We have a tradition here at the Elkins house on New Year's Eve - every year, since the boys were born, I have either stayed up or gotten up to take pictures of them at midnight. Now, thus far in their lives the only thing they are doing at midnight is sleeping - so I have a series of pictures of them, from infant on - sleeping, at midnight. I don't know why I do this or why it is important to me - it just is. Very important. Jackson was born in July and was 5 1/2 months old when we rang in the year 2000 - this might have had something to with the urge for the photography (and slightly tipsy video). Document what he was doing at the turn of the century (I know, I know, it was "technically" not the new century until the change from '00 to '01, but just work with me). I figure someday - it will be incredible to document the first year they stay awake and eventually - where they are at midnight when they are grown enough to be gone (okay, now I'm queasy). This year, the duty will be in the capable hands of my ILs, who have graciously agreed to have the boys for a sleepover. (Note to Art & Barbara: I will never know if the pictures were taken at 10pm or midnight - just tell me it was midnight). Steve and I will be spending about 30 hours in Boston - a wonderful gift that was under my tree. Hotel, dinner, shopping and as much as I love them, no kids. We will still probably not make it until midnight, but that's okay. It has been a wonderful year here in Elkinsville - it's a year worth celebrating and building on.
As for yarn - it has also been quite a year. Our Valley Yarns have taken off and our in-house designing has reached new heights. We added many new vendors and effectively shifted our inventory away from novelties and into classics. We have a bit of a duplicity problem, but we'll work through that. We did four retail shows, hosted two major sales events, a Superbowl party, a Breast Cancer Awareness event and knitting notables Stephanie Pearl- McPhee, Jo Sharp, Debbie Bliss, Norah Gaughan, Sharon Okey, Kim Werker. . . and so many others. Each of these events was tied to a charitable organization who beneftted from these folks appearances and the generiosity of our customers. We met so many new customers who made their first trip to the store and even more long-time customers at the shows. I finally made it to my first Stitches Show and it was a blast! We taught I don't know how many people to knit this year - it was a lot. We ran over 140 classes and had more visiting teachers than ever (thanks Pixie!). We've improved our delivery time dramatically. We launched a new website - which was harder than birthing either of my children. We produced 4 catalogs, including our first ever Valley Yarns catalog and have the privilege of working with a designer who sees our vision and challenges us to be even better. We donated upwards of $15,000 worth of yarn to charitable organizations and individuals across the country. We launched a radio show/podcast (WHMP 1400 or 1240 AM locally and on iTunes everywhere) and finally, this blog. We got screwed out of the factory that used to make our bamboo needles - we are working on a new source, bear with us. And we made our own fair share of mistakes - hopefully none of them were too visible.
We have a lot of exciting plans for '07 and beyond. Steve and I are not ones to let things remain status quo. We are grateful for everyone who took the time to shop with us this year. We are also lucky to have an amazing staff who puts up with us.
The sale is winding down as well - here's a snapshot from our shipping room yesterday. They were all in again today, getting as many orders out as possible. We're a couple of a days behind, but we're shipping as fast as possible. We know you are all anxious to start your new projects!
My crochet scarf is zipping right along and I am anticipating finishing it on the drive to Boston. I've swatched the Lusso for the handwarmers and I was able to get the gauge I needed and still have a nice fabric. The yarn has a wonderful spring to it. I'm also going to start working on a hat for Jackson out of our new Lenox (60 baby alpaca/40 merino) and I've got a design in my head that isn't quite figured out yet for one of our new spring yarns.
Happy New Year to everyone. May it be everything you hope for.