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