the wonderful, wonderful people who have supported the campaign, who have sent me so many amazing messages, letting me know they believe in what I’m doing and really, really want to see the book in print. I am extremely lucky to be surrounded by so many folks who get what I do. To paraphrase one of those incredibly supportive knitters it is “wonderful that the knitting community has responded and confirmed that in this world of disposable fashion and superficial books there is not only a place but a genuine longing for books like the Vintage Shetland Project”.

Thank you for making my dream come true.

for now,
Susan xx

Saturday, August 08, 2015

My Vintage Shetland Project Video Interview with Ysolda Teague

The blog tour for the Vintage Shetland Project Crowd Funding campaign is drawing to a close in a quite marvellous fashion.

On my way back from Shetland a couple of weeks ago, I stopped by at Ysolda Teague's studio in Edinburgh, where we filmed a LONG interview all about the Vintage Shetland Project. Ysolda and I have often 'bumped' into each other in Shetland, most recently about 18 months ago when I persuaded her to take part in my experiments to see how reliable knitted swimsuits actually are! Ysolda bravely went swimming on a cold October day along with Gavin and Mary Jane Mucklestone and found that the swimsuits really did their job.


I will one day release the video of that day but but in the meantime, Ysolda has very kindly spent many hours editing our lengthy conversation and battled internet failures to publish our interview in pretty much its entirety. so why not settle down with your knitting for an hour and tune in!



After last week's server problems over at Pubslush, the very supportive team there, have extended the closing date for the campaign to this coming Sunday night, so you still have a couple of days left to 'pre-order' your copy of the book in time for Christmas.

And as I've got an extra couple of days before the campaign ends, I will try to publish a post either tomorrow or on Monday all about the size ranges that will be included in the book and also share a couple of the pieces in the Project.

You can find out more about the Vintage Shetland Project or to support the campaign at

Vintageshetlandproject.pubslush.com

But for now, I hope you enjoy our video cast and that you all have a great weekend.

Susan xx

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Pubslush Site Maintenance

ETA: I'm very pleased to advise that the Pubslush site is now up and running again after essential maintenance over the weekend. 

After having some problems accessing my crowdfunder page on the pubslush website I contacted them for advice. Unfortunately the site has had to have maintenance done over the weekend and is therefore currently unavailable until its completed.

My sincere apologies if you've been trying to access the crowdfunder but it should be back up very soon. As soon as I know the page is working again I will let you know right away.

I'm terribly sorry for the inconvenience.

for now
Susan xx

Friday, July 24, 2015

Decoding the Vintage Shetland Project


I've been waiting a long time to be able to share this guest post from my husband and creative partner, Gavin. When being interviewed about my books I frequently say that there would be no books if it wasn't for Gavin and his 'behind the scenes' role in their creation. And this has never been more true than with the Vintage Shetland Project. The project has taken over four years, without Gavin it would probably have taken another five!


For those of you who don't know Gavin, he is a graphic artist and designer who worked for over 20 years in the print and design industry before I kidnapped him and lured him into the knitting world to be my partner, continuing to use his graphic design skills to create our self-published books. We both split our lives between the business and the farm and have often struggled financially, however Gavin has never suggested we stop doing what we do, he has never tried to stop me pursuing my dreams, my desire to create better and better books and my endless quest for more research opportunities. He has never once said four years research was too long, too expensive, or self-indulgent. He is endlessly supportive, creative, inventive and tireless and without him I could not do what I do. 

So over to Gavin who has written a fabulous piece explaining his significant role in the Vintage Shetland Project

"When Susan sets out on the process of starting a new book it isn't long before it turns into a joint effort, with myself coming on board for the graphic art side of the project. My role is the creation and layout of the books - preparing the pattern text for styling and typography, editing the photos for colour balance, applying the colour correction needed, preparing any diagrams, schematics and charts, and lastly when everything is complete and ready to go, I create the press-ready CMYK files that will be sent to the printers.

At the early stages of the Vintage Shetland Project was the process of 'reading the garments'. This involved Susan closely studying the garment so as to record the construction and patterning stitch for stitch. We needed a way to transcribe the colour patterns of the many motifs that make up a single Fair Isle sweater. A daunting task in itself, but magnified hugely when the idea of creating a book full of these garments was decided upon.


After some discussion we came to the conclusion that the most productive method would be for Susan to analyse each stitch and dictate it's colour out loud to me, where upon I would sit at the laptop to record the result.

At this point it was obvious to me that I was no longer getting the holidays in Shetland that I'd envisaged - the fishing expeditions and the sightseeing trips I'd planned while Susan was to be busy working at the Shetland Museum Archive - now, I too would be 'busy' with the project.

We needed to devise a clear process, so we would be able to understand and make sense of all the transcribed notes we'd taken when we came to look back on them, at a later time. This was something that I felt needed some careful thought and I had some ideas that would help in the long term.

Along with my many years of graphic arts experience I've also enjoyed computer programming at a hobby level, and have found myself writing many programs to aid me in my work role, often to process photos or create images. In fact, whenever I find myself doing repetitive task at the computer I look to see if I can write a program to automate the process. It has to be said that the process of writing a program can often take more time than it would have, to have just sat there and completed the monotonous tasks that needed doing, but it's the challenge, the problem solving and the creation process that is the enjoyment of the programming - along with that 'Thank Goodness' feeling when it actually works.

Creating a Code
There's a whole host a ways to approach the process of copying the Fair Isle motifs in a garment. I'm sure most people will be familiar with the idea of sitting with a sheet of 'squared paper' or graph paper and a bunch of coloured pens and setting to colouring in the squares - indeed that is a process many Shetlander's have done for years and we've seen many personal collections of motif stitch patterns. Up until very recently, knitting was still taught in schools on Shetland, where children would drawn up motif charts on paper. But we needed a method that would be quicker than this. A method that would create charts that we could reproduce on a computer suitable for printing within a desktop publishing package. So a graphics package would seem like an obvious choice then, or even a knitting stitch design program - but I felt these options would be too slow and restrictive for the amount of work we had to get through. I decided upon a simple code that I could type out as we worked though each garment. That's right, the humble text editor was my choice of software for this task and a simple but well defined code that I could deal with at a later stage, and write come computer code to read it back.

Looking at a selection of garments from the Museum's collection I started counting the number of different colours of yarn each one used; 4, 5, 8 and one with 10 colours. Perfect I thought (being a nerdy programmer type) 'Hexadecimal'! That would give us up to 15 different colours in one garment. For those of you that don't know (and actually want to know) hexadecimal is the name in mathematics given to base 16, also often referred to just as hex. Unlike decimal (base 10) that is represented with the characters 0 through to 9 for the units, the hexadecimal units are represented by 0 through to 9 followed by A, B, C, D, E and F to represent numbers 0 to 15.

I'm sure there are some of you at this point asking 'but why hexadecimal?' (if there is, at all, anyone left reading this!) - all will be explained very soon.

The idea was to give each colour in the garment a number then type that number into the text editor to represent the stitch in the motif. As the motif was transcribed by Susan I would end up with a textual representation of it - something along the line of this:


As you can see, one character represents one stitch. So the reason for using hexadecimal as our code meant that if we get a colour 12 it is represented with the character C, which is still a single character wide. If it was represented as the decimal number 12 it would be two characters wide (a one and a two). As well as it messing up my nice evenly arrange textual grids on screen, a '12' would be difficult later for the computer to read back. How would it know we meant colour twelve and not colour one followed by colour two. Also, computer systems and many programming languages are used to dealing with hexadecimal numbers (as it maps to binary in a more convenient way than decimal does) making it easier for the programmer to use hex than one might first expect.

So off we set, on the process of reading and transcribing garments. First, Susan would write some detailed notes in her note pad about the construction, together with taking lots of measurements and jotting down as much information as possible together with sketches that would enable it to be reconstructed and made into a pattern. At the same time I would take stacks of photos. First a few images of the whole thing front then back. Then more detailed photos of the finer points such as the welt, cuffs, sleeves, collar, sleeve heads etc. Finally finishing up with a close up of each and every motif in order from the bottom up, so we had something to refer to later when we created the charts, once we were no longer in Shetland and no longer had the real thing in front of us to check against.

Next came the coding process: I'd open up a new file in the text editor and make a few notes of my own, such as the garments code that the museum has assigned to it for their database records, together with a brief description and some of the same notes as Susan had made, so we could cross reference our results later. Then, studying each yarn colour we'd give it a code number and compare it with modern day shade cards to see if there was a match to currently available yarns, both in colour and weight - which would all get typed in.

Starting with the first motif Susan would read out the number of the colour, stitch by stitch, beginning at the bottom right hand stitch working to the left, then up to the next row once the first row of the motif had been dictated. Meanwhile I typed the numbers into the text editor, but mine were reading from left to right, and top to bottom, which could be confusing at times when comparing our results.

As many motifs were horizontally symmetrical, i.e. after the centre row the pattern would mirror itself in reverse order, we developed a system that Susan would tell me when we were on the centre row and I would type a TAB followed by a c to denote that this was the centre row. Which saved a certain amount of time.

On and on we went, a motif at a time until the entire garment had been notated. Often taking two to three hours to complete one piece. Some days, we could spend the whole day in the museum archive and only get through two items.

Decoding the Results
We now had a code, but a code is not much use unless it can be decoded! So I set about analysing the data we'd obtained to create a computer program to do something with it. Namely, create a coloured chart ready for the knitting process.

Some say an important decision at the early phase of software development, even before the conceptual process of 'what will it do' and 'how will it do it', or the feasibility of 'can it be a marketable commercial product', is to come up with a really cool, snappy name - or at the very least a really good project code name. After all, would Photoshop be that well known if it was called 'The Painty Program'? Well, as it turned out I couldn't come up with that snappy, cool name, so Fair Isle Decoder is what it became.

Anyway, back to the actual programming task: The first stage was to discover the colour codes we'd assigned. The program looks through the text file until it finds the colour references and the description of the colour, which it display in a window in order. But a very basic colour description such as light blue, isn't much use, so alongside each name is a coloured icon that allows the exact colour to be set for that yarn. When all the desired colours have been set the colour definitions can be stored so that they are remembered for future use, or edited at any time.


The final task is to work through the file and draw the chart for each motif that's been transcribed. It finds the start of the motif which in the file is denoted with the text #start followed by the description or title of the motif that we've given it - usually a simple M1 for the first motif or Peerie etc. It reads each line in order until it finds the text '#end'. Each line is then analysed character by character (stitch by stitch) and each colour number is converted into the appropriate coloured square in the chart, remembering to reverse the order from left to right - top to bottom into the knitting chart of right to left - bottom to top. If it discovers a 'TAB c' at the end of a line then it has to treat this as the centre row and reproduce each of the previous rows in reverse order.



There was one last thing to add to the program and that is the ability to create a key for the charts. This draws the colour square with the name of the yarn colour along side.

It took a fair amount programming time to get to this stage, but there we have it, each motif is produced as a colour chart, in a vector graphics format, that can be further edited in a standard graphics package. Job done!
... well not quite!

The next stage in the evolutionary process of taking the information we had gathered thus far and turning it into a modern multi-sized knitting pattern now starts to get complicated. That's right, all that previous work turned out to be the easy bit. Yes, very time consuming, long winded, painstakingly laborious, hard on the eyes and extremely tiring by the end of each day, but nevertheless a lot less problematic than what was to follow, and I have to admit, that on other projects and books Susan has done I've never been too much involved with this stage. I am of course referring to process of multi-sizing. During this process a number of the garments brought about some interesting and difficult mathematical problems, inherent because they were never intended to be re-sized. They were personal creations, one offs, even possibly, somebody's own knitting experiment. To investigate how to solve some of these mathematical conundrums we decided we would test things by creating the piece in a virtual way.

I took the charts that had been created by my program and dropped them into a graphics package, there I repeated them across the page and arranged each motif and peerie in their correct order to create a virtual fabric of stitches that we could manipulate, cutting away and adding stitches where needed, inserting and removing whole rows until we achieved the sizes required and still keep the integrity of the original garment.


This process worked very well, but it was a lengthy procedure and took quite some time to move sections around just to insert the odd row here and there. It prompted me to think about how the process could be done differently, in a way that could easily be changed and edited but reproduced easily if, for example, we decided to change one of the colours in the charts. The process of creating these full page graphics of all the motifs together, with me at the controls of the graphics package and Susan working from her mathematical calculations, telling me how many motifs across, the number of rows to add of plain colour between between set of motifs made me realise that what was actually needed was a textual 'description' of how it should look, that could be easily edited and then adapted for testing other sizes.

My Fair Isle Decoder program already had most of the code I needed. It could produce individual charts and a key, so it just needed some extra method of being told how to draw everything required all on one page. Trying to describe how a page full of charts are positioned could possibly be a very lengthy and wordy process, but to me (being the nerdy computer type that I am), an obvious way to approach it is to handle it like it's a computer program itself. Or more accurately a scripting language. And so the 'Visualiser Script' was added to my Fair Isle Decoder.

Visualiser Script
The basis of the scripts are themselves just simple text files, containing descriptive commands, or functions to instruct it to draw what we want, where we want it. As a very simple example, lets say, we want the first motif repeated 10 times across the page, followed by the Peerie motif then the second motif. The motifs are numbered sequentially in the order they are written in the initial file we originally transcribed. So if the peerie was the 8th one described we would create a script as follows:
motif(1,10)
motif(8,10)
motif(2,10)

A whole host of functions allow some very complex design to be quickly and easily constructed. I'm constantly adding more functions when I come across a need for it to do something extra.

Some of the more commonly used functions are:
motif() - draws a motif, with the option of it being repeated many times.
partmotif() - draws just a part of a motif, with full control over which part is drawn.
plain() - draws a block of a single plain yarn colour for a given number of stitches and rows.

There are plenty of others that are pretty much self explanatory from their names, such as:
repeatbox(), text(), line(), position(), arrow(), key().

The emphasis behind it all, is that it can produce a graphic image that is ready to be included in the book, at a quality that's ready for printing, and that no further editing needs to be done in a graphics package before it can be used.

To date, the entire program stands at a total of 14,583 lines of computer code, an untold number of hours and still no fishing!"

I'm sure you'll agree with me that Gavin's programme is in itself a truly amazing development and without it the progress on the Vintage Shetland Project would have been infinitely slower and Gavin really deserves a huge, resounding cheer from us all!

If you would like to support the Vintage Shetland Project and pre-order your copy of the book please go to my pubslush page. The campaign runs for another 2 weeks and is the only way to be sure of getting a copy of the book before Christmas.

for now
Susan xx

Friday, July 17, 2015

A Visit to Ginger Twist Studio

A wee while ago whilst on a trip up to Edinburgh I went to visit the lovely Jess of Ginger Twist Studio. Jess had agreed to dye some very special shades of Fenella for me to use in the Vintage Shetland Project.

I originally created Fenella after struggling to get a tension (gauge) match with modern yarns. Fenella knits to the same tension as the elusive vintage 3 ply that some of the garments in the museum are knitted in. As my goal was always to try and match the tension of the period garments it was important to me to find a yarn that would do this. The additional complication was of course if I did find a yarn where the tension matched, it invariably didn't have the range of colours I needed. So the most sensible course of action seemed to be to have my own yarn dyed in the necessary colours. In the first instance I thought I needed 17 colours and worked with a dyer in the Scottish Borders to recreate these shades in Fenella. On the Roses Cardigan below you can see 10 of the very distinct colours being used in one garment. This cardigan alone uses Myristica, Chalk, Limoncello, Wheaten, Roman Plaster, Phthalo, Constance Spry, Myrtle, Delicot and Atomic Red. You can see more of the Rose Cardigan on bygumbygolly's blog.


When some sample pieces came back that just wouldn't knit up to the same tension as the original item I realised I would need some extra colours. So I decided to talk to Jess to see if she would consider hand dyeing them for me. She very, very kindly agreed and spent some time perfectly matching the colours up to those required. Then the big day came and I joined her at her dye studio to start dyeing the first batch of these very special hand dyed skeins. Charlie, my film-maker daughter, came with us and put together this wonderful little film showing our time in the dye room.


Jess and Susan have fun in the dye studio from Susan Crawford Vintage on Vimeo.

And these are the eight fabulous colours Jess dyed for me.


As yet to be 'christened' these first three are indigo, oatmeal and orange.


These two are a lovely deep rose pink and a steel grey.


These final three have actually been christened and they are, Verdigris, Caramel and Sloe Gin.

Without Fenella the Vintage Shetland Project would not have been possible and without Jess I couldn't have got these last precious eight colours which would have meant leaving some fabulous things out of the book. So thank you Fenella and thank you Jess.

Please don't forget if you would like to order a copy of the Vintage Shetland Project you can only do so at this stage via my pubslush campaign page

vintageshetlandproject.pubslush.com

The campaign is going tremendously well and I am so grateful for all the support this very special project is receiving. If you would like to try Fenella there are some reward options available which will deliver Fenella to your door with your book, including a small number of yarn kits to knit the fabulous Roses Cardigan shown above.

for now,
Susan xx

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Highs and Lows


Well what a week! I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a week of such incredible highs but also such terrible lows.


At 8am last Thursday morning my crowd funding appeal for the Vintage Shetland Project launched on pubslush. I wasn’t sure what to expect and really didn’t anticipate what followed over the subsequent 48 hours. The whole online knitting world seemed to join in tweeting and retweeting about the campaign. Facebook and instagram also went crazy. And unbelievably within those 48 hours I reached my initial target of £12,000. As I wrote in my previous blog post I have been completely overwhelmed by the response and support the knitting community has given me and the project and I am incredibly grateful. There are still a further 21 days of the campaign remaining with some fabulous folk involved in the blog tour so do please keep following the tour as they each reveal more of the pieces being featured in the book. And look out for a special treat on Friday afternoon! As I type, I have actually just had my 400th supporter. I really can't thank you all enough.

On Sunday night we finally had the right combination of weather and availability to get our sheep sheared. This was the moment I had been waiting for since we first brought our first Shetlands to the farm. Amongst our 25 sheep we had 15 shearlings so their fleeces would be the best they were ever going to be. The Shetlands were actually surprisingly well behaved but our four Zwartbles freed of their enormous winter fleeces felt the need to run and jump and play and generally misbehave. Several hours later we had the compensation of 5 beautiful sacks of freshly sheared fleece in front of us.

I then had a marvellous time on Monday morning, recording a podcast interview with the fabulous Jo of Shiny Bees - a fellow northern lass. We had a great time waxing nostalgically about the night clubs of our youth and then got on to the serious business of questions and answers. I’m not normally very comfortable being interviewed - as I’ve probably mentioned before I’m convinced I sound like Cilla Black - but Jo put me completely at ease and in the end we conversed for over an hour. Just click on the link below if you fancy a listen. I’m reliably informed I’m more Paul O’Grady than Cilla Black!!

Image Copyright Susan Crawford Vintage

And then the unthinkable happened. From outside the farmhouse we heard an enormous bang and Gavin and I both rushed to the kitchen where the sound seemed to be coming from. As we looked through the windows we could see nothing but dense, grey smoke, blocking out everything in the farm yard below. As we struggled to make sense of what had happened we suddenly spotted flames shooting out of the corrugated barn at the end of the yard. Aware that the barn contained hay I ran immediately to the telephone and rang the emergancy services. Gavin went out through our front door to avoid approaching the flames head on to see if he could observe things better. When I joined him the blaze seemed to be getting worse as smoke and flame forced their way through the barn roof. 


As the plumes went higher we could see further into the barn and we slowly realised that a quad bike garaged temporarily in the barn was ablaze. Only a scant couple of feet away were my sacks of fleece, the sacks themselves now alight. Gavin considered trying to rescue the sacks but the heat was so intense and the flames so fierce that he would have put his life at risk going any nearer. 


The fire brigade arrived in under 15 minutes and within a couple more were at work fighting the blaze. After what seemed like an eternity but in reality was probably more like 45 minutes the firemen began to reel in the hoses. The fire was out. Another fireman took thermal image readings, surveyed the damage, asked some questions and advised us that the quad bike had exploded and caused the fire. The barn roof was burnt through, the electrics melted, the quad bike nothing more than a metal shell and my precious fleeces were in a sodden, felted heap on the floor encrusted with melted plastic. I was distraught. But slowly realisation began to dawn on me. Only the night before me, Gavin and 25 sheep had all been inside the barn alongside the quad bike. And earlier that day we had again been in there sorting out the fleece. We had actually been very, very lucky.

Today I received a message from a dear friend and expert spinner who is going to try and create some yarn from the remnants of my fleece. If we even get just one skein out of it, what a very special skein it will be and a reminder of just how fortunate we were on such a dreadful day. 

Feeling incredibly grateful for everything right now,
Susan xx

Sunday, July 12, 2015

WOW!


Wow! Its amazing. It really is amazing. I can’t believe it. This is all I have been capable of saying for the last 24 hours since my crowdfunding appeal for the Vintage Shetland Project hit my initial target of £12,000. I had hoped, hoped really really hard, that the target would be reached and maybe passed but I had expected it be a long, slow process, taking most of the 30 days to achieve its aim. I never in all my wildest dreams even considered the scenario that has actually unfolded. 

I cannot begin to tell you how much it means to me that other knitters appreciate the project, understand and acknowledge the work and time that has and still is involved, and have been prepared to support my campaign. When you spend over 4 years working on something, you, rightly or wrongly, begin to think that people must be sick of hearing about a project that is just going on and on. It such an overwhelming relief to know that so many of you ‘get it’. In fact, ‘overwhelming’ best describes my feelings over these last 24 hours. I am really struggling to put into words how I feel. Overwhelmed is the only word that sums it up!

So is it all over now, or do I still need your support? I really, really still do. The initial target of £12,000 was to cover the printing of the books and hopefully also go some way to paying for the final photoshoot. There are still many other aspects of the project that need paying for that I didn’t include.

On my crowdfunding page there is an “interview with Susan” where I have asked myself the question ‘what will you do if you exceed your target?’ 

At this stage depending on how much the campaign exceeds its target,  there are a number of things I would like to use the funds for:

Pay for more of the photoshoot costs.

Pay for a second photographer to take ‘behind the scenes’ footage of the photoshoot to enhance the book further.

Have an additional 'set' of sample garments made to enable me to have trunk shows to promote the Project and explain to people the story behind it.

Help pay for additional research to make the book even better.

Help pay for image licencing so I can increase the number of historical images included in the book.

Basically, I want to continue making the book better and better, more complete, more beautiful, to enhance the reading and ‘using’ experience for each and every funder.

There are more things I will need to look into if funding continues to grow. Ensuring an efficient distribution system so that everyone gets their books promptly is just one of these things, and with this in mind I have had to make a decision.

Only people ‘ordering’ their book through the crowd funder will be guaranteed of their book being despatched prior to Christmas. I won’t open up general pre-orders on my website until the book is off to the printers and I won’t be able to promise pre-Christmas delivery on these orders. So if you would like your book for Christmas the only way to be sure is to use the crowd funder. Don’t forget the crowd funder closes on the 8th August. By doing it this way I should be able to handle the work load and not risk letting people down.

You can support the Vintage Shetland Project here

Finally I just want to thank everyone once again for all the incredible support I have received. From contributors, tweeters, instagrammers, facebookers, all my fellow blog tour participants and in particular, several amazing women who I will write about in another post, without whom this fund raiser would absolutely not have happened. In fact, everyone in the great big beautiful world of knitting. Thank you - and good night!

for now,

Susan xx