I always have a hard time motivating myself to knit big chunky winter wears in the middle of summer. It’s hot, humid, and muggy. Literally the last thing I want to be doing is working with thick wool. I don’t want to waste my entire summer (I’m sure all my other maker friends can agree), but I’m not necessarily ready to start my fall and winter prep yet. So what do I do?
I’ve come up with 5 fun, still business related, things you can do during your off-season that don’t involve hunkering down and prep-knitting-or-crocheting the entire time.
1 – Teach yourself a new skill
Every year I set a goal for myself to learn something new related to yarn. I remember I struggled for a long time because I didn’t even know how to knit in the round using circular needles. One summer I spent an entire day just trying different things and ripping apart projects, until I finally figured out the right system for me. It opened so many new opportunities! Last summer I learned how to knit socks (even though I’ve only successfully made 3.5 socks so far, and 2 of them suck). This year my goal is to learn how to make a raglan sweater. What have you been putting off? Take some time this summer to learn a new knitting or crochet skill! As makers we need to experience our own sense of self-actualization, and I believe it comes directly from improving our skills.
2 – Make something for yourself that you wouldn’t normally sell
Certain items just aren’t cost effective to make and sell to customers. Things like fingering-weight shawls and certain sweaters or cardigan designs are big projects to take on. I’ve made shawls before that required 3 full skeins of fingering weight yarn. If I want to get fancy and indulge in some hand-dyed yarn, that could be upwards of $50.00 in yarn. Unless you’ve found yourself a very unique, golden customer, it’s likely someone won’t pay $50.00 for a shawl (and that’s just covering your supplies, not your time). Spend some time making something beautiful for that you get to keep! Treat yo’self to that fancy merino wool. Buy that crazy pattern from that designer you’ve been fawning over. You’ve got time!
3 – Take a break… For real
Before you think I’m totally crazy, hear me out. It is possible to have too much of a good thing. I don’t know about you, but in the middle of winter when I’m in full maker-mode, sometimes I lose my motivation. After casting off my 50th light gray toque with cream fair-isle stitches, my mind feels numb and hazy. I fall asleep reciting knitting patterns in my mind. Whether you take a break from yarn altogether, or just from your most popular pattern, taking a break is healthy. You’ll feel refreshed when you come back. It protects you from getting sick of something you are truly passionate about. No matter how much you love something, too much of it can cause you to have a sour attitude.
4 – Work on the administrative side of your business
Have you been meaning to update your terms and policies on your website? Maybe your logo needs a bit of a refresh. Working on the administrative side of your business is a great way to take a break from making the actual products but still be productive. Avoid that guilt we all feel from not working on products by still investing time and effort into making your business better.
5 – Clean out your yarn stash!
We are all guilty of hoarding yarn. When a yarn store has a really great sale (and I’m talking like dirt cheap good deals), we load up whether we think it will be useful or not. We always have our profit margins in the back of our mind. Trying to maximize them can be hard sometimes! I went through a period of time when I refused to spend more than $3.00 on a skein of yarn. The yarn I was buying obviously wasn’t always great quality, and it showed through my work. When I was packing to move into my new apartment I was mortified at how much yarn I had sitting around that I wasn’t going to use. It was all from when I was a cheap stingy yarn-buyer.
Don’t throw your yarn away! You can donate it to children’s centers or thrift stores so someone else can make use of it. If you are a part of any online selling groups you could even try selling it there to get back a little bit of your money. If you have any high-quality yarns that you aren’t going to use you can always donate them to organizations like Fibre Share that need back-up supplies for their fibre-swap program they run throughout the year.
So there you have it! 5 things you can do throughout the hot summer months to keep you business focused without sweating under a giant pile of yarn.
What other things do you think to do during the summer that aren’t yarn related? I’d love to hear what you have to say!