Happy New Year!

It’s another year, and we’re crossing our fingers chez Landy/Modesitt that it will once again be a relatively uneventful one healthwise for Gerry and myself!

Learning to deal with a chronic condition is a good zen exercise in living itself.  After all, isn’t LIFE a chronic condition?

So this year I traveled a bit less, rested a bit more, and biked when I could. I didn’t break any records, but I stayed pretty healthy! Gerry keeps on keeping on; we cross our fingers that the Revlimid & Dex keep doing their magic (and that the Chronic Disease Fund keeps helping us with the $9K/month cost) and we live hopefully and happily!

In 2013 I stayed home more than I had in the past, but I tried to offset that with more designs and all of my work paid off this Autumn when over 16 of my designs appeared in various magazines around the knitting world in the same month. That was great!

I also came to a decision in 2013 that I was tired of working for less than minimum wage in order to, essentially, earn money for other folks.

I love designing, I love knitting, but I don’t love working 80 hours in a week to earn peanuts.

Don’t get me wrong, they’re 80 very ENJOYABLE hours, but I feel that there’s hardly a moment in the day when I’m not thinking of a design, knitting up a swatch or sample, or plugging away in “math hell” in order to write up a pattern.

I’d been feeling this way for a long while, and when one pursues a career of LOVE (acting, writing, composing, designing- the sort of things folks usually do while starving in attics) one can’t expect to get rich.

After 6+ years in a freelance/caregiver ‘holding pattern’ it’s time to change things up, or go a bit mad. Since Gerry’s illness I can’t travel as much (which is where most of my income came from) so I’ve decided to use my at-home time more wisely and augment my design income by starting a hand-dyed yarn business with a partner, Kathleen Pascuzzi. Also, this year, with my health insurance no longer a month-to-month nail biter, I feel a sense of  security I haven’t felt in a LONG time!

I can’t help but think there are other small business folk / entrepreneurs who are feeling as if they can finally spread their wings and not rely on a not-very-fulfilling job simply to retain health insurance. If I’m right about this, I think we’ll see a nice blooming in our economy beginning this year.

We’ll see what becomes of ModeKnit Yarn, LLC in 2014. Our initial offerings of semi-precious stone inspired colors sold very well, and we’re currently waiting for more yarn to arrive so I can fill order requests and try out new color ways.

Our rough business plan involves starting small, selling online and at local fiber shows, then increasing production (hopefully by hiring extra hands) and moving on to a wholesale business in 2015.  Anyway, that’s the plan.

So although I’m only teaching in 3 or 4 locations in 2014 (first stop, Knitting Lab in New Hampshire in May!), I’ll be visiting several fiber shows with Kathleen and our bins of yarn (first up, Shepherd’s Harvest in May – that is, if we get accepted!)

I’ll also be enjoying time at home, working (as always), but perhaps using my time more wisely so that I can sell $25 of yarn along with a $6 pattern!

And I’m working on a book for Stackpole on shrugs and short jackets, sourcing my yarn from other indy dyers, which I am supposed to have finished in June.  Watch this space.

Non-Work Life

Our family will be undergoing a major shift this year as Andy (neé Hannah) applies to and – hopefully – gets accepted to a good college. This week she finished all her applications, her final SAT scores came in (1970 cum score, not terrible!) and we’re crossing our fingers that we’ll find the perfect place for her to thrive and become the young women we know she can be; strong, funny, smart and kind!

Max continues to thrive at his high school, specializing in math and science, taking several college level courses in this, his Sophomore year (and avoiding haircuts whenever possible.)  He’s also learned the joys of the debate team, which makes Gerry and me very proud.

Gerry is Gerry; wonderful, funny, happy, loving and HERE!

Every day is a gift, and we’ve been given 6 years of presents that we never expected. We take NO day for granted.

To that end, we’re cashing in a bunch of frequent flier miles and Gerry and I are traveling to Amsterdam for a week in April. We haven’t taken a trip together alone in 17 years, and never alone to Europe, so for the cost of a B&B and walking around money, we’re going to celebrate life for a week of biking, walking and museum hopping. Suggestions on places to see are WELCOME!

This trip is made possible by having responsible teens and good friends who will pop in on them (not because they NEED supervision, mind you, but just to make sure a shower is taken every few days…)

We’ve come to understand, in a way we never thought we would, that life is for LIVING, and the best way to appreciate every day is to live it fully.

And who knows, while I’m in Holland maybe I’ll dream up a bunch of new colorways based on Tulips (my favorite flower!) and make some great in-person knitting connections!

So go make 2014 memorable for yourself, even if it’s simply memorable for being a quiet, peaceful and fulfilling year!

11 thoughts on “Happy New Year!

  1. All the best and hope you have a wonderful trip! good luck with the biking; it totally would not be my route, but weight training and walking are.

  2. Sure is good to hear your plans for this coming year and the goodness you’ve experienced along with the struggles and problems. Blessings and care to you and your family for 2014! All the best from grammilou (one of your admirers in Alberta.)

  3. Have a lovely 2014!! And on your trip to the Netherlands, it’s worth taking a day trip to Delft. The older area where the Guild House is, and the big Market Square is just beautiful and charming. There are many small and medium museums in the area as well as awesome old churches, many out of the way little lunch places, and canals (of course). A charming lunch/snack place is in the crypt of the church that is at the back (west) end of the Prinsenhof museum, and whose entrance stairs (the cafe) face Sint Agathaplein. Sigh – now I need to go there!! Anyhoo – worth a trip, the birthplace of Vermeer, the temporary staging location for the Pilgrims (they departed from Delfthaven, the port of Delft, now part of the larger port of Rotterdam). There aren’t as many tile places as there used to be (economy) but they are still there. OK, babbling now 🙂 Whatever you choose to do while there, have a lovely trip!!

    ok, just one more thing … it’s kind of touristy, but a canal boat tour is kind of fun, gives you a good general intro to the old city, and can give you a sort of outline to the shape of it.

  4. Check into the Museum Card. The last time we got it we were able to go to as many museums as we had time for, plus it includes the canal boat ride (very nice when you need a chance to sit and drink in the scenery! AND there’ same tram pass included.

    There was an outdoor market even our kids enjoyed.

    We took the train up to Haarlem to walk around and hit a market day there.

  5. Hi from across the river. 🙂 We were in Amsterdam three years ago this spring. We actually loved the canal boat tour. You get to see the city from a very different perspective than on the streets. (If you branch out at all, the canal boat tour in Bruges was spectacular too.) We loved touring Rembrandt’s house. Standing in his studio, seeing the light as he saw it – not to be missed. And the top floor of the house has a lovely exhibit of small etchings and drawings – exquisite, personal, human. Ann Frank’s house, of course. We really enjoyed seeing the flower market at Aalsmeer. We ended up going at midday and it was fantastic, but if I had it to do over again, I’d figure out a way to go very early in the morning. We were frankly disappointed by the Van Gogh museum. The colors were surprisingly muddy. Maybe the work has gotten dirty? It was poorly documented, poorly lit. Quite a surprise. The Riksmuseum was closed for remodeling when we were there. It’s reopened now, and spectacular, according to everything I’ve read. Seeing the windmills at Kinderdijk is worth it. Keukenhof gardens were beautiful – we were there about the first of May, and the next day they were shutting down because the flowers were about to get too old for the display. April will be great. The gardens are exhibits for the commercial growers to showcase product, and I was surprised to realize that the arboretum in Eden Prairie is probably more *exuberant* in some ways. We just loved our time there. 🙂

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