Got The One I Wanted! [Ep. 33]

YESSSS!!! Booked the class I wanted for Edinburgh Yarn Festival!

So good to be back in the craft room, with lots of great spinning, knitting and giveaway stuff going on 🙂

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Music by
TheBeatKnitter on Soundcloud

Peace, love and snuggly shawls,

Mail Time Edition: Unboxing All The Crafty Things! [Ep. 32]

Let’s do some unboxing & craft haul admiring! I’ve had so much fun these past few months, grabbing lovely things from craft festivals, swapping with fellow handmakers.

What did I share?

My awesome swapee Tracie’s Grocery Girls Podcast:

Mrs Browns Bags:

Cat & Sparrow:

Claire from Beautiful Things:

Pom Pom Magazine (& publisher of Interpretations Vol 3):

Pop Cardigan by Rachel Atkinson:

Milo by Georgie Hallam:

For the Stephen West super exclusive Fun Squad necklaces giveaway, watch the next episode, where I’ll let you know how you can participate 🙂

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Peace, love and polkadot wrapping paper,

Great London Yarn Crawl 2016 [Ep. 31]

What a fantastic yarn crawl! We visited four fabulous yarn shops, and I chatted with designers, shop owners and happy shoppers!

We visited:
Ray Stitch in Islington, London

Loop Knitting, Islington, London

Knit With Attitude, Stoke Newington, London

Fringe, Muswell Hill, London

I also interviewed the wonderful Susan Cropper at Loop, Tracey at Fringe and Erika Knight, knitwear and crochet designer.

Erika’s beautiful free patterns can be found here:

Tell me, what painting or work of art would you turn into a knitted version? 🙂

Music by jeff kaale and Dixxy.

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Peace, love and bus tickets,

Back from Canada and it snowed! (Episode 10)

I’m back from Canada and I have so much to tell you! This episode is filled with new projects, poutine (yummy!), bonfires and travel tales.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the channel for more fun projects and tutorials!

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Peace, love and poutine,

Show notes

Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival, NY:

Francine J. Séguin – Mixed media artist:

Vitsippa by Joji Locatelli:

Karusellen by Erica Knits:

Ishbel shawl by Ysolda Teague:

Casey Neistat, YouTuber extraordinaire:

Aladdin Magic Carpet Prank by Casey Neistat & Jesse Wellens:

Music by Andrew Applepie:

Why I'm in love with IKEA's "Cat herding" campaign

In case the news hasn’t made it to your corner of the office yet, here’s a YouTube video perfect for a Friday.

IKEA’s campaign involved releasing 100 cats into a London IKEA store and letting them roam free. Whoddathunk hanging halogen light fittings made such great cat runs…

Aside from the fact that I’m a total cat lover (an anomaly in my family), the reason I’m head over heels for this campaign is that, for once, Marketing doesn’t take itself seriously. Sure, IKEA isn’t at the awareness-building stage of its business lifespan and can afford to do some pretty creative marketing, as they did with their Facebook campaign in 2009.

It’s refreshing to see a campaign that’s purely done for fun, an idea that doesn’t make any sense and doesn’t try to preach or sell us anything. Have a laugh, spend Friday afternoon spreading the video around and gain that little bit more love for the almighty brand that is IKEA. “Simples!”, as Aleksandr Orlov would say.

I wonder if they just shook the box of Whiskas biscuits to call all the cats back at the end?

Happy Friday!

SXSWi: Connecting Community Managers

Do you work as community manager? Fancy meeting a few others who work on the front line representing their company?

After meeting a few other company bloggers, customer care people and other community folks at South by SouthWest this week, we thought we’d arrange a little informal gathering before the week ends. It’ll give community managers who work for companies, big and small, a chance to meet others who play that role.

Join us (Ros Hodgekiss, Kelly Rusk and myself) on Tuesday 16th March at 3:30pm at Iron Cactus on 6th Street for a drink and a chat.

Hope you’ll join us there!

[Note: It’s TUESDAY, not Monday as I’ve stupidly been tweeting all afternoon!]

URL Shorteners: When and how to use them

In recent years, URL shortening and URL redirection services have started popping up everywhere like mushrooms after the rain. Their main purpose is to shorten the typically long web addresses to make sharing by email or Twitter easier.

Considering the URLs generated by sites like Google Maps can often be over 200 characters in length, being able to shrink them down to a tenth of their length before sharing them is hugely handy. However, the recent announcement from, one of the many shorteners out there, saying that it felt there was no way forward for its service and that it would close its doors by the end of 2009. (They’ve since said they’ll stay the course. For now.)

It sent a shiver down our collective web archiving nerd’s spine, as we imagined the graveyard of dead links the future held as more of these services shut down.

Best practices on using URL shorteners

There are times where short URLs are appropriate, and others where it’s best to avoid them:

1. Use them in time sensitive contexts

Short URLs are great for sending a link via IM, over Twitter or in email to a friend or colleague. If it’s likely that you’ll need to refer to the link in more than a few weeks, then don’t rely on a short URL and send the full original link.

Don’t use them in blog entries, research papers or anything that has long-term value unless you want to have to go back at a later date and change them all when a shortener announces it’s closing down.

2. Put together a super-quick campaign

Running a competition this afternoon and need to track participation without worrying about asking your web developer to set up Google Analytics for your microsite? Use a few short URLs and you’ll have some rough and ready data immediately. It may not be as reliable or thorough as classic site analytics but it’s a great way to get moving fast.

Once the campaign is over, copy your data somewhere safe for future reference.

3. Use them only in trusted environments

Recently, I received an email from an ex work colleague inviting me to look at some holiday photos. I suspected something was odd because I’d not heard from her in years, so didn’t click on the short URLs. My spidey senses were right and when prompted, she said that she’d never sent the email and that her computer hadn’t seen a virus scan in centuries. The short URLs? They would have sent me through to some phishing sites.

Short URL hacking unfortunately hasn’t been completely eradicated yet either.

Avoid opening short URLs without knowledge of where they lead, and preferably use services that allow you to preview the destination address like TinyURL’s Previewer.

4. Always archive the full URL

Fond of bookmarking what you find for future reference? Be sure to bookmark the full URL, not the short URL, otherwise your entire archive may become a road to nowhere a few months down the line.

How to make the most of short URLs

1. Use a shortener that allows you to track clicks

Many URL shorteners allow you to create an account to track clicks on the URLs you create.

For example, allows me to see and share the stats on the latest blog entry I published of who clicked on the short URL (in this instance, the link was used to share the post on Twitter): allows us to find out total clicks, breakdown of when the clicks happened and where they came from. More interestingly, it aggregates conversation and lets you know who has been talking about you and where.

2. Create a customised URL name

Make it memorable by changing the default generated name to something easier to remember. will be more memorable than won’t it?

3. Use publicly viewable results

This one won’t be to everyone’s taste: If your team is involved in a campaign where you’re using the short URLs, showing everyone how to look at the number of clicks each link has received is a great way to make them feel empowered.

A twist on this: Give everyone their own short URL and compete over who gets the most clicks. Of course, this only works if your team clearly understands the difference between useful sharing and spamming. We don’t want it to turn into a spam competition, do we?

There is a place and time for every web tool, so use your short URLs wisely!