Tag Archives: competition

WHY ROYAL MAIL IS LOSING OUT TO THE COMPETITION …..(£2.78 versus £11.99)

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OK – I’ve got a bit of a bee in my bonnet about Royal Mail at the moment – I was always against privatising it – and the privatisation process was botched, what ever Lord what’s his name has just announced in his parliamentary review!

white merino

100 gm of white merino tops/roving

As I post quite a lot of parcels, I have been very irritated over the past year at the changes Royal Mail have made to the cost structure.  They have restricted the sizes and increased the rates.  That’s actually meant that, as I sell quite a lot of wool in fibre form – for spinners to make into yarn – I have had to change the way I sell it.  I used to be able to stick it into a plastic bag, in its natural “ball shape” and go down to the post office and pay £2.20, if I remember rightly, to post whatever size it was, and I could send up to 750 gm for the same price.

a pair of carders used for preparing wool for spinning

a pair of carders used for preparing wool for spinning

That doesn’t mean I wasn’t annoyed when another of my popular items – carders for spinners – happened to sometimes weigh under 750 gm and sometimes just over 750 gm and I could never tell what bit of packaging made the difference! (About another pound or two in postage costs!)  Customers would get annoyed when they thought I’d overcharged them postage, and I’d be miffed if I’d set the price too low and made a loss!

When they changed the small parcel rate to 1 kg for £2.80 (2nd class), I no longer had a problem with the carders, but the wool ‘roving’ was a nightmare, as the box size was only 8 cm high.  That meant I could only send balls of wool for the medium parcel rate (£5.20) and tried every which way to avoid this, as sometimes the cost of the wool was only £3.

I tried to flatten the parcels, even bought a food vacuum machine, but the wool was either too compressed or not compressed enough.  I tried selling smaller amounts so I could fit them into the large letter rate,  which was fine for very small amounts, but if the letter was just over 2.5 cm thick, I then had to pay small parcel rate anyway!  (They put everything thro the size slots at the post office!)

Recently they have increased the height of a small parcel to 16 cm – for me that means that I can now post the 100 gm balls of wool, but not the 200 gm balls, cos wool is springy and however hard I try to tape it all up, it parcel seems to grow on my way to the post office – smile!  So I stopped buying in large quantities of fibres.

In fact I stopped selling altogether for a while, for a combination of reasons.  When I started selling again this October, I found  that there is a collection point for a private parcel service just a few more miles away than my local post office.  They don’t have such restrictive sizing for their parcels, and so the problem was solved.  I’ve just put an order in for a whole bale of white merino tops ……

I do still post most of my parcels through the post office, not only is it convenient, but I actually believe in giving local businesses my custom, and making an effort to ‘USE THEM OR LOSE THEM’.

weaving accessories, just a set of sticks measuring just over 61 cm long!

weaving accessories

I was in a hurry on Friday, and had several items to post, so I took them all down to the local post office.  I did have my doubts about one parcel – a set of weaving accessories that weighed under 1kg, but was just over the 61 cm allowed for medium parcels.  I thought I might just get away with sending it 1st class medium (£5.65).  It was carefully measured and pronounced too large for that rate, and I’d have to send it by the Parcelforce – express 48 (hrs) service – £11.99!

So I went home, got online, booked the parcel into the private courier service, printed out the label and then took it up to the drop off point.

COST:  £2.78! (plus a little extra petrol)

AND THAT’S WHY

ROYAL MAIL IS LOSING OUT TO THE COMPETITION!

BRITISH WOOL FROM A BRITISH MILL

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BRITISH WOOL FROM A BRITISH MILL

I have been looking around for a while to see if I could source some new yarns for knitters and weavers, and it’s not as easy as you would think!

At one time there were hundreds of mills preparing wool from British sheep for cloth making, and export – in fact in Shakespeare’s time, wool was the largest export from Britain and made many a fortune!  But things have moved on, and whilst there is now a growing market for wool again (for years farmers have had to sell their fleeces for practically nothing), the mills have slowly disappeared, and the costs of scouring the wool, carding & spinning it, make it very expensive for small producers to supply yarns to crafters.

I have, however, found a commercial mill in the north, who supply garment manufacturers worldwide, and who specialise in British Wool, who are willing to sell me cones from their stock of discontinued colour ranges.

colour chart

colour chartolympia - blue/grey ply

opal

opal

They are not seconds, but simply odds and ends of colours that are no longer on their current catalogue.  The cones are sold by weight, and are around 1Kg each – rather more than most knitters and weavers would normally buy for themselves – and as they are a thin 2 ply (as used by manufacturers), there are over 5,700 metres of yarn on each cone.

They can be knitted or woven as they are, or ‘doubled up’ to give thicker yarns, and as I have chosen for this first trial order, colours that will work together well, you could easily combine the colours when doubling, or trebling the thickness.  If you are weaving with them, all you need to do is check the number of wraps an inch (dpi) round a ruler – if you want to knit with them, then you would need to knit a test piece to check whether you need to make any adjustments to your pattern.

I have got these yarns at a reasonable price, but the price per cone works out at £21.99 per kilo, or more if the cone is heavier, and although this means that you are getting the wool at only £2.20 per 100 gm, I appreciate that not everyone will want to buy several cones at once, especially as they will have to go parcel post, which can add to the cost.

However, if you are part of a knitting group, or spinners & weavers guild, and can arrange to share the cones – this will be a very good deal!

To see the full range, and put an order in, please go to my listing on ebay (click here).

As I said, this is a trial order, and there are lots more colours, and other yarns available, but I wanted to test the idea out first.

Please let me know what you think, even if you are not buying at the moment.

OTHER NEW ITEMS LISTED…..

If you are like me, any natural fibre is better than plastic, and so I have started stocking some JUTE NOT PLASTIC shopping bags, as well as a great storage bag for all kinds of craft items. fold-03 juteb-26_l jutes-03_l

  In Wales, we have had to pay for plastic bags at shops and supermarkets for about a year now, so people are turning to buying nice shopping bags again!

The stock photo of the striped storage bags shows it in use for towels & even plants, but they are great for keeping odds & ends of wool, especially when you are working on a project and could become your favourite knitting bag!jutestr-06jutestr-disp1jutestr-empty

Please go to my ebay page or my etsy shop to have a look at these, and all the other craft supplies available.

Thank you to everyone

who has referred friends and colleagues to add to my mailing list, after I lost the whole list  – the CALENDAR COMPETITION (see previous blog) runs until 10 February,  and I would welcome any further contributions!  Please just fill in the form on the blog.

I also decided to print up a couple of the images as posters, and have just put them up for sale on etsy – see here

If you want to get in touch with me its julz@julzweaving.plus.com, to add a comment at the end of this blog, and please  do have a look at the ‘ABOUT JULZ’ PAGE FOR INFO ON ORDERING DIRECT ETC

All the best

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CALENDAR COMPETITION

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Before I write anything else

I have just spent some time trying to work out how to increase the  font size of this blog, because its too small to read easily.  However the editing panel seems to allow me to do anything BUT increase the font size – EXCEPT BY USING PARAGRAPH STYLES AS ABOVE –  so I suggest you use the view drop down list on your browser to ZOOM IN.  (Is anyone knowledgeable enuf to tell me how to do it?)

Calendar Competition INFO

I had a few thoughts about the Calendar Competition I mentioned in the previous blog – the first one is that,  if you don’t read thro’  the whole blog, you wouldn’t notice it!  And secondly, whilst you might be happy to copy this blog to your friends, its probably easier to ask you for direct referrals on the form below.

So briefly, as I have lost all the email addresses of my previous customers, that I used to send you newsletters, telling you about new stock, special offers and to direct you to more information on this blog.

Ironically, I’m going to have to use the blog to tell people about the competition, but I will be able to compile a partial mailing list of recent customers, as well as going thro my ebay & etsy sales records that are still current enuf to be on the sites, but it will take a few days to do that, so for anyone who reads this blog ………

I need your help!

Could you please fill in the form below if you know anyone who would be interested in receiving my newsletters, and the craft equipment & supplies – for spinners, weavers, felters, knitters, quilters, dressmakers, soap makers, bakers, and other crafts that I cater for.  Current stock is listed on ebay and  etsy,   clicking on the names will take you to the sites.

I thought I’d offer prizes for

the 3 people who refer the most email addresses – but please don’t flood me with junk emails etc – I will check with each of the addressees you give me to make sure they want to be on my mailing list.  As I am trying to rebuild my mailing list, could all past customers who would like to be on it, fill in the form anyway, whether you want to refer your friends or not, and if several people give me the same names, that’s fine – I will still count the number of referrals you give me for the competition!

My customers are worldwide, so please fill in the form wherever you live, and you can refer anyone in any country.

You have my PROMISE, that this mailing list is only for my own use and will never be shared or sold to anyone else.  You can ask to be deleted from the list at any time.

The 3 Prizes

I have two calendars left of a short run I had printed of my own photographs – taken mostly of the Brecon Beacons area in South Wales – sample scans of a few of the pages shown below.

(NB: scans of printed material are always awful!)  You can click on the pictures to enlarge them, and there is a third picture on the previous blog…..I can’t work out how to put the pictures side by side, so I won’t put that one in………you’ll recognise it anyway!

I also have a t-shirt printed with the january snow image – so there are 3 prizes – the first winner can have a choice.  The competition will run until Sunday 10 February, but you can still use the form any time after that to make referrals.  

In addition, when you next order, please remind me you filled in the form and I will add a small gift to your order.

january

january

april
april

referral form

THANKS FOR YOUR HELP!……please also have a look at the updated ABOUT JULZ page, which gives you information about how to get combined postage rates over both sites etc etc……

All the best for 2013

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calling all past customers………my computer died and I lost your email addresses!

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yes its true – I didn’t back up my mailing list, and so when the hardrive died on my ancient mac ibook last week, I lost all sorts of things – including my mailing list – which had about 350 email addresses on it!

so I bit the bullet and was finally  forced to retire my much beloved, 2nd hand ibook – with all of 128 bits of memory on it and 4G hard drive, that has lasted me about 8 years – it’s in bits on the shelf of the repair shop at the moment – to be used for spares!

They were able to retrieve some of the data on the hard drive, so I didn’t lose everything – luckily I have still got most of my old  photos, and the esoteric collection of music I downloaded years ago, when the Limewire sharing system existed, and I could get them for free – smile!

But I lost all those stored emails that I didn’t bother to take off the system, or print out, so if you sent me an email at the beginning of last week, and I haven’t answered it – that’s why!

These include a few of the enquiries/orders I got for Kromski spinning & weaving equipment – see my last blog.

kromski's rigid heddle table loom

kromski’s rigid heddle table loomkromski's sonata spinning wheel

kromski’s sonata spinning wheel

What with the recent snow, and having to get to the library to read my emails, I have been rather “snowed under” this last week and have got behind with all those things on my ‘to do list’, and as a consequence, the order to Kromski hasn’t yet gone in – because I haven’t been able to confirm the horrendous amount of postage they want to send it all!

And now I’m not sure who ordered what!  So if you do happen to click onto this blog, please get in touch with me if you have ordered anything, AND, as I haven’t yet confirmed the order, there is still time – a couple of days – to request something specifically – and I can let you know the price, and add it to the order …….!

and ……i’m gonna need those orders – smile – cos I’m writing this on my new – it maxed out my credit card – macbook pro!  Got in late on Saturday, and i’m still finding my way around it!

SO –  IF YOU HAVE BEEN, OR WANT TO BE , ON MY MAILING LIST – PLEASE DROP ME AN EMAIL TO

julz@julzweaving.plus.com

Also, if you know of anyone who has bought off me in the last couple of years, could you direct them to this blog please!

That also applies to anyone you might know that would be interested to get my occasional newsletters, with info about new stock, special offers for Club Members only, and “buy direct” discounts.

I thought as an incentive, I would offer a prize to anyone who refers the most number of people – by the end of the month.  Please ask them to mention your name & email address, when they contact me, and the two people who have referred the most friends or colleagues, (even if they have already been referred by others,) will get the last  of my very limited edition of 2013 CALENDARS .

I only printed a few of them to see what they looked like, and because I ordered them late – just before Xmas, they  arrived a week ago.  I had thought about selling them, but there are a few tweaks i’d make if I decided to re-order them, by which time the first month of 2013 would be gone, and its not a good idea to sell a calendar in February!

I scanned a couple of the pages – but scanning print never gives very good results.  Here are a couple of them, just for you to see what they  look like.  I think you might recognise the December image.  You can click on the pictures to enlarge them.

january

januaryaprilaprildecemberdecember

The mailing list is international, so obviously, postage anywhere is included, if you win one!  I’d also appreciate some feedback about the idea of a calendar, from anyone who reads this blog – the photographs are my own pictures – taken some time ago, and most of them are landscapes taken around the Brecon Beacons, in South Wales – not far from where I live.

pant-teg landslip

pant-teg landslip

I took this one down the road just before xmas – if you remember it rained and rained and rained, and the hillside above my road has been an official (threat of) landslip area for many years as there are old mining tunnels running through it.  There is some concern that the drainage system had not been maintained, and just as a christmas was coming up, thousands of tons of mud slid down the hill and blocked the road – and yes, those are full size trees in the middle of the road!

Luckily no one was hurt, and the only building affected is the old meeting hall, next to the chapel, which you might be able to make out on the far side of the slip.  One family lost their home – as they lived above the road, and the container you can see was about 30 ft above the road!  Other families had to evacuate on the night it happened, but are all insisting on staying put now!

The road, of course, remains closed, which is a minor nuisance in the circumstances, and the council are waiting for all kinds of reports before they do anything – Just thought you might like to see it – I live a bit further up that road, so luckily am not affected!

So, I really can’t complain about my little run of bad luck – or bad planning!

wishing you all a happy new year (again) – there is new stock on both my ebay page (85solway) and my easy shop (julzcraftsupplies) – for more info and working links, please go to the ABOUT JULZ PAGE.

hope to hear from you soon!

julz signature