Summer is a time for regrouping at ThreadBear—this year more so than most. In general (that’s my qualifier, folks; this doesn’t hold true in every shop), summer is a time of slower local traffic as folks head out to their cabins or lake houses, gramma’s for a week or two, into their gardens, or wherever it is that fills their need to be out and about while there isn’t snow on the ground. Michigan is truly beautiful in summer (as it is in winter, by my standards), and Michiganders can always find other things to do… well, up to a point.
What’s funny to me is that in all of these disparate activities, many of our customers are simply required by some inner voice to drop by the yarn shop and pick up a sock or a simple shell pattern… SOMETHING that has to go with them for these little excursions. We’re seeing a lot of familiar faces that I hadn’t noticed weren’t around for the winter, but now that weather’s warming up, those cheery smiles pop back in on their way to the lake or up to the U. P. (that’s the Upper Peninsula to all of those people not in-the-know on Michigan geographical slang… which would include me 90% of the time) for a quick project planning session. Then, they’re off again, and we’ll likely see them on their way back to Fort Wayne or Columbus or destinations further south.
I didn’t realize how smitten I’d become with "The Mitten" in the last couple of years. Michigan was never a bad place for me, but it hadn’t occurred to me that it might have become home somewhere along the way. It’s… well, not funny, but pleasant that I’m beginning to get the feel of the migrations of people, weather, and even a bit for the land itself. I’ve even planted my first vegetables outside the State of Georgia this year. So far, it’s just peppers, but hey, if you’re going to do veggies, what better place to start? (Keep it to yourself herb, onion, tomato, and garlic fans. You know you’re next.)
Of course, if you keep up with Rob’s blog, you already know that after nearly eight years together, we split this spring. And if you really keep up with his blog, you probably know that we’ve also started the process of reconciliation. It’s a struggle, certainly, but it’s been a very positive effort from both of us… and for both of us, if my perceptions are accurate.
Right on the heels of that, off we went to TNNA Yarn Market. That’s where we buy all of the fantastic yarns, needles, patterns, books, and accessories, that we sell at ThreadBear. Well, to be more accurate, that’s where vendors sell those things. We’re fortunate enough to have excellent sales reps that come to the store to show us most of the new stuff before the show. Anyway, regardless of what you’re buying, Market’s an awesome experience full of all the newest, best, and most intriguing bits of needlearts wares and trends. And of course, it seems that almost every vendor has something up their sleeve that doesn’t hit the market before TNNA.
Quick side note: TNNA is The National Needlework Association, and it is a trade organization for needle arts. Many people colloquially refer to TNNA Yarn Market simply as TNNA. It becomes a destination. TNNA is not officially a place; it’s an organization. BUT, please know that it’s kind of like calling a tissue a Kleenex. While it’s not precisely accurate, for anyone who’s not a purist, it’s acceptable. Oh, and I call fulling felting, Caffeine Free Diet Coke Coke, and U. S. President George Walker Bush shrub, too. Sue me. (Yes, Jillian, I have much worse names for him, too, but I DO try to keep this thing moderately PG… most of the time. My mother reads this, after all. Hi, Moma!)
Anyway, immediately upon returning from Market (yeah, I call it Market, too), we started restructuring the organization of ThreadBear as a business, as well. No one is leaving (at least, I hope they’re not), but we are bringing in a new staff member/old friend. Some of you may recall Rachel’s Cascade Sierra Rambling Rows Baby Afghan that appeared at Crowing Ram back in the days when we were still just selling a little Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock on SockList. Well, she’s always been a stellar friend, and as the business started to grow, she’s always been a willing sounding board for new ideas and processes.
As of yesterday, we’ve finalized an agreement to bring her to Michigan to work at ThreadBear. She’s going to be trying to keep Rob, Sabrina, and me organized (ok… GET Rob, Sabrina, and me organized), and generally help revamp the Internet business that we so sorely neglected in the first couple of years after moving into this new mammoth space. Realistically, we had to put our attention on the most critical issues, but the mail order business is what started this business, and I’m absolutely dedicated to making it the best that it can be. Of course, she’s also going to be taking a lot of the admin-type tasks off all our shoulders so that we can all focus on doing the stuff that we’re all really good at. I’m also really looking forward to working with her on brainstorming. She’s truly a synthesist, and it’s amazing to me how she’s able to take ideas from such obviously different places as Rob’s brain and my own and pull them into something realistic that actually works. Wish her luck folks. She’s got her work cut out for her. Love you, sister-woman.
And now the… well, it’s definitely not a finale. I’ve also been approached to write a men’s knitting book. I have a couple of ideas that I’m currently fleshing out, and I think the first of those is well on it’s way to becoming a solid proposal. Wish me luck. I also have my work cut out for me.
Much love, everyone.
It’s good to be back among the living.