If you couldn’t tell, my yarn shop is a bit different than most yarn shops and the biggest reason: it is a studio. Although I usually refer to it as “the shop”, it is my space to “make yarns” as my oldest calls it. What I actually do is design, spin, knit, crochet, relax, teach, and just about everything in between. And because I am who I am, I have to have a little bit of chaos in the midst of all the order – so you will see my organized chaos in the form of piles of books and/or papers (organized, because I know exactly what sheet of paper is where in all that chaos…as long as no one moves anything).
I do this because I love it, but also because it is probably the awesomest (it’s not a word, I know) thing I’ve ever done besides being a mom. Here’s why:
1. No pressure.
When you own a business, there’s always pressure to compete and focus on the actions of your competition. With this being my place for creativity, I don’t feel like I need to focus on what my competitors do, but what I do. That way, the only competition is myself and my ambition. Only I can get in my way if that’s all I focus on. If I focused on outdoing my competitors, I lose focus on what is important to me running my shop…my creativity. Don’t get me wrong, I am aware that other businesses exist, and I even shop at other yarn shops. Not to see what they do, to buy yarn to make things. I’ll do (and carry) what I want, no questions asked, because it’s my creative space. 😉
2. I answer to myself.
My shop/studio hours are based around what works best for me and my family. I have the most energy and focus at certain times of the day, but I also like to be there for my son’s activities and have time to do things other than designing, dyeing, knitting/crocheting, and paperwork. I get to set those hours as a guideline. If I’m late, I have to make up that time. If I’m sick, I still have to work in some way, shape, or form…usually answering emails, returning messages, or just keeping an eye on Pinterest or other creative outlets to stay inspired. I work a lot, but I’m responsible for balancing work and life. Usually life wins, but that’s because I can knit while life happens and turn that knitting into making some cool things in life happen (like new designs or artistic projects involving yarn and fiber). In the end, it’s very empowering.
Yea, you knew I was going to say it. I’m a very visual and tactile person, so yarn speaks to me in so many ways. I’m not always a “yarn snob” and will occasionally find my way to JoAnn’s for Patons Classic Wool or Red Heart Boutique yarn because I need something different than what I carry. Yarn comes in all shapes, sizes, and textures and you may find me or other yarn shop owners fondling and smelling the yarn we carry. Why? Because it’s yarn.
4. I often feel like a mad scientist.
Dyeing yarn brings out the science background in me and reminds me of the days where I would stress out about Chem lab in college. All the calculations we did back then to make sure the right concentration of a compound got me mixed up half the time, but I always understood once we got to the mixing and making when we got to the lab. And in the real world, I have to use it in order for repeatable colorways. So, I don my mask, gloves, and protective gear to mix up dye solutions based on how much yarn I need to dye and the concentration of dye per ounce of yarn in the pot. While I do loathe math, I actually enjoy it when it comes to mixing dye.
5. Meeting people who are just as fiber-obsessed as I am.
There are people who knit (and crochet) and then there are people who KNIT (CROCHET). When I meet the people who KNIT, it turns into a fiber artsy geek-fest that only true die hards (or dye hards) can appreciate. We talk about the 5,000 stitches that have to be bound off at the end of our crazy lace pattern. We fair isle to our hearts’ content. We knit at the movie theater, in the dark, without ever looking down at our hands and can feel the mistakes as they slide off the needles. I like helping people get that far into knitting and crochet. Doing projects I could only dream about, because I don’t always have the time to dedicate. And although not everyone shares my enthusiasm for yarn, the way people light up when they walk into the shop is what drives me to continue doing what I do.
Maybe I can get one or both of my kids to be this enthralled with the fiber arts industry, it has so much to offer. Until then, I just continue to knit the hats and sweaters they ask for.