Friday, October 07, 2016

An Update on Yarn Shop Ownership

Holy Hannah guys, apparently running a yarn shop is a life-consuming business!  I now mentally roll my eyes a tiny bit when I hear people talk about me "living the dream" and how "it must be so amazing to be able to knit at work if you want to".


Apparently 12 hour work days AT LEAST 6 days a week (and I try to enforce one day off a week because I've been through Grad School, I know how easy it is to burn out) and the only knitting time you take is in sacrifice of things like "laundry" and "making a real meal".  And when you find time to knit?  It'll probably be consumed by sample/commission/repair work - forget about your own projects.

fo: Rainbows and Shooting Stars
Short Notice baby sweater by Taiga Hillard Designs, knit using Diamond Luxury Simpatico yarn.  LOVE how this turned out - the yarn was pretty and the sweater knits up in no-time flat.  Seriously, if you need a baby gift on short notice, this is a good choice in pattern! 
This probably sounds like complaining.  It's really not.  I knew exactly what I was getting into when I jumped into this new career because I'm a scientist and I totally did my research.  But I do have to laugh at those comments above because it's obvious that they hadn't.  That's okay though - it is a dream to many people and I certainly don't want to burst it.  (Except...I sort of did to you folks...erm...)

fo: Aspyn Toque
Aspyn Hat by Melissa Schaschwary, knit out of ...well you can see.  Fun knit, though those massive cables looked like garbage for the first few repeats.  The yarn is SO SOFT AND SO TWEEDY, I'm in love.  Honkin' big pompom (the photo doesn't do it justice) was added to help pull down the hat so it's more slouch and less cone-head.  Those big cables be stiff!  Also, make sure you use MUCH smaller needles for the brim, because I made a mistake and used 4.5 mm instead of 4.0 mm, and it wasn't enough - WASN'T ENOUGH.
But anyways, I will say that I was a little unprepared about how consuming this would be.  I've been wanting to write blog posts for a while now, but I have no energy to do anything at the end of the day.  The only reason I'm writing this one is because I'm forcing myself to, because dammit I wanna blog!

I also wanna go for a run, but between a few ginormous orders at the shop and evening events every day this week, that's totally not happening.

fo: Entrelac Cowl
Entrelac Cowl from a not so great pattern (I had to rewrite it and I've never knit entrelac before).  This deserves a post all on it's own because I'm THAT DAMN PROUD OF IT, but alas that probably won't happen. Knit using Noro Kureyon yarn (2 balls of it) and in the round, I learned how to knit backwards (i.e. knitting stockinette without turning to do purl rows) to speed up the process.  I'm plotting to do an entrelac class because there's just so much to learn from this technique!  :D 
But don't you worry about me (as uh, all my friends seem to be doing if the amount of assistance they're offering is any clue). Part of the reason I'm working so hard is that I'm trying to get everything in place to make my life much easier.  It's been a learning curve (HA - more like a series of vertical learning cliffs!), but it's getting better all of the time.  The store is nearly where I'd hoped to have it months ago, and I'll be giving you a little tour soon.  And I'm getting some creative outlet in the samples I'm making up - many of them shown here in this post.

fo: Entrelac Cowl
Fell in LOVE with kureyon while knitting this.  Lovely and soft with beautiful colour ranges, and the finished project has such heft that it stands up nicely on it's own.  What a great cowl for keeping your neck and face warm for the winter!  May need to steal this for the really cold winter days that are coming way too soon (seriously, I'm scraping the windshield almost daily now).
The very best part though?  I love what I do, every single day.  Oh sure, there's some trying bits - but there's nothing like seeing a person's face when the light-bulb moment happens when they figure out a new stitch, or assisting a new knitter find their first project, or fixing a problem that's stumped someone (and bonus if they learn how to fix it themselves!).

fo: Alpaca Mitts
Alpaca mittens I knit on commission for a customer who needed some help.  Well, I say commission, but these took so long to get done that I did the work for free.  They turned out so lovely though, and beyond soft! that it was a joy to knit.  <3  No pattern - I just made it up as I went.  The yarn was a challenge since it was hand-spun locally raised alpaca, and the yarn went from fingering to bulky and back to fingering through the entire ball of yarn.  Progressively.  ANNOYING.  But they turned out so cute, despite being reknit ...more times than I want to count, and the fingertips reknit 4 times (no exaggeration!) the last night alone.  ARGH next time I follow a pattern!  I couldn't stop putting them on though, so I'd call that a winner!
This is a hard career I've taken on - but it's one that I'm loving, despite all of the challenges (or likely because of them).  And while I'd caution anyone else looking to do it to put their research in and understand what they're getting in for (seriously guys - this job is all about customer service!), I'd sing the praises of this career to anyone wanting to tackle this challenge.

Just please don't open another one in Whitehorse - I think we have all the yarn shops we can handle with the two of us.  :)


  1. Oh I hear you! After nearly five years Ive sort of got it under control, but I know there are thousands of things I ought to be doing. Like online sales. Ironically I spend so much time fielding email inquiries and packing subsequent orders, I don't have time!
    Good on you, I've never worked so hard in my life, well apart from wedding season in the wedding shop, but yup there is something rewarding about being the mistress of your own destiny eh. Eve if all of our university education seems to not be so relevant hehe xo

  2. So fun to hear an update on your shop, and I'm happy to hear you are enjoying it! I'm right in the trenches with you - I've been working everyday for the last three months building up my party supply webshop from scratch and getting it up and running. Still don't have 70% of the inventory up, since it all arrived in 30 huge cartons and a pallet last week... :-O But even all that doesn't make me miss my old corporate job filled with unhappy stressed people.

    I love the checkboard cowl in those colors, I would live in that all winter! I dove into knitting once and quickly realized that counting stitches was too hard for me :)

    As MrsC says above, Good on you and all the best for your store! :)))

  3. God, that sounds both brutal and wonderful! I do hope you can get it to a point where it's not QUITE so all-consuming (having done burnout a couple of different ways myself. :( ) so excited to hear whatever you manage to share!

  4. You just wrote the perfect description of what it's like to work/own a yarn store. Thanks for being able to write it down in words, it's fantastic work but can be so damn hard.

  5. I am so proud of/happy for you! I know it's a lot of work, but if anyone's up for the challenge, you are :) I'm glad you're loving it-hopefully I'll actually be able to make it up to check your shop out sometime!

  6. You go girl, as we say in the Guiding movement. Nice to see a post from you.

    God bless.

  7. I'm so glad to read that things are going well with the shop and, most importantly, you still love it! I have been terrible about blogging and blog reading this last year too. I think this happens in stages, and soon enough, you'll have the time again. I'm just anxious to see your shop tour!