Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Thai fisherman's trousers

I made some Thai fisherman's trousers. I can't call them pants, here in the UK pants means underpants! These are actually the second pair I've made, but I don't have any photos of the first ones, and they look a bit pyjama-y anyway. I got the idea for the pattern from here, which is where the photos below come from. Really easy to make, probably an hour from start to finish, and that's including time to turn the house upside down looking for the right colour cotton! I think these grey ones are smart enough to wear to work. Nice shoes and a black top and I think it would look really nice.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

An apology

I have had an apology from Shaws the Drapers for how my partner and I were treated.

The text reads:

"Dear Mr Williams,

With reference to your visit to our Wellfield Road shop. I was most disappointed to hear of the treatment you received and can only apologize most sincerely.

We pride ourselves on our customer service and our staff are constantly reviewed on this. We have obviously failed you on this occasion. I have spoken to the members of staff concerned about their attitude and have reminded them that customers are the most important aspect of our business.

We have traded now as a family business for over a hundred years and thankfully we do not get many complaints relating to our staff.

I can only apologize once again and woudl like to take this opportunity to thank you for shopping with us at Shaws the Drapers.

Yours sincerely

Philip Shaw

I am very glad that they sent this apology, and yet... no mention respect for their LGBT customers, or that they do not condone homophobia. Oh well, as I said, I am grateful that they did apologise - but sad that in 2013 they needed to.

I am still never going to shop there again.

Maddison Cowl

A friend asked me to make a cowl for her little girl Maddison, so I thought I'd write up how I did it. 

You will need: 
Less than 50 metres each of three different colours of double knitting 
3.5mm hook 

You will need to make 8 granny squares using your favourite method. I really like the Purl Bee tutorial, it is explained really well and is super easy to follow!

So you'll be making 8 squares and sewing them together into a band. You could make all the squares the same, but I like them all to be different. Have a look at the picture to see how I made them. The sizing can be adjusted at this point - my squares were a little under 3 inches - so if you want to make it smaller, make fewer squares - if you want it larger, make more!

Once the granny squares have been sewn into a band, you'll be continuing the granny pattern (*3 tr, ch1, rep from * - or in American terms it's *3dc, ch1, rep from *) remembering to make 3 trebles (or doubles if you're American) inbetween each square. Look at the next picture to see how I did it. Easy right? I did 5 rows of granny, but you could make fewer, or more if you wanted. The last row is slightly different - just do the 3 trebles (or doubles) in each ch1 space, but don't ch1 - this makes the top and bottom of the cowl ever so slightly smaller, which helps to keep it snug on your neck. 

Isn't it pretty? The next time I make one I'm going to use all my favourite granny square patterns. Hope Maddison likes her cowl, and that it keeps her warm this Winter.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Low level homophobia

I can't believe that I'm still experiencing that low level homophobia that I had in school and University - you know that sniggering, nasty "Oh my God look at the gays" kind of homophobia? Last Saturday Chris and I went to excellent Juno Lounge for breakfast (I highly recommend it, lovely breakfast, and they're super friendly in there. They do good coffee as well!) and Chris wanted to get some wool for his ugly blanket. I taught him how to crochet, and he picked it up so quickly. He started learning squares and wanted to make a blanket, but all he had was random yarn that I had given him, so none of it goes together! He's now on a mission to make the blanket as hideous as possible.
So we went to Shaws the Drapers to get some cheap yarn. I was horrified in there. Two shop assistants goggled at us, then laughed at us, then stared at us as we walked out. I bit my tongue - but after speaking to Chris about it afterwards, I realised I should let Shaws know that I would no longer be shopping at any of their stores. Here is the letter that I sent to them today:

"To whom it may concern,

I wanted to let you know of some poor customer service that I experienced in your Wellfield Road store. My partner and I called in to buy some wool on the morning of Saturday 19 October. We are a gay couple.

I have been shopping at this particular shop for over ten years, and always had a warm welcome. Often the shop assistants are amazed that a young man is buying wool, and ask what I'm knitting or crocheting. I have never felt anything but comfortable and accepted there. This was not the case on Saturday.

One shop assistant stood in front of the counter explaining to the queue of customers that there would be a short delay as one of the tills was not working. My partner said "thank you". He turned to face the counter, but she continued to look at him with a horrible expression on her face, but soon stopped as when she saw me looking at her.

When we left the shop, both shop assistants whispered - something derogatory - and sniggered, staring at us as we left the shop. It made me feel very uncomfortable to say the least. I have experienced homophobia many times, and I'm sure I will continue to experience it, but to be laughed at in such a scathing way in a shop that I have always thought to be a welcoming place upset and disgusted me.

I can only hope that this is not the way all of your employees behave, and I would suggest some diversity training for your staff. A review on Yelp says "I'm always amazed that Shaws the Drapers is still going in the 21st century." Unless your staff are happy to embrace the fact that we are living in the 21st Century, then all the younger people who have taken up knitting and crochet will not go to your shops.

I hope things do change, but sadly I will not see these changes as I will no longer be shopping at Shaws the Drapers. I am sorry that the poor attitude of some of your employees has stopped me from shopping with you in the future, as I have always found your knitting and crochet supplies to be very good value for money - but I do not spend my money in shops that are homophobic.

Yours faithfully
Mr A C Williams"

I'll let you know if I get any reply.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis

My version of Ralph Vaughan Williams' "Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis". Noisy.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Mittens for Christopher

Some mittens I designed and made for Christopher. Pretty cool, huh? I'm working on the pattern at the moment. Hope to have it in my Ravelry shop soon.

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