Musings

Hello blog. Did you miss me? I know, I know, I do this a lot. I do have many new things going on that I want to share with you since my last post but they will have to wait until next time, which I promise won’t be after the new year, LOL! For today I want to write about a few thoughts that are on my mind lately. It is sort of an exercise for me to clarify it to myself.

So here goes. My husband and I started Knitting Notions eleven years ago. We started it literally from nothing and built it from the ground up on a shoestring. A little background may be helpful at this point as to what instigated this in the first place. My husband has a most admirable work ethic and takes his commitment as a provider very seriously. It is one of the things I respect most about him. I was and still am absolutely content in my role as homemaker and mother. As many of you probably know but some may not, we have ten children which have all been homeschooled. Six of them have finished high school, moved on to their own lives and begun their own families. I know my time was well spent on my family and have no regrets other than the obvious caveat that I am not perfect nor are they. So the reason for starting the business were not at first about money needs per se.

Back in 2003 we were to begin a business venture with some friends that in the end didn’t pan out and as a result of that we spent quite a sum of money on our equity loan on a work shop full of tools. Big tools. Serious tools. So, what were we to do with those? Well, my husband being very handy tried many assorted ideas that while awesome were hard to market. That kept being the main hang up. So, I am a knitter right? I get an idea one day that I would like to have a swift. We have all this woodworking stuff, so maybe Jerry can make me one, right? I show him a few styles I had seen online and he also had seen some things in woodworking books, so he came up with one. I still have that one kicking around here I think. Or maybe one of my daughters has it? Anyway, I think to myself, now this might be something we can market easily. I approach the local yarn shop but they aren’t too interested. This is the first decade of the internet, 2005 to be exact, so I think why not try our hand selling these on ebay? That was the only way I knew to find a market at the time. No etsy or ravelry or facebook, etc. Ebay was a good way for getting my feet wet and we made more and sold more. We think hey,we could be on to something. How do we expand? A few dyers were selling on Ebay at the time but the market was tough to be visible. I began studying color theory, experimenting with my chosen dyes (Sabraset) and commenced my “career” as a professional dyer of yarn. The rest is a continuation of that idea of expanding on the theme and seeing where it would go.

Now here is really the meat of my post. Where do I want this to go? What does this all mean to me? In the earlier years I was very excited by doing this new thing. It has a creative outlet, yes, but more than that for the most part it gives me a new application for all my hard won skills that have developed over the years in my home. As a busy homeschooling mother of ten my reality was be efficient and organized at all times or I couldn’t survive. I am not sure if you can fully grasp that unless you have walked in my shoes but I can’t stress this enough. It was my only life line to sanity. Structure. Efficiency. Steadfastness even when you are so tired, sore, drained, that you want to give up. My goals were much bigger than my everyday grind. So I now had(have) this new way to use these skills. Bonus was I was also getting paid actual money for it. LOL! Very new experience for me I can assure you. I won’t lie. I liked earning money, still do. But I restate this point, it wasn’t for money per se that we started. Now, we did hope to pay for those tools, certainly. We figured they should be earning their keep. But the goal was for my husband to eventually work in the business full time and quit his outside the home job.

That is quite a frightening prospect to actually step out and do, especially when you don’t want to fail those who are counting on you. More to my point I am working towards is this; It seems like running this business is a calling I was made and primed for and yet I also know that my much higher calling is serving the Lord in my role as a mother. For a few years there I was not only excited by a new thing but I also wanted to prove myself I guess. That I could do more with it, be ambitious, take it farther, be successful in the world’s eyes. I have watched many dyers who entered the industry when I did and even later surpass me; build a brand.  I sometimes feel a bit of guilt about that. Could I be doing more to promote? Have new things more? Be more aggressive, assertive? Am I failing my husband that I haven’t taken the business to a place, a level, where he feels secure to go full time and quit his job? To a certain extent I think the answer to that question is yes. But the real question is this. SHOULD I be doing that? Wouldn’t that take too much energy from my higher calling to my family? Yes, yes it would.

I lately realized something about most, if not all, of my peers in the industry. I can’t think of any who are in the next level business wise who have a family situation like mine. They are predominantly women who are either empty nesters or never had children. So what is my point then? Maybe it’s right for me to place a priority on my family while still having a commitment to do as much as I possibly can with my business. Maybe a door for expansion will open if we continue to seek and pray. Maybe I also need to come to a place where I don’t even hold on so tight to what I have built if it is in competition with my higher calling? I don’t want to quit but I realize I should be willing if it’s the right thing to do. I am thinking and praying about these things today. Thanks for reading and thank you for still being here.

More updates and pictures soon, but for today here is the most sweet and exciting update I have, my newest granddaughter Fiona Rayne Bagley. Born 11-20-16, 6# 1oz. (think) born to my third daughter Meredith and her husband Luke. Love all three of you.

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Checking in from Minneapolis

Good morning all! I have about an hour until I must leave for the convention center for the first market day at Vogue Knitting Live Minneapolis, so it seemed like a good time to catch you up on my last trip for this year.

Booth set up went pretty well on Wednesday afternoon. I am fortunate that I am able to park my trailer at the convention center in the loading area. I can also park my truck back there each day when I arrive. This relieves much stress with finding parking each day. On the other hand I am paying dearly for that privilege. I won’t even say how much because it is rather sickening but it seems I probably wouldn’t have saved much, if anything, by parking off site since the lots charge $4-$8 and hour or something. Sheesh! But anyway, the facility is nice with good lighting. Here’s a couple pictures I took before I left Wednesday.

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I had some free time on Thursday, as I had hoped, to go check out the Mall of America. Holy cow! Does that thing have it’s own zip code? I didn’t really know what to expect so I went with no specific plans. I just wandered around for a couple hours trying not to get lost. Open-mouthed smile The only purchase I made was a vinyl record cleaning kit I picked up in Barnes & Noble. I have been meaning to get one, so when I spotted one, I grabbed it.

The rest of the day I hung out in my room watching concert DVD’s and knitting. I also started watching Stranger Things on Netflix. One of my sons-in-law recommended it to me because I read Stephen King and he thought I might like it. It is pretty good actually. I got that whole chart 3 done on the Talise shawl, which means only one chart to go. That works out to 32 rows though so there is still a fair bit of knitting left.

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Okay I better close and get my gear ready for the day. See you later.

Travels and knitting update

SAFF was great as always. I won’t bore you with a bunch of booth pictures but I will post just this one of the new Cherry and Walnut Yarn Boxes. They went over very well. Smile

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I spent Monday and Tuesday driving up to Minneapolis, MN for the Vogue Knitting Live in Minneapolis show. I stayed the first night in Merrillville, IN which is close to where Meredith and Luke live now and I was happy to get to visit with them a few hours that night. I stupidly didn’t think to take any pictures though. Sad smile

This afternoon I will be setting up my booth. If I don’t get it all done in the time allotted for set up today I will need to go back in tomorrow and finish up. I am hopeful that I have some free time tomorrow however. If I do manage to have most or all of Thursday free I am tempted to go check out the Mall of America since it is pretty close to my hotel.

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I have a few hours this morning so I plan to get in some knitting and music. Talise is coming along when I find some time to actually knit on it. It is a fairly easy and intuitive lace stitch pattern which is great for relaxing to music or an audiobook while only needing periodic reference to the chart.

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I am on chart 3 at the moment. It is a 14 row chart and I am on the 3rd row. After that is a 4 row chart with 8 repeats of that. I would venture that I am about 70% complete.

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Okay, that’s all I have time for today. Wish me luck on set up today. Taking a trailer into an urban downtown area can be stressful and anxiety producing. Winking smile

Still Here..

Good morning blog. I know it has been ages and once again I beg your pardon. Since my last post from Virginia the end of September, it is now the end of another very hectic month.

I arrived home after the Fall Fiber Festival at Montpelier on October the 3rd and hit the ground running. New Era Fiber Mill has kept me super busy dyeing for them with large orders every week. In addition to that, I had a big batch of new Yarn Boxes in cherry and walnut ready for finish and then to be photographed and added to the website. Some of my yarn inventory also needed replenished (which is a good problem to have Smile) so there was yet more dyeing to be done.

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Now if that isn’t enough for you, we also had the pleasure of hosting my oldest daughter Alicia’s wedding to Aaron Brown at our home. It was outdoors; a small immediate family affair. All of my children and grandchildren were in attendance except for Meredith and Luke, who were sorely missed. It was wonderful to have everyone together again for a brief reunion. My second oldest daughter, Heather, with Garrod and the three little girls stayed at our house. Oh, and Honey, their sweet doggie, came along as well, much to Emma’s delight. I wish I had thought to get some pictures of those two together because Emma enjoyed Honey’s visit very much.

Anyway, it was a thrown together rather last minute, and went off surprisingly well. Open-mouthed smile I am very happy that they came to Nashville so that we could all be a witness to what will surely be a blessed union.

Here’s a few of my favorite pictures that Heather and I took over the weekend.

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I am in Asheville, NC this weekend for SAFF and from here I proceed to Minneapolis, MN for my first Vogue Knitting event. I will make more of an effort to update much sooner next time and fill you in on my travels this week and my recent knitting, not that there has been much of that lately. Open-mouthed smile

Back in Virginia

I am enjoying a few days of well earned rest this week after quite a busy month. After returning from Ohio I had two days to dye a large order for the mill and then I left home for northwest Virginia for two shows, Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival and the Fall Fiber Festival of Virginia

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The SVFF was awesome as usual and the weather was great! It’s looking a bit wet for FFF but the tents went up on Tuesday before the rain started and the festival committee is on top of making sure all things are the best they can be this year. It is currently raining here in Winchester so I am hanging out in the room and doing some knitting today.

I had four days lay over here in Winchester, VA. On Monday I went to the mall and visited the music store and then went to see a movie (Snowden, which was very interesting). On Tuesday, since it was the last day forecast to be sunny and nice, I decided to take a little trip down to Front Royal and then to the Shenandoah River State Park. I just walked about the city square in Front Royal seeing a few historical sites (no pictures of that unfortunately). Then I went to check out the State Park and find a spot to eat my lunch. I had been to the National Park a few times before and since I didn’t plan on staying long enough to get my $20 admission worth, I opted for the less expensive SP. Winking smile

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This view was worth the $4 admission.

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Here is where I had my lunch break. I would have done a bit of hiking possibly except that I stupidly wore my sandals. I thought about going on down to Luray Caverns but didn’t in the end. I opted to head back towards the hotel and do some grocery shopping for supplies for the coming weekend.

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Yesterday was wet like today so I just hung out at the hotel, mostly knitting, reading, and watching 11.22.63 (also pretty good), which I bought on Monday at the music store.

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So, I finished the pair of socks I started, in what, June? Then I cast on for a new shawl in my new color Paprika using my Classic Merino Superwash Sock yarn. This is the second of Dee O’Keefe’s recent crescent shawls, Talise. This is probably what I will be working on today but tomorrow it’s back to work. I will leave for Orange, VA in the morning and set up the booth at Montpelier. See you again soon!

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Mayuri

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I completed Mayuri on Friday in Wisconsin. I took the picture below right off the needles to demonstrate the difference blocking makes. The color is very difficult to get right too. The one down at the bottom is the closest to what it really looks like.

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I got the blocking done last night, so sorry for such terrible lighting on this picture. It was almost 8:00 last night so I had to turn on the light. I wanted you to see the weird way I had to block it though. It’s a very long crescent so the ends want to curl up. Looks kind of like a manta ray or something. Smile

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Kyla was good enough to model it for you. I was outside dyeing up an order for the mill and was not fit to be seen. Open-mouthed smile

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We tried to show the curls here. I may wear this one at the Woolgathering this coming weekend if it’s not too warm out. I will be leaving on Friday for that festival. If you will be there come on in and say “Hi” and see Mayuri in person. I will have the pattern and yarn in the booth. 

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Mayuri Progress

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My Mayuri Shawl has been getting all my possible attention so I am making good progress on it. I just joined on the second skein of yarn last night and at the last row of chart 4. There are 7 charts in all.

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At the end of chart 4 I will have 363 stitches on the needle and at the end of chart 7 there will be 451 stitches to bind off. The rows are getting much slower as I go of course but to keep it in perspective, Sonnenblume had 713 stitches, so it could be worse. Smile I love my Sonnenblume though, so it was totally worth those rows in the end.

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I love how it perfectly matches the grass in this picture!