Seeing as UK Wool Week is in full swing, we decided to cosy up with Alex, owner of UK-based Etsy shop, Me and My Nan, to find out all about her excellent nan, naughty knitted knickers and meeting her boyfriend through Etsy…
My Nan’s name is Pam and she’s 77 years old. She lives in the countryside outside Luton with my Grandad Tie who likes golf and numbers and cheese sandwiches.
Whenever I used to visit my Nan she’d have all this cool knitted stuff just lying around that she’d made for the village fete or whatever and didn’t know how to sell, so I decided to help her reach a larger audience by opening an Etsy shop! Then when I got into knitting again myself I started adding my own stuff and Me And My Nan was born. Pretty soon after that we started getting custom requests and it’s all gone from there really.
My nan grew up during WWII so I think she comes from a generation where everyone made everything anyway. She’s just recently recovered from cancer and is very active in her local community, going to W.I. and keep fit every week, although I think her favourite part of keep fit is the cakes afterwards!
When I first opened the shop I was still learning so most of our stock was things my Nan had made, like gloves and tea cosies. As I’ve got better at knitting I’d say the majority of the shop is now things that I have made or designed because my Nan gets quite busy. I have to keep in mind that my Nan has more commitments than me, as she makes a lot of stuff for her W.I. and for charity. She is still LOADS quicker at knitting than I am though, so if I need something done quickly I always ask her first.
Both my nan and I try to knit every day. I used to go round every few weeks when I lived in London, but now I’ve moved to Torquay it’s a bit harder for us to see each other although she has been to visit a few times. We mainly communicate over the phone and the internet as my Grandad Tie is obsessed with Skype.
“Quite a lot of our custom items are a bit sweary but my Nan won’t knit rude words…”
There are some things that my Nan won’t make. Quite a lot of our custom items are a bit sweary and she won’t knit rude words. I have a really childish sense of humour and we used to make a pair of knitted knickers that had ‘bumhole’ written across the backside, but she would knit ‘cheeky’ instead, which is quite funny.
I actually met my boyfriend through Etsy! This time last year I was going through the tail end of a tough break-up and my Nan was ill with cancer so we weren’t working on the shop too much as things were looking pretty bleak.
Then I got a very funny Etsy message from a fireman in Torquay asking if I could make him a custom jumper for his Christmas party as he was on duty and wanted to win a ‘most offensive jumper’ competition. Bear in mind at the time we didn’t actually make custom jumpers as I didn’t know how and Pam thought they took too long… but something about his message and sense of humour made me agree and I got started on this really random (and NSFW!) jumper.
In the process of me making the jumper we got talking and found we had loads in common, which ended up with us sending each other nearly 1,000 messages over Etsy in two weeks! Anyway we ended up falling for each other and met up about a month later and the rest is history! I moved by the sea to Torquay to live with him in January this year and we are expecting our first baby imminently! Proper Etsy whirlwind romance or what?!
I intend to lead by my Nan and Mum’s example and be a very hands on crafty Mum. I have already started making all sorts of things for the baby; blankets, clothes, booties, Halloween costumes… you name it! I’m currently designing a small range of vintage-inspired children’s clothes to add to the shop, so I’m also rather excited at having a little person around to model all my new creations for me!