I thought it might be time to pick up the blog again, not realizing I hadn’t written a thing since July 2015. How much badder than bad could I be? Well, actually, don’t blame me. Blame the instagrams and facebooks and other attractive manners of the quick blurb, photo and done. I have to confess the communication quickie does have it’s merits.
I digress. In truth, I find that the blog as an online confessional worked for me. It made me accountable for things in the business, promise and deliver because you told someone else. While going through some paper sorting (my favourite thing to do) it jumped off the pages that I have been doing this for 19 years now. Wtwhat? Still uncertain how that happened. It’s all gone by in a fuzzy textured blur.
Over the last two years I have been changing things up a bit, but always small changes. Dropping certain designs out of the line, adding new ones, teaching more or teaching less. All small things trying to find the right balance. This year I’m tackling something a bit bigger, more dramatic, but always fibre. Things are in motion. All of it still on a path that’s pretty freaking woolly. No matter what, I will always follow my heart(s)
I know that it’s been forever since I’ve gotten out a blog post or even added an update to the page (or changed the class and show list for that matter). Life is flying by at record speed. My apologies. Facebook is fast and easy for me –a photo from the trusty smart phone, a clever comment – you hope– and then you are done for the day and can get back to the pressing issue at hand of creating knit things for sale.
Let’s catch up, shall we? You may want to pull up a chair and pull out some knitting.
The craft show season of 2014 ended as it usually does, with John and I nursing our aching bones and wondering how we made it through another season in one piece. This includes, of course, the number of times we drove the Coquihala in the most grotesque weather conditions. I am always happy during the season, but when it is over, you have definitely had your fill of hotels and take out food.
Normally we have a gap between the end of the season and the start of the new one, but the 18 week show at the Westin Hotel in Whistler started a few weeks early and a week before Christmas. The weather was brilliant and I was able to work on inventory during the week with John assuming responsibility for everything else. I adore our adopted Whistler family and can’t imagine not being there.
A new component to the year was something I had never tried before —the Canada Games in Prince George. I don’t think I can even begin to describe the awesomeness of being in this town with old and new friends. Three weeks of 10 hour days vending outside. In. Prince George. In. The. Winter. This would not have even been possible if it wasn’t for my amazing friends Gwen and Mel who hosted, fed, brought me lattes and picked me up from the venue when the weather got just a bit to winter to handle.
I have had a mad crush on Prince George for a number of years and I finally got to really “live” in the city.
In no particular order……
- The Prince George Arts Council
- The Salted Cracker
- Cafe Voltaire
- Zoe’s Java House
Even after the show was done, John and I stayed in town for a few days so I could finish up custom orders. We ended up delivering the finished orders and my favourite was one woman who agreed to meet us half way to pick up her hat which ended up being in the parking lot of a penitentiary . Best delivery ever.
We then went back to our Whistler show and ended the season just after the Easter Weekend. I think I’ll end here for now. Stay tuned for part two in which I discuss coming out as bi-coastal, a trip to Patagonia and how I plan on fitting in Spanish classes during show season.
Warm woolly hugs,
I’ve never really been good at taking days off, but I think I’ve come up with a new relaxation trick…mornings off!! For my first morning vacay, I went out to Richmond with my friend Jennifer and her two faithful companions. I really enjoyed hiking with the dogs, taking photos and just sucking up the sun. Why don’t I do this more often? Jennifer says I can borrow the dogs any time I want.
Now back to the regular day stuff. Blog, weaving ends in some kiddie hats, working on some felt projects and trying to spin at least a skein today. Oh, and some more soccer. What can I say, I’m hooked.
I don’t knit and spin for the riches or the fame. I’ve never gone into this line of working thinking ” I will knit X number of hats and reach that first million in sales”. I knit and spin because it satisfies me. Over the years I have been told stories by customers of lost hats recovered, passed down to younger siblings, repaired and reknit hats and hats that have offered comfort for cancer survivors. They have all warmed my heart.
But this story, well, this is why I do what I do….
Ellie’s mom bought her a MelonHead hat. That hat definitely got some love and out of all the hats, this was by far her favourite. Then one day a hat tragedy occurred. The hat was run over and scooped up by a snow plow (as is more possible in Whistler than in Vancouver)
Ellie was determined to find her hat. Certain it would turn up somewhere, she designed this poster to put up around town. This one was pinned to the community board in Nestors for several months. Notice that a reward is offered.
Since there was a phone number on the poster, several knitters called and offered to knit a replica of the hat for her. Ellie rejected these offers as she felt it just wouldn’t be the same. After the snow melted down, they did find a small piece of hand spun yarn left from the hat and she scooped it up and still has it.
Fast forward to last weekend. And then Saturday, I ran into the whole family at the Westin Hotel. Ellie and her brother tried on several hats. Mom asked if we could remake the hat from the drawing that Ellie made, and I agreed that it could be done. It didn’t matter. Ellie seemed to be quite pleased with any hat on the table. Her brother said my hats were better than video games. I don’t think I could get higher praise.
Here is Ellie’s new hat. Apparently it wasn’t that she needed that hat. She just need a hat knit by me. *sigh*
The Back Room in Mr. Gold's Antique Shop
So far this summer, I have managed to squeeze in everything I’ve wanted to do and more. Disney fit exactly in between surgery and the Filberg Festival.
I have enough time to turn around inventory and head back on the road for the Edmonton Folk Festival.
I will be back just in time to finish prepping my first classes for Birkeland Bros.
And then I have my Whistler for two weeks and then start uber production for the winter shows. It all fits like a nice fibery puzzle, each piece in its place.
John and I have pushed really hard this year to get everything in line. I couldn’t have done it without him. And the great thing about working so hard is that we had time to really enjoy the Filberg Festival this year.
The Booth at Filberg
One night of the show we had a farm visit with our friends Lorne and Kim (who have an excellent B&B). Another night we hung for dinner with Claire on the farm she was staying at and had a great dinner of left overs and fresh picked greens from the farm (not fresh picked chickens, I just found them super cute)
The show ended with us tearing down the booth in record time so that we could make our ferry reservation. We coasted into Nanaimo, had dinner, watched our women’s soccer team get robbed of their chance for gold (sorry, but that was a bad call, crazy ref) and still had time to grab a latte in the ferry line!
Coming home Monday night is truly what made our timing really count. I got to the studio at 11am and was able to stay there until 5AM. A full dedicated 17 hours of spinning and a serious amount of caffeine, and the results, I was on pure creating overdrive……..these yarns are for my FFFF’s (favourite folk fest folks).
West Coast Inspired Yarns
There are plenty of very textured blue/greens for a certain someone and Donna’s white BFL is on reserve. I also have the beaded yarn if I can manage to hook up with one of my Facebook Folks–Calle if you’re out there. There won’t be any extras though. Just enough yarn to get through the show.
There is only one thing about about this quick turn around that has upset a family member. Asia–laying on the yarn doesn’t mean I can’t still pack around you. Dear Edmonton customers, please note, a few of the hand spun yarns may have partial Himalayan content.
So You're Leaving Again?
Every year I do a little soul searching about the business. Things to change, to improve, to do more of….and finally –things never to repeat.
I am thrilled to say that this year there were no “let’s never do this again moments”. I’ve been navigating through the craft system in this province long enough to –dare I say it–have things reasonably figured out.
I am no longer going to be buying commercial wool to dye for my kits. If it ain’t hand spun it’s not landing in one of my kits. This means I am changing my strategy to be much more production geared…Yes, more than before. With John’s help we’ve set out a ridiculous production schedule, a grueling list of shows and yes—I couldn’t be more thrilled.
More workshops at the studio. Yov’ve been asking for them, now help me fill them up so that I can continue to offer them! Spinning, knitting and crochet classes are what are on the table. If you are looking for something different, let me know. I’m always up for a good challenge.
Decluttering I will be selling my Kromski Sonata and my Louet super fine carder (excellent for alpaca). There is just too much in the studio right now. I want to make room for my electric fireplace and new comfie chair (yet to be purchased but coming soon to a studio near you)
A regular studio schedule. I need to not be mood motivated for the studio so expect to find me there Mon – Thursday starting in the new year.
To never stop spinning . Making yarn for others to get their creative on is a joy I can’t imagine being without.