January 3rd, 2008

And the Beat Goes On

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As the holidays came and went with the sale taking center stage at the store, there were other happenings going on all around us and not just minor ones.

There was the arrival of SOME of the Kauni yarn. I must emphasize the “SOME” part of that statement. Not everything we ordered initially was ready to ship and what did ship was far from consistent in terms of put-up. We received balls, hanks and cones, all of varying weight. Steve has spent quite a bit of time shaking his head at me.

Even the box arrived looking pretty tattered.


We’ve shipped what we could so far and have a fair amount of winding and combining to do, plus we are still waiting for several other colors from both our initial order to arrive and from the second order we placed. Please have patience – we’ll get everything out, just know this has not been the easiest undertaking.

Over the past few months we’ve been working on two projects. The first of which has achieved a few milestones that I’d like to share.

For those of you who are local, you know that the building we are in used to house 3 separate businesses. As each one moved on, we acquired the space until the entire building was all us. The amount of space was great, but the layout of it was nothing short of a mess. We had our “Hallway of Death” which connected warehouse 2 and warehouse 3, was icky and had flickering lights. We used the space in these warehouses terribly inefficiently to boot. Plus, the back of the house operations (shipping, receiving, customer service, admin and our offices) were becoming a bit crowded. The shipping dept had a staff of 2 when Steve and I started. Today we have 8 plus a manager – all squeezed into the same space. Again – not very efficient. Starting to see a trend? In early 2007, Steve and I decided something had to change. Was it time to move? Separate the retail store operations from the on-line operations? Renovate? Well, renovate was the final decision after months of analysis, sleepless nights and dart throwing.

Warehouse 2 and 3 are now connected into one beautiful space (as warehouses go) and are fully racked the way a warehouse should be. We have created a brand new space for shipping that not only will fit our current staff but has room for growth. Customer Service has a beautiful new space:


What I missed photographing was the moving of the cubicles, piece by piece, through the store, during the sale. Literally, I’m not sure anyone even gave it a second thought given the circus environment that was already happening.

Renovations will continue. Here is where Customer Service used to be:


Through the doorway is our office. The wall will come down and Steve and I will have a much larger space with two major improvements. (1) The outer walls will be insulated so I won’t freeze to death anymore and (2) we’re getting our office carpeted. Now I know that doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but it is to me.

What this all means to you is that we will be better, faster and more efficient when picking, packing and shipping your orders. We’re pretty good now and we truly appreciate all of the lovely emails we receive each day, but there’s always room for improvement.

Oh, and the Hallway of Death? G.O.N.E. We built a connecting hallway between shipping, the warehouses and the new knitting yarn stockroom that we have aptly named the Hallway of Life.

Getting back to yarn and such, I was walking through the store during the holidays and this lovely sample popped out of nowhere:


It’s the Henley Perfected from Interweave Knits Winter ’07 issue. Knit in Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca Silk, it is simply yummy. Even Jackson commented on it, saying how soft the yarn was and how perfect it would be for a charity scarf project we are working on. The boy has good taste.

For those of you who listen to the podcast or I guess especially for those of you who don’t, our next KAL will be starting in two weeks. This time, we’ve selected Brooklyn Tweed’s Hemlock Ring Throw. There has been a ton of buzz about this project and it fullfills two different goals for the year – lace knitting and “current/hot” projects”. Now there is no arguing that this is not lace knitting in it’s purest form, but it’s a first step for those who have yet to jump into the pool. Secondly, no worries that every project we tackle will have to fit into the “current favorite”.

Other things Pixie and I plan to tackle are colorwork, mittens, another Elizabeth Zimmermann project, crochet, just to name a few. If you have suggestions, please email me at readysetknit@yarn.com. That’s how we decided on the Hemlock Ring!

Oh and remember just yesterday how I said I’d be trying to work on one new and one old project and that I had both already queued up for my trip to California? Well, my yarn-ADD kicked in as I innocently waited to use the ladies room today. There, sitting on the shelf where it’s probably been for awhile, one I’ve probably seen numerous times, was a yarn. Today my friends, the yarn spoke to me.

It’s a Gedifra closeout called Tiago, 50% silk/50% viscose. It supposedly knits at 3.75 stitches on a #10 or #10.5, but I’m skeptical. Each 50gm ball has 93ish yards and it has a lovely, natural look to it thanks to the way the silk dyes and the colors are softed and muted.


As I returned to my office, I passed by Steve and said “this Gedifra closeout is REALLY nice”. He just smiled that “well I don’t intentionally buy UGLY closeouts” and then said “yes, it is a really nice yarn”. One bag of color 6867 is sitting here just waiting for me to stop typing! I’m thinking crochet rather than knit, but we’ll see.

It’s going to be a long yarn-filled year I think.

Kathy

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  • Knittinggarden

    I was excited to see the Hemlock Ring on the schedule for the next Knitalong. I listen to the podcasts (sometimes long after the fact) but haven’t participated in the knitalong yet. I’ve wanted to do this project for awhile, even joined a yahoo group KAL, but never started. I look forward to getting going with you and Pixie. (I’m also thinking of going back to the podcasts of the Baby Surprise Jacket and making one of those! Better late than never.)

  • Bonnie

    Hemlock Ring! What a great choice! I have that blanket in my queue and have been thinking I’d use some purple heather Cascade 220 (which I bought at WEBS in, um, 2006, I think). Now I have incentive to actually cast on.

    I saw the Henley Perfected sample in the store a few weeks ago and thought it was gorgeous. Beautiful workmanship and color.

    Happy New year and congrats on all the nice renovations, esp. getting insulation and carpeting in your office!

  • melissaknits

    I wish that I had come down just for moving day. What a riot that must have been.

    But I miss the Hallway of Death with the flickering “hope you took your seizure meds” lighting. Sniffle.

  • sandy

    what is the charity scarf knit project? something coming to the store or a personal project?
    Knitters would like to participate~~
    Sandy Miner

  • Michelle F

    I have returned to knitting after taking a several year hiatus to pursue other crafting interests but am back with a passion! Your web site, Blog and podcasts have all helped to renew my passion for knitting and creating great things! A friend and I planned a day trip to your store for the sale and spent a fabulous few hours plotting, planning and laughing our way into seriously increasing our stashes!
    THANK YOU!

  • Cirilia

    I sold that Tiago to a woman who was knitting a nice little summer tank, it called for a worsted weight cotton blend. I am with you, I think it would be lovely and lacy on 10s but it can absolutely work as a worsted. And it’s truly beautiful =)

  • Miss Sandra

    Tell Steve I purposely seek out the “closeouts” not just for the great price but I tend to be more creative with them. It’s like a treasure hunt. He’s doing a fine job. I must come down to see the redecorating. See you soon!

  • Smuddpie

    Hi, Kathy, how is that Tiago working out. It’s just the fiber content and look I want for a 19 st/in sweater. What do you think?

    I am excited about the Hemlock Ring KAL. I’ve been listening to your podcast for quite a while, but this is the first time I’ll join you in real time. The yarn is ready and waiting….

  • Kathy

    Hi Smudgepie!

    Sorry for the delayed response.

    Our internet connection in Long Beach was – prehistoric. What more can I say :)

    I love the Tiago, but remember I am crocheting it on a larger hook.

    Where are you at this point? I am happy to swatch and give you my thoughts. I do think the yarn sounds right.

    Again, please accept my aplologies.

    Kathy