That's right, Darn Yarn is turning ten this year! TEN! I don't know where the time went. Sure when you start something like this, you envision it continuing, but you never think, "Hmm... when I celebrate the 10th anniversary, I better get a cake." Just like anything else in life, the days go by one by one, and then all of a sudden - ten!
First, you should know that technically our Tenth Anniversary is March 17th. Yep, St. Patty's day. I did that on purpose. I have a hard time remembering numbers - dates, phone numbers, addresses, accounts - anything with numbers. But I can remember holidays. So if I can remember the holiday around an event, I can remember the event.
With that being said, you're probably wondering why we're planning to celebrate our 10th Anniversary in February, if it's actually March 17th. Well, now that the Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival (formerly the Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival) is held in March, and often around St. Patrick's Day, I didn't really feel like competing with them just to throw a party. Also, February is always a tough month for me - it's dull, cold, dark, and dreary. Somehow it ends up being the longest month of the year for me. And I hear that I'm not alone in this. So, I thought that if we could have something to celebrate, it might make the month more fun. Combine these two issues, and moving our party to February just seemed like an easy, and fun, solution.
So that's what we're doing. We're celebrating in February to help all of us chase the winter blues away.
What does this celebration look like? Well for starters, we've got 4 prize baskets. When you make a purchase between Saturday, Feb. 1st and Wednesday, Feb. 26th, you'll be entered into a drawing to win one of them. We'll be awarding one each week - on Thursday morning. So any purchase you make, Thursday through Wednesday, will qualify you for the following Thursday's drawing. The final drawing will be held on the 27th. One entry per person/ per day. You need not be present on Thursday to win.
We've also got a limited number of sticky note notebooks to give away - free with purchase, while supplies last. We don't expect to run out to quickly, but if we do, we may just switch to Darn Yarn decals. Hmm....
We're also going to host a trunk featuring Teresa Ruch Designs Tencel yarns. We're getting her sport/ DK weight yarns in 'cause I don't think I'd personally be able to work the finer stuff - but it is a trunk show, so let me know what YOU think, if you'd like to see the fingering or lace weight, I can order that in at a later date. Tencel is an amazing fiber, it's considered an environmentally friendly product because it's made from the pulp of "junk trees" that grow in poor soil with little water. It had amazing drape, sheen, and strength. Being an extruded fiber, it's very slick - hence the drape - which is why I plan on making a shawl with some of it, as it should make quite a striking summer accessory. Watch social media for the official "It's here!" notification.
Then the week of Feb. 11th through the 15th we'll be celebrating with and Anniversary Sale and offering 10% off (Get it? 10 years = 10%) everything in stock! Well, almost everything, the clearance bin, $2 back issues of magazines, the Yarn of the Month, and special orders are exempt, but everything else is 10% off that week. That basically puts the entire store on sale because the clearance bin, back issues, and Yarn of the Month are already on sale (which is why they aren't eligible for the Anniversary Sale).
Our big party will be on Thursday, Feb. 13th! We'll have a potluck from 2 -7 pm. We'll provide a few treats, some chili, and drinks. Feel free to bring a dish to share, treats, munchies, or nothing but your WIP and yourself. We picked the time so that you can pop in for a snack, dinner, or dessert, what ever your schedule allows; and it overlaps with our weekly Stitch and Bitch on Thursday night.
Then on Saturday, Feb. 15th, we'll host a Spin-In! Why? Because we love spinning as much as some of you do, and we look for just about any excuse to add additional spin-ins to our schedule. So why not add one as part of the celebration? It'll run all day on Saturday. You need not stay all day, just know that you can bring your wheel or spindle(s) and get some spinning done on this particular Saturday. I will note, that it's a Saturday, and likely a busy one, so plan on being seated around the shop, including in the loft, and having to shuffle aside from time to time if someone wants to look at the yarn behind you. If we're to busy, I may check with some of the other shops and see if you can spin-in-public in their location - you know, spread the word that spinning is a real thing, and not just for reenactors.
OK, so that's the nuts and bolts of February's celebration. But some of you may be asking, "Has it really been 10 years?!" So, here's a simple breakdown of our timeline:
March - We open on Main Street in Butler. We're part of a group of shops in The Markethouse on Main. We're in a small room in the upper floor of The Markethouse. We quickly outgrow the single room and eventually grow into 3 rooms.
We move from Butler to Harmony to become part of The Center of Harmony in January and February. The Center of Harmony (COH) is a large building complex made up of the 1875 Opera Hall and the surrounding structures physically connected to the Opera Hall or on the same property. The goal of COH is to create a community of like minded businesses that foster creativity, meaningful living, and a commitment to the environment and the local community in which it's located.
Darn Yarn was one of their first tenants, we moved into a space in the rear corner of the L shaped complex. In the photo above right, you can see the building of the porch that allowed easier entry into the doors of two separate spaces, including ours. Originally we shared our entrance with a few other businesses. The photo above left shows the creation of our original register counter. The counter top was assembled from pieces of the original Opera Hall stage.
Our hours were somewhat part-time, as I still had another job. I had help from other shopkeepers, friends, and high school interns to help keep the shop running. During this time I was busy organizing and doing a lot of behind the scene stuff. I helped host a national convention, getting most of the work done from behind Darn Yarn's counter.
During my vacation in 2014, the shop got some upgrades, we closed for a few weeks while a crew worked on installing a new floor. We also, in the fall, hosted our first Spinzilla team!
As part of Harmony's Spring Fest in 2015, we hosted a Fiber Festival. There were vendors in the Opera Hall and Stewart Hall, the Harmony Museum's rental facility. We also strung banners around Harmony, similar in style to Tibetan Prayer Flags. After the festival the banners were "dismantled" and returned to their natural state - washcloths! We donated them to a local housing organization.
We also participated in the Steel Valley Yarn Crawl for the first time in 2015.
A big change to our hours also happened in 2015 when I was able to leave my other job and focus on Darn Yarn full time. This was a very difficult decision for me, and took a bit of adjusting, personally.
The most notable event of 2016 was related to our shop dog, Jasmine. She passed away in May, at the age of 13. She was a fixture at the shop, and would sleep behind the counter. Even her vet would stop in and visit her. I would have to wait until the very last minute to tell her it was a "shop day", otherwise she would tear the house apart bouncing around in excitement. As she got older, her bouncing became less, but not her excitement to go to the shop.
We decided we needed a bit more room and expanded into the space behind the shop, into what is now Wunderbar's meeting room. This expansion gave us a classroom, and a designated room for spinning and weaving supplies.
And again, while I was on vacation, we closed the shop for a few weeks and a work crew fixed our ceiling. Previously we had problems with leaks and heat loss.
Charlie Brown the Airedale became our shop dog in 2017. Like Jasmine, he too spends most of his day sleeping behind the counter when he's in the shop with me. He's so quiet, most people don't know he's here when he is - unless they see me talking to my feet, or he snores.
This was a big year for us! Penn Pantry moved to Zelienople in January, so we moved into their space; we moved out of the corner of the L and into one of the legs, so to speak. We now have our own entrance, helping with our heating issues and visibility. The move required a crew of dedicated volunteers. They cleaned, painted, built, rebuilt, fixed, and moved a lot of yarn. A lot of yarn. We adapted to our new space, continually moving and rearranging as we got accustomed to the new shelves, wall space and layout
In November, a bad storm moved through the county and half of us lost power for a few days. We lost power at home, but not at the shop, so Dave, my husband, Charlie the shop dog, and I spent a few days living out of the shop. We showered at a neighbor's, ate at Wunderbar or made food in the microwave, and slept in our loft. Which was, not surprisingly, quite cozy.
The noteworthy event of last year was the flood in May. We took on about 2' of water, but thanks to a community of doers, I lost very little inventory. The building however, was not as lucky, we had to work out of just one room for a few weeks while a really fast work crew rebuilt the rest of the shop. Here's the blog about that...
And with that, I think you're all caught up. Thanks for being a part of the journey, and we hope you'll continue along with us through whatever the next few years bring our way.
Keep on Sticthin'