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Sunday, November 30, 2008

The future as I see it

Hi everyone,

As I write this, we are a few hours away from being in December, which means we are just a bit over a month away from the three-year anniversary of Homespun Helpers. I can't tell you how awesome I feel that you all have helped this group grow and continue in ways that I certainly never imagined.

The last two years have been about trying out new ideas, getting to see what worked and what didn't, and it's all been, I admit, a bit haphazard. My biggest goal in 2009 is to make things a bit more clear, a bit more streamlined -- maybe even easy to follow. I know, I think big :)

As I said, I really took to heart the feedback you gave me on my poll and that colored the ideas I'm going to list here. None of this will go into effect until 1/1/09, but I wanted to give everyone a heads up and time to ask any questions, etc. So here we go.

Yahoo Group

I have created a Yahoo group (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HomespunHelpers/), and I'd very much like you all to join. I'd like to use this medium in a few ways. First of all, I have already uploaded a labels sheet and a letter that I'd love for you all to be able to send along with your finished objects. The label, together with the letter, will indicate that the items are coming from Homespun Helpers, an organization in which you take part.

I would also like to use e-mail reminders to keep everybody informed about drives and contests, which I will get into in a minute here. These reminders will be automatically sent to new members and existing members once a month and will basically ask you to check out the calendar at the group page. A link will be right there, so you won't have to write anything down or remember anything -- it will all be there for you.

Finally, I'd like to use Yahoo groups as a kind of forum or chat medium. We are all spread out right now in livejournal, blogspot, myspace, facebook, and ravelry, and each of us kind of have our favorite among those. That means, though, that livejournalers don't always know the bloggers, etc. With the option of e-mailing all homespun helpers members, I'm hoping we can all get to know each other a bit better.

You do NOT have to have a Yahoo e-mail address to join. All you have to do is go to the group page and sign up, or comment here with your e-mail address and I can send you an invite.

I feel and hope that having a centralized location for events, items, and other useful information will make everything a lot easier to follow for everybody.

Homespun Helpers as a group

I mentioned some files that I uploaded to the Yahoo groups page. You'll see there a labels word document and also a letter. While I am not going to crack down or hunt you down if you don't do this, I'd really like to solidify our identity as a group next year, and to that end, I'd love it if you could print out a label or 2 and a letter when you send your finished objects. The letter tells the organization that you are a member of Homespun Helpers, and if that organization ever needs specific items, let us know! This will be the only change in this regard -- I enjoy the fact that everyone can make what they want to make and send to whatever organization he or she wishes. I just think it'll be nice to get our name out there when you send your items.


Another reason I'm posting this early is that I'd like to create a calendar for next year, which will have one "drive of the month." This WILL NOT mean that you are required to send items to that charity, but it means we as a group will be especially conscious of that group during that month, just as right now we are working as a group on items for Ninja's preemie drive or on caps for kids for eliseamelie. Having one highlighted drive a month will cut down on a lot of the confusion. Again, the Yahoo page will have a calendar with the drive of the month and all of the information you need will be there. This means that everyone, no matter which group you are in, will be able to easily access information.


I think that contests can be fun and can give folks a sense that they are getting something back, but having multiple contests at a time can be tricky and confusing. I also got a lot of feedback that people haven't been active in this group because they felt that they couldn't do enough to make a difference. In response to those concerns, I'd like to create a monthly contest where anyone who makes anything for charity can be entered -- and just one item gets you in. No tags will be necessary -- I will keep it up. At the end of each month a winner will be chosen at random and that winner will receive a skein of yarn of their choice from me (or from someone else if you'd like to donate in that way). Yarn choices must be within reason. We all love pure angora Im sure, but um...yeah :)


Most respondents to my poll said that they would like to have an annual goal set for next year, and many said they'd like to have monthly goals as well.

For 2009, the annual goal will once again be 4,000 items. I think that it's a challenging number, but attainable, and if we succeed, we'll be awfully close to 10,000 items in just 3 years, which is mind-blowing.

As for monthly goals, I would like to see you all post your own monthly goals and let us know how you do with them. I know a lot of you are goal-oriented anyway, so it will be fun to cheer you on! Every month we can share our goals either through whatever group you post to or via the Yahoo group, and we will go from there.

Yarn Bank

I know that not everyone wants to participate in this and that's totally cool, but a few people seemed interested.

What I'd like to do is create a backlog of scraps of yarn that people don't want anymore. For now, I'll say that i'll be in charge of this but if someone wants to help/take over, I am so into it! Anyway, the principal is this:

You finish a project and you have half a skein of yarn that you never want to see again.

You send to me with a note saying what kind of yarn it is

I enter said yarn into an excel file that will be located at the Yahoo groups page

When someone is wanting to make squares, preemie items, a scrap bag afghan, or anything else, they will be able to go to that excel database and see what's available.

I will ship said yarn to said person.

Sending a couple of bucks with your leftovers to help with shipping would be ideal.

Depending on how the economy goes, 2009 could be a bit of a pinched year for all of us, so I figure this is a good way to recycle and help each other out.

That is what I am thinking for now. I would very much like your feedback, your membership in the Yahoo group, and all that jazz. And if you have ideas for drives for the months of next year, let me know that as well.



robyn said...

robyn here.

if you don't want to be in charge of the yarn bank, i'm willing to take it over. update a spreadsheet, keep it posted on the yahoo group, mail out yarn to people, etc.

at any rate, i've got some yarn i'd love to donate. so let me know if i should send it to you or if you want me to be the "yarn bank person".

Sandy said...

Sorry to see the group go this route, makes it much like others and what I liked was this group was different, less structured.

I've been wearning myself away from almost everything tied to yahoo and will give some thought about whether or not to join an email group. I much prefer to read things when I have time on blogs and dislike having cluttered over run email boxes. I find in the other groups, I delete most messages and when I have time, look over the groups on line. So many things on yahoo don't work well that I'm not anxious to have another yahoo connection.

I know we have drives here, but until now never realized we were focusing on certain things during a particular time frame.

I appreicate your feedback; but sorta feel like if things have been growing this way it's a shame to make changes.

Thanks though for posting so we can take time to digest this abit.


Kelli said...

Hi there, Kelli here, aka ugottafriend. Just joined blogspot and added ya to my reading list. I still don't know how to knit or sew but I look forward to contributing in some way in 2009. Take care and have a happy holiday!

tillie said...

I am new to the group and looking forward to participating next year. Am not very Yahoo savvy (but I did get this far!) My personal goals this year were an afghan a month for Project Linus and a sweater a month for Guidepost. I am having trouble finding a local chapter drop off for the afghans so, after three years am looking for some new places to donate. thanks for all you do!!