I am privileged to work in an industry made up predominantly of women, both those who work in the industry and those who support it. So today to celebrate International Women’s Day I want to mention some of the great and inspiring women I have had the privilege of meeting and/or working with in the last year or so.
I’m going to start with the women of West Yorkshire Spinners. My WYS order was the second order I placed & the first to arrive. Since then I feel like I couldn’t do it without the WYS women at the end of the phone/email who rush me my orders when I haven’t placed them on time, who send me things for shows when I sign up way too late and who even hold on the phone while I rush through the place looking for a credit card that I am sure I put somewhere safe but now can’t find. Pauline, Janice, Maureen & Julie, huge thanks!
Caroline of Life In the Long Grass who has been so gracious in allowing me to stock her most beautiful yarn and to take up so much of her ridiculously little spare time with all kinds of ramblings.
Verity at Baa Ram Ewe who may not have realised it at the time but at my first Stitches show gave me advice that I have found invaluable ever since. She has built an incredible business in Baa Ram Ewe and on days when I think ‘Can I really do this’ I use the example she has set to say ‘It can be done’.
Kerry Lord, who I don’t know personally, but who I see as one of the most inspirational women in our industry. I have been a Toft fan for many years, it was one of the first artisan yarns I fell in love with, and feel like I have gotten to watch an amazing business become an even more amazing business. When I asked her how she did it all while at Stitches this year, she credited her great team with it, which I think says it all.
Deb Bramham of at Find Me Knitting, who I have yet to meet in person, but with whom I feel a real kinship as we opened at around the same time, who is generous in her sharing, liking and commenting and who I know I can bounce things around with! It’s not just the big inspiring things, but the small, selfless everyday things as well.
Joeli Kelly of Joeli Creates from whom, every time I speak to her, I learn something new and hugely valuable and whose Designer Bootcamp gave me the confidence to write and publish my own patterns.
Joy & Bobby of The Knitting Goddess who allow this urchin of a yarn seller to stock their beautiful yarns which help attract people to my small business.
Winwick Mum, someone I have never met and only emailed to bother, who allows me to print and giveaway her free pattern without even thinking of a licence fee. She has helped hugely with the UK sock knitting revival, something which can only be admired!
Sue Stratford who I used to adore from afar for her books and who I now get to be neighbours with at shows. She is just tireless as she goes from show to show with her amazing creations and I find her attitude deeply aspirational. And she still found time recently to give me great advice that is going to help me get my next big project out the door.
Louise Zass Bangham of Inspiration Knits who has allowed me to fawn all over her in the most ridiculous fan girl way and has been ever so kind in featuring me in her blog. She has also bought copious quantities of yarn from me when she could get it from just about anyone. She doesn’t know but I still have the handwritten Good luck note she wrote on the outside of my first delivery of books she sent me. It really is the small things.
Gemma Davis of the Farnham Maltings who looks after the Unravel Show who found some extra space for me so I could have a stand, something she really didn’t have to do. The cash flow from that show will allow me to stock new products much sooner than I would have otherwise so I will be ever grateful.
Kate Hepell of Knit Now, the only editor who mentioned my tiny business in her magazine before I was even within shouting distance of being able to pay for magazine advertising. She is also a great supporter of independent designers and has created a design call process at Knit Now that is not intimidating, even to the uninitiated.
Anniken Allis without whose classes I would be less of a knitter but also her attitude and the way she shares her journey as a designer. When I need a boost I just think of her saying ‘Ten years ago I hadn’t written a knitting pattern’ (albeit it’s probably 11/12 years now!).
The communities I belong to including the Woolsack, The Woolly Hub & Everyday Knitters which keep me going on the days when Banbh and Capall aren’t feeling very chatty and where I met one of my new online Yarn-y Besties YarnandBlarney! The ladies of Tin Can Knits who are so lovely to deal with. Rebecca at Ysolda Distribution who seems to be magic at getting packages shipped almost before they are ordered. My customers who find me online and shop with me even though they have no idea who I am, my customers who find me online and then come and say hi to me at shows. My customers who find me at shows and then share online. All of you, 99.999999% women, are awesome.
I would be remiss not to mention my Mom who remains one of the most tireless people I know. I still have no idea how she does everything she does but I am deeply grateful for the example she sets. She will also remain forever my favourite knitting buddy, particularly at 4am!
My mother in law who raised a man who has been happy to learn the finer points of yarn so he can be at Yarn shows with me and who is taking a day off on Friday to drive me to Edinburgh for the Yarn Festival so that I can do work knitting on the way and therefore justify the time as work time.
I feel like everyday is Women’s Day in my world as there is always a woman reaching out a hand to pull another up and I am eternally awed, inspired & grateful. I wish the same for all women, everywhere.