2021 was my second year of business, and the first full year of ilovemyblanketshop.com. Here are some highs and lows (mostly highs!) of the past year:
As always, I was busy. I wrote 76 new patterns this year - that's almost 1.5 a week! As usual, my main focus was on Irish and Celtic designs, but I continued to write a variety of geometric and textured designs as well. New to the portfolio were a bunch of Scandinavian colourwork designs, which I've loved doing, and will probably continue with - like the Irish/Celtic patterns, they've been very popular and have become an ILoveMyBlanket signature style.
I also wrote more Small Project Patterns this year - blankets will always be my primary focus, but like you, I'm always trying to find ways to use up my leftover yarn, and finding ways to use up every last scrap is important to me!
Lastly, I wrote a line of Basic Starter Patterns. When I started writing patterns for loop yarn, my focus was creating new and original designs that loop yarn knitters couldn't find anywhere else. As my portfolio and business have expanded, I realized there was a benefit to adding more basic and easy patterns to make my store accessible to every level of loop yarn knitter, including those just starting out. These have been well received; which has reinforced the notion that there is a market and need for them, so I hope to add a few more during 2022.
In February, I ordered my first Alize Puffy yarns from Turkey (through Etsy seller Happillow). Like many knitters, I had been experiencing loop yarn supply shortages through my usual channels and finally decided to bite the bullet and branch out. I had seen other knittings use the Alize Puffy yarns, and was impressed by the large colour assortment available. I was also intrigued by the new Alize Puffy More double-stranded loop yarn and wanted to give it a shot.
I had a good experience with both new yarns (although I wish the Alize Puffy came in larger skeins!), and worked mostly with these two brands for the rest of the year.
- Click here to read my blog post about Alize Puffy More yarn.
- Click here to read my blog post about Bernat Alize Blanket-EZ Graph-It yarn (the North American version of Alize Puffy More).
- Click here to find out where to buy yarn like Alize Puffy, Alize Puffy More and other loop yarn near you.
Knitting and Custom Orders
I continued to sell knitting this year, at about the same pace as last year, but my custom orders definitely took off! I love the challenge of custom work, and it also gives me a chance to revisit old patterns that I haven't knit since the original sample.
I also took several requests for pattern designs over the year, which resulted in some very popular patterns, so I definitely value your input and suggestions! I occasionally have to decline suggestions if they involve trademarked items or if they involve techniques or skills that I don't think I have, but that's thankfully fairly rare.
I finally bit the bullet and participated in an in-person craft show this year. It was a necessary exercise, really, to confirm to myself that it's not for me! I see many sellers who do very well with craft show sales, and I can see the appeal! But as Ii suspected, like many things, it's not something you can 'dabble' at - you really need to commit to making it a regular part of your business to succeed at it. And practically speaking, I don't have the physical ability or energy to devote to it. I've always been fairly good at in-person selling and customer service, but at my core I'm an introvert who thrives by focusing on pattern-writing and knitting on my own, at my leisure. You can read more about my craft fair experience (and some beginner's tips) in this blog post.
Last year I shared your knitting pics in a single year-end Instagram post, but this year - holy cow! So many pics! You all blessed me with so many work-in-progress and finished product pics of your knitting using my patterns and I love it! Whether you followed the patterns as-is, or made modifications (or mashups of multiple patterns), they've all been wonderful to see. You Inspire me!
What's New in 2022
More blanket patterns! Of course I will continue to write patterns, but this year is a bit of a transition year for my family as my chick leaves the nest, so I may have some short pauses in pattern-writing as I deal with each of our moves. I am also hoping to take some short breaks this summer; but we'll see. It's hard to shut down my creative impulses, so don't be surprised if I just never stop!
New products! In the last few days of 2021, I released the first batch of my new Stitch Markers and Charms on my website and Etsy. Time will tell if this is a popular item or not. I hope so, because they've been really fun to make, and I have lots of ideas or new charms.
More Big G(r)AY Blankets! I sold quite a few of these in 2021, but I tend to be fairly conservative in my yarn purchases, so I've never had more than 1 or 2 in stock. I've added a Custom Big G(r)AY Blanket listing to both my website and Etsy, so you can order one anytime you want, but I'm also hoping to order enough yarn to make these blankets with a bit more frequency throughout the year.
- Click here to learn more about Big G(r)AY Blankets.
I'm sure there will be other changes and new things throughout the year - life continues to throw surprises my way, which in turn challenges me to come up with novel and creative solutions. Here's hoping the new year brings more positives than negatives!
Love and loops,