I think the title pretty much sums it up - we have only gone and got ourselves nominated for this years British knitting and crochet awards for 'Best Independent Yarn Brand'...
I can honestly say that I was completely taken aback when we heard the news, yes I had mentioned the fact that we would love to be nominated on our social media but other than that I didn't do very much else, so to hear that customers had gone out of their way to nominate us makes my heart burst with pride :)
Building the business up from its humble beginnings from a few skeins in my kitchen and some clay on my coffee table, to now having premises that we have recently expanded to include a showroom to accommodate the growing needs of our little business makes me realise just how far we have come, and now the award nomination - its the icing on the cake!
When I started FTLOY it was because I enjoyed making hooks and dyeing yarn and wanted to be able to help get people back to crafting who suffered with joint issues like my dear Mum who has Osteo and Rhematoid Arthritis, not to mention be able to juggle being a mum and working at the same time... but its become so much more than that, I wake up every single day excited to go to work - blessed doesn't even come close!
As some of you will be aware however this year has has seen its fair share of difficulties, the biggest of course being the loss of my much beloved Dad at the end of January aged just a mere 57. I think its important and somewhat therapeutic for me to share this story - why am I telling you this?, this is supposed to be a cheerful happy blog post right? - well it is... but I had to tell you why its been so tough so that I can explain just how much the award nomination means to me so bare with me.
I will never forget the terrified phone call call I received from my Mum that my Dad was having a heart attack, I jumped straight in the car and drove (probably sped if I'm honest as I don't remember driving to Mums) to Mums house, where I saw 2 ambulances plus a paramedic car so I knew then that it was very serious.
Dad had suffered a full cardiac arrest, my poor Mum had had to attempt to give him CPR, and because of her own ill health with the arthritis I can't imagine how painful that must have been for her, so what felt like hours passed of paramedics running up and down the stairs, as Dad had taken his heart attack in their bedroom, so me and Mum nervously waited in the living room with a female paramedic while the team worked on Dad. They were able to restart his heart and he was transferred to the leading cardiac hospital here in Glasgow. I don't remember much else about that day, its a bit of a blur, but all I do remember is feeling utterly useless. Family rushed to the hospital to be with my brother and I and to support my Mum. Time passed very slowly, there was a lot of waiting, then a surgeon explained that Dad had had a stent placed in his heart and it would be a waiting game to see if he regained consciousness and how much brain damage there would be.
He spent a week in intensive care. I can tell you that that week was torture! My Mum and I, along with my brother, and of course our families, were at his beside for the full 7 days, hoping and praying that he would wake up. Sadly it was not to be, on the final day Mum and my brother had stepped out for some air, and with just me in the room holding his hand, and playing mum and his favourite song aptly entitled "your my best friend" my Daddy slipped away.
Those of you who follow me on social media will know just how family orientated I am, how the cherubs play a very active part in the business, and how I refer to my Mum as my best friend all the time - well my Daddy was most certainly the reason I am as creative as I am, he would often refer to me as "arty farty" and he was right! but all of that came from him. My Dad was a lithographic printer nearly his whole adult life, he joined the Army when I was a baby to give me and Mum the life he thought we deserved, and even in the Army he was a printer. He would often draw me pictures to colour in when I was little, pictures worthy of a colouring book these days! So its safe to say I get those traits from him, mum couldn't draw you a straight line!
So when I started For the Love of Yarn it was most certainly Dad I wanted to impress... maybe impress is the wrong word... but Dad was a typical Glaswegian man of "that" generation - he struggled to outwardly show his emotions but when it came to the business he would just "get it", maybe because it gave us common ground to talk about, something he understood and was passionate about just as much as I was. You could see the spark of excitement in his eyes if I started talking about a new product I was adding to the catalogue, how his mind would start working away about how to make that product come to life and how he could help design the packaging to showcase it or get to work on a tool to help me be more efficient, this was how he showed his love, if you needed anything Dad was there! His ideas were endless and I could see in his eyes how proud he was.
To give you an example I once asked Dad if he could print off my logo on his A3 printer so I could put it on the door of the dye room so the postman knew where I was... I should have known then that I was never going to just get just a quick print out - that wasn't Dads style. He set to work on making a 3d model of my logo, mounted and framed. This thing was huge! He sent my poor Mum to every craft shop in Glasgow for supplies, and a few weeks later he presented this glorious hard cut and painted, mounted and framed 3D sign for me to display. Henry the sheep had been brought to life! .... I didn't have the heart to tell him that I still needed a print out just for the door lol!
You can see Henry hanging pride off place on the wall here - and do you see what I mean ... its a bit bigger than an A3 print out lol
It is a strange feeling to be without him and still strive to push the business forward, because part of me feels like an element of the business died when he passed away, and why I've been struggling I guess for the last few months trying to regain that focus, and the direction I want for FTLOY.
So when I was told about the nomination it really was one of those moments of sunshine in what had felt like a thick dark fog - I was doing what I set out to do which was to make people happy, and that hadn't changed. So I'm not ashamed to say I cried, tears of joy with a little sadness that he's not hear to see it, especially because the new showroom is now finished so that timed with the nomination brought it home that I won't see that spark in his eyes anymore, that I can't just pop round to show off whatever I've been working on.
But I said this blog post wasn't supposed to be doom and gloom and its not, I'm thankful! very very thankful... how many people can say they have a job they truly love, that they get to do something that makes people happy? Im guessing its fewer than we would all like right?
Winning the award would of course be amazing! but I really mean it when I say its not whats important to me, the fact that customers took the time to nominate me and show their support mean so much more than any blog post could explain. I couldn't do what I do without the amazing support and community that we have in the yarn industry, each and every customer is important to me because we are like a family! If we see one of us struggling, or in need of something we rally round. Its a very profound experience and something we don't see often enough.
Wow I'm getting very political and philosophical in my old age! .... I just wanted to say THANK YOU, and regardless of who wins please know that I'm truly humbled to be nominated and it really has meant the world to me.
You can find out more about the awards and how to vote here: https://www.letsknit.co.uk/awards/voting
This ones for you Daddy xx