Saturday, January 30, 2010

2010: Yarn Forward

So now for the second half of my yearly yarn review - looking forward!

I have so many designs in my head right now, and lots of ideas on how I'd like to use them this year. Writing this post will actually help me organize my thoughts a bit - thanks for listening :-)

Here is my current lineup of Knitters Brewing Events for the year - subject to modification of course. I like the events to be a suprise when I announce them, so you'll have to wait for the details of each event! The events are really the backbone of the business - they give the online group something fun to work on together, allowing me the enjoyment of virtually interacting with customers on a regular basis. Events also drive new design work, which fuels marketing campaigns, which bring back existing customers, who tell new customers, which grows the business... it's all good.

January/February: Mystery Sock II: Girls Night Out KAL. This knit-along kicked off on January 15, and has been just a ton of fun for the group with over 200 participating! We've just launched Clue 4, so the knitters are rounding their heels and preparing to work their way down the foot. Two more clues to go, and then we'll wrap up this KAL on Valentine's Day with a prize drawing for those knitters who completed at least one sock! The picture on the right is of my prototype pair - and notice how cleverly I've cropped out the view of Clues 5 and 6!

February: Ravelympics. I've organized a team to join in on this Ravelry-wide event that runs concurrently with the Winter Olympics. Knitters have committed to participate in fiber-related events which kick off during the opening ceremony on Feb 12th, and must be completed by the closing ceremony on Feb 28th in order to win a virtual medal. There are events for any type of project that a knitter could possibly want to do - and most events present a challenge for the knitter as they hustle to complete their project (or projects) in the allotted amount of time. I'll personally be entering three events - the most time-consuming of which will be The Designer Biathlon wherein I must go from a swatch to a newly published pattern in 17 days. The other two events are the WIPs-Dancing (wherein I'll complete an unfinished project that I haven't touched in the last month), and the Aerial Unwind (wherein I'm going to enjoy frogging a project that I started in 2001 which has major issues.) Our team uniform will be pajamas and a tiara, and our team power drink has been established as the Lemon Drop. We are SO ready to go!

February: Stitches West is once again coinciding with my end of the month birthday, and what better way to spend it. Hubby is going to join me in Santa Clara this year, where we'll spend the weekend visiting local wineries and other fun spots. Prior to the weekend, however, I'll be enjoying the Stitches Market on Thursday Night, taking a dying class on intentional patterning all day Friday, and hopefully will be having a cocktail with some customers for happy hour on Friday night!

March/April: Anniversary KAL. March marks the first anniversary for Knitters Brewing, so I've been brewing up a special celebratory sock pattern to launch for an anniversary KAL. Stay tuned for more details mid-February!

May/June: Summer Themed KAL. If all goes well with the design I have planned to complete during the Ravelympics, it should be a great one for a summer-themed KAL. This one will be toe-up - we haven't done on of those in a while!

August/September: Travel Themed KAL. I'm flattered to share that I was asked to design a project for another Ravelry group, the theme for which is inspired by the culture of a country outside the US. This design should lend itself to a fun travel-themed KAL for the Fall.

October: Socktoberfest Event. Last year we had a fun mini-sock exchange during Socktober, which brought 72 knitters from several countries together. This year I have a new idea which should be fun and challenging for the participants!

November/December: Holiday Gift KAL. For the final event of the year, I'd like to offer a project or two that would be fun to work on, and great to give as gifts when they are finished!

Some other concepts I'd like to work into the year are:
Charity Projects: I'd like to support some charities this year, and have already helped out two libraries by donating yarn for fundraising raffles and silent auctions. I think the Socktoberfest event is a great opportunity to raise funds for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so I need to figure out how to work that into the planning.
Guest Designers: I see this year being heavy on the "work knitting" and light on "personal knitting". This doesn't bother me too much (it's still all knitting after all!), but I do need to move toward a little more of a balance between the two. Consequently, in the next month or two I'll be putting out a call for Guest Designers to help build our pattern and kit library!

New Colors: Always a fun part of the business!

These last three items are on the "maybe list"...

Implement new business operating software: This will just depend on how the year goes. In my former corporate life, my area of specialty was implementing systems to manage production, so I know what's involved, and will likely put it off as long as I can ;-)
Expand staff: Again this will depend on how the year goes, but I've already started researching the paths so I'm ready to pull the trigger when it's time.
Self-published book: Just a whim... we'll see!

So now we have my plan in writing for the year. Next January we'll look back and see how I did!


  1. Certainly a good way to grow your business, Wendy. I'm enjoying the Mystery KAL even more than I anticipated. January is a good time to take a fresh look at a business plan and to review the one from last year. I was in business for 25 years before retiring - owned and operated two upscale women's clothing stores - wearable art and career wear. It's a special challenge during takes this kind of innovation to keep it working. Way to go!

  2. Whenever I post on my blog that I'm going to do something, it's a sure thing that something will go wrong and gum up my schedule so I can't follow through. I hope you do better than I do keeping to your schedule!

    I'm behind on most of my projects. Quilting is my business and knitting is my "backup hobby" so I only knit when there's "extra" time. I have 2 of your projects in process (Shaken not Stirred scarf and the first mystery sock). I'm bad about having several things started at one time. Maybe I'll get one of them finished before you tempt me with another one I can't resist! I need to get you into quilting!

    Love the pink and black socks!


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