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None of your Bizniz… Small Business Owner’s Pet Peeves, pt. 1.

Despite what people say, and what some cringey, misguided craft influencers might post Reels about (she got blocked, ☕️) , running a small business is no walk in the park. As much as I play it down because of my serious case of imposter syndrome, I run a small business, as do members of my close family, and we cope with the things that this way of life gives you. Working for yourself has its benefits and drawbacks much the same as working for an employer does, but it’s always difficult to explain to other people how and why working for yourself is more often than not fraught with worry. Like, how can it be? You are your own boss! You can do what you like! Right? Do you want a day off? Go for it! You jammy git. Working for yourself sounds so relaxing! Do you remember that bit in The Office UK Christmas Special when David Brent is newly self-employed and is laying in bed asking himself for a day off? Go and watch it now, it’s mega.

That isn’t to say that people who are ’employed’ don’t have any worries, OBVIOUSLY NOT. I was employed for all my adult life until two years ago. I also don’t want people who aren’t self-employed to think that this is a huge ‘woe is us’ exercise. Not at all. What I am saying, though, is that people often see self-employment as an easy way of working, and on top of that, small business owners almost always have to do practically everything themselves, from packing orders and making the actual stuff, to working on weekends to just get the bare minimum done so the weekdays don’t send you into a spiral of hatred and overwhelm, invoices and admin and working with your accountant who you also have to pay (a fact that people struggle with), answering emails straight away so you don’t potentially lose custom (the idea that if you don’t answer an email from a client/collaborator in less than 3 minutes can often trigger anxiety – what if they don’t buy the thing? They’ll leave a bad review! They might not want to work with me!), having to jump through the constantly-changing hoops that social media forces on us (algorithms can eff off), having to constantly sell yourself and push your products on peeps even when you feel like you’re being OTT, the pressure of sites like Etsy introducing their catty and frankly unfair “Star Seller” incentive that adds extra, uncalled for stress on small businesses (seriously, don’t get me started), and, bonus, we have actual lives with kids, other-halves, responsibilities and almost always full or part-time jobs, too.

I may be on the verge of another rant here – and I will be mentioning this again later – but for me, Etsy’s Star Seller incentive is yet another way of putting pressure on small businesses. Don’t even get me started on the people who brag about being Star Sellers, too. It’s the small biz equivelent of those people who dob you in to the dinner lady and show off their new Nike Air Max like a twat in the PE changing room saying how amazing they are when everyone else is struggling to afford trainers from the market. It’s a way of punishing small business owners who don’t have as much free time or responsibilities as others. I digress…

The next time a random tells you that you have it easy running a small business venture, wipe a bogie on them from me, will you?

So, it’s with great joy and love that I have the pleasure of sharing some of favourite small businesses’ pet peeves and things they can’t stand about running their small enterprises, because although being able to do what we enjoy as a hobby for actual work and money is beyond fabulous, you’ve got to take the rough with the smooth. There isn’t light without dark, there isn’t… Yeah, you get the picture. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, etc. On with the show! All business owner’s first names/business names have been abbreviated for their privacy, obvs, and this article contains some strong language.

“Family and friends expecting everything for free…” – F

My loves, if I had a penny for every time I’ve heard this I would have a lot of pennies. One of the most disheartening things about being a small business that makes stuff is when people who are supposed to support you ask for freebies, somehow conveniently forgetting that actually doing so takes time away from creating items that will actually be SOLD for CASH. The best way of dealing with relatives and friends who do this (or your mum’s colleague’s neice’s neighbour who saw your work on Insta and would “LOVE” one of your blankets, for free) is to politely explain why it’s unreasonable that they’re asking for a free item. Ask them why they are expecting it for free. Or you could ask for a deposit. See them run.

“People who aren’t tech savvy blaming me when they can’t purchase/download one of my patterns” – B, and “The people who tell me to print their digital downloads for them” – T

Being able to sell digital items and generate a passive income is one of the many reasons I’m thankful to be living in a digital age, but sadly some people who aren’t used to our internetty world exist and blame YOU, YES YOU, who dares to sell these things in this way for their lack of knowledge and shortcomings in the world of digital downloads. It isn’t your fault, of course, and no matter how many times you might write “How to Download Digital Items” instructions on your website, Policies or FAQ they will still message you and threaten to give you a bad review or a legal letter (I wish I was making this shit up) if you don’t absolutely immediately send them the digital item via carrier pigeon or horse. Sadly, the best way of dealing with this stuff is by giving them the instructions again, and again, and probably once again for luck and then waiting for the “thank you” that will never arrive. Joyce, learn some manners and learn how to use the internet before you use the internet, k babes?

“When people treat your small business like it’s just a little hobby on the side. Like, bitch, I work f***ing hard!” – L

From the condescending remarks to the ‘when are you going to get a real job?’ to the frankly infuriating, ‘is that all you do all day? Sitting there knitting? You make money from that, then? Weird… Lol’ it’s often bloody hard to convince people that doing something that isn’t a standard desk job or working down a mine shaft IS WORK. Some people see you crafting and making stuff and automatically assume that it cannot be possible for you to make money from it, pay tax, put food on the table and generally live off it. Who knows if this will change with time? I hope so.

“The constant need to create content that generates sales is actual BS” – R

Content creation (despite how many posers will try and dress it up) is basically taking photos or making graphics and putting them on your social media platforms, and it’s hard work, and most of the time you can’t win. Post too much? You’ll be seen as spammy by customers and/or the algorithm (ugh) will think you’re a bot and hide your posts from followers. Aside from working around the unpredictability of the algorithm’s PMS, coming up with ideas is exhausting and unforgiving. So yeah, it’s actual BS, for real. I Iliterally have nothing else to add here apart from we’re all in the same blinkin’ boat, even the biggest names in the biz have trouble, too.

“Blunt requests like PRICE? Or if the item is €25 they message you saying ‘I’ll pay €20, no more’. Umm, no you won’t!” – S

Would you walk into ASDA or Mercadona, pick up a box of Milk Tray and tell the cashier, “I’ll pay 2 quid for these, no more’? I’d wager that you wouldn’t. Would you stroll into Zara, pick up a handbag and say, “this is nice but €60 is a bit steep. I can only go up to €30 on this. Sorry, hun xxx”. No. So, why do people think this is okay with small businesses? Some people treat purchasing handmade items much like one would act in the Souk Semmarine, haggling and bartering with the sellers until they get a good price. If you ever find yourself in this sticky situation, remind the buyer of the price again and if they don’t like that, they can bugger off to Primark. In terms of the blunt requests, I have started deleting all blunt requests from my comment feed and inbox, even if they are surrounded by emojis, like that suddently makes their rude YARN? PRICE? WHAT IS THIS? comment more palatable. These people will not be your customers, supporters or friends, so sod them. Also, I’ve heard people remark about this saying things like ‘Oh, it isn’t meant rudely’ or ‘they’re just asking’, to which I will say, I don’t care if you’re just asking, insert some please and thank you’s. It means a lot. You’re talking to a fellow human being. Manners, Mavis.

“People asking what patterns I use. They want to make it themselves instead of buying the item from me…” L

There are WIDELY differing views on this. Some small business owners I know have no issue with sharing the yarns they use, patterns they work from and even sharing elements of their business model and how many times they go to the loo every day. That’s cool and I respect these people because you can run your venture however the dickens you like. However, a lot of us don’t think that this information should be a free for all, and I’m one of them. You may have gathered this already if you follow me on social media…. HEY GIRL, HEY. My personal belief is that my work, process and materials are sacred and are to be protected. Hours of research, trial and error goes into that stuff and I will not be spreading that precious knowledge freely. Sorry about it. I tend to ignore messages and comments that ask what yarn and stitches I use (especially if the pattern will be charged for later on. Blame having patterns stolen in the past for that), where I bought it, etc. I’m not being a bitch or a gatekeeper, but it’s the way I do things and I love the element of exclusivity.

One tip for people who would like to know about the process or materials a crafter uses: be polite and don’t get in a piss if the maker declines to tell you. If you want to know the yarn and stitches used, support the maker and buy the pattern or item.

“The fact that people think you should respond to their messages straight away. They never think that it’s just one person doing everything and that they may have families or even a full-time job!” – S

Gosh darn it, this is atrocious and brings us once again to ENTITLEMENT. That needed to be in uppercase.
One thing that gets my goat hugely is when people ask a question, usually at 7am when you’re getting your kids ready for school or 2am or on Christmas Day or on a Sunday – and get in a piss when you don’t reply instantly. Normally this is followed up by a few “ANSWER ME” type messages and by the time you read them they’ve threatened to take you to court and drag your business’s name through the mud. I mean, how very dare you take weekends off and take a break from social media and not respond to messages! Because you want to be a Star Seller? Really? You like that useless pressure? How cool of you… Another phenomenon is when people suddenly people think that, as well as running your tiny business you are also in charge of DHL and Correos and Royal Mail and can control exactly where a parcel is. Funny.

Of course we should all answer messages promptly, politely and as quickly as possible. I have beef with sellers who ignore messages regarding purchases, tell fibs about tracking numbers and shipping dates (sipping tea, don’t mind me) and other bad things like that, but if you’re messaging small businesses on a weekend or during inhospitable hours, don’t be a dick if they don’t respond immedately. Just like that person who works in the supermarket, in an office, hospital or wherever, we all have delays, days off and responsibilities.

“When people leave a glowing review and then give you three stars…” – A

I think that a lot of the time this is because the person leaving the review isn’t very internet-savvy and just doesn’t realise that they can actually click the star icons, but either way it’s annoying as heck. There’s nothing worse than Chantelle in Luton buying your pattern or candle and saying everything was AMAZING and LOVELY and your packaging was SO PRETTY and that she’s going to offer you her gorgeous, Jamie Dornan-lookalike brother for a night of passion only to then notice that she’s given you one star. That stuff matters, sadly and it’s often the first thing that people see when they load up your shop… Oof! Maybe we should start writing FAQs and Policies about that? No that anyone would read them, obviously…

Thank you so much to everyone who has contributed their woes and irks to this article – it couldn’t have been written without you! Some answers were duplicates and have been integrated into one, but I read and laughed/cried/punched a wall when looking at them. You’re all amazeballs, mean it.

Do you have any experiences with any of these, or did we miss any out? Let me know in the comments!

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Katia Yarns · S/S ‘2022 · Sneak Peek

Yarn lovers say “HOOOO”!

I can’t remember the last time I did a yarn review, but when I first started this blog it was my goal to write one a week… And that didn’t always happen, let’s be honest! It’s nice to get back into it, and I’m kicking off this review with some of the most beautiful yarn I’ve seen in years. I’m not even exaggerating…

Sometimes you get to play with yarns that are so special and precious that you can’t even believe that they’re real. Does that sound dramatic? Probably, but I can’t wait to show you these absolute jewels of yarn that are coming to Katia during the Spring and Summer of 2022. Are you ready to be blown away?

One of the very first brands I came across after moving to this vibrant country they call Spain was the Catalán brand Katia. From basic acrylics and baby yarns to super-luxury, super-on-trend products I was fully impressed by their awe-inspiring range for the first time I entered my local yarn shop. I remember that the first yarn I tried from Katia was their classic, chunky Alaska to make a hat with and it didn’t disappoint.

When it comes to Made in Spain (or more precisely, Catalunya), I’m obsessed! I was lucky enough to live in the Barcelona area for three years, so when an opportunity came up recently to try out some unreleased yarns for Katia I was absolutely on board… Let’s take a cheeky look at some fabulous yarns that will be joining their range next year.

Katia Yarns · S/S ‘2022 · Sneak Peek

Sweet Cocoon, 50g
Gauge: 22 sts, 33 rows – 10x10cm
Composition: 65% viscose, 35% polymide
Hook and needle size: 4.5mm

This lovely, soft, tubular yarn has a superior silky feel and is the perfect vegan yarn.

What can I make with it? Try whipping up a light but cosy spring sweater for the little ones – this yarn will look exceptional with textured stitches like moss stitch, cables and fisherman’s rib – and really let the fullness of this yarn sing.

Gauge: 30 sts, 35 rows – 10x10cm
Composition: 50% cotton, 50% upcycled marine plastic
Hook and needle size: 3-3.5mm

We LOVE an eco-friendly yarn, and with 50% upcycled marine plastic, this yarn is not only beautiful to look at and work with, but beautiful for our planet, too. By purchasing and working with this yarn, you are encouraging a better way of living, with every hank containing a helping of nasty plastics that are destroying our seas.

What can I make with it? Shawls and wraps, floaty tops and anything that needs a touch of lightness and gentle colourplay.

Easy Knit Cotton, 100g
Gauge: 15 sts, 19 rows – 10x10cm
Composition: 50% cotton, 50% upcycled marine plastic
Hook and needle size: 5-6mm

Good quality chunky cottons are hard to come by, so this yarn is a real treat! With a silky feel and gentle shimmer, and with a lightness that’s also durable, this yarn will be your go-to for any modern cotton project.

What can I make with it? Placemats, textured washcloths and baby clothes will look fab. Heirloom baby blankets would come out wonderfully given the drape of this yarn.

Concept Bereber, Louvre & Marmara

Bereber, 50g.
Gauge: 34 sts, 31 rows x 10x10cm
Composition: 75% cotton, 18% viscose, 7% polyester
Hook and needle size: 3-3.5mm

Marmara, 50g

Gauge: 20 sts, 27 rows x 10x10cm
Composition: 65% cotton, 23% silk, 12% viscose
Hook and needle size: 4-4.5mm

Louvre, 50g

Gauge: 29 sts, 36 rows x 10x10cm
Composition: 3% polyester, 96% viscose, 1% polymide
Hook and needle size: 2.5-3mm

Katia’s Concept range never fails to impress and this trio of new yarns is no different! Evoking images of vintage sari, spices and exotic adventures, the colour play, speckles and shimmer in Louvre, Marmara and Bereber will inspire to to create something truly incredible. If you need some yarn to elevate your stash, these are for you.

What can I make with them? Think SPECIAL THINGS. Shawls with more shimmer than you ever thought possible, glistening seasonal decorations, magical accessories for the kids, the sky’s the limit!

Re-Tape Craft, 50g
Gauge: 17 sts, 23 rows x 10x10cm
Composition: 48% cotton, 52% polyester
Hook and needle size: 5.5-6mm

This recycled yarn is the bee’s knees. Not only does it have awesome speckles (who doesn’t love a speckle?) but it’s durable, semi-stretchy and full of fun.

What can I make with it? Try it out on statement summer clothing and even home accessories like crocheted hanging candle covers, faux-macrame projects, coasters and small trinket baskets.

United Cotton, 25g
Gauge: 19 sts, 25 rows x 10x10cm
Composition: 100% cotton
Hook and needle size: 2.5-3mm

The ball band of this cute little yarn says ‘non-stop creativity’ and it’s no joke. There’s nothing like XS yarn balls to whet your appetite as a maker, and if you love making toys, decorations, granny squares and anything that calls for smaller amounts of yarn, United Cotton’s 25g balls have you covered.

What can I make with it? Amigurumi, small home decor pieces like coasters, tassels and fringes.

Did you like looking at these yarns? Don’t forget to checkout Katia’s website and social media pages for more info on when these yarns will be released…

These yarns were gifted by Katia as part of a PR package.

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Does anyone know why Emmaknitty has blocked me? Or, Tulip’s Tale.

Now, this is a story all about how my life got flipped-turned upside down… Well, not really, but let’s say that it’s definitely a story that “flipped-turned upside down” my views on social media, the friends you keep and the people you associate with. Let’s also say that it’s a story of an experience that will stay with me in some form for a long time and one that hopefully can offer YOU some guidance if it ever happens to you.

Cyber-bullying is something that had never really happened to me before the situation I’m going to tell you about today. Sure, I’ve had trolls sliding into my DMs on Twitter when I was politically active there (Brexiteers, pervs, you name it) and a weirdo on Facebook who Googled me, found my address via my Etsy and suggested we meet up IRL at the pub down the road from me. That was scary, but this was scarier in a different way.

Before I regail you with this cautionary tale, I’d like to say that the person who did this will be known as “Tulip” from now on. Please don’t ask me why I chose that moniker… I have no idea. I won’t be giving you the person’s name, account details or giving any kind of hints to who it might be – I’m responsible like that and know how nasty social media can be. I’m also not here to play the victim, even though I was. I will, however, be very candid about what happened, the effect it had, and giving some pointers on what to do if this kind of thing happens to you in the future. Anyone who messages me asking for this singuarly nasty individual’s username will be told where to go, in the politest way. I’m not here to name and shame. Well, not until I quit Instagram, that is… If that day ever comes…

So, here goes. put on some meditative music and grab a herbal tea (lol, get a wine) and let’s get to it.
Imagine yourself in this situation, if you will. A few weeks prior to the event I’ll tell you about I had blocked an individual – Tulip – who I didn’t care to follow anymore for a myriad of reasons. Put bluntly, as a designer who supports and follows designers I respect, I found Tulip’s work boring, samey, derivative and the individual itself turned out to be not my cup of tea. I also knew that this designer had been copying other people’s work, and that thing I love, potentially buying followers. I was not close at all to this person, but instead followed her back because some of my friends followed them as well and we were kind of intertwined in a weird way. You know like at school when you hang around with a person because she’s mates with your mate but you don’t really talk? Very that. One day I decided to stop being a fake and unfollowed, removed anything relating to them on my feed, then blocked them a few days later because I don’t do things by halves, fam.
Boom. I jogged on.

One morning a few weeks later I was chillin’ out maxin’ relaxin’ all cool before my classes started (I’ll stop with the Fresh Prince stuff now) and casually scrolling through Instagram, as usual. I was planning my activities for the day, thinking about deadlines and looking forward to catching up with students and teaching. Suddenly, a close friend of mine sent me a screenshot of Tulip’s Story post – obviously I had no access to Tulip’s Stories or content as I’d blocked her – that said…

“Does anyone know why Emmaknitty has blocked me? I just really want to know!”

“Bloody hell”, I said, “obsessed much?”. I moved on again. As in, I had to get my arse in gear and go to work. Unlike some people, it seems.

An hour or so later I unsilenced my phone between lessons and noticed that I had a comment under my latest post from Tulip, via another of their accounts. “Emma, why did you block me?” I ignored it, blocked this other account and moved on.

A while afterwards I received another comment from another of their accounts saying the same thing, “Emma, why did you block me? I just want to know!”. I blocked this account and moved on. Slightly bemused. Bit freaked out.

A little while after that I recieved another comment saying the same thing from yet another of their accounts. I know what you’re thinking: so many accounts? I know. This individual has one account for their craft account, another for their other craft account, one for their big toe and three others for their bellybutton fluff collection, neighbour’s cat and cactus garden.

“Right. Hmm. Ok.” Then of course, I thought the following:

Closely followed by a thought of, “How the hell can you think it’s normal to send the same message from all seventy thousand of your accounts and not think that it makes you come across as a total nutter?” I guess it takes all sorts.

Closely followed by another thought of, “who’s life can be THAT empty that they spend an entire morning obsessing over why one person you weren’t close to blocked you? What a total narcissist”.

It’s a fair point. What does it say abut your personality if you can’t actually fathom WHY a person would want to block you? Come on, sis.

During that morning and early afternoon, in total I recieved five messages and five comments from five different accounts that belonged to this person. All saying the same thing more or less, all sent closely together, all of which were blocked, ignored, giving a very clear message, along the lines of “Bitch, if I blocked you I blocked you. Sling yer hook, leave me alone and get yourself a fulfilling hobby. Oh, and don’t forget to make an Instagram account for it, too, just to give yourself extra options in case someone blocks you!”

Here’s something important to know. The backstory.

In the past Tulip had bought a pattern from me for an item and taken a very lovely image of her kid wearing it. It was an awesome image, and I asked Tulip if I could use it for marketing purposes, to which she gave a very enthusiastic “YES” and I added it to my Etsy and Instagram marketing, with thanks. Basically, consent was given.

After I blocked Tulip I removed the images of her child from my Etsy and Instagram. Why would I keep photos connected to her, after all? That wouldn’t be on. They got deleted and yes, I moved on. One thing I didn’t realise however was that there was still one photo of their kid far back on my feed that I hadn’t noticed.

A few hours passed and I was just about to sign in to my final class of the day, an extremely important group of professional adults which requires 200% of my brainpower. I had 15 minutes to get an enormous coffee, decipher my notes and make sure that Windows Update wasn’t going to well, update, before I logged into Zoom, as it always seemed to do.

“VROOOM!” – my phone vibrated. Again. And again. In total I recieved around thirteen messages along the lines of;

“REMOVE THE PHOTO OF TULIP’S KID!”
“WHY ARE YOU USING PHOTOS OF SOMEONE’S CHILD WITHOUT PERMISSION?”
“DELETED THAT F***ING PHOTO OR ACTION WILL BE TAKEN!”
“I WORK IN CHILD PROTECTION (chinny reckon) AND WHAT YOU’RE DOING IS WRONG!”
“YOU’RE USING IMAGES OF CHILDREN WITHOUT PERMISSION!”
“ARE YOU A P**O?” (I have blanked out the word here as it’s more offensive than effing, but you can work out what it says).

I don’t care why Emmaknitty has blocked me! I just want her to remove the photo of my child from her feed! That’s all I want and she’s refusing to!


The above was posted fully-publicly-like on Tulip’s Stories for all their thousands of misguided followers to see. Tulip had posted publicly on their Instagram account that I was using photos of their kid without permission and refusing to remove it, which was not true, but what were her followers to know? In the eyes of someone who doesn’t know the full story, that looks awful, right? If I’d seen that, especially as a mother of a young daughter, I’d probably be searching for my pitchfork/lighting up my torch like a medieval villager hungry for blood. Or one of that crowd looking to lynch Beast from Beauty and the Beast. Guess where that photo was? It was a photo that was part of a collage that I hadn’t noticed when I was removing all the images before I blocked her, and I had overlooked without malice. I didn’t know about this until a friend told me and sent me a screenshot.

Unfortunately I could do sod all about that because I was at work and was no longer able to see her Story posts. Some of us have jobs that mean we can’t look at our phones every 32 seconds.

I’m not going to sit here and type to you about how damaging it is to imply publicly on social media that a person uses images of children without permission. Psychopaths and sociopaths see people as pawns and do not consider the dangerous consequences that their own creepy actions can have in the real world.

Let’s just say that it’s a very disturbing way of expressing your frustration about not knowing why a person has blocked you, and a potentially devastating one at that. Interestingly 99.9% of people who I spoke to about this were not at all surprised that Tulip responded in the way they did. There’s a hot cup of T for you. It was telling, and I could say more.

The people who messaged me abuse were either blocked instantly or told into which orifice to insert their phone, and given a beautiful selection of pretty Anglo Saxon swearwords or all three, followed by being screenshotted alongside the messages I recieved from Tulip. We’ll discuss this later.

What happened after that? Well, Tulip got a semi-calling out from me on my Stories (which they were clearly told about by someone who follows me and I lovingly also blocked too, haha). Tulip then messaged me about it via ANOTHER OF HER INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS – is this even for real? – then I replied to that message. Then Tulip blocked me so she couldn’t read my reply. I mean. You couldn’t make it up. Hilair.

I had no other option but to email her my polite response, with a nice “I hope you find the help you need” as my closing words. In a way I hope Tulip does. In another way I hope the same happens to Tulip one day just so this person discovers how appalling cyberstalking and bullying feels. Like I said at the beginning, one day I’d like to tell more people about who did this. But not yet. Maybe never. Writing this article is cathartic enough, right?

So, what can you do if you are being harrassed on Instagram?

Harassment – When someone is being harassed on social media, they may receive continuous messages from one person or a group of people with the intention of causing embarrassment, distress or fear. Persistent harassers will continue to harass the victim even after having their social media accounts blocked, by setting up numerous anonymous or ‘fake’ identities so that they can simply move to the next account. There is legislation in place to protect people from on-going or long-term harassment in most parts of the world.

Step one: firstly, do as I did and screenshot all the messages, comments, tags ANYTHING you get from the person. This is important evidence that you should keep safe. I still have all messages and evidence from Tulipgate kept safe in a Google Drive folder for a rainy day. Cyberbullying and stalking is taken very seriously by the Police and is no longer seen as something that should be ignored or overlooked, and a Police officer in my family told me, what I had would have been enough to justify a knock on the door from Tulip’s local constabulary. I didnt go that far, although I certainly thoght about it, but it’s nice to know that these options are available in the future if need be.

I’m worried that if I block someone from now on it might happen to me.

You have the right to block anyone you like. You also have the right to keep your reasons for blocking a person to yourself and not to feel pressured into telling anyone why you have done so. If anyone makes you feel uncomfortable, upset, annoyed, irritated or you just don’t like them, you can block them. If they don’t like it and hassle you about it, ask them to leave you alone or ignore them, and if it carries on Tulip-style, consider step one above.

Remember that if a person cannot handle the fact that someone has unfollowed or blocked them that is their issue, not yours, and shows a lot about their maturity level. The fact that you have chosen to surround yourself with people you love and respect shows a lot about yours. Personallly, I don’t enjoy fakeness directed towards me and certainly don’t enjoy having to be fake to people, unless absolutely necessary. Like at the school gate. Social media is one of the few places in my life where I can be comfortable enough to be honest and frank to people and that’s why I use the block button lavishly on occasion. You can be sure that if I follow you, I love you and your work. No fakery, all T.

If I could go back, would I have done anything differently?

I’ve thought about this a lot and the honest answer is, “I dunno”. It might have been a lot easier if I had just told Tulip frankly that I didn’t like them or what they did, but would it have made me feel good? Should I have just told Tulip that I didn’t want to follow them anymore and that’s that? I have heard from people that this individual doesnt take kindly to that kind of thing, so it may have blown up further, or not. Who knows? Is it possible that Tulip thought we were super bezzie mates and I didn’t and that would have explained why she acted so intensly? Would it have made things easier if I was truthful to her and told her that I found it abhorrent that she was copying other people’s art whilst myself and my peers in the craft community are frying our brains daily to produce original work? Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and what I did on that day was disassociate from the situation by ignoring and continuing to block. All I can say honestly about that day is that Tulip truly showed her real side and cemeted the fact that I shouldn’t have been supporting her in the first place. True colours and all that.

What else can I do if I’m being bullied online?

Something else you can do is to tell trusted friends and family in real life and online (if you have a close circle – I was lucky enough to have support in the online creative community) what is happening so they are aware.

Don’t forget that you can also contact Instagram directly. Bullying and harrassment is taken seriously by Instagram and can result in the perpetrator’s account being suspended and even closed down if the harrassment is deemed serious enough.

Don’t forget that bullying and harrassment is not your fault and you shouldn’t be ashamed. There are plenty of options available to help you and anyone you know who is being treated this way on social media. Keep yourself as safe as possible and always reach out to friends if you feel uncomfortable.

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How to Not Be Annoying on Instagram – Part II

I decided to wrote Part II “THE REVENGE” of my original ”How Not to Be Annoying on Instagram” because, since I wrote the last one, I’ve been inundated with messages with examples of the GALL of some people on social media.
I’m not sure why, but some people think that because you are a small business you somehow OWE (yes, I am aware of the number of capitalised words I’ve been using here) them advice or… Something.

The thing is, it’s very easy to come across as tetchy or overly-sensitive when describing some of the irritating messages that small business owners often receive. For example, if you get a message saying “could you show me how to write a listing up on Etsy” or “show me how make that XYZ” you’re effectively asking for someone to show them your business model or to show them – a stranger, using your own time, for free – something you have spent hundreds of hours working out for yourself. It’s not the same as someone asking what hairspray you use, or where you bought that amazing jacket for your kid, it’s bigger than that. Still don’t get it? Maybe this list can help. BAM! This article does contain some swearing, so best to avoid if you dry heave at naughty words.

“Could you kindly tell me how you make that? How much yarn do you use? How did you set up your shop? Where do you buy your equipment, please?”

Could you tell me how to make that? Buy the pattern and you’ll see.
How much yarn did you use? Buy the pattern and you’ll see.
How did you set up your shop? Long nights, low pay and surviving on the preserved blood of my enemies and exes.
Where did you buy your equipment? I carved them out of the bones of my enemies and exes.

Please be aware that the questions above are VERY rarely asked in that way. They are normally a single noun (PATTERN?) or extremely direct question (WHERE DID YOU BUY THAT?) which adds to the irritation. However, even if these are asked in a nice way, I don’t share this stuff with people I am not friends with.

In short, please don’t feel anxious about being cagey about skill and knowledge sharing with total strangers.

“I was wondering if you could give me pointers on how to improve my sales and build my following”.

Innocent question, but don’t be surprised if the person you’re asking doesn’t respond how you’d expect. There are entire careers dedicated to this stuff (hello marketing executives) and often small businesses don’t have a specific model that they follow. To be honest though, even if they did, this is a pretty broad question to ask and something that takes a LOT of answering. Like, it’s a huge ask and something people work at understanding sales tactics for years and might not want to share. It’s personal, involves hard work and years of learning and the person you’re asking most probably had to learn the hard way themselves. If you’re considering asking these type questions to a small business, think about how you could learn yourself rather than expecting free knowledge. It’s actually more fun that way. Learning is FUN.

Regarding how to get followers? Be yourself, offer quality, don’t copy and for GAWD sake don’t bloody buy them.

EX-POH-SHA!

Okay. Deep breath for this one, because it’s probably the biggest fuckery you can come across on social media right now (apart from bullying, but I’ll be writing about that very soon)! When you are a designer or maker in your chosen craft area it is the same as any other job, right? You perform an action or task and you get paid for it. Let’s compare it to the real world. Some jobs pay better, some pay worse, some don’t pay because they are internships and you are trying to get a foot in the door… Still shit but you know about that when you apply for the job. In some ways, running a small business on your own is harder than a 9-5 job because we have to be ON IT all the time, at weekends, updating social media, all of those things you have to do to stay relevant. It’s exhausting. I digress, but you know what I mean.

So imagine the gumption of people expecting you to do design work and making of things for no money with the only compensation being that funny new thing they call ‘exposure’. Nope, I don’t mean dying of the cold in a flimsy tent in mid-Feb by the side of the M62, but this baffling concept of “you work and I give you emptiness in exchange, that ok hun? xx”.
This is offensive when random people drop into your DMs asking if they can have a free hoodie, weaving, hank of yarn, wax melt or crocheted item for nothing and expect you to be all happy that they’re going to post a blurry photo of it on their rubbish TikTok account, but when bigger names and companies ask people to work for free and create brand new work just so their designs can be added to a blog, subscription box or anything, there lies the problem.

The solution to this is to know your worth. It doesn’t matter if you are freelance, a ‘newbie’, have 100 or 100k followers, it’s all irrelevant. If you work, you need to be getting money or at least something you are happy with in exchange. Sometimes both, please. This can be a company using you as an influencer to market their products and they give you a lot of yarn, an incentive in the form of pattern revenue, etcetera or an agreement you come to with an individual, but there must be an exchange you are satisfied with. I have heard some people say that they’re okay with doing things for free if it means that bigger accounts share their work and help them get ‘out there’. Maybe I’m an idiot, but I have never heard of a designer or small business becoming successful because a random influencer shared a few of their products or put one of their pattterns on a blog for a bit.

Like I said to a friend the other day, exposure doesn’t pay your phone bill, sis.

“It would be great if you could film a quick tutorial on how to work that stitch.”

Is this one to genuinely get annoyed by? I’m not sure, but this is mostly irritating when the person asking is expecting you to do this for them off the cuff, seeing doing something like this as a ‘quick’ thing and hasn’t bothered to do a quick Google about and research for themselves. Personally, I am starting to involve photo tutorials of more complex stitches and techniques in my patterns, and a lot of designers include them in their paid patterns, but to me this type of question screams entitlement.

My goodness Mavis, I could go on and on, but I need to save material for the next one… There will absolutely be a part three of this coming soon, but in the meantime, feel free to message me about all the Instagram things that grind your gears over on my Instagram page @emmaknitty!

Article

The Spookette Knitted Pumpkin · Free Pattern

Halloween is almost upon us, sort of. I mean, we’ve got a whole month to go, but in the mind of a knitting or crochet designer it may as well be tomorrow what with all the prep involved. This Halloween I decided to keep things simple and design a very easy, very cute and very beginner-friendly knitting pattern – a pumpkin!

Instagram has been full of pumpkins recently, and my faves are always the simple ones. With this design, you don’t need ribbing or fancy stitches to make it look textured, all you need is to know how to knit in the round, and the gathering at the top of the piece gives a lovely natural look to your piece. Plus, knitting these up on XL needles gives an incredibly squishy feel that will drive you crazy. Come on Autumn, we’re ready for you…

The yarn for this project was gifted by Borgo de Pazzi & We are Knitters.

You Will Need:

· 200g (one ball each) of Borgo de Pazzi Bulky, We are Knitters The Wool or any similar super bulky yarn (5-6 wpi) 100% wool yarn in your choice of shade. You don’t have to use 100% wool but it is highly recommended as the texture and feel will be different with other compositions.

· 15mm (80cm) circular knitting needles. I used We are Knitters 15mm beechwood needles.

· A yarn needle, a stitch marker and scissors and a stick of cinnamon for the stalk.

· A bag of fiberfill stuffing (approx 100g) or leftover yarn to stuff the pumpkin.

Skills: Knitting on circular needles, knit stitch, invisible join in the round, cast on and bind off, weaving in ends.

Method:

Cast on 38 stitches, leaving a 20cm tail and join to work in the round.
Knit every stitch for 28 rounds.
Bind off all, leaving a 20cm tail.
Weave the tail end in and out of the cast on stitches and pull tight to close. Take care when pulling the yarn as it could break.
Stuff the pumpkin well until it forms the shape you like.
Weave the tail end in and out of the bind off stitches as before and pull to close.
Insert a cinnamon stick into the top of the pumpkin.

Don’t forget to share your pumpkins using the hashtag #spookettepumpkin so I can check out your makes!