Building a Better Year

New Year, New Ideas

Rose, the namesake of Rows & Roses, looking at balloons in the brand new shop.
Rose, the namesake of Rows & Roses, looking at balloons in the brand new shop.

What a year this has been! I think we’ve had just about every existential crisis any of us could have thought of, and even some we never would have. Our whole planet has had to pull together and deal with some heavy stuff in 2020. The US had the craziest, ugliest, most debated election that I can ever remember in my 38 years (yes, even worse than the Trump/Clinton election, if you can imagine.) We’ve been sent home and told to stay there, our kids have had to learn new school routines, and everything has just been a mess. I gotta say, I’m not sorry to see this year go.

Against all odds though, Rows & Roses has come out strong. This little business saw its first full year of newsletters and website posts and updates, its most growth of members in the facebook group, its largest sales of patterns on Ravelry, and the opening of its retail location Rows & Roses Yarn & Fiber. I’ve celebrated, worried, worked my ass off, got up sore and tired the next morning and worked it all over again… I’ve written 26 patterns this year, hosted 13 KAL/CALs, been published in a magazine, was included in too many round-ups to count, did a live interview with WeCrochet, opened numerous wholesale accounts, gutted and remodeled and furnished and stocked a shop downtown, and taught a bunch of classes. In addition to all of this, I still created, posted, ordered, and did the work and shipping for NINE Specials & Customs Events and FLASH buys.

Needless to say, this has been BY FAR the busiest year that Rows & Roses has ever seen. It’s been great, it’s been scary, it’s been wild, exhilarating, terrifying, satisfying, and humbling, among other things. After this whirlwind of a year, I’ve discovered that I really need to find out where are the best places to put my energies, and what I’m going to have to let go. This go-go-go is unsustainable in the long run, and my family needs more of me than I’ve been able to give them lately. I’m no spring chicken either, and my body (mostly my wrist) has really taken a beating. Now that I’ve started and kept up so many things, figuring out what sticks and what doesn’t is maybe the most valuable thing I can offer this little business, as well as all of you, and myself.

Specials & Customs Events

I’ve been thinking and praying over these events that have become the lifeblood of Rows & Roses over the years. These events are where I put up a bunch of items available for pre-order at special prices, as well as a customs list where you can order anything you want. These events have lately been consistently bringing in more orders that I ever anticipate, which is AMAZING ♥ I always look so forward to making all the things for all of my favorite people.

Combined with all the little FLASH buys I offer, sprinkled throughout the year, I am starting to realize that perhaps this amount of hooking and needling is a bit much for my poor little wrist. I injured my wrist around the holidays last year, and I have not been able to give it adequate rest since then.

Therefore, I’ve made a decision that in 2021, I will have exactly 4 events, one per quarter, and that’s it. No late orders, no extra favors, no rushed birthday gifts. If you want a Rows & Roses item made for you, you will have January, April, July, and October events in which to place your order. This means you’ll need to try to keep holidays in mind so that you can order in the appropriate event to get them on time. I will try to include holiday items in the specials that I offer for the events, but if you’re wanting something custom made, these four events are it. I will continue to create the events early, send invites, and post in the group multiple times in hopes that you don’t miss them, but it will be up to you to turn on your group notifications, and check the group from time to time. I’m not willing to put the added pressure on myself of making a list of people to contact and remind, so please keep an eye out for these events if you’re wanting to order.

These events will ALWAYS be held in the facebook group, as usual. Be sure to join the group if you haven’t already. You can join here.

Patterns

Pattern writing has been one of my very most favorite aspects of what I do this year. I’ve written for Interweave Crochet, WeCrochet, and Expression Fiber Arts (still in testing, coming soon!) I’ve received yarn support like nobody’s business: let me tell you, when some companies send designers yarn “to play with,” they send the whole damn kitchen sink along with half the warehouse. I have fallen in love with yarns I didn’t know existed because of this, and I am so thankful for the opportunities that come along with the forged friendships and business relationships of the designing world.

However, (yes, you knew there was  a however, didn’t you?) in this year of big fat pattern writing, I’ve discovered that sometimes, I tend to try to get an idea out too fast. Quickly throwing together a 2″ x 2″ swatch, taking a pic in bad lighting, and using the wrong words to describe my meaning because I’m in a hurry is no way to put together a pattern proposal. I’ve had way more props rejected than accepted this year, and I think this is why. I’m always flying through my ideas, trying to just get them out “on paper” as quickly as possible so I can move on to the next thing. Dude. I’m better than that. Way better.

So for 2021, I am going to spend more time on my design ideas. I’m putting together a spreadsheet of props, as well as implementing a pen and paper template for these props so I can make sure I have everything in them- good pics, good lighting, good description- before I send them out. This means that I’m going to be mostly unavailable on the weekends (Sunday and Monday) due to spending time on my designs. I’ve always been quick to respond to messages and tags before, but from here on out, if your message goes unseen for a day or two, this is why. My heartfelt apologies in advance, you know I love you, I just really need to stop selling my ideas short by throwing together slapdash proposals that don’t do them justice. My weekends will be spent on this, as well as all the household stuff I’ve missed during the week. (Yes, I actually DO have a real life outside of yarn. Crazy, huh?)

So here we are

For now, these are the two big changes I feel that I need to make for Rows & Roses to be the best it can be: me being more artist less machine, and taking more time on designs/patterns so I can give them the attention they deserve. I’ve been spread so thin as of late, and I think spending less time doing the back-and-forth on facebook will help me to be able to focus.

As always, if you need me, you can message me, email me, hit the “talk to me!” form on the website, or call the shop. I hope to be able to hire some help by the summer of 2021, someone who can basically be a virtual assistant and help out in the Ravelry group, as well as the Pinterest account. If I’m able to do this, it will GREATLY alleviate some of the back-end responsibilities I spend so much time on each week. The less behind the scenes stuff I have to deal with, the more time and energy I can focus on all the important stuff that you are all here for. Thank you for your patience with me as I navigate these waters and try to find my footing. If you have any suggestions for me, or even just words of encouragement, I’m all ears. I love and appreciate each and every one of you who have stuck by me thus far in my journey. Here’s hoping 2021 is going to hold so much more than we ever dreamed.

Got input? Let's hear it!

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