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