Thursday, November 29, 2012


Vacation, though much desired, has raised an interesting question for us: Is it possible to take a break from the business without breaking the business? As a new business, we've felt the pressure to be very available... The kind of available that means long hours and quick burn-out. And we've looked at our options.

We could simply close and put up a sign. We could cut our hours. We could think about hiring someone more full time, which might put our business in a precarious financial position but keep us sane.

When we opened last January I was 7 months pregnant. We had no family In the area, and most of our friends were very busy with their own lives. That left us with very few options. My husband planned on taking a couple weeks off work in order to watch the store when I had the baby, by which time I was supposed to go back to work. Two weeks. What to do?

We focused on the things we had to daily. Inventory, learning the fiscal software, reordering, setting up lessons, special orders, and deciding that knitting/crochet nights we should have at the store. There was no time to worry about the future when each day was so full.

And then suddenly, there were regular customers. And some of those customers became friends, sometimes dropping by even when they didn't need yarn. I learned about their children, their jobs, and sometimes their dreams and even their animals. And suddenly we had offers to watch the store after I had the baby. Not just "hey, if you need to run to the bathroom I can watch the store" kind of offers. No, these were substantial "I can watch the store Thursdays through Saturdays, if you'd like" offers.

My husband and I were floored. We knew we would need some help, but this was beyond what we had ever expected. We had our Miles baby and four full weeks with him thanks to several generous people. Incredible.

All that to say that our small business is dependent on family, community and friendships. Yes, good product and services are a lot of what keeps us financially viable, but often mental viability is more important to our-and thus the business'-survival.

So thank you, Jenni, Kathy, Krista, Becky, Lesa, Cindy. Sometimes we've had a hard time, and you all can be incredibly proud of your part in keeping this yarn store going.

As always, you can check out our website Here or our Facebook. Thanks for stopping by!


Monday, October 29, 2012

39 minutes, 3 things.

I had 39 minutes when I started this post. 39 minutes to knit, write a blog, put away groceries, and pray that Miles would continue to sleep the whole time. See the problem with this plan? I didn't...

So I took a couple pictures of my sweater, keeping my eye on the baby monitor...

Then while I put away groceries, I simultaneously emptied the dishwasher, checked the roast, and ate fruit snacks. Yeah, a roast and fruit snacks. That's how I roll.

Checked the baby monitor and took another picture of the sweater while wearing it. Looks good to me!

Sat down and started writing this post, when it occurred to me that those 39 minutes? There are 18 of them left. And then I thought; "well, that's not a whole lot different than the rest of my day." So I thought I would share my small secrets of how things keep running in my life.

Rules for People who are Too Busy:

1. Do the next thing. See that huge list over there? Ignore it. It will overwhelm you, frustrate you, and cause you to sit down and cry. Or wait, that could be what it does to me... By keeping focused on the task at hand and looking ahead to ONE other thing at a time, I remain productive and positive. Will I accomplish everything? Of course not. But obsessing about my to-do list won't get any of them done.

2. Smile. Sing. Make stupid jokes. Consciously stubbornly making my behavior positive actually keeps my behavior positive. And it keeps Miles happy, too, which in turn makes me happier. Win-win.

3. Believing we're a part of something bigger than the immediate task at hand. When I get caught up in how mundane and pointless something like sweeping the floor is, I lose track of the beautiful picture of my life. I am pleased to keep my home clean so that our son will stay healthier. I am pleased that cleaning is something I can do so that my husband won't have to, and in turn we can spend time together doing something more enjoyable. Like a walk outside.

These simple ideas may not be much, but it helps me get through the mundane moments. It reminds me that there is, indeed, purpose beyond myself. And if I can focus enough to just keep doing those dishes.... cleaning that floor.... making dinner.... life will keep moving, and in doing so, time will reveal greater purpose.

Hang in there. And if you need knitting or crochet encouragement, please email, call, or visit our website or facebook.

3 minutes to go...


Monday, October 22, 2012

Balancing Act

Balance. Aesthetics. Beauty. I think it's a big part of what we want from life. Laughter, enjoyment, purpose... they're all beautiful.

My struggle? I have no time for balance. How do you balance "too much" with "things I really like doing?" It's especially difficult because I can't go back on anything I've committed. Take back my child? No, thanks. Give back my yarn store? Sure, sometimes. But then there's no yarn store. And that's a bit like giving my child back. Boo.

I've lived these crazy days for months now. Tuesday mornings I grab everything and head out the door. That includes baby, yarn bag, other people's things I've fixed over the weekend, lunches, diaper bag, clean blankets, and sometimes, I wear a coat. If I remember.

Most of the time, there's inventory waiting for me at the store. I get to that after I take care of Miles, who sometimes has to wait for food until there is an ebb in customers. Or, I just hand him to people I know and we make do. By the time we get home at 8:30pm, we're all tired. But Miles is the only one who gets to go to bed. If I don't have anything else to do (HA!), sometimes I get to knit or crochet.

Finished repaired tablecloth from earlier post
pattern figured out! only 40 hours to write and try
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Ah, finally Sunday, and we're closed, right? Oh, wait, I should work on that piece for that person I promised. This should only take a few hours.... (40 hours on the project and only two days later) Wait, where did my weekend go? I was going to clean, go see friends, get some extra rest...?

Oh, well. At least I finished creating the pattern, tested it, and now I can give it back! All for $20.

Date nights? Bahahaaaaaa. You're making me laugh. Friends? I see them sometimes at church and we wave.

So, the big question. Was it worth it?

Yes. Only God knows why. And I supposed only He knows how, too. Would I recommend doing something like this to the young and expecting mothers out there? Are you kidding me? No way. This is crazy. I am going crazy. Who would do something this crazy?

Ah, and that sweater knit-along we started. I should work on that...

Maybe we can all thank God I had no idea what I was getting into. For sure, there would be no yarn store in Bettendorf. Crazy.

To keep up with us, check out or our website at


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Easy Chunky Cabled Scarf

 Easy (Chunky) Cabled Scarf

Chunky yarn, 200 yards +/-
Size 11 needles

Cast on 20 stitches

First 6 rows: Garter Stitch (knit every row)

Eight-Row Pattern Repeat:
Row 1 (and all odd rows): K3, P2, K2, P6, K2, P2, K3
Rows 2, 4, 6: K3, K2, P2, K6, P2, K2, K3
Row 8 (cable row): K3, K2, P2, C6 (slip first 3 sts onto a cable hook, knit sts 4-6, then knit first 3 sts), P2, K2, K3
Repeat rows 1-8 until scarf is desired length.

Last 6 rows: Garter Stitch (knit every row)
Bind off.

For a nice finished look on the side edges, slip all first stitches (knit-wise) as you knit.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Heirlooms: Why I Do What I Do

It's something very special when the people we love give us a gift. I have this cedar chest, probably 30 years old now, that used to be my mom's favorite piece of furniture. It's not the most comfortable to sit on, and it's probably not the prettiest piece in our living room. But it shines more brightly to me than almost anything else in the entire house. My dad and mom got this for each other as a gift for their wedding (at least, that's what I remember). It sat in our living room in a corner, not very noticeable and hardly ever used. But when we needed a good warm blanket we knew where to find one. There was a secret way to get it to open, and a wonderful cedar smell accompanied the afghans inside. Even when I sat wrapped in one of those blankets I can remember looking at the crochet patterns and asking my mom who made them, why, and how long ago. When my mom died 6 years ago I was so thrilled to get this cedar chest. It was more than a piece of furniture to me; it was a chest full of wonderful memories.

 It should hardly be surprising that I have a thing for cedar chests now. Not only was it someone's treasured furniture--a gift from a spouse, a hope chest, a prized possession--but it could hold other treasures, memories and heirlooms. I started collecting handmade items that were important to me and putting them inside.

 This is a cedar chest from the 1950's, full of several tatted and crocheted items I've made. Even better, full of tatted items that my grandmother has made, that a friend's great-aunt has made... it goes on. I like to think that they tell each other stories about their past when I close the lid. That somehow, all the hours these wonderful women spent making something for those they love will be transferred into hours of appreciation enjoyed around these precious gifts.

 I have a precious gift. Well, I have many. But the one I am particularly thinking of is Miles, since he will be our heritage on this earth. There is a reason we make things for those we love. Those hours spent making him this sweater, making him socks, hats, mittens and anything else; those will be the ways that he can remember he is loved. It's not particularly the sweater he will remember, but the laughter and the joy. But that sweater is a part of that joy, as it was joy and love that inspired and drove me to make it for him, to see him become a part of our family tradition, part of something bigger than himself. And if that doesn't resonate with you, well, he's still pretty stinkin' cute.

So that, in a nutshell, is why I do what I do. That is the reason I will be exhausted and happy. That is the reason I will be patient, kind and helpful to anyone who is interested in learning. Because we impart so much of ourselves into our gifts, and I desire to pass on my best traits.

I would love to hear why you do it!
As always, check out our website at We will be so happy you stopped by! You can also check us out on facebook at

Happy Heirlooming!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Putting Humpty Dumpty Back Together

Sometimes I do projects for other people. Okay, let's be real. Most of the time, I do projects for other people. This one in particular has been sitting on the hutch in my kitchen calling my name for over a month now. Why have I been putting it off? I'll show you.

 Any guesses as to why I would have put this off? Besides the "oh crap, if I mess this up I will have to lace crochet an entire blanket for a lady I don't know"?
 So I did it. I cut out the offending square, and tomorrow I will work on gauges and then crochet the piece I charted out today. I plan on blocking the entire tablecloth at the store over this coming weekend. Eeeek. I'm hoping not to spend more than 10 or 15 hours on this whole thing... but we're always so optimistic on the amount of time spent on a project, I think. My husband and I joke that we should take our conservative estimates and multiply times three. I will take pictures and probably tell you all about it next week. I promise.
Meanwhile, when I have some time today, I am going to pick up my size 11 needles and work on an alpaca bulky cable scarf. For me. Okay, for the store. But one day, I will wear it!

And since it's my day off, I need to hurry up and go change the laundry before Miles wakes up and we have to run errands. Sounds like a day off, right?

And because we're having an awesome contest that ends this week, I have to mention that, too. You could get a whole lot of alpaca yarn with that FREE $50 in yarn!!

As always, to check out our website, go to

Happy Knitting, Crocheting, or heirlooming of any kind!!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Small Beginnings

For those of you who like stories, this blog might be for you.

I am a small business owner of a Local Yarn Shop which opened in January of 2012. In March I gave birth to our first child... which means that I am in charge of not only trying to get a small business off the ground, but trying to raise a child at the same time. Miles, my son, is with me every day at the shop, where I attempt to discretely breastfeed him in between helping customers, winding yarn, and placing orders with vendors. Most days, I am at the shop from 9am to 8:15pm. And no, he does not usually sleep on the shelves....

My husband makes the shop furniture, a venture he had never tried until this year. It works better and worse than we thought. Better: I can't buy more yarn for the store until I have the next finished piece. It keeps me from overspending and having too much yarn in our small "storage" space (also known as "Miles' apartment" since he sleeps back there). Worse: since all of these furniture pieces are hand-crafted, stained, and finished, it takes FOREVER. My husband is a champ.

 We are learning so many things, trying so many things... right now, it's just a strange balance between getting enough sleep, and trying to make sure everything just keeps going...

Welcome to my yarn shop.

Welcome to my life.
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