2021 Reflections

2021 has been quite a year; there have been so many changes I’m not even sure I can remember them all! I want to thank you for joining me on this crazy journey. I enjoy change, forward movement and feeling like I’m making progress.

But

change for the sake of change doesn’t make any sense.

This year has seen some very conscientious change. Stepping out of my hectic travel and teaching schedule due to covid has created some space to reflect. I wanted to avoid filling the time and space by being busy. I wanted all changes to be deliberate and take us in a positive direction.

All of the change you have seen and helped me create this year began with chatting with others and reflecting on where I was and where my business was.

Thanks to several woman’s networking groups, I began thinking a lot about my business. What does it do? What values does it reflect? What do I want it to look like? And on a personal note, what do I want my life (in relation to my business) to look like?

These are hard questions to answer, but it helps crystalise what we stand for and where we want to go.

No Longer Working alone

Asking these questions got me to step back a little and view my work from a distance.

This also meant that I started thinking about how much I had changed as an individual. I’ve always been a fairly determined (aka stubborn) person, but I used to be much more introverted. Over the last few years, I’ve discovered that I work best with a combination of alone and people time.

Spending all my time alone doesn’t spark new ideas and means that I sink too deep into my own head. But without alone time, more complex tasks can’t be done. So I started to see that to keep working in a way that was satisfying, I had to have both.

Coming to this realisation gave me a goal for my business. I no longer wanted to work alone. It was a big jump for a business to become more than a one-woman show. It’s a lot of responsibility, and it’s necessary to become more structured.

So the first step was changing my business structure from a sole trader to a limited company. Next came the people I work with. Nadia began working with me on a part-time basis several years ago virtually. Over the last year, this has become a more significant role.

While it’s still virtual, Nadia has a fantastic ability to make her presence felt! She has become the driving force behind our online presence. And she has become so good at it! Nadia is also the person who pushes me to not sink into my introverted self. You can thank her for all the crazy reels and videos you may have seen over the last few months :-)

Some of you might remember that Laura joined our team a few months ago. She began working with me in the studio full time, and this has made such a difference! Slowly Laura has been taking over jobs, shipping orders, organising subscriptions, and getting the shop in shape. But over and above the help with physical tasks, I now also have someone to work through ideas and problems, someone on the same wavelength. Everything is just much more fun now :-)

Focus On You

This may sound cliched, but the next realisation came when my business mentor asked me about my goals. Talking through my business, I realised that my top priority was customer experience. I wanted/want to create patterns that gave/give you an amazing finished knit AND were a way of learning a new skill.

I want my designs to be challenging enough to push your knowledge, but with enough tools that that skill was attainable. So my job this year is finding the best way of making that work for a variety of learning styles, e.g. written, charted, video and chat support, to give as many knitters as possible the ability to reach their goal.

This means that we’ve been doing workshops with almost all our patterns over the year. In addition, we’ve added a brand new community space, KnitHub. This has allowed us to create a place for chat, pattern support, and exclusive club forums. It’s really lovely to have a space that combines so well with our workshops.

Realising that customer experience was everything has also led us to expand our clubs. So as well as the Celtic Knits Club, we added the Seasons Club this year with rolling subscriptions. These clubs allow me to create a complete experience for you. It means that you try new yarns, experiment with new techniques and chat with other knitters in a supportive, fun space.

Jonna, Carol and Sue
Jonna, Carol and Sue when we were able to all meet in person. Do you remember that?

What’s Next?

I’ve really enjoyed expanding the business in different directions this year. I loved dreaming up ways to make it easier to use and enjoyable for you. I want to thank you for your support this year and for coming along on this journey with me.

So, I want to turn it over to you now. What would you like 2022 to look like? What do you want to learn? Or do you want more fun and chatter?

Let me know, and thank you for a lovely year of growth and change. I hope you enjoyed the journey too?

Posted in personal

20 thoughts on “2021 Reflections

  1. I love that you took the time to reflect and make decisions that put your values front and center. I’m not a business owner, but I think for 2022 I need to undertake a similar process- I feel like I’m changing, and my work is changing, but it’s not deliberate on my part. I’m just responding to factors beyond my control. Your example of thoughtfully creating the conditions that elevate your values is helpful and inspiring. Thank you for this, and all of the beautiful knits.

  2. It’s didn’t start out that way but it’s been necessary. There have been a lot of crossroads this year and the path to take required some soul searching.

  3. Over the last three plus years it has been wonderful seeing your business evolve and develop. The support a knitter receives after purchasing a pattern is incredible with access to the online tutorials, Knithub and direct contact to ask questions. This support has certainly assisted me during my knitting journey. The knitting tips on Instagram and the short reels have also been fantastic. Thank you Carol. Wishing you and your team a very happy and prosperous New Year. ❤️🌺

  4. I especially like learning new techniques that are a challenge. You provided many of these this past year.

  5. I am all about stranded colorwork for the upcoming year. I would love to know how to turn a bottom up colorwork yoke sweater into a top down yoke colorwork sweater. At first I thought that might be easy but the arm holes and sleeves I think could be a bit tricky. I would love to see some colorwork sweaters in your worsted line. It does not have to be with a yoke but one of your own designs with some twists and turns. I am thinking of one of my favorite sweater KALs with you (Camira). Something on my bucket list for a small project….double knitting.

    I hope you have a wonderful New Year Carol!!

  6. I’m so happy that I was introduced to you through Melissa Leapman’s virtual knitting retreat to Ireland. I’m also excited about joining the Seasons Club and the Celtic Knit club. Happy New Year

  7. I love your knits, your guidance and your ethos. I am so looking forward to Celtic Knit Club and in preparation I am busy finishing the Breac (of course with your guidance!) Happy New Year to you!

  8. The thought, energy and love you put into your business really shows! You obviously really care about your customer’s experience with all the support you provide. You have not only manage to clearly communicate technique but have also provided the social aspect of knitting as well. Well done! Happy New year to you, Nadia and Laura.

  9. I love your intentional, reflective approach to growth!! I deeply appreciate the video courses because it takes a new pattern that is abstract in the written form to a developable skill I can work on to mastery. I’m a visual, tactile learner and appreciate when I can “see” the pattern in action. I watch your videos many times so that I can practice getting my hands to work the yarn and needles into the pattern. I absolutely love it! I know that videos are time intensive and probably expensive to make, but it’s my favorite way to learn and I thank you!!! I also appreciate the opportunity to be a part of your community even though I’m an ocean away in the US. The shipping is usually cost preventative particularly for small business owners, so I deeply appreciate your willingness to not only include the international community of knitters but embrace us as if we were neighbors! I send you and yours all the happiness and success that life can bring in 2022 and beyond. Xox

  10. Hi Carol,
    A very Happy New Year 🥳 to you & your loved ones.
    The Celtic Knits Club & Seasons Club has been a wonderful way for me to continue knitting during these lock downs & feel that I’m part of something. Without the teachable lessons I’d be completely lost and frustrated.
    Knithub is a wonderful safe addition to chat with other knitters.
    I look forward to your weekly IG posts and learning new techniques.
    I prefer single colour projects with lots of cables.

  11. What would you like 2022 to look like? What do you want to learn? Or do you want more fun and chatter?

    First of all: happy new year to you Carol and all your love ones. Keep safe and healthy. Keep patient – one day this virus will be defeated.

    To answer your questions:
    First of all I want to finish some old wips (knitting and sewing). Secondly I want to forbid myself to buy more yarn as my stash is enough for at least 5-10 years. Also I want to forbid myself to buy more patterns as I have to live at least another 100 years to knit all these gorgeous patterns. And further more – more me-time, take care of my mental health and that implies going more outside for a walk, more mindful knitting and while knitting working on my knitting skills. And my wish is that there will become more tutorials available for non-continental knitters. And preferable without needing endless accounts for all these different platforms.

  12. Happy 2022 to the Stolen Stitches team! I absolutely ADORE the sweaters each of you are wearing. Can you let me know what patterns those are?

    Carol, I feel as though I know you personally since I have every one of your craftsy classes and your more recent master class for fitting knits. I also have your short row knits book. Those classes and your book have elevated my knitting to a more advanced level. Your sweater surgery class took the fear out of cutting knitting and opened my eyes to the options available if your finished garment turns out to not fit exactly the way you want it too. Thank you!

    How wonderful to see you grow from a one woman show to a thriving business with a team of three. All of your hard work and creativity have truly made Stolen Stitches blossom.

    For 2022 I would say continue the great work you three are doing. Incorporating the video classes and online support with the knitting pattern releases is incredibly helpful. The quality yarns you are creating are a joy to work with and make for wonderful knitted fabrics.

    I am grateful to be a part of this wonderful community.

  13. I’m also an ocean away in the US. I’d like to add my appreciation for your teachable videos with your patterns, Carol. I have completely changed all my new projects and patterns that you have video help for me. They are informative and easy to understand. Over the holidays my granddaughter chose Dorchla and my daughter picked Decite for my new projects for them. Blessings 🙏

  14. I’m just wearing a turtle neck, I’m not sure the names of the others sweaters although I know Nadia’s is in Nua Worsted Chalk and Plum.

  15. Hi Judith 👋, Nadia here. I’m wearing the Felix Pullover by Amy Christoffers in Nua Worsted. I did adapt the pattern a bit because I really wanted it in Nua.

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