The year that was

This time last year I set a word for the year – I always think of September as more of a new year than January, my life at the moment is so changed by each school year that it makes much more sense.

Last year I had two boys in school and a daughter doing her pre-school year in nursery and I set the word

my word for the new term is STRENGTHEN

I used this word to encompass goals all areas of my life and I found it really helpful to keep coming back to help focus me as the year went on.

So how did I go against the goals?

Strengthen my brand

  • Consider each design and what it says about me as a designer. Is it what you’d expect from Not So Granny?

  • Continue working on improving my social media presence.

I think I have done this well this year, I have been conscious about taking on only work that suits my aesthetic and my social media followings have grown across all platforms but, much more importantly, I have a much more engaged group of followers because I have put work in to strengthen the relationships I have with my followers which is not only good for business but personally rewarding and often very inspiring.

Strengthen my pattern sales

  • I have a lot of patterns that appeared first in magazines where the rights have now returned to me, these need to be released as individual pdfs so they can bring in (largely) passive income.

  •  I need to review old patterns and make sure they are up to the standard I expect now.

  • Make sure that everything I offer in the pattern shop fits with my brand as I develop it.

  • Find new markets for these pdf patterns.

Another tick. I have re-released quite a few patterns where I felt they were a good fit for my brand. I did review all my old patterns and reworked. I didn’t however get around to launching in any new markets, I meant to get an etsy and patternfish shop up and running but I just haven’t had time.

Strengthen my skills

  • Build professional development time into my work schedule.

  • Spend time on hobbies such as dressmaking that inform my craft.

Pretty much a big flat fail :-( Time was just to squeezed for this kind of thing this year.

Strengthen my systems

  • Put in place better accounting and analysis systems that will be able to grow as my business does (envelopes of receipts and a highlighter pen on a paypal print out somehow aren’t working for me so well at tax return time and I have a lot of information I could be using to work smarter, I’m sure, if I could access it. Any recommendations for systems or software would be hugely appreciated.)

This was almost another fail then in July I hired a book-keeper – Win!!! :-) It’s stuff I can do myself but it is not enjoyable so I put it off.

Strengthen relationships

  • Spend more time being present with the children.

  • Spend more time in the evening with my husband.

  • Spend more quality time as a family.

  • Keep in better contact with extended family.

Thinking about this actually made it happen. Its too easy to sink into your phone or work through weekends and evenings but the idea of strengthen really helped me achieve this. Was I perfect? No! But I was better, much better.

Strengthen my body

  • Make time for exercise and eating right.

Strengthen sense of self

  • Make time for doing things I enjoy.

  • Meet with friends.

I was much better at the sense of self tasks and its really improved my moods over the past year than I was the body part.

You can’t win them all but I think more progress was made because of having goals and I feel really proud of what I have achieved this year.

It wouldn’t be a round up without a look at the pretties I have released this year:

work 2014-15

From left to right:

Top Row: Baudot Beanie, Bombe Cowl, Tunny Hat, Hut 8 Cardigan (all from the Bletchley Collection for Eden Cottage Yarns, photos by Victoria Magnus.)

2nd Row: Never Black and Northmoor Lock (both from The Shawl Project: Book One for The Crochet Project, photos by Kat Goldin,) Colossus Tank and Morse Code Cardigan (both from the Bletchley Collection, photo credits as before)

3rd Row: Your Mileage May Vary, Transposition, Spirographical and Cherry Pi (all from The Shawl Project: Book One)

Bottom Row: Ewelease Sun Hat (for Inside Crochet), Yen (for the knitter), Acer in 4ply and Acer in DK weight yarn (both for The Crochet Project exclusive to, photographs by Kat Goldin)

Seeing all the lovely things I have published this year has put such a smile on my face this morning. More exciting things to come in the coming year and on Thursday I will share my new word and goals with you and some news about this autumn.