There’s no rest for the wicked! I’ve been back from a writer’s retreat at The Watermill in Tuscany for a week, the washing is all done, and the cupboards filled again. I’ve had a day childminding Daisy, been to my writing group and have a plan for my first book. Despite heading off to university in September, I am hoping to write this book over the summer. I am looking to write about my journey as The Woolly Pedlar, giving tips along the way on how to get to grips with social media. ‘You’ll only ever be like a farmer’s wife making jam’ was the comment thrown at me by a family member when I first mooted the idea of making a business from recycled knitwear. Light the touch paper and stand back! Having lost my teaching job through ill health, I was not going to sit around feeling sorry for myself. I built up The Woolly Pedlar from one pair of armwarmers in 2011 to be a successful business and an international brand. I couldn’t have done this without the use of social media and would love to share the knowledge and skills I gained in this area. As a creative entrepreneur, I feel I can relate to other creative folk, talking their language, without using a lot of technical computer jargon. I do not however profess to be an ICT expert!
Just this week, my husband had a client visit him (he’s an accountant) who spoke of how she’d love to be able to share what she makes on social media, but does not know where to start or how to do it, and it simply terrifies her. I think a book that is easy to read, interspersed with funny stories and anecdotes about my time as the Woolly Pedlar, might just go down a treat.
I’ve been toying with an idea for the title, and have been discussing this over on Facebook, both on my Sue Reed Writes page, and The Woolly Pedlar page. At the moment I’m favouring: ‘Tales from the Woolly Garret: Getting to Grips with Social Media’. I think that then leaves room for other volumes. Maybe, a book of short stories?
I’ve written so much over the past seven years over on The Woolly Pedlar website, (and you can hop over there and catch up on these on the blog page there), but I was heartbroken that some of the stories would disappear if I shut the website down. I want my story about how Jeremy Corbyn bought one of my woolly wraps and then was hounded by the press to be seen; I want my experiences selling my woolly wares at festivals and Christmas fairs to be written down ; I want to write about all the comments given by the general public; I want to tell all the funny stories from my Women’s Institute talks and other outings.
I would also like to develop this theme and offer courses and tutorials on using social media. I’ll be meeting with Cool Terry from TWDA next week to discuss how we can put out tutorials on the internet. Despite being of the mature variety, I learnt how use social media to my advantage. It’s never too late to learn, and using social media does not need to be daunting or overly time consuming, but it is crucial if you want to show your creations to a world-wide audience and sell your work.
If you would like to hear more, or have a suggestion for the book title, then do get in touch.
So it’s finally over and out for me. I’ve set today, May 1st, as the date I retire from my duties as The Woolly Pedlar, and in a minute will introduce to Laurie, who is taking over the business. I’ll be doing a Facebook Live at 8pm if any of you can join me.
I’m sure Laurie will have far more to say to you once she is up and running. Our solicitors are still trying up a few loose ends, so the actual handover hasn’t taken place, but is imminent. When everything is ready, I will hand over the newsletter, website and blog to her. In the meantime, you can still use the website and I will send out any orders.
I would like to thank you all so much for your tremendous support over the past eight years. It’s been a wonderful journey, starting with a pair of armwarmers and ending as worldwide brand. I’ll leave you to read over my past blog posts rather than wax lyrical about it all now.
As you may or may not know, I’m starting a new chapter, and will be going to Newcastle University in September to do my MA in Creative Writing. I am very much looking forward to learning the craft with some excellent tutors. So look out for my first book!
If you would like to continue to follow me, you can do so from my new website which is currently being built at www.suereedwrites.co.uk . I plan to blog about my progress in becoming a writer, and will put links to any work I get published.
If social media is your thing, then you can follow me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/suereedwrites or on Instagram @suereedwrites or Twitter @suereed62
So, let’s introduce you to Laurie Beranek who will be the new Woolly Pedlar. Laurie lives in Wisconsin, USA and has been sewing all her life. She designs crochet patterns and has a passion for fibre. I am very excited after chatting to Laurie, as she has some great ideas to bring to the business. I know you are going to love her – she is a really sweet person and I am confident the business is in safe hands. Laurie tells me that she has plans to make buying easy for UK customers and those in other countries. Of course, those of you in the United States will be thrilled the business is coming Stateside!
Good byes are never easy, and I have very mixed emotions. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. My business would not have got to where it is without your loyal support and custom. I have made some very dear friends both is the trading family and as customers and I do hope to keep in touch with many of you.
With very best wishes
I’ve been doing a lot of pondering over the weekend, and as a result, the date has been set, and I am going to retire on 1st May 2019.
I’ve decided finally to hang up my Woolly Pedlar coat to concentrate on my writing and Nanny duties. I had hoped to carry on with The Woolly Pedlar part time, but I’m such an all or nothing kind of girl, that this wasn’t posssible. I’m off to so my MA in Creative Writing at Newcastle University at the ripe old age of 57, and I need badly to free up some time to concentrate on this.
Today is the eighth anniversary of The Woolly Pedlar, and it has been a glorious ride. I’ve learnt so much, and more importantly, have met so many wonderful people. However, it is time for someone else to pick up the reins. I would love to see the business carry on, rather than fizzle out.
Do you know of anyone who would like to pick up on a small business, recycling waste wool knitwear, then do get in touch. I am offering all good will, my social media accounts, website, machinery, designs, stock and materials to enable the new Woolly Pedlar to hit the ground running.
You can contact me at email@example.com to express your interest. Deadline for applications is Monday 22 April.
If you would like to buy any of the remaining stock from the website, I suggest you hot foot it over the the shop asap!
A new chapter begins for The Woolly Pedlar, as I become a part-time upcycler and textile designer, part-time childminder, and part-time student of Creative Writing.
In the last blog I wrote about my search for a new Woolly Pedlar to take the woolly baton and carry on the race to recycle waste wool knitwear. I’ve had a fair few folk interested in the business, and had a few enter into more serious discussions. However, for their own good reasons, all have decided that The Woolly Pedlar is not for them. The reasons for selling the business were that I was hoping to go to Newcastle University to do my MA in Creative Writing, and I was about to start childminding my granddaughter.
Childminding has now started, and I have Daisy for two days a week on average. She is a little poppet, and I am loving my Nanny days. She’s just turned one, and is so much fun!
I did apply to Newcastle University and was thrilled to hear this week that I have an unconditional offer, starting my MA part time in September. I’m very much looking forward to a new chapter beginning, with a focus on creative writing. I promised myself many years ago, that I would be writing by the time I was 60, and so with three years left to go, I look forward to fulfilling my dream
As for the Woolly Pedlar, I have decided in the absence of anyone to take over the business in the short term, to continue with it on a part time basis, making what I can, in the time I have available. I’m not at present going to be booking any major events or shows, and am not taking any orders.
I will continue to collect waste knitwear from some of Hexham’s charity shops, and look forward to making some new designs. This lovely jumper was found last week, and I’m collecting knitwear in similar colours to make a range of jackets and accessories with it.
What I make will be presented in a Facebook Market on a given night, once a month, with a code word being released at a given time. The first one will be on Friday 1st March at 8pm.
This sweatercoat will be going in to the upcoming market, and this week I will be making armwarmers and waterfall shawls from the left overs in the same colours, which I’ll add to Friday’s market.
Anything left after two days, from 3rd March will go onto the website.
It would have been such a shame to let the Woolly Pedlar fizzle out, and so I do hope you will join me over on Facebook for the monthly market, and continue to buy from the website. Thanks for following and reading this update. If you’d like to sign up to the newsletter you can do so on the homepage of this website or by using this link: NEWSLETTER
Personally, I’m not a Dr Who fan, but I do like the analogy of regenerating, which is what I am hoping The Woolly Pedlar will do. I am looking for someone else, or a group of someone elses to take the reins from me, and become the new Woolly Pedlar. I have always promised myself that by the time I’m 60, I’ll have written a book, and this week I am heading up to Newcastle University to find out about doing my MA in Creative Writing in September. I’m 57 next week, so I have three years in which to get writing! I also begin childminding my granddaughter very soon, as her mum, my daughter, returns to work.
So, whilst The Woolly Pedlar is doing really well, and I’m still loving making clothes from your preloved sweaters, I feel that this is a good time to sell the business. Would you like to be the next Woolly Pedlar? Do you have passion for fibre and wool, or for running an ethical business? There’s nothing to say that you have to run the business the same way as I have done, but with the sale, I’m offering all goodwill, my very active Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, website and branding. There is also the option to get the machinery and hardware plus any surplus stock. I would give all my designs and knowledge and work with you as much as I can to help with the transition.
So, if you know of someone, or a group of folk that would like to take over this thriving business, then do get in touch. I’d love to hear from you!
There’s certainly a nip in the air up here in Northumberland for half term week. It’s bright and sunny mind you, and the autumn colours are looking glorious. To help keep your little ones warm and cosy when out and about collecting leaves and conkers, I’ve reduced all children’s ponchos on the website. I’ve taken £10 off all sizes, making a discount of around 25%. It’s free dielivery too is you live in the UK. I’m happy to send abroad too.
My ponchos are made from squares of recycled wool knitwear, with lots of lovely soft lambswool. They come in two styles, either with a pixie hood, or a round neck.
I designed these ponchos myself, and they have remained a firm favourite with customers over the years. They are easy to wear and pop on over heads without having to struggle with sleeves. As I wash all recycled knitwear first, they are machine washable, but please use the wool cycle.
You can find them over on the website in the kids and babies section, along with measurements and all the information you will need
They come in four sizes: age 1-3. age 3-5. age 6-9 and teen. Don’t forget that I also make adult ponchos. We wouldn’t want the grown ups missing out!
I’ll leave you with a rogue’s gallery of some of my pixie poncho wearing little peeps. If you get a poncho, I’d love to receive a photo.
Oh boy! I have been completely blown away by the response to my End Of Summer Sale. I have reduced adult ponchos and woolly wraps by forty per cent, so I guess that is a really good reduction, and I’m thrilled that so many of you have taken advantage of this. It’s awesome that so many of you are choosing upcycled, ethical fashion as your choice for autumn wear.
My ponchos and woolly wraps are made from recycled lambswool, washed, and then cut into squares and sewn patchwork style using an overlocker (or serger if you are from the USA). I am careful about my colour combinations, and like to use a contrasting or complimentary thread, with seams showing for added texture and interest. I’ve made loads of them over the past seven years, and they remain one of my best sellers.
Here are some of my happy customers wearing their ponchos
If you have bought a poncho from the sale, or at any other time, I’d love to see a photo of you! I have a ‘Satisfied Customers’ album over on my Facebook page, which you can appear in.
Woolly wraps are also in the sale, with forty per cent off, and we mustn’t forget this famous purchase!
All your orders will go out in plastic free packaging. I had to think out of the box when looking for strong plastic free packaging, and came across these three layer Kraft paper potato sacks from Jones and Cane. Customers have reported back that they are great, and can be reused as storage bags.
You know what they say, about doors closing and opening. Well, I had one door slammed firmly shut this month, as I was kicked out of The Sill, in Northumberland National Park. They were furious with me for suggesting their shop gave preference to Chinese made goods over local makers. Within the very same week I was contacted by Beryl at Guru Boutique in Darlington, begging me to supply her shop with my woolly wares, and in particular, sweatercoats.
I don’t usually put my coats in other shops, as I find they sell really well from the website, but Beryl was quite insistent, so I agreed to meet with her last Sunday. Apparently one of my customers had gone into to the shop wearing a coat I had sold her at Woolfest. Beryl had fallen in love with them, and thought they would be a perfect fit for their shop.
As soon as I met Beryl, and her partner Col, I recognised a kindred spirit. Not only that, we actually had friends in common amongst the biker fraternity of Darlington. I used to live at the top of Weardale , and our neighbour at the time Dav, turns out to be a really good friend of theirs. Dav is quite a sight to behold, with a ginger beard that is formed into one long dreadlock that reaches the ground, which isn’t that far, as Dav is quite a short guy.
Beryl & Col chose a selection of clothing, which included a coat and jacket, and took it back to the shop. I was amazed to hear that the coat sold in a couple of days!! I was also chuffed to bits to see that they had arranged a photo shoot, and wasted no time at all in posting photos and videos to their Facebook page.
What awesome support, and what a lovely blossoming relationship. This feels like a far better fit that the corporate world of the National Park. It’s great when the little people can work together and support each other. Beryl tells me Guru Boutique has been trading in Darlington for 47 years. I’m very proud to be part of that story now, and am super glad of the awesome support that these lovely people have given me.
I’m busy making another coat to replace the one that has sold, and will be sending that, along with this super number in red, at the end of the week.
Thanks for reading my blog. Sorry it’s been so long since I have written one!
Having been out for a 5 mile walk this morning, enjoying what was a lovely Spring day, here in Northumberland, I’ve been spending the afternoon, experimenting with making woollen flowers. Woolfest will be announcing plans very soon, to ask everyone to bring a woollen flower along to the event, and I’m working on making some crib sheets for how to do this for the Wool Clip shop, and to go on the website.
I’m really pleased with this rolled wool flowers. which I’ve made from a piece of felted wool jumper. It’s really easy, and would make a great rainy day activity. Here’s how
- Draw round something round and cut a circle from your piece of felted wool. You will be able to experiment with size.
- Cut a spiral into the circle, starting narrower at the outside, and getting wider towards the middle. The outer of your spiral will be the centre of the flower.
- Beging to roll the spiral, starting from the outside,
- This is what it looks like when you have finished. The very end of your spiral can be used to cover the rough edges of the back.
- Cut a couple of leaves from green felted wool.
- Pin everything in place, with the leaves tucked under the last part of the spiral.
- Sew around the edges using blanket stitch. You could also use a hot glue gun, or fabric glue, but I prefer to sew.
- Sew on a brooch pin and there you go, a quick and easy woollen flower brooch. I guess you could sew a bead in the centre too if you have one.
I’ll be getting some kits made up for The Wool Clip shop, or send me a message here and I can get one to you. Happy crafting.