December 23: A Transformative Year

This year has been like no other. Here’s a recap of what’s been going on in my world, and a preview of fun things we have in store for you in 2018!

kmscSwim Mom
This year I became a full fledged swim mom. Mason joined a swim team last year, but didn’t start competing regularly until this year. I now spend a lot of time sitting at a pool. Swimming is a great sport for knitting. While everyone else is parked on the bleachers for HOURS, waiting to see their kid race for a few seconds at a time, I am knitting away. The lighting is good, it is indoors, and you only have to pay attention to what’s going on in the pool for a few seconds here and there.
Naturally, I have to brag. My little guy has quickly moved to the top practice level for his age group, and was the 6th best 10 & under backstroker at the state long course meet this summer. The short course season kicks into high gear in a few weeks, and my weekends are filled with swim meets through February.
I knew nothing about swimming, water sports were never my thing. But it is such a fantastic sport for kids, and has been very transformative for my son. He has never had much interest in more aggressive team sports, but swimming has been such a blessing for him. I highly recommend it!

Farm Girl
Still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I now own a farm. I have ideas for some fun outings, but Keith needs to get us a BATHROOM first. I’m not ready to become that much of a country gal.

Middle School Teacher
Perhaps the biggest head scratcher of all is that I’m now Mrs. Northup the yearbook teacher at Mason’s school. I’m still trying figure out how I got myself into this.
Our business started as an independent pattern publishing company. So aside from the yarn and goodies we usually gab about, behind the scenes I have been running my own in-house graphic design studio.
Mason attends a small Catholic school here in Guthrie. All parents have to contribute volunteer hours, so when the yearbook job came available I jumped at it. Only problem, I had to deal with the outside yearbook company. I’m accustomed to using professional software and working directly with commercial printers. Instead I was thrown into a world with mickey-mouse web based software and salespeople who didn’t know up from down about publishing.
After several years of this frustration, I pitched self-publishing to the principal. Before you know it, I wound up as a volunteer staff member teaching graphic design and photography to 31 middle school students. We are not only designing and publishing a yearbook from scratch, using Adobe InDesign, Photoshop and Lightroom, but are also doing the portrait photography and photo sales for the entire student body.
Two mornings a week you’ll find me at the school doing my teacher thing. If you had told me last year I’d be teaching this age group and loving it, I would have said you were crazy!

Remodel Queen
I have become obsessed with beautifying the shop. My dad gutted and remodeled the building when I first purchased it 17 years ago, but a makeover was long overdue. We started with a facelift for the façade in 2014.
In 2016 we repaired a growing sinkhole in the floor of the shop. Along with a remodel the front part of the store, we replaced gas lines and drain pipes – ouch! We also got a new roof, which became a nightmare. The 2 day job, turned into a 1 year ordeal. I have a growing list of contractors NOT to use.
Sealed with a Kiss
This year I focused on the back of the store, including my office, the kitchen and back bathroom. My office has never been so spacious and organized, and just sitting at my desk makes me so happy! Keith wired my new lights, and I let Lowe’s install the floor and new dishwasher. Other than that, I did everything myself. I am a carpenters daughter after all!
Next summer I plan on getting to the rear hallway and our back entrance. In the aftermath of our remodeling and roof replacement, both have been left in a junky state! Our back entrance looks more like the set of Sanford and Son, but I plan on remedying that soon. Now if I can only get an electrician to show up, we’ll be set. I’m almost to the point of enrolling at the vo-tech to learn the trade. I think it would be faster and less costly! Having a dad who was a construction superintendent had me spoiled. I’d never had to “hire” anyone before. This stinks!

Profound loss
Speaking of my dad, this has also been a year of profound loss. Last Christmas, we were in the process of moving him to a Senior Community. He had been living alone in the months after mom passed.  I moved him to Touchmark in Edmond and can’t praise the staff and facility enough. It is so fabulous, I’m actually envious of those who live there. But this summer the diabetes caught up with him and we lost him in late August.
I stayed so busy taking care of him, I think it delayed the grieving for the loss of mom. Losing both so close together has been a struggle. Staying busy with all of my adventures has kept me sane, even though at times things are beyond hectic.

New beginnings
Jeannie came on board last spring, and I don’t know how we would have made it without her. Lori has embarked on a second act in life, and has now moved out of state. With just Anna and myself left to run the show, Jeannie couldn’t have come along at a better time.
Jeannie is a knitting and crocheting machine, whipping out samples right & left. Personally taught by my mom, Jeannie is in the know!

I am so looking forward to 2018! Here’s just a few things we have in store for you:

  • Urth Day . . . another yarn party extravaganza! Mark your calendar for February 3
  • 25 Year Bash . . . it will be epic. The date is March 10, don’t miss out!
  • Tiny Toppers . . . our Tiny Toppers campaign will distribute hats in October to ALL children trick-or-treating in downtown Guthrie. We’ll need your help!
  • Sally Melville returns to SWAK in November!

And spring yarns start will rolling in the door any day now. I’m especially excited about this new hemp yarn from Lang:
I also love this new yarn that features a shifting texture!
Many of you will remember making baby blankets from Berroco Plush. We did a striped version that sold like crazy. We have a new yarn coming that is very similar to Plush, packaged in a big cake with self-striping colors. One cake knits a striped blanket, and it is affordable too.
And these vintage stitch markers just walked in the door. . .
Vintage Stitch Markers
Be sure to stay tuned, we will have lots of cool yarns and things to tell you about soon. And don’t out miss tomorrow’s post…it’s a good one!


  • Anita

    23.12.2017 at 09:22

    Wow! You have had a busy year! Keep up the good work……

  • Patricia Riden

    23.12.2017 at 09:27

    I have loved every single day of this! I might have loved today’s the most! Merry Christmas to you and yours, Keely! You’re the best!

  • Tammy Adamson

    23.12.2017 at 09:40

    Thank you for all you do! I appreciate you so much.

  • Sheri Blaylock

    23.12.2017 at 09:58

    Keely, you are a wonder! I got tired just reading about all you do. Thank you so much for everything! Can’t wait for 2018, especially Sally Melville in November!

  • Ellen

    23.12.2017 at 10:03

    I don’t know how you have time to fit everything in…you know what they say, “if you want something done, ask a busy person”!

  • Jennifer Dodd

    23.12.2017 at 10:04

    I’m so very grateful for all you do, amidst chaos, upheavals and loss. I only walked into your store last February and have found “my people”. After a huge move away from all I hold dear, what a comfort and refuge you and your shop has been. I truly adore all the people I have met and I love being a loyal customer.
    Much love, peace and joy to you. ❤️

    • Sheri Blaylock

      23.12.2017 at 11:43

      We love you too Jennifer! Glad that we get to be your new friends!

  • Carolyn Munholland

    23.12.2017 at 13:38

    You are incredible. I think of you and your mom everyday. Much love to you be to you

  • Linda W.

    23.12.2017 at 16:15

    In 2008, after many decades away from knitting, I was enchanted by all the interesting novelty yarns on the market, and took up the hobby again. I was buying yarn primarily from craft stores, and teaching myself all over again. In 2009, as a birthday present, a friend said, “Let me take you to a REAL yarn store.” I’ll bet you can guess which yarn store it was, LOL! When you had SWAK in the City, my son would borrow my phone and take pictures of the yarn displays “so I would remember.” Whether in Guthrie or OKC, SWAK has been my yarn “home,” my place for learning, support, and community … oh, and yarn. 😛 I can’t wait to celebrate your 25th anniversary!

  • Donna miller

    23.12.2017 at 18:19

    Oh Keely, you have had a busy and sad year. I’m so sorry about your Dad. Hope to see you soon. Have a very Merry Christmas ❤️