Extreme Blanket Fort Mode
Stilly River Yarns is located in the state of Washington, one of the initial epicenters of the COVID-19 epidemic in the United States. Yesterday afternoon, Governor Jay Inslee announced a mandatory stay-at-home order for the entire state that will take effect today at 8 PM PST.
Just like the rest of you, we’ve been trying to roll with all of the changes happening due to COVID-19. It’s not easy when information changes every few hours, the kids are two weeks in to a rather freeform version of homeschooling, and business is anything but usual. (It should take me maybe 10 minutes to create coupon codes for the website and pay for a month of Zoom. It took me 45 minutes yesterday morning between refereeing fights, making oatmeal for family breakfast, trying to drink tea in peace, and keeping the kids from interrupting a teleconference in our home office.)
Governor Inslee’s stay-home order is going to impact all of us in different ways. And we’re all doing the best we can with a situation that is unpredictable in so many ways. There are incredibly wrenching decisions being made at all levels of life across the world.
The best thing we can do right now: hunker down and tighten up operations. We’re going into #ExtremeBlanketFortMode starting at 8 PM tonight (March 25, 2020). What does that look like?
We got this. We’re in this together, and we’re carrying each other as best we can. There are a lot of unknowns out there, but the Stilly River Yarns community is stepping up to handle it with its usual amount of class and heart.
Take care, be well, and know that we miss you. We look forward to seeing you soon.
Shop contact information:
We've likely all seen the memes going around about how the COVID-19 outbreak and the resultant quarantines/sheltering in place are exactly what introverts and crafters have been preparing for. And while, yes, this feels true... we also know that we have a lot of community members who are in high-risk groups because of their age and/or health conditions and are self-quarantined or in quarantine at assisted living/senior living facilities. Crafting can play an important part in mental health care strategies and self-care in times of stress and anxiety.
Customers have asked what they can do to help community members who may not be able or willing to get out right now, or who may not be able to afford crafting supplies (either in full or in part). So... here's what I've got to offer on that front. This is subject to change as events develop.
1. I contacted two locations that have confirmed that they will accept donations of yarn crafting materials, and/or will send residents the shop's contact information if they would like supplies. I'll be contacting a couple of other places this coming week.
2. If you have yarn/hooks/needles languishing in your stash and you'd like to have them go to use with some of our community members in need, please bring them by the shop between 11 AM and 4 PM on Tuesday and Wednesday (3/24 and 3/25). PLEASE NOTE - this is a test run. DO NOT leave things on the shop porch outside those hours, as we have roaming neighborhood cats, springtime bugs, and rain in the forecast this week; I don't have space or energy for the shop to become a dumping ground, and I have no storage space for overflow items. The Shop Kids and I will organize the yarn and yarn tools for more effective distribution. Please make sure the yarn is in good condition - think about what you'd want to use if you were stuck in your home for three or four weeks!
3. We have a generous benefactor who has offered to donate seed money to start a Crafters' Assistance fund. I'm setting up a separate PayPal account so that we can easily track donations and our fund levels, and I'll post a link here when we have it. You may also donate your shop coupons to the cause - just let us know when we issue one to you, and we'll note that it can go to the Crafters' Assistance fund.
4. Finally, we have someone who has requested to be a Yarn Fairy for customers considering making purchases. Starting on Tuesday, March 24, 2020, the first 10 orders of $50 or more (before shipping) will receive an additional $10 of shop credit. This is good for orders coming in any form, first come, first serve.
It is truly our pleasure to be your #fullserviceyarnshop - and in many cases, your #longdistancelocalyarnshop ! We are so grateful for your camaraderie, checking in, and support of all stripes while we weather this situation; having the shop community approach us with ideas to reach out and support others has been extraordinary, and we want to thank you all for being rockstars and excellent human beings.
Catch-up: Instagram Live links
As many of you know, I've been running a nightly Instagram Live at 8:30 PM PST since the COVID-19 really started shutting down everyone's daily routines. We've had some resources that I wanted to make sure to highlight, as it's a little too hard for me to get a bunch of pattern names/designers out there while we're talking. I've broken the resources down by day below.
Day 2: mindless projects/simple patterns
How to add applied i-cord edging, either during the project or picked up later: La Maison Rililie (PDF)
Purchase gift cards for the shop at our online shop
Burn chart for testing unknown fibers/yarns
Bleach test chart for unknown fibers/yarns
First and foremost, I hope you and your families and friends and community members are well. The past two weeks have been… I don’t even know what adjective I should choose. Nothing seems surreal or serious enough to describe what’s happening in our area and around the world with the COVID-19 outbreak.
But - as so many of you have shared - crafting is becoming a focal point of how you get through your days and evenings. And Stilly River Yarns is playing a major role in keeping you and your families busy and healthy… and connected.
That’s what makes the next part of this all the more gut-wrenching. I’ve literally had to start and scrap and restart this newsletter six times in the past four days - the situation has changed on a daily basis, and we’ve been strategizing for as many “what if”s as we can. We are a close-knit community (yeah, I went there) - but to do our part to keep our community safe, I’ve made the decision to close our brick-and-mortar storefront to the public until further notice.
We are still open for business. It’s just going to be a different business model for a while. Here’s how it’s going to work:
1. Our core hours are going to go from 11 AM - 4 PM, Tuesday through Saturday, if you need to call or video-conference with us (more details below). Since the Shop Kids are doing school from home for the next several weeks, I’m going to be taking a few extra hours each week to help supervise that process so the Resident Engineer can get some more of his day job’s work done in the Stilly River Yarns Blanket Fort.
2. Know what you need? Call or email us. We’ll package your order and have it ready for you to pick up at the shop or with one of our Roving Volunteers at their pick-up points, or we can ship it. These volunteers will have stations on Camano, at Smokey Point, and in the Burlington/Mount Vernon area where you can meet them at least once a week. Want to make your pick-up no-contact? Just let us know in the order notes section.
3. The online shop is up and open! We don’t have all of our inventory up there… yet. But we are working to get it there. You can choose to have us ship it to you, you can choose to pick it up curbside, or you can choose to meet one of our Roving Volunteers.
4. Don’t see something you’re looking for? Call us, email us, or text us! (I’m going to keep all of the contact information at the bottom of this message for ease of reference.) We can take credit cards over the phone, and we can also issue invoices via Square and PayPal.
5. Need help figuring out exactly which yarns to pick to use together? Or want to see things side by side? Or just “can you show me what you’ve got in a machine washable worsted weight?” We now offer yarn concierge service via Skype, Facetime, or Zoom: video conferencing that will allow you to consult with us in real time and give us feedback on yarn combinations and color choices. Email, call, or text, and we’ll set up an appointment with you using the service of your choice.
6. Need help with your project? Yarn concierge service works for that, too! Again, email, call, or text us and we’ll set up an appointment.
What else is going to happen? How about social night?
Social night will be going virtual, starting tomorrow night (Tuesday, March 17, 2020)! We’ll be using Zoom to hang out from 7 - 7:30 PM PST - join us by visiting zoom.us/join or downloading the free app, then entering our meeting ID. It’s 982 383 7840. (I’m hoping to move to a longer session next week… I just want to make sure this week’s session works well enough first.)
I’m also hosting an Instagram Live broadcast each evening at 8:30 PM PST, and I’ll be hosting “office hours” live on YouTube starting on Tuesday, March 23. (Still ironing out logistics, but I’ll give them to you when I know them). I’m working on a guide to help you navigate both of those platforms and opportunities!
Obviously, all of our other social groups (spinning, Intrepid Sweater Brigade, etc.) are on hiatus until we can safely open the shop back up to you.
We’re going to be doing some test work to bring you lessons and mini-classes via Zoom as well. It’s not a permanent substitute for our normal interactions, but we know that some of you are going to need help (and would probably relish the opportunity to learn something new) over the next few weeks.
What can we do to help?
First and foremost, if you are in a position to help us financially, please consider making a purchase. If you’re stashbusting or on a yarn diet, I’ve set up a Ko-Fi page so that you can donate money directly to the shop. Our rent is still due. Utility payments still need to be paid. We have orders that were made prior to the outbreak that still need to be taken care of. And if you’re finding value in the nightly Instagram Live broadcasts, our virtual social night, and/or are planning on taking advantage of our yarn concierge services, now would be an awesome time to show that with your financial support. (I feel like I should offer you a mug or a tote bag at this point, but that’s a little beyond my means right now.)
I recognize that not everyone is in a position to help financially, and there are options there, too. You can share our social media posts and link to our online shop with your crafty friends - this goes for other shops, indie dyers, instructors, and artists who might need a signal boost. Get the word out about the food distribution that’s happening for students and families in need in your areas (or volunteer if you’re able!).
And - for everyone - keep washing your hands, keep practicing social distancing, and keep spreading around the kindness and compassion.
I’m incredibly grateful for the community that’s been growing around this shop for three years. The camaraderie and kindness you find here are going to be the things that sustain through this - as the U2 song goes, “we get to carry each other.”
Thanks, everyone. We appreciate you, and we look forward to serving you and helping sustain you through this unprecedented time.
With all of our best wishes for you and your near and dear ones,
Owner, Stilly River Yarns.
RECAP: Contact information and online social times
Hi everyone - Lindsey (shop owner) here.
We’ve been fielding a LOT of questions about our plans while the COVID-19/coronavirus outbreak is happening, and I wanted to take a few minutes to write and let you know what’s going on.
You may have heard that, earlier today, Stanwood’s mayor declared a state of emergency for the city of Stanwood. This is true, and it was done to be able to proactively secure extra resources for any potential outbreak of the virus if one happens in Stanwood. (Per the statement from the Stanwood city administrator, one case has been reported in Stanwood, and there are “no known exposures at this time.”)
This declaration does not change our fundamental operations at Stilly River Yarns. We have been monitoring the situation via the Centers for Disease Control and Snohomish County Health District since last week, and we do not feel - given those organizations’ current guidelines and recommendations - that there is any need at this time to alter our shop schedule or our usual social events. If something happens and we need to make changes to operations, we will let you know as soon as possible.
And, as we’ve been stressing since the beginning - wash your hands. Stay home (if at all possible) if you or a family member are sick. Wash your hands again. If you (or someone close to you) are a member of a highly vulnerable group, please limit your exposure to crowds.
In the shop, we’re wiping down high-touch-frequency surfaces and points several times each day, and we’re washing our hands more than Lady Macbeth does in an entire run of “that Scottish play.” We’ve also temporarily quarantined Skittles the Llama and removed our tester lotion bars from the shop counter. (Fear not - Skittles will be back for your sweet tooth’s satisfaction after we empty him, wash him thoroughly, and run to the thrift shop to buy a ladle before refilling him with fresh candy.)
If you don’t feel like visiting the shop is a great idea right now, we still have ways of getting you hooked up with yarn, fiber, and other supplies. Give us a call (360.631.5801), send us an email (Lindsey [at] stillyriveryarns [dot] com), or send in a representative. We can also text with you via the shop’s Google Voice number during regular business hours (515.833.0689)... and I’m considering setting up virtual office hours via Discord/FaceTime.
Thank you for all of your support of your local small businesses every day, but especially when we’re in a rough spot like this one. We depend on your continued patronage and referrals for our survival, and we’re working hard to make sure that we keep earning your business and that #fullserviceyarnshop title and hashtag.
Be well and take care,
Owner, Stilly River Yarns
Lindsey Spoor is the owner of Stilly River Yarns in Stanwood, WA.