How exciting, my first blogpost on my new website! Many of you may well be used to my musings and may have been following The Bridge Cottage Way blog, about living sustainably, for some time. I have now decided to move all my writing over to this new Woolly Pedlar website, which I hope you will enjoy. I have also closed my Etsy shop, which has served me well over the past three years, but I feel it is now time to go it alone and will be selling directly through my own website.
For those of you who are new to The Woolly Pedlar, a warm woolly welcome to you, and I hope you enjoy my posts. Let me tell you how it all begun.
I started writing The Bridge Cottage Way when I gave up my teaching career of twenty five years due to ill health. I have always believed in living well with what we have, by buying less, reducing waste, and growing as much fruit and veg as we can. It was about all this, that I wrote about in the Bridge Cottage Way.
It was through The Bridge Cottage way that the Woolly Pedlar was born. Kyle, a friend of my son and daughter, had asked me to teach him how to knit. Kyle’s brother and girlfriend were expecting their first baby, and Kyle wanted to knit something for them. Together we hatched plans to form The Bridge Cottage Way knitting group.
Another friend got in touch when she heard about the knitting group, and said she wasn’t interested in learning how to knit, but wanted me to make her a pair of Katwise armwarmers, which she had seen on the internet. Katwise is from the USA and makes upcycled ‘sweatercoats’ and armwarmers from recycled knitwear. She has a huge following, and has made her tutorials for making armwarmers and sweatercoats available to purchase and download online. She has given her blessing for folk to use these, and make and sell their own, and only askes that she gets a mention from time to time.
I explained to Claire that these weren’t knitted, but were made from recycled jumpers and needed an overlocker (a four thread sewing machine that cuts and sews as it goes) to make them. I had always fancied getting an overlocker and with the money I got from leaving teaching, bought my first one – a small, domestic machine.
It wasn’t long before family and friends all got a pair of armwarmers for presents, and my mind had started working overtime with the possibilities of making more. I downloaded Katwise’s tutorial for making sweatercoats, and despite some pretty poor first attempts, gradually perfected the task until I had made some that I thought were sellable.
I loved trawling round the charity shops and hunting out local jumble sales where I could find wool jumpers to recycle. This fitted perfectly into my way of life and love of reusing what we have to reduce the drain on the planet’s resources, as well as appealing to the creative side of my personality
Well that was back in 2011, and I have since then bought an industrial overlocker, and have completely taken over the top floor of our house. I registered as self employed in March 2011, and now work full time as the Woolly Pedlar, upcycling knitwear into a whole host of products, which you will be able to find in my online shop, and when I’m out and about selling my woolly wares at markets and festivals. Head over the the events page on this website to see where I’ll be popping up next.
I love my work, and take a great deal of pleasure from working with colour and texture, and am now designing my own range of clothes, soft furnishings and accessories from recycled jumpers. I am meeting some lovely folk along the way, both fellow artisans, and the loyal army of customers that have discovered my work. My health has improved dramatically from when I was forced to leave teaching, and I now look forward to the future, and lots more woolly pedlaring to come.
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Just before I go, a few thank yous – to my long suffering husband and three children for being there for me when I needed you all.
Thanks for reading this first blogpost. See you soon!