Weekly-ish notes on navigating big change


New Video Series + 12 Questions with Martiel from CraftyLink

I had a lovely time when Martiel, of SewMantra  asked me 12 (very compelling) questions, live on video, for CraftyLink.

She asked about being the scientist and the guinea pig of your own experiments and why Right People are important. You can watch the whole thing here:

Sigh. Right at the end my power cut out and I lost my connection! 

This is the first in a new series of videos.

Every Wednesday (for at least this month), I'll answer one (or more!) of your questions via video. Got a question about sharing your work, talking to your customers or growing your business in a sustainable way? Ask me in the comments, or privately here.

Your invitation to get effective

This year Diane + I held two sessions of a live class  that was crazy popular. But every time, we'd get a pile of emails from people saying: This week just doesn't work for me, will you hold it at another time? And as we want to say yes to every single person, we also have a pile of other ideas and projects we're just dying to do.

So we made it timeless. You can take the “class” anytime, anywhere, for as long as you like: it is now in one downloadable PDF.

click here to buy

The only downside: we love the personal question-answering, brainstorming, exciting work that comes from working with someone on their specific blog.

To get our fill, and to celebrate our new book, we're holding three live video one-on-one sessions this week:

Tuesday, October 9th, 1:00 pm EST (10:00 am PST)
We’ll be talking with Brooke Siennes of Sincere Sheep.

Wednesday, October 10th,  2:00 pm EST (11:00 am PST)
We’ll be talking with Sarah Wilson of The Sexy Knitter.

Thursday, October 11th,  4:00 pm EST (1:00 pm PST)
We’ll be talking with Melissa Gruntkosky of Pressbound.


You can watch, for free, right here
If you want to share your comments or ask your questions, use the hashtag #effectiveblog

And if you want to make your blog more effective, get the workbook here.

You’re invited! Seattle Workshop 9/1

Eep! I'm so excited to invite you to my first-ever live, in-person workshop!

At the bus stop

Find your Right People: How to woo + keep more customers

Your tribe.
Your community.
Your people.

Whatever you call them, your business needs them.

Those people who love your work and feel a deep thrum of recognition when they see your newest creation.

These are your Right People.

They are the ones you  buy from you, rave about you and support you.
With your Right People, you don’t have to wonder.
You know they’ll love what you make.
You know what you make will sell.

But how do you get Right People?
And once you have them, how to get them coming back? 

Seattle library

In this one hour workshop, you'll discover WHO you want in your business and HOW to get them there. The class will include instruction, worksheets and plenty of time to ask your specific questions. We'll cover:

  • Finding Right People
  • How to let your Right People know they are right for you
  • How to keep them happy + satisfied
  • Any questions you have about your Right People
Saturday, September 1, 2012
12:30 PM
Phinney Neighborhood Center
6532 Phinney Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98103
Price: $35.00 per person
Got questions? Ask 'em in the comments.

Got questions? Get ’em answered.

Oy. I just discovered that the free Q+A recordings that I used to give away for free were lost.

I'm bummed because I loved those recordings as time capsules of what it felt like 6 months and then 1 year after quitting my dayjob.

But instead of moping around about it, I just (10 seconds ago) decided to do a NEW, FREE Q+A session.

This Wednesday, October 5th.
4pm ET.
You can get the call-in details + recording by signing up here.

You can ask anything about having a craftybiz, quitting a dayjob, or having pink hair.

It will be fun, silly and to-the-point.
Get the details (and a chance to send in your questions), right here.
(If you can't make it, you'll get the recording)

I'm not selling anything, just answering your questions because it's fun and I like you.

Talk to you soon!

A Birth Announcement

Last week, I signed a contract with Cooperative Press to write a book.

It will be about, well, what I write about: marketing your crafty goodness.

And just like that, my tiny sweet BOOK (that's what she insists on being called) came into my life. She's small and tender and not ready to go out into the world. Or to be poked at. Or questioned.

But we're spending time together each morning, BOOK and I.
I write her letters and she tells me what she needs to grow up (since I haven't found the What To Expect When You're Expecting Guide to Raising a BOOK).

And today (with my publisher's blessing), BOOK wanted me to announce her entry to the world.

We (BOOK and I) are accepting well-wishes, excitements and congratulations (in the comments, or on Twitter, or with gifts).

(just kidding about the gifts. sorta)

Over the next few months, as I write (er, raise) BOOK, I'll be sharing more details (she's very into story-telling and we've some pretty great stories already) but if you're anxious to hear about her release date (since she's a Southern girl, she'll probably want a debutante ball) you can sign up for Cooperative Press's newsletter.

And if you'd like a chance for your craftybiz to be featured in the BOOK, make sure you get twice-monthly SparklePointers, so you'll get our request for your stories, later this fall.

 Well, that's it.
We are…mostly Too Excited. Overwhelmed with oh-my-goodnesses and Ready to Party!


Curious how I got a book contract in less than 2 months after deciding I wanted one? I used the Map-Making Guide to get clear, figure out what needed to be done, and then, yep, do it.






Let’s craft your independence.

(If you're reading via email or reader, click through to see the changes!)

One year ago, I guided this site into the world.
I wrote a mini-festo, embracing my unapologetically wonky nature.

18 months ago, I began teaching classes for craftybizes.
I didn't plan on doing more than one, but as my inbox filled up with questions, I thought, there's got to be a better way to share the answers. So I taught a class and was hooked.

I was soon annoying my yarn-buying people by talking to the biz-class-buying people, so I split the craftybiz stuff from the yarn stuff.

And I had no idea what I was doing.

I had a vague feeling that I might teach more classes.
I thought we might explore some non-yarn stuff.

I didn't know I was crafting a community.
I didn't know I was leading an adventure.

In the last year, you've taught me LOTS (more on that, Friday).
And together, we built something so beautiful I can't look directly at it without going blind (from the tears).

To reflect those changes and acknowledge that we are each, together, crafting our independence, I've changed the site name and my twitter handle (yep, I'm @taraswiger now, because it's time to stop hiding behind my alter ego).

If I had a new mini-festo, for this next part of the journey, it would say this:

There isn't a right answer.
This is all a big adventure.
By engaging with the adventure, by exploring your own world, you are crafting independence.

We'll be talking more about this in the coming days, but one of the easiest way I'm shifting the focus is with the banners.

The banners will rotate, but I thought you might like to see them all at once, along with a bit about each photo (yep, I took 'em all).

This picture was taken for the Happy Hat pattern, but I love the clear trail in front of me.
Obviously I didn't take this one, Jay did.

This is Mt. Ranier, as snapped through my airplane window.
I love the feeling of possibility I always get in an airplane.

The most bittersweet of all the images, this is a picture out the front door of my former home. The one I moved into on my first day of self-employment, the one that was burglarized three times, the one I had to move out of suddenly and painfully.

Taken from the train from Seattle to Portland, I'm pretty sure this is right outside of Portland. This was the first leg of a loooong train ride all the way to San Diego…one of the most adventurous (aka: hard) trips I've taken.

This is a snippet from my journal…a letter I wrote to you. It says, “I have hope. Clean, unfettered, feathery hope. For you.”

This path curves around my favorite blueberry farm, in the mountains.

nyc skyline banner

The Manhattan skyline, as seen as I drove from Brooklyn to Queens for the Bust Craftacular last September. The day before I got up early to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge because I heard the view was gorgeous. Surprise! the fog was so thick I couldn't see my hand in front of me, let alone the skyline!
But as I drove to the show the next morning, I finally got it. The view was amazing, even if I did have to watch the stop + go traffic while clicking my phone camera. Safety first!

And that's it for memories of adventures, but it's just the beginning of a fun week.

To celebrate this site’s one year anniversary, I’m throwing a  launching brunch for the Starship.

I’m cracking champagne over the bow, I’m making pancakes in the replicator.

You can join me in the Starship (tomorrow!), but you can also celebrate with me in the comments, on Twitter, and in the SparklePointers.

Tomorrow, I'll invite you to the brunch; Thursday I’ll explain WHY I’m giving everything I made in the last year away for less than ½ priced; and  Friday (my birthday!) I’m throwing a little birthday party with an awesome gift for you.

Hello! Welcome!

Today is the official birth day of this here site and I couldn't be happier to have you join me!

It's also MY birthday, so while I'm scarfing gluten-free chocolate chip cookies and drinking too much coffee and having ice cream on my pancakes (maybe even in that order), please poke around and tell me what you like.

I'm having a little online party  too.

To join in, tweet me a link to a ridiculous birthday cake (it can be yours or anyone's) or (better yet!) email me a recording of you singing happy birthday (video or audio). If I get enough of these (say, more than 5), I'm going to edit them together and share them tomorrow, right here.

If you tweet or email me, I'll send you a super-secret link to Party Favors (free stuff!).

Have a lovely my-birthday and happy your-day!

Don't miss a single post, by getting them right in your inbox. Click here to make the magic happen.

My real-life Yarn Shop

I own a yarn shop.

A Novel Yarn

A real-life, bricks and mortar, come-in-and-have-a-seat yarn store.

I signed the lease just 11 days ago and we're opening tomorrow. Tomorrow!

I've been blogging our day by day progress on the website, you can read it here.

I've waited to announce it here, because I was still working out the details. What would the shop be like? What would it's personality be?
How would it affect Blonde Chicken Boutique?

Now that I know the answer, I'm ready to share it with you.

Blonde Chicken Boutique is going to continue on as it has. It's my own company, my own line of yarn. I will keep posting new yarns weekly to the Boutique and talking about eco-friendly fiber and pattern ideas here, on the blog. Blonde Chciken Boutique is my creative outlet and it's not going anywhere.

A Novel Yarn is in partnership with my mom. We're trying to create an open studio for fiber arts and a gallery for handmade yarn.

But what's that mean?

Open studio: I'll be spinning at the shop during business hours. I'll also have my carder, so you can see the process from fiber to yarn. I'll also have one-on-one lessons for knitting and spinning. We'll be teaching classes on a all sorts of knitterly endevours from learning to knit to knitting with handspun to using Ravelry.

Gallery for handmade yarn: Our shelves with be overflowing with handmade yarn from myself and a host of my spinny friends. Anyting relating to fiber that is handdyed, handspun or otherwise handmade  is welcome! We'll have handpainted needles, Learn to Knit Kits, books by indie publishers and (eventually) patterns by indie designers.

It has been a whirlwind to get open but so so satisfying to just begin to promote so many fabulous fiber artists.

Tomorrow is our first day and December 19th is our Grand Opening. If you're in Jonesborough, TN, come say hi!

And if you can't come in to the yarn shop, you can always find your favorite Blonde Chicken Boutique yarn right here in the shop.

1 2