Monday, July 6, 2020

Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows ...

The mobile store is finally starting to take shape.
There is still some tweaking to do, but, for the most part, I like the results - inside and out. 

If you've been following the evolution of the pop up store, you will notice that I diminished the number of yarn bins in favour of more natural light. I decided that no amount of battery powered light provides truer colour than the sun through the windows and the samples can now be viewed through the windows before you even come in to shop! What this also means is that it will now be a new store every 6-8 weeks rather than once a month.
You will notice at the bottom of the second photo that I have masks hanging out waiting for me to put them on. I also have masks  for customer use - you take it with you when you leave or chuck it in the garbage provided - and unscented hand sanitizer to be applied before you squish the yarn. Can't have anyone saying they got sick because they squeezed a ball of yarn😷.

I apologize in advance if you feel a little seasick from the following video. I had a couple of squirrel moments while filming it but it gives you a good idea of how much yarn will be available every week. I try to be thematic with my selection, so this week is all about the self patterning yarns (and coordinating solids in some cases). See all the lovely rainbow coloured yarns and all the things you can make with them? I also apologize for sounding so excited. I blame it on my deep alto, matter-of-fact tone you've all come to know and love πŸ˜‰

p.s. Due to online sales, I've sold some of the yarn and roving since the video but if you request things that are currently out of stock, I will endeavour to get more in as soon as my suppliers can accomodate.

written by Lori, happy TCL owner, who realizes I didn't mention candy of any kind in this week's blog, but I know at least half of you sang the title when you read it :)

Monday, June 29, 2020

Routine? What's that?

I'm not sure how the rest of you are managing your routine so far during this time of social distancing but I know my 'normal' has definitely changed. Some of the change is positive, some negative, but most has simply become a different way of doing things.

For instance, since church services became available online, I sit and knit or crochet and drink coffee during the service. Prior to online church, only my coffee made it into the sanctuary (in a travel mug, not earthenware) and I only brought my project to work on if I was up in the choir loft playing the piano or organ. This past Sunday marked our second service with live music and I was up in the choir loft accompanied by not one but two projects - one of each - and a thermos of coffee because there were three services to allow for physical distancing with an hour to kill between them. So, the same but different.

Knit Night still exists. We don't always all make it every week but more people are able to join and from further away so I, personally, don't see a negative. I simply see it as a bonus when we are all able to meet in person again and those who want to hug, can.

I still have my business to run but instead of it being the way it used to be, it has changed permanently. Not because of Covid, but this is the route Covid would have pushed it had I not already made the decision to close the brick and mortar store. The negative was that nobody could squish the yarn for a number of months. The positive is that people are being given that opportunity again even if in small doses thanks to Farmer's Markets and the pop up store.

Margaret and Anne (and Anna and Barb, ...) can attest to how often I would rearrange the store to create more efficient use of space. Now I get to do it every single week in the RV so that my customers get to enjoy new product to mull over each week when I make my way to the market(s). I'm on a couple of waiting lists so keep your fingers crossed. I will be happy when I am doing enough markets that I actually have to start taking my foldout mattress and bedding (and food) with me. Road trip!

So, yes, my normal has changed. For those of you out there that don't like the phrase 'new normal' I get it. I still believe that the wearing of masks and physical distancing are simply the 'current normal' and will continue to change over time. But most of my new normal is of my own making so I'm embracing the new normal and I hope that you have embraced your new normal too.

written by Lori, happy TCL owner, who sees her new normal as one big adventure!

Monday, June 22, 2020

Pssst! You want yarn?

I laugh now, but Saturday did not start out as expected. With Mom's help, the RV was all packed and ready to go by 7 pm on Friday. I was in bed by 9 pm - early for me - because it was going to be an early start to get out to Rimbey and be set up before 9 am.Image preview

I wasn't sure it was going to happen this year but it has.The Crafty Lady is now officially a pop up store!

With two Farmer's Markets under my belt and, I'm sure, more future locations to come, you are going to have the chance to squish the yummy yarn again! 

After being asleep for a couple of hours, Myles - the cat - thought he needed to go outside at 11:30 pm. Not happening. Even with a night interspersed with what I call the 'RV cuddle' - holding him tightly enough under the covers that he can't move and doesn't dare do anything more than breathe and I'm awake on my terms, not his, he yowled until 2 am! At that point, I figured "I'm up. I'll pee." Wouldn't you know, he followed suit in his litter box and promptly slept the rest of the night. Good thing or I would have had one less cat in the morning. Needless to say, I did not get the desired amount of sleep.

In the morning, after making myself presentable and having breakfast, I packed up all the sustenance and electronics for the day and headed out to the motorhome, stowed everything where it belonged, crawled into the cab and turned the key. *crickets* After a few choice words, I made my way into the shop and found the battery charger. It took fifteen minutes to get the battery charged enough to start, during which time I contacted the market organizer to ensure her that I would be there, God willing.

Thankfully, it was all positive from there. I got there in plenty of time and was given a great (permanent for this season) position at the Rimbey Farmer's Market where I managed some decent sales considering no one was expecting a yarn store at the market. On the way home from there, I decided to poke my nose into the Bentley Farmer's Market only to be told that they just had a cancellation and I could have their spot! YAY!

Now I know that my wares are not typical Farmer's Market wares, so I am not expecting sales like I see at the Creativ Festival shows, but I was grateful to have more than covered my booth fees and gas with my first foray into the market scene. The exposure I got was more than I would have received from paying for advertising and I was a little humbled by how few people recognized the store name. I was likened to a drug dealer by the booth beside me in Bentley because, to anyone who glanced toward the sign on the back end of my RV, I was saying things like,"You want yarn? I've got lots of yarn inside. C'mon in."

The plan is to have the yarn offerings change up from week to week so there is always something new for people to squish. That means if you see something you like one week, chances are you won't see them again for up to 4 weeks. That's where the online store comes in. Make a note of which yarns you like, check with your patterns at home, order them at and, when you check out, choose PICK UP and make a note for me to bring them along to the market so you can avoid shipping charges. If needed, you can even request to have them pre-wound for you. How's that for service!

And of utmost importance to those of you making masks . . . I finally received my elastic!

posted by Lori, excited TCL owner who can't wait to see what this coming week brings!

Monday, June 15, 2020

Bring Me Basics

Have you heard of BringMeBasics?

Numerous businesses in Lacombe have made online shopping easy for you by 'setting up shop' all in one place. All of them are geared toward good health - physical and mental. The Crafty Lady's offerings fall into the latter category - unless you count the physical wellbeing of those around you if you don't have something creative to keep you sane.

All the offerings are stand alone kits. If you choose Chainmaille, the basic tools are included in the price. If you choose the Friendship Bracelet kits, you get a pattern booklet plus the free embroidery pamphlet if you take the floss based kit. If you choose the Top This kits, you don't have to worry whether or not you have the right size needle or hook. What you don't get with this one is the choice of which pompom style you get. If you want to choose the exact Top This character you receive, you need to go to where you'll still get free delivery within Lacombe city limits.

Right now, online is still the only way you can shop with The Crafty Lady. I am waiting on the city of Lacombe and a few of the markets in the area to confirm start dates for my pop up store so stay tuned for updates.

written by Lori, impatient TCL owner, who is chomping at the bit to get out there and safely visit with all my customers again!

Monday, June 8, 2020

Summer Fun

I had a customer inadvertently remind me of the fun Anne had making water bombs for her grandchildren last summer. These bombs (or balloons) are eco-friendly because they are reusable - unlike the rubber / plastic ones that just litter the ground and cause problems for the wildlife that are attracted to the brightly coloured debris they leave. The Crafty Lady is currently blessed with enough stock of the perfect yarns to keep each and every one of your kids (of all ages) entertained this summer with their own custom coloured bombs!

There are a number of patterns available on Ravelry for these quick projects. Here are just a few. Some are crochet, some are knit. Some are free, others cost a nominal fee. All of them are guaranteed to bring hours of fun in the fresh air.

Most, if not all, call for Bernat Blanket.  The Crafty Lady's equivalent yarns are Cascade Yarns PluffJames C. Brett FlutterbyUniversal Yarns Bella Chenille, and Himalaya Dolphin. With that much variety in brands, you KNOW there is a large variety of colours to choose from, so don't hold back!

What to do with them when you're done for the day? Make a mesh bag to put them in so they can hang from the clothesline or tree branch - whatever's handy 😊
written by Lori, happy TCL owner who can't wait to see the grands playing with these again!

Monday, June 1, 2020

One Step Closer

The weather was perfect this past week for working on the mobile store. Whether warm or cool, there was always enough of a breeze to keep the air moving and temperature comfortable.

I managed to get some extra (cool) lights mounted so that the yarn colours are truer than under strictly warm lighting. I got a designated sale section in place and even a piece of pegboard for displaying buttons (or needles / hooks). I want to be ready when the restrictions are loosened - even if I can't remove the kitchen bottleneck yet. Chances are it won't matter for a while because I will probably only be able to accommodate one person at a time anyway.

I am also trying to write the guidelines for shopping in the mobile store. Masks will be required because physical distancing will be impossible. Disposable gloves will be required even though customers will be required to use hand sanitizer before entering the RV. Do you know how hard it is to politely word "I know you wanna touch the yarn. How do you propose I clean / disinfect it for the next person without destroying it with alcohol and aloe gel from the hand sanitizer?" Any help would be greatly appreciated.

I will also probably have to have customers make appointments to shop so that social distancing protocols can be maintained outside of the mobile store. Thankfully, online shoppers will have a place to pick up their purchases with a less sterile atmosphere than is currently the case and delivery will still be an option in town.

Some positive news: I did the calculations. The yarn may be able to be on a three week rotation instead of four. Not because I have less yarn than I thought when I did my first calculations, but because I managed to squeeze in some hanging display area as well. I might even reserve the fourth (and occasional fifth) week displays for the non-yarn product in the store - think stitching, kid's crafts, lace and trims.

I am SO looking forward to seeing your bright smiling faces again and I can't wait to see your eyes light up when you see the new-to-you yarns that have been sitting in the warehouse just waiting to meet you 😍

written by Lori, Happy TCL owner, who knows the light at the end of the tunnel is NOT a train.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Did I Jinx It?

Last week I said I would attend Knit Night from my deck if the rain held off. As I am writing this Saturday morning, it is still spitting out, even though it was supposed to stop yesterday. Did someone take my decision to actually venture out onto the deck as a challenge to see how long I could be kept inside? Along with everyone else?

Doesn't matter. Mom's garden is in and is relishing all the moisture. It hasn't been a torrential downpour trying to invade the garage space again. And when I venture out to the warehouse, my hoodie is enough to protect me. I will only actually complain if I hear a downpour pummelling the warehouse roof when all I have is said hoodie and I need to go back to the house for some reason.

Quick jaunts out to the RV have been productive. I solved the cab access issue for the most part. The center bins now rest on a cabinet on wheels that fits the walkway like it was custom made. (see video below)

The existing lights may be enough but I would rather deal in overkill so that the yarn is shown of in its best light (Sorry, not sorry). Thanks to the virus, I have plenty of time to work out the details.

I have also had time to work on some fine details in the online shop. Every day it is getting easier for you to find what you need. You still won't find mask elastic. Don't know what the holdup is there with my supplier but it is what it is.

I was thinking of trying something a little different to let you know what is available online. Who of you would be interested in a Feature of the Week in this blog? Please comment below or on the Facebook page so I can get a feel for the demand for such a feature.

written by Lori, mentally wterlogged TCL owner, who is looking forward to the days (next week) that I can whine about how hot it is ;)