Summer…

Where does it go?! My kids go back to school in two days. I still have summer stuff I want to be doing. On the other hand, it sure will be nice to get back into the routine of the school year. I love having the time with my kids but the schedule is so wonky what with camps and travel and visitors. I love that we are able to do that stuff though. It just means I haven’t gotten nearly as much done as I intended. Well, rather I got different things done than I had planned. Isn’t that life though?

I did get some things done. I’m knee-deep in reworking my business plan(s). I’m working on comparing routes I can take so that is taking a little longer than if I were writing one plan. I am taking the plunge with an email newsletter. If you would like to be on that list you can sign up here . 

I have also been getting classes lined up and planned out. I have three classes set up for this Fall and a couple of events to do. The classes are not quite confirmed on spaces yet so I won’t publish registration information just yet. That will come this week or next I’m hoping.

I just bought a couple of fleeces today. Add that to my to-do list. They are very nice Columbia fleeces from a fellow in the area. I may have more fleeces than I know what to do with come spring time. I have a little bit of one soaking as I write this so I can give it a good sample this week. I do love my Unicorn Power Scour for this kind of job.

Let’s see… the main things I’m focusing on this week are cleaning my office (I’m still sorting and organizing from moving), cleaning wool, spinning yarn (I’m super low on handspun), getting my email newsletter written and automated, trying to get my social media sights to do what I want them to do (not just what the automatic stuff thinks I want it to do), and get my kids back into the school routine. That should take care of this week shouldn’t it?

Not to mention I have two sock knitting projects going as I’m testing additional patterns for my sock class in October. I’m working on getting my homework done, albeit slowly, for my master hand knitter certification, and making sure the classes I’m planning are organized enough to put into my teaching book for that certification. All fun stuff but a lot of different irons in the fire.

I’d better go check on that bit of wool. It will be time to put it through another wash.

 

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The re-building and re-vamping continues. I have been so crazy for the last two years that this last six months of having moved and slowing things down has been strange. I’m working on a whole new normal. I’m re-learning to work at home with the kids around. It can be a bit wonky to sort schedules and get into a routine. We are getting there, but it hasn’t been an easy thing to figure out.

What is the cliche? All good things take time. Something like that anyway. I’m making some steady small changes. I’m working on a couple of different models for my business. I haven’t decided how I want to do things for sure. I have some options, but I’m trying to predict which will be best for my business and family.

Some options are to re-establish a brick and mortar store, take it on the road and do fiber fairs around the country, or do some sort of combination or seasonal store. I may be leaning toward a brick and mortar store. I like not having to set-up and tear down my stuff every time. On the other hand, I like to travel and I like going where the fiber people are.

Honestly, it will likely come down to numbers. Money numbers. It usually does come down to that.

All right, I’m off to pick up a kid, and crunch some numbers…

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Assessing

As summer approaches I am fast hitting that time of year where I have my busy season. It goes against all the traditional advice that the winter season is a yarn shop’s busy season. But I live in a rural area where a good portion of my customers are the summer tourists. Between that and having just moved I am re-assessing my business plan and schedule.

I no longer currently have a brick and mortar location. I’m looking for a location at the moment but locations are limited; as are funds.  I have several plans in work for a store, but I feel some reluctance to actually put them into play. The way festival/fiber fair schedules work I’m past dates to apply to be vendors for most of the fairs around during 2018. Amazing isn’t it? Early in the year and already dates are past for this year. I am starting to compile a list of where I want to be in 2019 so I can get vendor applications done.

There are a lot of unknowns for me at the moment. I am making. And that is wonderful to get back to. That said, I feel the pressure from myself to keep my business going and viable. I have several goals for my business:

  1. Get organized. Having my space in turmoil from moving is driving me crazy.
  2. Get my knitting instructor certification. I’m working on this but it takes time.
  3. Get my master knitting certificate. Again, in work but takes time.
  4. Teach several classes to get more people knitting and spinning. It is a wonderful thing to get more people involved in fiber arts.
  5. Re-open a storefront. I miss my little shop.
  6. Don’t go work for someone else. While I enjoyed having extra income, I did not enjoy having to give so much of my time to someone else.
  7. Expand the items I carry in my store to include more items I make.

This are just the beginning. I have other things I want to be able to do. I am really enjoying being available for my kids. I want to be able to continue to have the family time that I have found myself with all of a sudden.

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I’ve got my schedule a bit more nailed down. June 2nd I will be teaching a knitting class: Short-row Technique. I’ll do this at the Brown Sheep Fiber Arts Schoolhouse. I’m very excited about that. The next weekend on June 9th I’m doing the vendor event I was debating. With everything else going on I need to get some income flowing again if I ever want this endeavor to succeed. That vendor event will be at Fort Robinson State Park. I’m glad it is there since I’ve wanted to go for quite some time now, but have never made it in there.

I’ve also applied to be a part of our local event in July call Fur Trade Days. My new town has a big week long celebration of the fur trade days. I will see if this is a well attended event or not. It looks like it should be decent.

I have a crazy family schedule during June. I’m not sure I’ll get much more beyond the two events I mentioned above. I’m hoping to do more teaching in the fall and into the winter as well. I am planning on doing most of my winter teaching up here though so I don’t have to travel while the roads are bad.

I have new projects in the works as well. They are big enough they warrant a whole post of their own.

 

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Holy mackerel the summer fills up fast! I’m laying out teaching and event schedules and before I know it I’m into October solidly with a few events planned for 2019. How does that happen?! People who don’t want to schedule things until last minute… It is never going to happen. Between my business, kids, and family I pretty well have my next year scheduled out and then some. Whew!

While I love having it all planned out the planning can kind of stress me out too. I’d prefer to let things progress at a leisurely pace, but if I actually want to do some of the things I have to put them on the calendar well in advance. My area is notorious for having multiple events happen on a weekend so I have to decide what I’m going to do well ahead of time.

Take the second weekend in June. There is a 10K I want to run, a vendor event, and the standard knitting club meeting at the local library. There are conflicting times and many miles between them all. There is just no way to be in that many places at once. So, I have to decide which thing I need to do the most. Honestly, knitting club won’t happen for me that day, but I have yet to decide whether to run or do the event for my business. A smart business woman would do the event. But sometimes that business woman would like to have a Saturday to run and clear her head.

Ah well… I will continue tweaking the schedule and updating as I go along. Boulevard shoppes 2

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Master Knitting and Teaching Certification

I’m finding out how much I don’t know about knitting. Oh, I know I’m a beginner. I decided to jump into this TKGA Master Knitting course and a Teaching certificate from them to better my knitting. This is great on one hand; on the other it is kicking my hind end and tying my brain in knots. I am re-learning how to research things and to write papers. That is one of the things doing my head in.

Then, there are the different questions, patterns, and swatches to be knit. Talk about a challenge! I’m loving it!! I have discovered over the last year or so that I apparently get bored while knitting something easy. Some of the easiest projects take me forever because I just don’t want to work on them. Now, if it is a challenge then I knit on them often because I’m trying to figure things out. So these certificates are a way of staying challenged.

I suppose I should back up a little. TKGA= The knitting guild of America They have a Master Knitter program that has 3 levels to it. You get 1 year to complete level 1. 18 months to complete level 2 and 2 years to complete level 3. I’m at the level 1 stage. I do not know if I will go on from here. I really don’t have aspirations of designing knit patterns. I simply want to improve my knitting.

In addition to the Master program the TKGA started a teaching certificate program. This one I am determined to complete. I would like to start teaching knitting classes and the research and questions and planning within this program is a great place to get those classes lined out. Several of the exercises are exactly the classes I want to teach. Some are not exactly, but are great for stretching my skills and abilities. So far, this is actually the program that is driving me the maddest. There are a couple of the questions that I am struggling with. It will come and I’m learning loads, but it is a struggle. It is actually reminding me a little bit of being in my high school physics class. I had a teacher that didn’t really teach so I had to study and learn it on my own. Interesting, but challenging and some days lots of hair gets pulled out.

I’d better get back to trying to sort some of this out…

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To-do list is never-ending

Finally getting some things checked off of that never-ending to-do list. I got some of my web page updated. Check it out at www.littlehawkyarns.com. Of course give me a holler if you have issues with something. My web person did a great job setting it up but then he lost steam so I’m learning how to do this on my own. I might be upset if I were actually paying him, but since I’m not, and he’s my husband I don’t mind having to take over. He did all the little detail stuff to start with that I dislike doing. Now it is more of a maintain and update. That I can do. There are some tricks to it that I’m learning as I go along. I like learning new things so it works well.

What else…? I’m done with my dryer ball order and just have to arrange delivery. The April snow hasn’t helped with that. Friday and most of Saturday all of Western Nebraska was shut down by a blizzard. I bet we got close to 10 inches of snow along with the wind. That meant no visibility and treacherous roads. I was glad we didn’t try to go anywhere. I’ll have to work on the delivery arrangements for my dryer balls for a day that isn’t predicted to snow. And if all else fails I’ll ship them. For now though we think we can get someone either to me or me to the person who ordered them.

I’m slowly getting my summer schedule worked out too. Not sure how that is going to look with being in a new area. I’m working on finding several shows through the summer that are near me and then I’ll plan the further shows for the following spring and summer.  This means I need to get my truck fixed up and probably need to find an enclosed trailer to haul my stuff in.  I like travelling for things but I will have to do some careful consideration to see which shows will be best for my business. Mainly, not too costly. I could pretty quickly rack up some serious miles and charges for hotel rooms. I know how I would keep those costs down if I don’t have my kids travel with me, but if they travel with me I may modify things a bit. I’m playing with several ideas but have not come to any conclusions.

Now, since Monday has hit with a bit of a vengeance I think I’d better try to knock some more projects off my list. I feel a bit like I can’t get cracking today. I had a lot better luck over the weekend.

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