Thursday, December 12, 2013

January Crochet Along: Quick Calming Cowl

It began as one of those, "I can't find what I'm looking for." And it ended here, where I created my own pattern to fill the void.

You think I wouldn't have time for this. But I figure it will save me time later, as I won't have to search for another easy cowl that I don't quite like, right?


Well, I'll keep believing that.

Anyway, here it is. The beautiful "Quick Calming Cowl" for a few quick Christmas presents. And to quickly help me stay warm. And of course, for the January crochet along.

Click HERE to go to Ravelry and download the PDF.


Monday, November 25, 2013

Fall Update, Projects, and Fun

I like to think that technology will help all of us use our time more efficiently. That's why having a blog embedded in my website sounded so good! And then, just as quickly, my website crashes and has been down for a month. I figure that's a pretty decent push towards writing a real blog post, and updating many of you on our lives.

Things have been busy. So busy, in fact, that I think I'm going more crazy now than when I first had Miles and started the yarn store at the same time. Hallelujah, business is good! And crap, business is good! Because now that Miles is super busy and getting smarter every day, there is so much more for me to see and miss, which means that being a mom is super difficult and rather self-frustrating.

Thank goodness for regular customers and friends! More than I could have imagined, there are women who come regularly to knit and keep an eye on Miles for me. If you are one of these, thank you from the bottom of my heart. While I try to do everything, we all know that it's nearly impossible even in the calm. So from the middle of the storm, thank you for making my load a little lighter, and for making me laugh.

Speaking of laughter, our Fall Retreat was loads of fun! We plan on making this at least an annual thing, maybe more. Let's just say that between the beautiful weather, the amazing food, and great laughter with friends (some new, some not!), the knitting/crocheting was an absolute bonus. I look forward to many more great times.

Projects! Here's a small update on the projects I've been up to recently. And when I say recently, I mean in the last 2-3 months.

"Funky Chunky Mitts"
"Marin" blocking

"Irish Mesh Cowl"

Miles wearing his Irish cabled vest

"Be a Friend" crochet shawl
Gramps Cardigan for the little man
"February Lady"

"Peace Socks"

Anyway, that's a snapshot of my life for the last couple of months. To keep better up to date on the store and all its happenings, check out our website, or visit our Facebook page. Pictures galore there.

If you'd like details on any of these things, feel free to email me or give the store a call (563-332-7378)!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Simple Ladder Yarn Necklace

I am LOVING this warmer weather, finally! And warm weather makes me think of doing things outside... Eek, look at that long grass :)

and lighter projects both outside and inside!

Like these easy booties from ravelry! So quick and gratifying for gifts!

And a super fast cute necklace!

This is our June crochet-along, but I thought I'd get it posted a little early in case you're anxious to try something lighter, too. Or the first one you make you can give away! Remember, in order to qualify for the drawing at the end of the month you should have yarn from our store and start and finish in the desired month (June).

Simple Ladder Yarn Necklace (click to open)

Enjoy, and remember, you can always stop by with questions or just to hang out!

Also check out our Facebook to stay updated.

And our website is pretty handy like that, too.


Friday, March 8, 2013

A Year in Review

It's been a full year, a longer-than-I-thought-possible year, since we've opened our store. And almost that long since I've had a baby.
Before/After pictures of our latest set of shelves

Over the past year we have added 17 unique, hand-made pieces of furniture to our store (compliments of Jotham's amazing handiwork and a few dedicated friends), for a total of about 550 hours of labor (that's in addition to working his full-time job). We've stocked over $100,000 of yarn and notions, with more added weekly. We've helped over 1000 people find patterns, fixed over 400 knitted or crocheted mistakes, and taught over 500 new skills in 136 classes.

In that same time, Miles has grown from an 8 lb 14oz baby to a 22 lb toddler. In the last month alone, I have told him not to touch the yarn an estimated 1700 times. He and I have spent over 1100 hours together at the store, or about 50 hours per week (yes, that was with Mondays "off!"). Add in the weekly hours for reordering, keeping the website up to date, and other random administrative annoyances, and it's more like a 70 hour week.
Miles, 1-5 months

And I wonder why I feel tired.

Jotham and I have eaten over 100 Little Cesar's Pizzas, 500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and 20 pounds of cheddar cheese.

I have nursed Miles 3-5 times daily since he was born, estimating about 700 times while at the store.

Miles, 5-10 months
The love that I've poured into our sweet boy, into the yarns of things I have made for him and the store, has been without compare for me. To see his face light up when he looks at me, to feel my heart beat when I open a box of new yarn... these things have been new and delightful. My enthusiasm for one of these things has mellowed in light of the other addiction, which continues to grow... although making him outfits with new yarns has become an obsession since it combines both things in a wonderful way!

Miles, 10-12 months
I've learned a new meaning for the word "tired." Before, I understood it could be cured with a week of full nights' sleeps, or a nap if I had time. Now it's a weariness that makes my limbs heavy, takes away enthusiasm and even--at its worst--takes away my hope at the beginning of a new day. Sometimes I could cry with despair when I think of being rested.

Hand-dyed, hand-spun local yarn. Yummmm!
I've learned how to let some things go. My house is dirtier than I can ever remember, my hair and makeup are always the "quick" version (a necklace is faster anyway!), and our yard looks like the Secret Garden... And not in a good way.

Some knit and crochet projects for Miles
Maybe needless to say, if I had known how much time and energy either of these things would take, there would not be a yarn store in Bettendorf. I would simply be a mom who was a little crazy about fibers and hand-crafted projects. Most of you would be unknown to me, and I would have to be content with getting out to knit with others once a month, if I was lucky.

Some of the original wine rack shelves, Jotham's lazy susan creation on the left
However, we did it. We have a sweet yarn store and an ever sweeter little boy. We have wonderful friends who come to our twice-weekly knit/crochet nights. We have a community of support and encouragement for fiber lovers as well as a place where anyone can come and feel listened to and appreciated. We had no idea if any of this would be successful, and yet we stand here thrilled with our store, our baby boy, and most of all God's faithfulness.
Some of our newest yarns