Year in Review: 2017

2017 was an interesting year. For those of you who have been following me along since the beginning, you may know that 2016 was the year of travel. Understandably, 2017 felt a little bit boring in comparison and as I focused more on work, I pushed blogging aside.

Let’s compare the numbers: 2016 vs 2017

As a result, only 41 posts were published in 2017 as opposed to 87 in 2016! Because of this, you would guess that 2016, being the year of travel and excitement and yarn crawls in Kathmandu, Wooly Ventures would’ve brought in more visitors, am I right? That’s definitely what I assumed. But nooooo.

Believe it or not, in 2017 I had a total of 94,000 visitors visit the site, and in 2016 that number was only 73,000.ย 

Although if you take a look at the screenshot of my audience traffic below, the numbers make a lot more sense (orange line is 2016, blue line is 2017). Time to unleash the Google Analytics geek in me ;).

The first half of 2016 shows what essentially appears to be a straight line. I was just starting my blog, and hence I wasn’t getting a lot of traffic. Until one day … around July 2017 (where you see the first orange spike) bam! I had a Pinterest pin go viral, and my traffic took off from there. In 2016, most of my traffic came from Pinterest. In 2017, however, I began to rank a few articles higher in Google’s search engine (namely travel articles on Malaysia) and as a result have more consistent traffic (although less than what I had in late 2016).

In case you’re wondering, the article that went viral was Best Free Knitting Patterns to Learn to Knit and was published in January of 2016 … meaning it took a full 6 months until it got “discovered” on Pinterest and went viral (see below). Next to it is the Pin for the article I wrote on hiking in the Cameron Highlands (a beautiful part of Malaysia) which is now one of the highest ranking articles on Google if you search “trekking cameron highlands”!

A recap of my most liked posts of 2016 on Instagram – TL: Knitting in Kathmandu; TC: On a beach in Vietnam; TR: Kathmandu Cafe; ML: Yarn Shopping Kathmandu; MC: Cameron Highlands Malaysia; MR: Annapurla Hat (v1) in Vietnam; BL: Hoi An, Vietnam; BC: Nong Khiaw, Laos; BR: Flying home to Vancouver

Ok, that’s enough of 2016 – as much as I would love to relive my year of travel (plus I did already publish a recap of 2016 here), it’s time to move onwards. To 2017!

2017 Highlights

2017 was a busy year, but less so on the blogging and knitting front (hence the lesser number of articles). Because I was coming back from a year of travel, it took some adjusting and getting used to a somewhat more stationary life. Even still, I managed to move around quite a bit.

In a nutshell, in 2017 I managed to:

  • Move between three cities (Calgary to Nanaimo to Vancouver)
  • Work at two different companies
  • Visit two different Northern territories of Canada that I had never been to before and see the Northern Lights (Nunavut and Northwest Territories).
  • Sew and dye (using madder root!) my maid-of-honor dress for my sister’s wedding and write 4 blog posts on the whole endeavor (here, here, here and here!)
  • Naturally dye the most expensive piece of fabric I have ever purchased (silk!), have it turn out beautifully, then fail miserably on the sewing front (it was supposed to be a silk bathrobe for my sister).
  • Start a new blog post series called Maker Spotlight where I get to interview and meet some very talented knitwear designers and creators!
  • Drastically improve my knitting library by purchasing all four of Barbara Walker’s Treasury of Knitting Patterns as well as Norah Gaughan’s Knitted Cable Sourcebook
  • Begin a Wooly Ventures Biz Tips newsletter series and Facebook group (which came to an end not soon afterwards as I devoted more time to work and less time to Wooly Ventures in the later half of the year).
  • Write my two first ever sponsored posts (For Urth Yarns (formerly known as Feza) and Yarn Canada) and come to the harrowing realization that yarn will not pay for rent …
  • Go through the full process of tech editing and test knitting for my latest published pattern, the Annapurla Hat
  • Start a Knit Night group in Nanaimo at the brewpub (resulting in the making of many new knitter friends to enjoy pints of good craft beer with!)

Reflections on 2017

You would think that after not having a permanent place to stay, and staying a maximum of a couple of weeks in one place in 2016, would result in me being ‘less averse’ to change in 2017, but that was not the case. Rather, in 2017 I wanted nothing more than to hunker down in one place and not move! But life always has it’s share of surprises, and due to some unforeseen circumstances we decided to uproot our belongings and move to Vancouver. Moving takes work. And work takes time. All of this meaning that I spent less time on the blog overall than I have since it’s humble beginnings in early 2016.

Overall, 2017 was just as impressive and incredible as 2016, albeit for different reasons. I was able to explore more of the remote areas of Canada for work. Some of you may know this, but domestic airfare in Canada is incredibly expensive. For a return flight to the Northern Territories, I could have just as easily traveled across the world. I felt incredibly fortunate to be able to see this lesser traveled part of my own country. And I was amazed to realize just how many tourists (most notably from Asia) travel to Northern Canada in the winter to see the Northern Lights!

It was a year of learning and growth. Although in the latter half the blog was pushed to one side, writing this post and reflecting on the year overall makes me realize just how much I enjoy my little baby of a blog, and of sharing my stories and dreams with all of you.

Here are my best liked photos of 2017 from Instagram. TL: Roadtrip knitting on Vancouver Island; TC: Yarn Splurge; TR: Purl Soho Colorful Wedges Baby Blanket; ML: Second Mockup of Kielo Wrap Dress for #summerofbasics; MC: Studying knitwear design with a baby version of the Diyi mittens; MR: View from the top of a hike on Vancouver Island; BL: Showing off the Annapurla Hat (final version); BC: Swatching for the Annapurla; BR: Practicing my brioche skills with a second Ramble Shawl

A Look Ahead to 2018 (aka 2018 Resolutions)

I am somewhat reluctant to list my 2018 resolutions, as all too often I don’t follow through with most of them, which leaves me feeling all too depressed! However, as many studies have proven, there is a much likelier chance that Iย willย follow through with my resolutions if I list them publicly. Out of the five “goals” I listed last year, I managed to complete 3 of them (well, maybe five if you consider I dyed my own fabric (but not wool), and sewed part of my wardrobe.ย  Overall, I want to push myself out of my comfort zone more than I did last year, both creatively, physically and professionally.

  1. Publish two knitwear patterns. Last year, I set my goals way too high (wanting to design and publish closer to 6 patterns, which did not at all happen. This year, I’m going to keep things more reasonable, but still challenging! Seeing all of the new indie pattern designers release such beautiful patterns in 2017 has been such an incredible source of inspiration for me to pursue my own design dreams.
  2. Blog more consistently.ย Again, I fell off the radar for the latter half of 2017, and this year I aim on publishing a post a minimum of once every two weeks! I also want to start up the Maker Spotlight series again, which I really enjoyed!
  3. Improve my Videography Skills. Creating videos for the blog is definitely something that is outside of my comfort zone and does not come naturally to me! This year, I want to push myself further by filming short videos (yarn crawls, interviews, etc.) to include on the blog! I would also love to buy a drone and take cool shots of myself knitting at the top of the beautiful mountains in and around Vancouver, but for now at least, that’s outside of the budget.
  4. Take a Life Drawing class.ย Vancouver offers a ton of cool life drawing options, and this year I want to try one or two! Although I haven’t drawn in years, I took an acrylic painting class a few years ago and rediscovered the sleeping artist inside ;). This year, I want to continue to nurture my creative side and develop my artistic skills!
  5. Finish the first draft of a novel.ย Ever heard of Nanowrimo? It stands for National Novel Writing Month, and consists of writers everywhere racing to write 50,000 words (the average amount of words in a full novel) in just one month. I started this in November, and made it just over a quarter of the way, finishing the month with 18,000 words. Although I still haven’t completed the challenge, 18,000 words remains the most I have ever written of fiction. Ever. I want to continue this challenge in 2018 and complete my novel! It’s not knitting related, but it is creative. ๐Ÿ™‚
  6. Compete in a Trail Race – Running has fallen largely off my radar for the past few years, and in 2018 I want to come back full force! Seek the Peak is a race to the top of the Grouse Grind trail in Vancouver, up 4,100 feet! I’ve got almost 6 months to train for this … should be easy, right?
  7. Start a Knit Night in Vancouver!ย – I cannot believe Vancouver doesn’t yet have one. Stay tuned, all you Vancouverite knitters out there. It’s coming. If you’re interested or would like to collaborate on this project, please email me at hello@woolyventures.com !
  8. Knit a Sweater on a Knitting Machine.ย I’ve got the knitting machine, and I’ve got theย Craftsy course, and I’ve got the time. All I need now is the right amount of wool … learning to use a knitting machine was one of those goals I set back in 2017 that got pushed to the side! Now that 2018 is here, it’s time to stop making excuses.

What are your big 2018 dreams, goals and aspirations? Let me know in the comments below and send me a note at hello@woolyventures.com !

4 Comment

  1. Great year Susanne! Good post to summarize it. I can see myself in a lot of it, especially if you replace knit by bike ๐Ÿ˜›
    Have a great 2018.

    1. Haha, thanks Jonathan ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Alice says: Reply

    Looking forward to reading about how you get on with your new goals (so diverse!), especially seeing what knitwear designs you’ve been dreaming up as well as your life drawing & knitting machine adventures!

    1. Thanks Alice! Hope you are having a great start to your 2018 as well ๐Ÿ™‚

Leave a Reply