to celebrate the publication of my new book


Our colorful 1751 farmhouse will be open to the public. On view will be many of the projects that are featured in Crafting A Pattern Home along with many other things I have made over the years.

This event will be a celebration of the handmade. I hope the day will inspire you to add some pattern and color to your home.

The event is FREE. Books will be available along with some other things I have made. For more information and directions, see the EVENTBRITE PAGE HERE. Although tickets are not mandatory, it will help me get a count to know what to expect. Hope to see you here in western Massachusetts in May.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Have You Heard? + Early Bird Sign-Up Extended + The Prom

...... The world is changing. Yes it is. Not that it hasn't changed every year since it began - right? Last week I was listening to NPR's Marketplace towards the end of the week. They were talking about the retail landscape out there today and how business is changing for the big chains like Macy's, The Gap, Target, and more. Evidently those stocks had sunk in value that week due to poor sales. The experts were talking about the retail marketplace and the "new" consumer. I am fascinated by business cycles and I really enjoy shows like Marketplace and PBS News. I like to follow business and trends - it has always been a part of what I like to learn and know. 

In 2009, I had the brilliant idea to start teaching knitting retreats here at our farm. Here and here are blog posts from the very first year. That was pre-studio space, pre-Farmers Market biz. I had to be nuts inviting strangers into our home but I wanted to offer my teaching from my home base so that I didn't have to leave Julia and Mark and could still bring in some income. And besides, knitters are nice people and my friends helped. 

What I didn't realize when I was beginning these classes in 2009 was that I was part of the trend and business cycle. My theory on this now is that people are looking to spend their disposable income more on experiences rather on buying things and that is why these big retailers are having trouble. Oh yeah - and on-line sales - that too. After the financial crisis of 2008 and our so-called recovery, I think people are looking more for learning experiences rather than things. My classes right here at our farm fit right into that zeitgeist. 

I've run these classes every year since 2009 with varying degrees of success. Don't get me wrong - the classes are always a success just maybe not financially for me. It takes a very special person - an adventurer and someone not fearful of stepping into the unknown - to sign up and venture to the hinterlands of western Mass. We all have a blast - everyone learns a lot - including me. The really great thing is students that make the trip often come back a second time for another round of classes. I get to share so much more than I ever could pack into a car and bring to a hotel room. 

I've always been a little ahead of the curves on trends. I act on instincts and don't do good at going with what everyone else is doing now. I think my "Classes At The Farm" were part of me anticipating a trend. Lots of times I am too early and projects/books fail. If I have failure, I frequently give up and move on to my next great idea. The Class Thing though - here at the farm - I have continued it and this year we are in our 7th year. It still isn't hugely profitable or successful but it fits in with what I enjoy and love - color, creativity, wonderful women who enjoy making and using their hands and stretching their minds. (Seriously, I'm sorry to be so long winded - must be why I never caught on with the 140 character Twitter world). 

Now the competition for students is huge! When I started, there was no VKLive, no Interweave Camp, no Squam Retreat. There was however Meg's Knitting Camp - the grandmother of all these knitting events. And places like Snow FarmPenland SchoolFletcher Farm School. How do students pick which retreat to attend? How do they find me? How much $ and time do students have. I guess if you are reading this, you have found me. 

All of this to say, I've extended the Early Bird Pricing on the "Getting Stitched on the Farm" 2016 classes until May 31st. So, if you are wanting to come, hop on over to my website. The first class July 16/17 - Color, Fabric Printing + Lampshade Painting only has 2 openings left. A little more space on the other two July 30/31 Color, Fabric Printing and Embroidery and September 24/25 Color, Knitting, Crochet + Embroidery. Learn more on my website here

And if you can't swing 2 days, there are options for only taking the first Saturday segment of all the classes. Have a question, send it on - kristinnicholas AT gmail DOT com. Hope to see some of you on the farm

Now that you have gotten to the end - here's a photo of Julia from her night at the Prom. Thank you Aunt Debbie for doing the hair and nails and borrowing of the scarf. She had a great time and danced all night! 

Thank you Missy for the corsage of lilacs and lily of the valley. Thank you cousin Olivia for the hand-me-down dress. Thank you Mum for the shoes. Here she is with her Dad behind the sheep barns because he was still doing chores. It takes a village to send a kid to the prom. (I was working the Webs Tent Sale that day and only got home towards the end of the Aunt Debbie pampering day.) 


Robin said...

Julia looks beautiful. I hope that she had fun at prom.

Susan Guagliumi said...

She is adorable. That smile is the best!

Nina Martin-Anzuoni said...

She is so grown up and still beautiful! Thank-you for sharing the photo.

gale (she shoots sheep shots) said...

So true about the competition with retreats and camps-- but you offer something special so I hope the right students will find theri way!
Oh and Julia-- so grown up and pretty! Glad she had fun.

Mrs. Witry said...

She looks beautiful. You have done a great job and she is a lovely young lady.
mary kate

Melissa Morgan-Oakes said...

Julia! You're so grown-up and young womanly!

Cherie in EP CO said...

What adorable photos of Julia!

Auntie Shan said...


[I'm starting to feel "old" myself looking at how "grown-up" she is now!]

[BTW, this is the time in her Life when FARMER-*DAD* is probably cleaning his shotgun more often...] ;-}

And, it won't be long now until Julia and the "PUSSYCATS" will likely be running "THE BUSINESS"! -- Those Cats in your Blog-Header pic look like they're already "in charge"!


Karen Budnick said...

You've raised a lovely young lady. I know you're proud and you should be!

Lea said...

Julia, you are stunning!

Susan said...

Julia looks darling! So jealous of that corsage, too.

Susan said...

Julia looks darling! So jealous of that corsage, too.

Ettenna said...

Julia looks absolutely beautiful & SO happy!
Wish I could take a class-we farm/ranch in Montana & it's just too far for a 2-day class (+ that old $ thing!) I so relate to many of your posts about living on 'the farm' although we have cows/calves. But I grew up with sheep/lambs so posts bring back memories! Bless your day....

ellen kirkendall said...

Julia looks lovely. I'm so glad she had a good time.

I don't get out much for fiber events. (Out of state family issues use up most of my traveling budget) but someday...many of my friends do and love them. I find that we do a lot of our shopping online. Living on Cape Cod anything outside of basics or art is harder to find. So much easier to go to Amazon straight away than to drive all over or try to get answers on the phone from overworked clerks.

I do wonder why some retailers are surprised that on line sales are growing and in store shrinking when the stores do not stock a full range of sizes. Who wants to drive to the store only to have to order on line once there?

Monica said...

Wow, Julia is just stunning! What a beautiful family the three of you make. I have loved watching Julia grow up via your blog.

I work in the apparel industry and formerly worked for Kohls corporate office. I'm interested to see where the changes in consumer preferences take the industry... And my career!

One day I will be venturing to the farm for one of your classes. This year I am attending Camp Workroom Social in October. Easy to get from North Carolina to NYC (direct flight, no car rental).

Rose said...

Love the group effort for Julia; so much nicer than impersonal salons and overspending! She looks lovely!

Goldie Stetten said...

What a lovely sight! Julia looks absolutely beautiful! And a proud good looking daddy there too! Thanks for posting this.