I was going to write some happy words about our upcoming anniversary, but I’ve decided that despite my gratitude to you all, that’s going to have to wait until next week.
In the last few weeks, some women (and a few men) that I love very much have been going through some pretty heavy shit. Some have talked about it openly, some carefully, some not at all.
And to them I want to say: you are loved. You are seen; I am here with you.
I recently listened to an interview with Alison Gopnik on the Ezra Klein Show. It’s a wide-ranging interview about childhood development and humanity in general; definitely worth the time. But one of the more profound things I got out of it was the idea that allowing others to care for you is an act of love. We go through our lives trying very hard to not “be a burden” to those around us; but we depend on those social ties that come with providing care. Love is grown and nurtured through the act of care. You will be more loved if you are willing to allow others to care for you, to be that “burden.” It allows relationships to deepen.
I admit, I am not good at this either. Raise your hand if you’ve heard me say one of these things: I’m fine. It doesn’t matter. I can handle it. It is what it is.
It’s so easy to fall into the trap of clamping down and plowing through. Looking back at those times, I can see where this was a mistake, and I can see how much better it was the times I let friends support me. Two quick stories:
REmember to Breathe
I suppose this is more of a reminder for me than for you, but sometimes we need to hear it:
Step back. Breathe in, breathe out. Drink some water. You’ve got this.
Like many people, life has piled up on me a bit. House buying, painting, hiring contractors, moving, staging to sell. Planning travel, scheduling coverage, getting staff ready. Planning for LYS Day, scheduling classes, prepping kits and sales. Life conspired to put a lot on my plate this month.
Step back. Breathe in, breathe out. Drink some water. You’ve got this.
I'm Still a Higher Ed Nerd
Last month, I told you all that there were exciting changes happening, and some are underway, others are a little….stalled…
With Ellen moving on to her next chapter, it forced me to reassess the structure of my staff and teaching schedule. We wish Ellen all the best on her new life in St.Louis. She has missed that city since she moved away and has been eager to return. While we miss her, this has opened up some opportunities for the shop.
As you can see in today’s newsletter, we have a whole new slate of classes, with more being planned. We’ve also brought on a new roster of instructors going into spring and summer. This means you all will have the chance to learn from different teachers, with different skill sets and different styles of teaching.
*education nerd alert*
Getting ready for Renewal
Spring is almost upon us, the days are getting longer, and we're starting to see hints of the warm weather we missed. Spring is a time of renewal and refreshing.
In that spirit, we're going to be doing some freshening up of our class calendar. In the next few weeks, we'll be adding new classes, new staff, new instructors (you'll love them, I promise), and new events. Our favorite events aren't going anywhere. You'll still see Local Yarn Store Day in April, and our birthday party in June. My hope is to also add more sections of Knit Studio to accommodate more people's schedules.
This is also going to mean training new staff on the cash register, possibly reorganizing the layout of the shop, which we've done and, despite some hiccups, always works out fine in the end.
To that point, I'm asking for some patience over the next few weeks as we work out the kinks and get the new structures running smoothly. We may not be releasing individual month schedules as complete structures for the near term, but adding classes as we go. I promise to keep you updated.
On the personal front, in the next few months, I will be be buying a house, selling another, moving, and going on a trip with my father (that was planned last summer). I will do my absolute best to cause as little disruption to store hours as I can.
Superb Owl II
We've passed our second holiday season here in the shop, and are looking towards our second anniversary. But first:
SUPERB OWL II!!!
Last year was an exhausting blast for us, and you all seemed to like it so much, we're doing it again. And I have to commend you: you were all shockingly polite for people getting 40% off yarn.
At the start of every episode of the original Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, there's a scene where the Fab Five invade some poor schlub's house and tear the place apart. By the time they vacate, every drawer, cabinet and closet has been emptied and left in piles the floor. This is fully how I expected the shop to look after the first Superb Owl sale. While we had some recovery to do, it was no where near as bad as I was expecting. You al treated the space, the merchandise and each other with respect, which did not go unnoticed or unappreciated.
You also very patiently stood in line for far longer than I had hoped or expected. We are working on that for this year and improving our processes to give you a better, smoother, faster shopping experience this year. It still isn't perfect, but we thing we've made some improvements over 2018.
We will be closed on Saturday to set up for the sale, and Monday to recover and put everything back.
Happy knitting and we will see you next Sunday!
Holy S#!% it's Christmas.
Seriously. A week away. I can't.
Ellen and I were working on the January and February class schedules today, and I looked at a calendar.
WHAT. HAPPENED. CHRISTMAS IS NEXT WEEK.
I know I can't be the only one. Breathe. Just breathe.
Somehow Christmas snuck up on me this year. Business is up from last year (yay!) but I haven't felt the hectic pace and panic of an approaching holiday season. Before my higher ed career, I spent many years in retail, and I'm used to a feeling of frenetic energy as the holidays get closer. Everyone seems so chill about it this year. It fooled me into thinking it's just another week.
So I've put together a collection of patterns you can get done in the next week. Easy, quick knitting, nothing too mentally taxing. Just enough to help you relax and enjoy yourself and still get your gift giving done.
I'm also going to put in another plug for charity knitting: people have been very generous in donating yarn, now I'm asking for your help to #keepsyracusewarm. Our winter season is long and cold here, and residents of our community will continue to need something to keep them warm for months to come yet. Once you have gotten through all the rush of the holidays with your family, please consider taking a skein of donated yarn to knit or crochet something to give to those who need it.
Happy knitting, and I'll see you in 2019.
Small Business Saturday
More than 99.7% of all registered businesses are small businesses.
For every $100 spent at a small business, $68 stays in the local community, compared to $43 for large businesses.
Small businesses donate 250% more than larger businesses to non-profits and community causes.
Small Business Saturday is an opportunity for communities to show their support for local businesses between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Last year, #smallbizsat was a crazy, busy, exciting, exhausting, fun day. I wouldn't trade it in for the world. You all came out in force to show us how important a local yarn store in your community is to you.
But more importantly, you tell me this every week, all year long. Every week someone is genuinely interested in how KGY is doing, and then goes on to tell me that it's personally important to them that I stay open. You tell me regularly how strongly you feel about the community we've built here. How you've been looking for a shop to call home. How it's your "happy place."
Letting go of Perfection
Our Knit-Along group had their final class last night and they’ve made so much progress. I’m incredibly proud of this troop of new sweater knitters. They’ve stretched themselves to try something unfamiliar, learn fresh techniques and expand their toolkit. But this has been a struggle for some.
I’ve heard people worry about being short a stitch, that they aren’t getting the length right, that their stitches are uneven. If you watched my Instagram Live video this week, you saw me admit to making mistakes myself. (I failed to follow my own pattern.)
So I’m here to remind you of something:
IT’S OK IF IT’S NOT PERFECT.
I'm not funny enough for this.
I usually like to write something humorous and encouraging here, but not this week.
Today I’d like to tell you about two women I love very much.
This first is my sister-in-law, Mary Jo. We lost my brother’s wife, MJ, to cancer in 2015. She carried the BRCA mutation and spent most of 20 years fighting breast and ovarian cancer. She bred English Bulldogs, rode horses, was a practicing dog behaviorist, played multiple instruments, had fiery red hair that could only be tamed with copious amounts of hairspray and was an absolute badass. MJ was one of the strongest, bravest, most direct women I ever knew. She got her first bulldog for security, because she wanted a dog that lookedlike it would take your leg off but wouldn’t. I pity the person who ever tested that theory, because they had way more to fear from M herself than her dogs. But she also taught me that you never work with a dog with anything but love in your hands, even when you are correcting them. She was a bright, smart, funny woman, whom my brother loved deeply, and we still miss.
I'm an unstable unicorn
Ok, not really. I mean, kind of…never mind. That’s not what this is about.
But I did PLAY Unstable Unicorns. Tabletop gaming isn’t really my thing, but I was with a group who love it, so I was willing. If you’ve never seen this game, the idea is to build a “stable” of 7 unicorns to win. Some have magical powers, some are hipsters, some are puppicorns or narwhals. It’s worth the Google, because the whole thing is pretty adorable.
But here’s the thing: it was my first time playing, and I got *thisclose* to winning. Why?
Because I was knitting, and no one thought I was focused on the game.
We’ve all been there. On a conference call; in a meeting; during jury duty, and we’re happily knitting away, participating in the conversation, but the non-knitters in the room assume we aren’t paying attention (there’s usually a snarky comment involved). And WE know that’s not true.