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.