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can i have your attention, please?

Well, hello.

My blog has been sick. I've finally nursed it back to health. What a not-fun experience that was.

I have updates for you!

We are almost done collecting squares for Knitters for Newtown. There's still time to get yours in, if you mail them in the next week or so. It will take us a bit of time to make all the blankets, and I'll be sure and update you on that! For reference, here is the mailing address:

Three Irish Girls
Attn: Knitters for Newtown
PO Box 161165
Duluth, MN 55816

I have another important announcement, too. One that I've giving very careful consideration to and am excited and nervous to take public.

I love my website. I love my local yarn shops. I love my customers. I love my family. And I've decided that I am going to focus my attention on helping yarn shops help you, our customers.

The decision not to sell yarn on our website anymore is a hard one. I've met some of the best people in the world because of my little internet domain. And now that we've met, we're not going to un-meet. I'm still going to be here.

I hear all the time from people that they don't have a local yarn shop to go to that sells our wares. They would really like to touch XYZ in person and decide on the exactly perfect shade of blue without the hazards of monitor calibration.

One of the reasons so many of you have a difficult time finding yarn locally is because we just don't have the capacity to sell via our website AND run our large yarn clubs AND do trunk shows AND have lots and lots of wholesale clients.

My love for the LYS has been well cemented over the past few years of traveling around the country from Florida to Alaska. I want to make sure you have a place to go to knitting nights, to take fun classes, to fondle lovely yarn, and to get help when you need it. Try as it might, the internet cannot replace a physical store.

And that's not to say that internet retailers won't continue to be a valuable part of our family. There will always be someone who lives just outside of driving distance from one of our retailers, or someone who needs a skein of something that their LYS doesn't have the shelf space for. We love our webstores too.

Making the move to selling yarn only through our retailers will also do something else, something even more important. It will give me more time to spend with my babies, who are growing at warp speed, and are practically ready for retirement.

Our internet business has grown rapidly over the past nine years. We've never seen less than 15% growth in a calendar year, and in some years, it's been closer to 50%. With 50% more business means 50% more emails and packages to ship, 50% more skeins to make perfect. All of that takes about 600% more time. Even with lots of help in the studio, the volume of emails and packages is just staggering.

As I was thinking about this issue, I kept asking myself the question, "What do I really want?"

I kept coming back to the same answers.

I want to use my creative talents to make people happy.

I want to do good in the world.

I want more time to kiss chubby cheeks and sticky fingers.

Once I figured out what I wanted, I needed to figure out how to get it, and after a lot of soul searching, this is what I came up with.

Shipping one big box to a local yarn shop instead of 120 individual packages a day will save over 40 hours a week in work. Answering twenty emails from yarn shops instead of six hundred emails a week from individual customers will save another 40 hours, at least.

Not having to devote 80+ hours a week to these tasks will mean we can take on more retailers, and we can get them their yarn faster. Which, in turn, will be better for you. You'll have more places to shop, and those places will be able to have a larger selection.

And it will get me more time with:

1. A ten year old boy who likes to cook and quiz me on trivia. (The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.)

2. A red headed eight year old girl who just got her ears pierced.

3. A six year old sunbeam who never stops talking.

4. And an eight month old Baby Shamrock who is very proud of her four teeth.

I know this might be a lot to digest. But I know that this is going to be a win-win for both me and all of you.

Now, to answer some inevitable questions.

Q: I placed an order on ABC date. Will I still get my yarn?

A: Yes indeed. We're not going to leave anyone hanging.


Q: What about your yarn clubs? I love those yarn clubs!

A: Sadly, March is going to be our last yarn club shipment. We will be contacting club members individually, don't worry.


Q: But... but... but...I love all of those exclusive club colorways! What will happen to them?

A: Some of them will head into the vault. But some of them will be made available to our local yarn shops so more people can enjoy them.


Q: When is the last day to place an order on your website?

A: March 31, 2013 will be the last day. You'll have until 10:00 pm Central.


Q: But YARNISTA!!!!!! NO!!!!!!!!!!!!

A. I know. But it really is going to be OK. I'm not disappearing.


Q: I own a yarn shop and am interested in opening an account. How do I do that?

A: Drop us a line using our contact form, or at threeirishgirls AT gmail DOT com.


Q: Will you still write this blog? Will you still make the blankets for Newtown? Will you still work in your new studio?

A: Yes, yes, yes.


Q: What about your lookbooks and patterns?

A: Still working on them! We've had some challenges. But they are forthcoming!


Q: Will you still teach workshops and do trunk shows?

A. Occasionally. And we are developing a traveling trunk show with sample garments! (Sadly, I do not accompany said trunk show.)


Q: This announcement makes me sad. What should I do?

A: Hug your family. Knit something with pretty yarn. Send happy thoughts and deeds out into the world. Good things will come back to you.


Thank you for reading. Thank you for your support over the past 9 years, and for your support in the coming 9.


Happy knitting to all of you.









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Reader Comments (27)

Wow! I'm sure this was a huge decision! I applaude you doing what is best for you and your family. I hope it makes you very happy! Now I just need to find an LYS close by that can feed my stash;)

March 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSarahG

I know you didn't make this decision lightly and even though I don't have a LYS (seriously sad stuff around here), I have some Bellini stashed for now while I hunt for your wares elsewhere. I understand and respect your decision to put your family first... this must have been a hard one to make but I know oh too well how quickly those sticky fingers and chubby cheeks become adults so far from home. Kiss them and cuddle them for as long as you can - we'll be here.

March 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmyS

Good for you, momma! Often the best decisions are the hardest to make. Go you!

March 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAngie

So, let me see if I have this right. You are juggling an overwhelming, totally hands-on business while still trying to be the heart of a beautiful, loving family with a good man and four little ones who are - like most little ones - growing way, way, way too fast. Hmmmm.
Don't know about your other clients, but your schedule sounds to me like a fast train to burnout.
NObody can do it all, all at the same time. You go do what is best for you! And yes, as Amy says, we'll be here.

March 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGeniaKnitz

I just found you and your amazing yarns on the internet. And yes, I've been amazed at your superhuman energy to raise four beautiful kids and numerous beautiful yarns at the same time. I'll miss you a lot. Here in Japan, your yarns are barely available only through a few webstores . . . But let's not say, "Don't go, we've just met." I believe you made the best decision. I wish a lot of happiness to you, your kids and the 3IG stuff.

March 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMaki

So sorry you are closing your internet store. That's about the only way I could get something I wanted. I have to deal with all web based stores now.

But, you have to do what is best for your family. I know how quickly the little ones grow, and you don't want to have to ignore your relationship with your husband either. Good luck to you with all of them.

I do have some questions. Will you give us notice of when the colors will go in the vault so we can order some really quickly or look for them at the stores? I hate to miss the colors I love and haven't been able to get yet.

This sure is quick. Are you sure you don't want to keep your site open until the end of April? :-)

Will your colors still be on your website so we can check them and choose? Will the colors that survive the cut from the exclusive club colors be on there as well?

Good luck with everything. I guess I'll be roaming around the web stores looking for what I need. Glad to have been part of the club since almost when you opened them. It will be strange not getting yarn every month.

March 25, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterloraine

Goodness. So much respect for you.

I've been living the "can you have/do/be it all" debate & every time the conclusion I come to is a big fat no. So, cheers to you my friend. You're inspiring me to think a little more about this season of life.

Of course your work will continue to be a raving success & bring delight to creative people all over the world. But at a little bit less expense to you personally? So wonderful.

March 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

Sharon my dear, well done.
I'm ever so sad to see your yarn clubs go - they have been honestly one of my most treasured self-indulgences for such a long time, and have brought me such joy, and while I have other yarn suppliers none are quite the same. I will miss this.
No one can do it all, not even HRH Yarnista - and I'm truly glad for you, to see you make such hard decisions to honor what is most important in your life, and to find a way to do what you love without missing out on what matters.
You spent enough time teaching teenagers, I'm sure you'll be able to deal with the massive whining you're sure to hear. (Although I'd love to see the faces you'll pull when you read our pity-party sobfests!) ;P
Blessings to you and your precious family, and all my best wishes,
the other Sharon

March 25, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterguinevere

I think I am going to go crawl into my stash and snuggle it.

Sock Yarnista is the best and I will miss it lots!!! Nothing can compare with SY for variety, flexibility, value, awesome patterns, goodies, etc.

I am glad your kids (and husband! and parents! and sisters, and nieces and nephews and friends and and and) will have you around more. And I'm super glad your inbox is going to shrink a lot!!! Your mailman is probably super happy, too ;)

March 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAbigail

Gosh. I just don't know what to say. I did feel this coming though. One woman can only do so much, and your family is hands down the most important thing ever. Ever. I don't know what I will do without my monthly clubs, but I will manage. I am going to go make one massive order of all the yarns that were on my someday list. Oh hey! Will you still be going to the Net Loft next summer??? If so, you know I will be there.
Off to put lots and lots of yarn in my cart.

March 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJanet

I truly am happy for you. But I'm incredibly unhappy for me. My monthly yarn club shipments just made me smile, every single time I got one. Good Luck and hope to see your yarn at my LYS, someday.

March 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCarla

It has been excellent watching you build your business. I think I found you via internets around 2009? Anyway, I believe you were just becoming a full time Yarnista, not yet in Duluth. Your journey to here has amazed me. You have done so much for the world of yarn, for women's small business and for promoting family life. I've enoyed how you've done it all with such grace and humor. .
Keep up the great work, the awesome decisions and enjoy this new path. And Thanks for the yarn club-it got me back into the possibilities of yarn, knitting and my life. All the best to you. (And please blog as possible-your writing is so enjoyable. However-4 active kids? Keep breathing and a large calendar!)

March 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCarol

Oh Sharon, I am glad you have come to a decision and will get more time with your beautiful babies, but it breaks my heart to lose the yarn club! Good thing I have a big stash of your beautiful yarns to tide me over until I can find either a LYS or online retailer to get my fix from! Nothing but good wishes for you and your family and company.

March 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDiana


I applaud your bravery and decision to stick with what is important to you. Since you'll undoubtedly still have your site for showing your lovely yarns to resellers, perhaps you could include on your site a list of both brick-and-mortar and web stores that offer your lovely yarns. That way you can have your freedom, and your remote customers can still find your lovely yarn!

And if there isn't a wonderful web store you'd like to recommend, this would be a PERFECT opportunity for someone to buy that portion of your business from you. They'd order wholesale from you, and then they'd have the responsibility of all the tedious shipping. That could be a great business for another mom who wants to work from home with her little ones.


March 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterErica Henkel

Wow! What a gigantic decision! I will miss my yarn club! I think I have received monthly yarn from you for at least 7 years! I guess it is time to start asking my LYS to get involved with you :) congratulations on the next stage of your life! Enjoy all those sticky fingers.

March 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAngela M

So happy for you, it must be a relief coming to this decision, although I'm sure you went through hell making it.
As an international customer I'm sad to see you go of course. I doubt any of my LYS are stocking TIG unfortunately. On the other hand I am THRILLED I got to use my gift cards in time and every yard will be knit with extra care.

Sticky fingers and chubby cheeks are the absolute best. <3

March 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMari

Whaaaaaaaaa!!!!! This news is making me surprisingly sad. Like teary sad. I think it is a wonderful - lovely - solution for you. Sad, sad, sad day for me. Sad. Sad. Waaaa! HAPPY! for you!! Happy! Happy!!! I have ridiculous amounts of yarn to knit up. But.... I just may have to order more... YAY! Good for you! I am very proud of you!

March 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmy A

I understand. I support you. I want to be happy for you, but my heart is broken. I don't really know how to take this news! And for it to just end.. in five days?? That's it? Over? Done?

I'm a little shaky and not sure what to do now that I will be all alone in this crazy yarn world..

March 26, 2013 | Unregistered Commentergiselle

Got it. Glad you made the right decision for your family.
You can always have an Act 11 later. your young children need you now.

March 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJJ

Dear Sharon,
For some weird reason, I knew this was coming. I just noticed how FB postings were focused on photography (which are FABULOUS) and I just had this feeling since January things were changing. I am so very excited for you and your family. It goes by so quickly and all of the sudden you have a teenager and a 10 year old (this hits close to home). I have made the decision to stop a job I love and stick around more for what little time I have left of them at home. Kuddos!
Although I will miss seeing all the colors and joy that they bring, I know you are not disappearing - just rearranging. More power to you!! So, I requested that Eat.Sleep.Knit pick you up since they are my go-to LYS. I will also recommend you to my closest LYS to me. Much respect and loyalty,
Peggy L.

March 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy

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