I have been doing a bit of spring cleaning in between fiber festivals. I think that we are firmly into spring weather. I hope most of the volatile storms are past and we can enjoy the warmth and sunshine.
Last week when we had a few days that were warm and sunny, I washed all the bedding, cleaned the windows, and then washed both trucks.
Of course by the next day they both had tree pollen and bird poop on them, but at least the inside is still clean.
Jerry is totally responsible for putting in the garden. The smaller bed (up close) has kitchen herbs, peppers and a few tomatoes. The larger bed farther away) has some more tomatoes and veggies that we plant from seeds. I think he put out some peas, green beans, summer squash, corn, and possibly some cucumbers.
This past weekend I was in Greencastle, IN for the Greencastle Wool Show. We are long time vendors there and we thought last year was the end. It was thankfully saved from extinction. The weather was great and there was a nice turn out, especially on Saturday.
I have a weekend at home again this week. The next festival on our schedule is the Midwest Fiber Festival in St. Louis. This will be the second year for this one. It was well attended last year and we are looking forward to going back.
In knitting news, I have made some progress on the shawl but not enough to bother with a new picture. It is a nice stitch pattern that is easily memorized. I also love knitting with the Classic Merino Bamboo. That said though, I am getting to the point where I am ready for a change in my knitting, IYKWIM. I may need to cast on a little something for variety soon. I am trying to push through so I can get it ready for the booth and write up the pattern. We’ll see.
Spring time in middle Tennessee can be volatile and it has been quite an interesting week. It is typical this time of year to be in 70’s or even 80’s but then that can change on a dime and it’s chilly again the next day. We experienced some strong storms with straight line winds over 70 mph on Friday. We lost a few shingles from our work shop and a tree in the back yard. Thankfully that was not near the house. There is a pine tree in the front that was dangerously close to going down which would have taken out the power lines to the house. You could see the ground lifting at the base with the strong gusts. It was very scary, but the winds finally abated and it is still there. For now. It will probably need to come down before the next threat rolls through, just in case.
We did lose power, along with over 115,000 other Nashvillians. There were downed trees, power lines, and poles everywhere. Our electricity was out for about 13 hours. We were fortunate that it wasn’t worse. A little cleaning up is all we had to worry about. There is still the tree to deal with because it is hung in some other trees making it a possible hazard but it is at the back of the property where it’s less of a priority.
So, after all the excitement from the weather was over, it was back to the tasks associated with getting ready for the first festival coming up. Last week I was getting all the new yarn labelled. Then it all needed stored, some went in the trailer and the rest in our work room storage bins. There are also new Darning Eggs, Nostepinnes, and Shawl/Hair Sticks to be tagged/packaged and stored. Like the yarn, some go straight in the trailer with restock in the work room storage.
Yesterday I got the oil changed in my truck. I took along my computer and got some inventory updating done while I was waiting. We did some grocery shopping in the afternoon. Today has mainly been packing for my trip. I will drive to Raleigh, NC in the morning and set up the booth on Thursday at the Carolina Fiber Festival. I have a full schedule on my website, if you’d be interested to see what we have booked this year. If all goes as planned, we will be vending at 21 events this year.
I have made progress on my knitting project but will post a picture of that next time since it’s too dark at the moment to get a good one. I didn’t get started on this post until near dark. So, I’ll sign off for now. It’s almost time to start rummaging in the kitchen for some supper.
I am very excited about the new drying lines. We ended up with 7 which is almost double what we had before. But that’s not the best part; the proximity to our work area is going to be awesome. I can even see it from in the house looking out any back window. That’s a big help when rain is threatening or if it’s windy, for checking on things.
This was taken from under the cover where we set out the dye pots. Our old lines were way over on the other side of the work shop (the green sided building). This location cuts the distance in half at least, and that’s just our lines. Our neighbor’s that we used are even farther. We will be putting these new lines to use in just a few weeks. We have an order of new yarn arriving very soon to restock for the second half of the festival season.
Now on to knitting updates. I finished the first Gridiron sock.
Because I was asked to share booth pictures from the Great Lakes Fiber Show, here ya go. The weather was pretty nice and we had a good turn out, especially on Saturday.
I have today and tomorrow at home and then I am off to Franklin, IN for Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival. I got some house cleaning, and school work with my youngest son done today. I also made a pot of spaghetti sauce for dinner. It’s actually good to be able to slow down for a couple days and reconnect with my home and family. It’s nice to travel and meet with the knitters at festivals but it’s even better to come home.
Speaking of home and good things, I want to share one last set of pictures of our garden. I can take absolutely no credit for it. It’s all Jerry’s doing and he is pretty good at it. I can’t wait for fresh veggies. 🙂
I was home this weekend but that is the last one for awhile. I have festivals booked every weekend through mid June except for the third weekend in May. So lots of traveling coming up soon. I am leaving Friday for a brand new festival in St. Louis, Missouri called Midwest Fiber Festival. I am excited about it 🤗.
I am working on my gansey as much as I can and if I don’t finish it before I leave, I am confident I will while I am gone. I am going straight on to Minnesota for the Shepherd’s Harvest Festival to save on gas and road time. I will have a couple free days there to knit and/or catch up on other work. I may be overhauling my Knitting Notions website soon. I am also planning another knitting project to take along and will share that when I have it picked. I know the pattern but haven’t decided on yarn yet so more on that later.
I am actually a little farther down that second sleeve than I was when I took this picture. I just finished the definition ridge last night which is that band of garter at the elbow point.
Jerry has been hard at work on some new Shawl-Hair-Sticks and they are finished and thay are ready for packaging. He has also been preparing some slabs for turning blanks. These will be mostly Darning-Eggs and Nostepinnes.
While we are waiting for the wood to dry some more, it’s also garden starting time. We have a plow attachment for his lawn tractor but we needed a Tiller to break up the beds a bit more. We bought this one yesterday and here he is trying it out.
More baking today. Is pizza 🍕 technically baking? I mean you cook it in the oven right, so that’s close enough for me.
Well anyway it’s one of my favorite things and I have been craving it for awhile. I had to take a break from cheese, as I have to do periodically. But I decided it would be okay to indulge so I went for it.
Dough is fully proofed and ready for rolling out. I just love that my oven has a bread proofing setting. I don’t always use it but it’s especially handy on cooler days.
All ready for the oven. I have a pizza stone preheating and it’s almost time for baking.
😋 Yummy! Don’t forget the beer 😉 . I’m having and Yazoo Hop Perfect IPA today. 🍻 Cheers!
I am getting sooooo close to the finish on this project. I am about halfway through with the final side. I got a fair bit of this knitting done last weekend when Jerry and I took a short overnight trip to visit my mother-in-law. It’s the most knitting time I have had in awhile, which explains the slow progress I guess.
On our trip home after an overnight in Evansville, we took a slight detour and spent about half a day checking out the Land Between the Lakes park. Jerry has wanted to try some off road trail driving in his truck and we discovered that they have some there. We tried that out and while it was a fun adventure we weren’t too impressed with their trail markings and didn’t want to get lost in there, so we didn’t go very far in. LOL! It was a fun experiment though. I got only one picture of the Bison. There are also Elk but we didn’t go on the drive where you can see them. I think it was still closed anyway.
Since we are on the subject of nature; here’s our yucca plant in full bloom this week. :-)
On the business side; I got all the Nostepinnes and Darning Eggs added to the website last week, and since I told you I would update you on that, consider yourself updated. :-)
We are working on a few ideas for new products at the moment that we are getting very excited about. More on that when I have something to show you. :-)
I don’t think I mentioned it before but when I returned from Chicago the first week of April, the stray cat that hangs around our house had kittens next to our front porch. This is the mama cat and a picture when they were probably a week or two old.
They are about 4-5 weeks old now and you can see they are getting to be crowded in this space. I figure she will have to move them soon since she can’t really even climb in with them to nurse them anymore. She perches herself above.
I am almost at the end of my two week break from traveling. I am headed off to Minnesota for Shepherd’s Harvest Festival on Wednesday morning. I thought I was going to be dyeing yarn these last two weeks, but alas, my order has not arrived from the mill. I don’t know how I will fit in any restock dyeing at this point (when all my yarn arrives that is) as I have festivals for the next 5 weeks. I have 2-3 days in between each but that doesn’t help a whole lot for the way I work.
On the bright side, I have had much more time and energy for sample knitting. Debussy is coming along quite nicely and I may even have it finished pretty soon. This is how I spent my Sunday afternoon and evening.
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.
It is pretty good to be home after weeks on the road. It has taken me all week to make progress on getting caught up on things around here, but I am getting there. I spent the first part of the week doing taxes, bookkeeping and the children’s lessons. It was even good to just spend my Saturday morning giving the house a good scrubbing. I finally feel like I can slow down a bit. I still have a to-do list of business plans to get through, but this day and Sunday are a time to refresh.
As you can see I have been coming along on the baby sweater design. I opted for lace edging on the sleeves. I have started the bodice section which shouldn’t take much time at all. I may even have it all finished by my next post which I will try to keep up with more regularly this month.
While I have been busy travelling spring has finally arrived in Tennessee. The peach blossoms against the clear blue sky yesterday were begging to be photographed.
I can’t remember what this flowering shrub is called. If anyone knows leave me a comment.
These little wild violets are all over the place in our lawn.
I am off today on my last trip until early May. I will have a nice little break of four weeks starting Tuesday. I am on my way to the Dallas-Fort Worth area for the DFW Fiber Fest. I will get there late tomorrow afternoon and set up the booth on Thursday.
I haven’t made much progress on the baby sweater so I didn’t take a new picture. I may get some time Wednesday and Thursday evening to knit and if that happens I may get the bodice started.
Happy spring! Hope it’s looking more colorful where you are too!