Last summer, while riding an ATV in a Nevada desert, I caught myself thinking, “I can’t believe I’m doing this!”. During that summer vacation, my relaxed state of mind led me to consider the marriage of the creative “me” and the professional “me”. Though I’m not what I would consider an adventurous person, lately I can’t believe what Cabin Creek Stitchery is doing.
It was the end of the traditional work day on a Monday and the phone rang. The man on the other end stated he was inquiring about a custom knit item and could I make a knit cozy to go around a bottle. “Yes, I can do that.” Next, he asked if I could knit a logo in the cozy. “Sure, I can do that.” I’m standing in the kitchen taking the phone call and gesturing to my children across the room to be quiet. My arms are flailing like I’m signaling for an airplane to land far away from me and yet they are coming closer waving their homework for me to check while I’m attempting to land my first corporate account. “Can this be for real?”
Well, Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey is coming out with a new bottle and this public relations office was looking for 15 custom knit cozzies with logo included for the new product launch event in 2 weeks. After discussing details and exchanging contact information, I got off the phone and said, “I can’t believe it!” The first corporate account for Cabin Creek Stitchery and I was giddy like a schoolgirl.
But two days passed and I didn’t hear a word. Doubt crept into my mind and I focused on my other projects. Next, I received an email and a request to increase the number of custom knit sweaters to 25 with 13 days to complete. The company wanted to distribute the custom promotional items at the product launch event. Excitement rushed over me and I was renewed with energy.
My design and creative wheels started to churn and I felt the vigor of a challenge coming my way. This unique marketing strategy now needed to be produced. With the logo design and graphic artists idea on the computer, I began transforming the creative concept into a knit reality of marketing materials. Decisions needed to be made about the size of the sweater based on the dimensions of the bottle. A pattern was written, rewritten and altered for the sweater to fit the neck of the bottle and hold the logo in high resolution for optimal product promotion. Next, the search for color replication of the product logo while maintaining consistent yarn weight. A trip to the yarn shop with my calculator, mathematical measurements, and estimated yarn yardage in hand led me to see the reality of this project. I was only one piece of the media campaign, however, it was a huge undertaking.
Every interaction with the public relations company was a pleasure. Though hundreds of miles apart, communication was convenient and efficient with emails followed up with brief phone calls. High resolution images were emailed to the company in order for them to approve the initial prototype and know the quality of marketing product they would receive. My initial hesitancy to work a corporate account was relieved with the display of mutual professionalism and courtesy.
Every waking hour of the day and night I spent knitting and stitching with interval breaks for making quick meals, taxiing the children, and checking email. My deadline was firm and I had no room in the schedule to fall behind on production. I couldn’t allow myself to think of failing, so I reminded myself of a quotation I had in my bedroom as a child: “Believe in yourself and all things are possible.” I repeated that thought in my head to encourage myself to stay positive and to keep knitting.
But, the long hours of sitting took it’s toll. My legs ached, my stomach consumed too much junk food, and the kitchen piled up with dirty dishes. I stressed about meeting the deadline and woke every morning to the mental image of knitting more stitches. My husband was patient and tolerant of my crazy behavior but the normal routine was definitely disturbed.
However, when delivery day came, the 25 custom promotional products were packaged and shipped to the launch event. Each handmade sweater was carefully sealed in plastic and I felt a bit of pride that I made each and every one for the media campaign. Touching the yarn and feeling each item meant I not only believed, but made it a reality. I stood back and thought about how I loved the creative process, designing patterns and finding the most efficient approach to stitching repetitively. This all-encompassing project overtook my life for 2 weeks, but it was now finished. I was ready to return to sharing time with my husband, reading to my son and coloring with my daughter. With a deep breath of fresh air, relief flooded every muscle in my body… until I returned back home to see the piles of dirty dishes and neglected housework all waiting for me.