The End ...

... of the first full year

Anyone else wonder where 2016 disappeared to? Isn't it weird how it seems to go by so fast - and yet you look back and you have done so much... But that to-do list and those New Year's resolutions still seem to not have been completed ... always the way, hey...

Does anyone else give themselves a tough time about what they've accomplished? Or think that what you have done is never enough? Dwell on what you haven't done, over what you have? And somehow just not realise how much you have achieved? (Go on, hands up) ... well, I do that to myself and, no matter what I seem to do, it's just never enough.

I have promised myself that I will look back favourably on what has been a pretty epic year; it may not have been perfect but hey whose has... If yours has, please let me know how you managed this!

It's showtime! 

Looking back, I wonder how or why I decided to go to Edinburgh Yarn Festival in the Pop Up Market for my first ever show. I remember applying with my press release and a few images and Jo &  Mica really took a chance on me after only being in business a few weeks (possibly even just days). Nothing prepares you for show prep, especially when your first show is one with an audience of over 4,000 people! What/how much should you take, how do you get it there ... hang on how do you lay out a stall?... can I have a yellow tree?... Well, it was very much a leap of faith and, despite how tired I was, I had a fantastic time.

November saw The Little Grey Girl reach its first birthday and we celebrated in style at the Countess Ablaze Studio in Manchester, complete with prosecco and cake, and it was a great afternoon! I managed not to buy ALL of the yarn - well yes, ok, I might have bought some. I defy any knitter to spend an afternoon in the Countess' studio and buy nothing - even my non-knitter mum spent money. It was definitely an amazing way to mark the occasion - and who can have a birthday without exclusive products? Getting to work on a fabric design with Martine Ellis and a yarn with Leona of Rusty Ferret, both of which came out from a simple colour palette and a few images, was just amazing.

"A London show? a London show??" I hear you scream... I do love the Great London Yarn Crawl but as a Londoner, I feel cheeky taking a place from someone to get to enjoy something I can do anytime. To get to have a tabletop stall at Yarnporium run by the ladies behind the Great London Yarn Crawl was great: a show in London, where I live!! I could do to the event on the bus and sleep in my own bed. It was a fantastic event and great to see so many people there who were new to The Little Grey Girl as well as new to me. I very much enjoyed the guy who popped in and bought a cat bag during a break from classes; I did think he felt a little out of place.  

Time to shop! 

Not only have I moved from letting you guys shop on Etsy to having my own online shop on my website this year - I even built the site myself in a fit of "sure, why not do that with no experience... just press go and keep your fingers crossed" - eeek! It's amazing what you can work out when you really want to do something!

As well as the shop location, the product selection has grown and evolved! What started out as one little small rectangular zipped project bag as a trial really has moved in this year. Zipped project bags in three sizes and the introduction of the pyramid bag into the range. The launch of my notion kits - an idea bandied about with Kate Ellis in her back garden over wine, meats, cheese and bread in the sunshine - finally came to fruition and launched at Edinburgh Yarn Festival, only to sell out across the two days! There have been many kinds of fabrics, from spots to zebras to event exclusive fabrics, and that's even before we look at the range of stitch markers, that has just exploded!

...and next... 

The end of this year saw me being accepted as a vendor with the amazing Leona, the genius behind Rusty Ferret Yarns, for Edinburgh Yarn Festival for 2017, and in the main room too! I squee with joy and also recoil a little at the scariness of being there with those huge names in the knitting industry. I love this show; if you've never been, it's not to be missed! Of course, it being in Edinburgh, why not mix some knitting with some Scottish culture and sightseeing? 

Hang on, hang on, we are looking back not forward...

This year really has been quite something for The Little Grey Girl and it truly has been worth all of that work in the evenings and weekends, the stress and the worry and excitement. When I started this as a way to do something creative and to share something with people, I could never have imagined this. The people I have met and friends I have made, the people I have worked with... it's all been fantastic and I can't wait to do it all again. They are right: knitters are just the most wonderful people.

It struck me in writing this blog post that I hadn't ever realised just how much I'd achieved on top of working a 50 hour+ full-time job in the City, and I hadn't really celebrated some of these things or realised just how big they were. 

"So what is next for 2017, Gem, apart from celebrating more?", I hear you ask. Well, that'll be for next week (mainly 'cause I'm still working away on what that will look like) but I'm hoping to get my blog up, running and regular.

Right, thats all for now - until next time!

G x


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