update from Lea-Ann

Out of the blue today I was thinking there must be a song which addresses my current feelings about change and moving from the storefront into a studio room and adjusting to that change. What popped up was a song by Group 1 Crew called Movin’. I went to one of their concerts with my kids once and really enjoyed the high energy they brought to the stage, even if I couldn’t quite understand all the lyrics. The lyrics that jumped out at me were:

“On your mark, get set, here we go
Time to make your future unfold”

Change is not always the easiest, but when its time, its time and after having a retail storefront for fourteen years, I have faith that God is directing this next stage in my knitting career. The lyrics, “You don’t have to wait anymore its all yours for sure, let your faith walk it out now, walk it out now,” seem to point to me that its time to have faith that the changes I’m making will be not only for the betterment of myself and my family, but for my customers and knitting friends as well. Lord willing!!

As of today and for the current future, Knitting Today storefront hours are Fridays 10-4. We have lunch bunch (open knitting) for anyone who wants to join us from 11-2 or 3ish. The phone is now moved to my studio, as is the internet, my knitting machines, my hand knitting projects, and most of my inspiration and books. There is still quite a bit of moving to do, but I am feeling settled already.

Would you like to see my current set-up? The bookshelf will be emptied out and bins moved in and books sorted and replaced. A knitting machine that will be for sale as soon as I have all the parts put where they belong replaced by a 9-bin cubby with a machine on top of it, and my knitting chair. Various and sundry items along the wall shelf are an ironing board hanger, various types of glue, Tom’s poker collage, paintings by Tara Lea, and a mannequin that needs some knitwear.  Almost all need other homes.

Still to be sorted and cleaned out
Still to be sorted and cleaned out

This shot where the computer resides for a stand-up desk is full of bins of projects that need to be repaired or finished along with a few bags of paperwork that has piled up since the beginning of the year. On the right is two nine-bin stacks full of magazines. Almost an entire set of Knitter’s, Interweave, Vogue Knitting, Knitwords, Knitting World (anyone remember this magazine??), tatting books and supplies, VHS [what in the world am I going to do with them??]. Inspiration!!

feeling organized and efficient
feeling organized and efficient

So here we are, movin’, movin’ . . . . more later!

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moving right along . . . amazon vs. paypal?

So, my new hours of Monday-Thursday by appointment, and Friday and Saturday, 10-4, seem to be working fine from my end. Not a lot of feedback from the customer so I can only assume it is working just fine.

I’m ordering from Brown Sheep, Plymouth, Mountain Colors, Lorna’s Laces, and other companies on an almost weekly basis. If you have some needs, feel free to let me know and I’ll get it added to the list.

I have a website issues that I need to address. Paypal is only showing on my website when you click through one of the credit card payment methods. I need to get that changed. I’m wondering what payment method you prefer using on the www:

amazon checkout
paypal
traditional credit card (V, MC, Disc, AmEx)

Thanks for your input!

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KnittingU March: blocking

Its time to give it a go for KnittingU. We’ve been snowed out the past two months. I’m anxious to see what everyone has been working on and if they’ve been using the lessons learned in our previous knittingU classes. Here’s the details:

Saturday, March 1, 10-12
Tuesday March 4, 2-4
Thursday March 6, 6-8

Did you know there are four methods of blocking?  How about tools to use? Learn and try the different methods and tools in this hands-on class. Bring scrap yarn and needles two sizes too big for that yarn to practice. $20. let us know your are coming please by leaving a message at 260-351-2260.

April will be steeking
May will be increasing

Onward! Lea-Ann

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Slow but sure, a marathon not a sprint.

Every day, every project, every pile. I have to remember that projects are a marathon not a sprint. It’s about time for a new top ten list. I find I’m adding and adding and not finishing, once again. Problem is it isn’t just knitting.

1. Graphic design homework projects due 2/27.
2. Editing next KnitStyle pattern due 2/15.
3. Launching ultimateknittingclub.com forums, blog, and patterns.
4. Planning store sale for March.
5. 2013 taxes due 2/28.
6. Socks, hand. (Supposed to be at the heel today!)
7. Knit swirl, hand.
8. Stormy weather, machine.

I’m quitting the list here before I get overwhelmed. What’s on your list?

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Storefront hours

For the next few weeks, our storefront hours are by appointment only. A combination of weather, grandkids health issues, class requirements, my health, and working on the online community website is taking priority. If you need something, you may place an order online and choose the shopping method of “will pick up” and we’ll call you to schedule a meet time. If you need knitting help, we’ll be glad to meet up, just call 260-351-2260 to make arrangements.

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February KnittingU: increases

KnittingU: February 2014
Why Do I Need This Class?
I can hear you now. I already know how to increase so why do I need this class? Do this little, um, swatch (I know how much we all love to do swatches!) for me:

Cast on 10 stitches (sts).
Knit one row.
K 2 sts, increase (inc), K 6 sts, inc, K 2 sts.

Did you have two stitches left at the end to knit? What type of increase did you use? This will jump start our discussion pertaining to what do you already know?

We will cover these basic increase methods:
KF&B
loop increase
lifted increase
And, we’ll make sure you:
know how to do them
when to do them
how to know if you did them already
learn to use them to count rows
and what to do if that darn YO is followed by a purl.
But then, we have some other things to learn:
how to use increases for decorative and functional (YO backwards and forwards + pair decreases; Crow’s foot increase; beginning of the row methods: cable cast on, knitted on cast on)
new-to-me increase method 1: how to add stitches at the end of the row and NOT leave a gap
new-to-me increase method 2: how to do a lifted “nearly invisible” increase.
These techniques belong in your arsenal of knitting tricks. Don’t miss out!

Join us to learn more:

Saturday, February 1, 10-12
Tuesday, February 4, 2-4
Thursday, February 6, 6-8 (we might have Evan at this class!)

Cost: $20. Call260-351-2260 to register.

Here’s the SNOW SCOOP:
Saturday at 8:00 – call or text my cell phone at 260-499-0406 and I will let you know if class is cancelled or rescheduled.
Tuesday and Thursday – if Prairie Heights is cancelled, we are cancelled. If the afternoon weather is questionable, same as above.

If we have to cancel a class for some reason, I will not reschedule it for the next week as I had been doing. I will simply tack it on to the end of the schedule. You are always welcome to attend a different class if necessary.

NOTE: Due to the amount of accumulated snow and lack of parking, we will NOT be holding Superbowl Sunday knit in.

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Journalism? Letter writing? What is a blog?

Is keeping a blog like journaling? Writing, pictures,
sharing …. Taking time to put thoughts to the page. I’d rather
pick up the needles and help someone or answer a question.
Self-directed posting is not my strength, obviously. So, I need
some help to keep this blog going. Tell me what you would like to
see. It’s so much easier to pop into Facebook and post a short
status. The blog is more extensive than that. I have to think and plan
the posts, not just a thought off the top of my head. I’ve never
been a good journaller or letter writer. My thoughts meander and skip. Here’s an example, an open letter to my knitting friends:

So what’s been happening in my world? Last year was full of huge changes in my family
starting with November of 2012 when Trent’s twins were born.
Followed by Haley graduating from High School in May. Tara
graduating from Glen Oaks. Haley having her little boy in
September, and then Trent leaving for basic training for the
Indiana National Guard. Helping with the grandchildren has taken
priority over a lot of things right now.  Here’s the newest little one, and he hangs out at the store with me an awful lot:

Evan being his cute self
Evan being his cute self

Speaking of the store, I’m the sole
worker now with Tom helping as much as he possibly can. And
thankfully on Fridays some of the lunch bunch knitters step in and
help as well. I love the community of knitters that I’ve met over
the years and continue to meet. I’ve been running Knitting Today
for 21 years this year, since 2002 in the current location, and
it’s time for some refreshing ideas and concepts. I’ve been taking
some classes at glen oaks and I’m so inspired to try new things.
I’ve been working on a new website and the roadblocks have been
immense, mainly time-related though. I have to learn and install
three software programs, as well as design the look, feel and function of
this new site. Time! It all takes time! In order to give me time,
we reset the store hours so knitting today is open by appointment
Monday to Wednesday, 12-6 thursday (which will probably change),
and Friday and Saturday 10-4. I’m calling them “studio hours”.

The question is frequently asked, what classes are you running? Well the winter
favorite two socks toe up starts next week. And the monthly classes
I’ve been running, KnittingU, have been informative and interesting
pushing the techniques learned from just following a pattern to
being a “thinking knitter” and learn the why behind what you are
doing. I love to learn like this. Others just want to be blind
followers and aren’t too interested in this series. That would be an interesting poll: are you a thinking
knitter or blind follower?

I’m working on a other Mystery Yarn Club
too. And, several machine knitting KAL projects are in the works
(that’s why it’s important I get the new website operating). It’s a
toss-up between project classes and technique classes and a
combination of both. As far as stock and products in the store,
I’ve had some database errors and needed to move my inventory
systems for about a half a year. Finally over Christmas we did an
actual inventory count and I’m still, 16 days later, getting things
in the new system and trying to change procedures I’ve used since
2004 to integrate. Ugh! The store is torn apart right now, not
pleasing to see or find things, but we’ll get there. The up side is
we’ll be able to track special orders and be more timely in that
process. And, since I’ve been stocking the same yarns for several
years, I’m on the hunt for new and exciting yarns, most of which
will make their debut In the mystery yarn club. The downside for
the casual shopper is they will have to wait for their order to
arrive instead of purchasing from open stock. The industry has
changed so much in the past five years that I’m refocusing on kits
and projects vs. open stock. And, while I’ve always said yes, I’m
going to have to start suggesting some alternatives to some
products just to keep the books in the black. Tom and I started
with the Dave Ramsey program a while back and that has meant a lot
of changes, but for the better. If you want to stock a store, take
my advice from lessons learned and don’t use credit (cards or
loans)!

Up next? after attending Trent’s graduation from Basic and seeing him off to Advanced, helping Haley on Tues and Thurs evenings so she can attend EMT classes, and helping Tara plan and execute her knitting classes for Joann’s in Fort Wayne, we’re planning the Superbowl Sunday Special Sale! Mark your
calendars for February 2 and make your way to our doors from 2-5.
Bring a snack, your knitting, and be ready for a sale like no other
we have ever had!

Shadow Knitting
Shadow Knitting

So, you see what has happened here? I meander and flow and circle back, like music ebbs and flows. Journalling, letter writing, blogging . . . . let me leave you with a question until next time, respond in the comments:

  • thinking knitter?
  • blind
    follower?

 

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KnittingU Series: class 1 – Edges Examined: selvedges, shaping and applied

The first class in the KnittingU six-month series concludes
tonight, 6-8. It is called “Edges Examined: selvedge, shaped and
applied”. The class consists of technique, discussion and
application. Feedback from the two previous sessions has been
positive and I am glad to be able to provide knitters with an
arsenal of techniques so they are happier with their knitting and
making informed choices. If you want to get in on the last minute
fun, just call 260-351-2260 and bring light-colored, smooth,
worsted weight yarn and appropriate size needles along with $20. The next session
will be the first week of December and the focus is on color.

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Rush, rush, rush

And as the day begins, I pause to look at the to-do list (I’m giving Nozbe a try) and determine what is the most important thing to get done. After an appointment this morning, I have to make sure I have a box ready for when the UPS man arrives, then a few boxes for customers for the USPS man. Then, I expect to be focused on helping the people who walk in the door. In the meantime, there are a myriad of other tasks related to running a small business and a yarn store, in particular. Things like, um, clean the bathroom seem to get pushed to the bottom of the list as does long term planning and, something essential to my well-being, knitting. That’s horrible, isn’t it! The very reason I started this business gets pushed to the end of the list when in reality, it should be the first thing I do every day to center myself and accomplish the jobs that inspire others and me to keep going. Do you do that too? What do you push to the end and then never seem to finish?

I’m going to take the next five days and join in an exercise with Jeff Goins to see if I can refocus on what is truly important and not just urgent. Would you like to join me? Here’s the link to the the slow down challenge.. Oh, and look at the creativity and clutter post while you are there.

Ready?

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