Saturday, 6 December 2008

Those were the days

I don't often want to turn back the clock and start again but some days something triggers off memories and I drift off back in time.

The photos today are of happier times when I had wool shops. The photos that you can see are of the last one to close I gradually closed the other 2 when my parents could no longer help me with the running of the shops.They both worked until well into their 70's so they must have enjoyed their work. The stock on view is a mere fraction of what I had to offer. I had a large unit in a new precinct until the greedy landlords and decline in knitting forced me to buy a smaller shop in a less prestigious position. I wish I could walk back in time into my shop and buy all the things that I search for these days that I stocked as a matter of course.

I was trying to read some of the prices on the photo to compare with today's prices. Sadly most of the yarns are no longer in existence so I can't really do that. My major brands were Emu, Hayfield, Sirdar, Wendy, Twilleys, Patons, Studley, Phildar with Aero as my chief knitting needle and crochet hook provider.

Sadly 2 members of staff are no longer with us. One was taken with breast cancer in her 30's. So sad. The other, a heavy smoker, died with lung cancer in her 70's as did her husband.

Craig from I Knit mentioned on a Ravelry forum about Emu Superwash wool and that triggered off all the old memories. It was one of our best sellers and it's nice to know that it is still available although I must admit that i haven't seen any for quite a while around here. Unfortunately I can't wear wool, except on my feet, but I would buy it for knitting for other people. The biggest seller of all time for me was Sirdar Wash n' wear crepe DK. Now I know that not everyone likes man made fibres but Wash n'wear was so durable, kept it's shape and I still have garments in it that look like new some 20 yrs later. Absolutely fabulous for children's wear. Kids go to school and get covered in paint and glue so a hardy yarn is ideal and that certainly stood up to the paint test! My favourite to crochet with was Patons Classic cotton in 4ply and double knit. Beautiful quality and sheen. Another durable yarn that is still in my wardrobe looking like new in summer tops.

I was very sad when I was forced to close my last shop but I was going through a divorce and had to buy my ex's share of the house. I needed a regular salary to get a mortgage. I was actually told my my bank manager that as a lone woman I wasn't a good risk I doubt if they would get away with saying that these days. When I lost both of my parents in 2 years that was the last straw and I threw the towel in and sold the property.

Do I wish I could start over? Yes I do - but not at my time of life. If I was still in my 40's or even my 50's I would give it another go. Not sure where I would get the money from these days but I would certainly try. I keep hoping that someone else will open a shop close to me and want me as an assistant. I miss the buzz of chatting wool and patterns, seeing new stock arrive, helping people choose their next project and even helping unravel and correct mistakes in their work. At least I have the satisfaction of knowing that J & L Buckley was once very well known and people came from far and wide to visit us and we were VIP priority customers spending more per month on stock than any of our rivals. I can remember writing cheques for thousands of pounds to wool providers per month without a qualm. Now I gulp if I have to write a cheque for £50!

Anyway enough ramblings I must get back to reality.

My baby Annabel knit and crochet clothes are tottering along but nothing to show as I haven't stitched anything up as yet. I didn't want to photograph a pile of pieces.

I wore my shrunken socks yesterday and today I am going to wash them (not in the machine this time ha ha) and tease them out to shape again. they will never be the same of course but as long as they are wearable for house socks that is OK. I really must get around to knitting myself some more socks in the New year. I have quite a stash of sock wool waiting for my attention.

Off to do some regulation housework. I would far rather be crocheting BUT I do need to hoover and dust sometimes!


ree said...

Absolutely magic photos! You certainly don't see the likes of those kind of shops now - a thing of the past unfortunately. I remember a shop like that when I was young - you could ask for any type of wool under the sun and they would get it in for you if they didn't have it in stock. It was run by Mrs Gilchrist and what she didn't know about wool wasn't worth knowing.

June said...

What interesting photos! I remember shops like yours, where you could browse and feel the balls of yarn before deciding on the next project. I would have loved a visit to your shop. So much stock and such a lot to look at. I used to buy my wool at a shop run by Mrs. Cousins, her husband ran the sweetshop next door to it. When I could only afford to buy a couple of balls at a time, she would put the rest away for me until I could buy some more. The height of luxury in those days would be to be able to buy all the wool at once for a jumper or cardigan. Happy days!