Looking toward a post-pandemic Fallingblox Designs

First of all, I don’t believe we are in a post-pandemic world. A lot of people have decided that masking is no longer necessary for them to feel safe, but regardless of how we feel, the pandemic is still occurring and it’ll be a while before we can truly say we are past it. But in the knitting world, as in other communities, we have already started to move past pandemic measures — more in-person events are being scheduled and happening, to begin with.

The current phase of Fallingblox Designs is primarily based on education — during the pandemic, I found virtual workshops possible and practical (and profitable) and this has been my main focus over the past 2 years (I got a late start due to the fire). Throughout these years, I’ve told myself (and others) that I intend to keep doing virtual workshops even as physical ones become possible again, primarily because I’m able to reach people I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to reach. Not everyone has a “big show” near them or can afford to travel to one.

But as people tire of the pandemic and the trappings of pandemic life, I am seeing fewer enrollments and having to cancel more of my virtual workshops. This is almost certainly partially my fault for letting my social networking slide — but if the survey I put out last year is any indication, social networks are less important to the majority of my customers and the issue could be simple market saturation. Regardless, I need to figure out how to proceed.

A few things occur to me, after conversations with some students and further discernment on my part:

  1. I need to schedule my virtual workshops further out. I’ve been scheduling them a month, maybe two, ahead for the past couple of years. This worked during a time when people had fewer conflicts due to lockdowns or simply lack of events, but with more and more events now vying for everyone’s time and money, I need to allow my students to plan further ahead. This also means I need to be able to plan further ahead, which has been difficult.
  2. If I need to settle into the reality of lower enrollments, I need to raise my rates so that I won’t need to cancel so many workshops. This may mean I come up with a slightly different way to deal with my “sliding scale” model, perhaps enacting a more formal “scholarship” process. More on that later.
  3. I need to figure out how better to get the word out about my virtual workshops to people who might actually be interested in attending.

Am I ready to take all of this and put it into practice? Not yet. Right now it’s more important that I let folks know about my upcoming workshops than that I radically change my process — but expect workshops for the rest of the Fall season to be announced soon.

Right now, here’s what I’ve got scheduled. As usual, I’m starting my season with an intro workshop, then I’m bringing back the two workshops I cancelled in June for a second chance. Then, at the end of September/beginning of October, I’m teaching some workshops at Knitters’ Day Out in Harrisburg, PA. These are the last of my in-person workshops for the year (stay tuned for more in 2023). All times are in Eastern Time:

In other news

I made a proclamation to my mailing list that I was taking August as a break from knitting-related work — no workshops, no pattern work, etc. August last year was miserably hot and I don’t have effective AC that makes it comfortable for me to knit. This year it’s been a bit better but I have largely been absent, on “actual” vacation (from which the photo above is taken). It’s also a time when many others in the US take vacations, and less knitting is done due to the heat, so workshops rarely fill. But I knew I needed to schedule some workshops, so it couldn’t be completely devoid of knitting work. I also said that I hoped to use this month to do some experimentation on some new or undeveloped techniques, and I’m happy to say I probably have enough to do a workshop on double-knit short-rows, and am starting work on stacked stitches. I hope to have some experiments to show for my next podcast, but if you want a look sooner, I recommend joining my Patreon, where I’m showing these swatches as I go.

Stay tuned!

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